Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Don't take Your Eyes off Europe!

The bombs are falling in Syria, refugess are streaming out of Syria, there is hunger and despair in Africa as well as across the Middle East, but it would be a mistake to take our eyes off Europe.

The 'miracle' of the European Union is fast coming to an end, after a seventy-year run (from the time of the Coal and Steel Community that bound historical enemies France and Germany in 1951), as its nearly thirty countries revert to their longer history of feuding.

On CNN, Fareed Zakaria had barely finished chiding Poland, which he referred to as the EU's economic poster child, for emulating its neighbor Hungary in a turn toward 'illiberal democracy', when France 24 announced the stunning results of national regional elections: the anti-immigrant right-wing party the National Front polled its highest yet electoral score of 30%, leading in six out of thirteen regions, leaving both centrists and socialists in the dust at around 20% each. Never has the French ruling class been so frightened.

At every election cycle of the last four decades, France relives the same drama: the centrists and socialists refuse to cooperate in order to deprive the far-right of run-off victories, and that is how the National Front has grown from decade to decade, starting with Jean-Marie LePen’s surprise win in municipal elections in a town near Paris in 1983. It is no exaggeration to say that the National Front’s continuous growth has cautioned similar movements across Europe, after entering the European Parliament in 1984.

This information may seem irrelevant to most Americans, but they would be wrong to ignore it. As Donald Trump solidifies his lead the more threateningly he speaks, the media must remind voters of the rise of Hitler almost a century ago, while covering the rise of the extreme right in Europe.

Vladimir Putin is no fascist, however many politicians and pundits think they are smart by brandishing that accusation: he is a democratic socialist, as his speeches and actions make clear. And as the world moves toward another left/right confrontation under guise of religious or civilizational' wars, it is he who is on the right side.

Without the participation of the Soviet Union, the US would not have defeated Nazi Germany. Now, fearful American voters must not believe that fascism is the only way to beat ISIS.

Above all, they should not believe that an American Hitler, though high in the Republican polls, is the magic bullet.

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