Thursday, October 16, 2003

Queen raises fears over EU constitution

A dark shadow is falling once again across Europe, not this time the spectre of communism or fascism, but an ideology even emptier. For centuries, France and Germany have vied for control of the continent, and the quantities of blood shed in that contest made Europe the worst killing grounds in all the world. Now the relatively peaceful aberration of the past 60 years is giving way to a resumption of history.

France and Germany have united under the blue and gold flag of anti-Americanism, resenting Europe’s adolescent niece, hating her so much indeed that they will now make common cause with China, the one state on the planet with both the potential and the desire to enter into military conflict with the US. Too lazy and stupefied from 40 years of suckling at the socialist teat, Europe is not likely to engage in actual combat with the US—and it will be a generation before her troops could go anywhere without the services of the USAF in any case. The intellectual elite and the leadership will nevertheless stand and cheer at every and any bloodying of America, toasting themselves and rooting for our demise, foolishly unaware that the United States is now and has been for a century the only thing keeping the barbarians outside Europe’s gates.

The corruption of Europe’s institutions is staggering. Once synonymous with “Europe,” the word “Christendom” now cannot even be spoken with a straight face by anyone who wants to be taken seriously in Paris, Berlin, or Brussels. The materialism that has been delivered for 3 generations significantly because of money spent and provided by the American taxpayer will not soon enough grow hard to sustain, as exploitable markets in China and other parts of the developing world will for a while sustain enough growth to support it. The EU constitution will put power in the hands of corrupt and unelected bureaucrats, rather than in an elected legislative body. Meanwhile, the nations that gave the world Napoleon and Hitler will lecture the US for its “arrogance” in trying to force a fascist, militaristic country to be a democracy, even as the widows and orphans of Algeria send their own children to destroy Europe from within. DeGaulle’s corpse no doubt smiles.

The smaller nations collaborate, as they always do where German and French expansionism intrude. Anti-Americanism has been something of a lark for 35 years now, and it seems to be good for business. Belgium, by virtue of having been conquered more than any other country in Western Europe (and still only a few days’ march from the real centers of power), becomes the official capital of the new Europe, granting it importance out of all proportion to its size or wealth. Ireland goes along half-heartedly, desiring to do whatever irritates the English most, but never quite thoroughly committed to the latest Continental horror. The Netherlands, heroes of the last major military conflict, have returned to their mercantilist roots and will do whatever they believe is most profitable. Italy and Spain are not quite so eager to cast aside the US, but would rather be in Europe than merely of it. Great Britain continues to try to straddle an increasingly wide ocean, but will soon have to choose one side or the other. That choice is much less clear today than it seemed just a few months ago.

The nations of Eastern Europe do not share Franco-German hatred for the US, and indeed seem grateful to her still for their new freedom, but trapped between Russia and Europe, and noting the distraction of the United States, they look Westward as they have always done when given a choice. The historical reflex will not help them this time, sadly, and they show every sign of being corrupted and defeated. The Christianity and the sanity that 50 years of Totalitarian rule could not destroy will be wiped away in the New Prosperity that standing up to the US offers. Donald Rumsfeld was vilified for making a distinction between “The Old Europe” and the East, but he merely had the audacity to state explicitly what everyone in Washington and Brussels knows: the gravest threat to the existence of liberal democracy on the shores of the North Atlantic does not reside in Tehran or Mecca, but in Paris and Berlin. Nations are choosing up sides, more subtly than in 1945, and with less threat of military force, but that makes the choices no less real.

An anti-Jewish pogrom can once again become respectable, as Israel merely becomes a proxy for the US. Europe’s two centuries of colonial exploits and the League of Nations asinine Mandate System left the Middle East in disarray. Europe’s eager desire to be shot of the Jews caused enough Jews to want to be shot of Europe too that now a “shitty little country” (in the words of one French diplomat) can be hated more openly than good manners allow for any of its citizens.

The dark shadow may still pass. The citizenry haven’t all quite caught up to their rulers’ level of contempt, not yet. Britain may still pass on the EU constitution, and that may cause one or two other countries to do the same. France and Germany made their ambition a bit too naked last spring, and let their hatred of America peek out from under the face of concerned statesmanship. But whether or no it passes, it will grow darker still before the light returns. It would be well if more of us acknowledged that the light is fading in Europe.


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