Saturday, January 23, 2016

To Europe: Forget Bandaids! Be Proactive!

The trials and tribulations of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, billed by Time magazine as the most important person of 2015, have made me despair over the rapidity with which my beloved old continent is falling apart.

Rather than constantly repeating that "Germany is strong, and we can do this" (i.e., take in more refugees), Merkel needs to announce an entirely new European policy: "We will cut ties with the American administration intent on raping the third world, and invest the money in helping those countries get on their feet."

This is easier said than done, but the results of inaction are too dreadful to contemplate: instead of affording its people continuing well-being, the European Union will disintegrate into warring nation-states once again, this tie with a crucial new element: a growing minority of Muslims in what was once the bastion of Christianity.

The Union was founded as a reaction to repeated intra-European strife - mainly between France and Germany. But today France, Germany and the other 26 countries of the EU appear helpless in the face of thousands of non white, non-Christian, foreigners, although these amount to only 1-2% of its population.

In politics, dithering can be fatal, one of the reasons why naive voters are drawn to politicians who present themselves as 'strong men', who will inevitably take advantage of the dithering of democrats (see Hitler and the Weimar Republic). Europe is all the more dramatically caught between the proverbial rock and a hard place that the decisive action required to save itself is all but unthinkable: pruning ties with the United States, its savior in two world wars and its tutor for seventy. Brussels is accused by many Europeans of being dictatorial, however it has not given itself the tools to conduct a foreign policy independent of Washington, which in an interdependent world world crucially impacts the domestic arena.

US tutoring is threatening Europe's survival. The current generation of leaders has imbibed American leadership with its mothers' milk, taught in school that the Yankees liberated them from German occupation, and finally, after an initial period of resentment, utterly seduced by America's version of modernization. Not to mention how much easier it is to follow than to take initiatives. America's successive rescues probably convinced Europe's leaders, from Adenauer and Schumann on, that the fractious peninsula needs a strong, benevolent tutor to keep the peace. It did not occur to them that Europe would eventually pay the price for America's determination to rule the world.

The presence of a seemingly formidable neighbor - the USSR- on its borders, combined with Soviet hegemony over the Eastern half of Europe, sufficed to keep Christian-Democratic/Democratic -Socialist elites alternately in power, guided by American pro-consuls toward the fruits of progress. But insidiously, this was accompanied by the atrophy of European geo-political thought. (Suffice it to remember the widespread European opposition to America's war in Vietnam, compare to its attitude toward the bombing of Yugoslavia or the invasion of Iraq") On a continent of historically rambunctious rulers, only the Communists could be counted upon to warn of paths best not taken - in vain.

Anti-communism will someday be recognized as one of the main factors having contributed to a widening North-South divide, preventing an ever more comfortable Europe from realizing that it could not remain forever aloof from the travails of the South. Remnants of -colonialism - even if in the form of paternalism - led it to participate in adventures in adjacent areas such as the Middle East and Africa led by an America protected by two oceans from blowback.

Instead of seeing the European Union - the second largest economy in the world - as an equal weight to an oil-rich but backward Middle East, and the three giants Russia, China, and India, with which it shares the Eurasian continent, for the first time in its history, Europe took on the role of junior partner with severely limited voting rights.

The failure of Europe’s leaders to assert their authority over foreign affairs, building a better partnership with Arabs and Africans than the disastrous one gifted them by Washington, is fast resulting in reverse colonization

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