The Frankish Empire Strikes Back
By James Lewis
The European Union would have you believe it’s the latest sign of progressive humanity, a peaceful and prosperous socialist union where previously only war and discord used to reign. Skeptics might point out that the EU is basically a revived Frankish Empire (5th-10th century CE), an attempt to unify Germany and France in an effort to control all of Europe.
With the return of the dark side of the European psyche after fifty years, the biggest rationale for the EU is fear of its own people, who are thought to be closet Nazis by the leftist elites. When an Israeli soccer team won a game against a French team several weeks ago, Israeli fans were chased through the streets by a more than a hundred French football hooligans. Yet the Leftist elites of Europe might be inviting a self-fulfilling prophecy; suppress the democratic Right long enough, and in the face of Islamofascist waves of immigrants the voters might look for a strong man again.
Daniel Hannan is a Euroskeptic conservative who is a Member of the (powerless) European Parliament. Hannan argues for actual elections to determine the future of Europe, as if the voters have any say over the matter. When the European Constitution was defeated two years ago by referenda in France and Holland, he predicted that the vote would make no real difference. The Eurobureaucracy is on the march and will force through the EU Constitution by decree.
Hannan now writes:
…the EU will continue to adopt as many of the Constitution’s proposals as it can … . It has, after all, already enacted the document’s chief provisions: a European criminal justice system, a diplomatic corps (the “European External Action Service”) the Charter of Fundamental Rights. Some 85 per cent of the clauses can be pushed through this way. Then, at some stage in the next 18 months, there will be a perfunctory Inter-Governmental Conference to tie up the loose ends: … . There will be no disagreement in principle about these things, which the 25 – now, with Romania and Bulgaria, 27 – governments have accepted in principle all along. The national leaders will then tell their electorates that it would be absurd to hold referendums on such detailed and technical proposals. The result? We will end up with virtually the entire text of the constitution, but with no more referendums.
Europe is desperately trying to escape its past. Poland has just vetoed an outreach to Russia for fear of newly aggressive moves from the Bear to the East. l Eastern Europe doesn’t trust the German Wolf either, as benign as it looks today. Europeans are still neurotically entangled in the past, no matter how glorious the EU proclaims itself to be. For them, the EU is a desperate effort to make the future work.
The constant Europropaganda against America and Israel must be seen in this framework. Ultimately all politics are local, and in this case, it is Europe’s neurosis that needs to be soothed by hating America and Israel. That is how European political movements have always worked, by finding an external enemy to take the blame. America and the Jews are especially useful, because nobody is really afraid of them. No such hatred is directed to the Russians, because everybody understands that Putin will take revenge against his critics.
When Ronald Reagan helped bring down the Berlin Wall, leading to the unification of Germany, Margaret Thatcher was passionately opposed. She was and is so steeped in Europe’s turbulent history that German unification seemed to bode nothing but a return to the past. We still don’t know who was right.
Angela Merkel, the well-meaning German Chancellor at the moment, has just raised the possibility of a free trade agreement between the EU and the US. It could be a very constructive idea, on the principle that trade breeds tolerance as well as prosperity. The United States has two hundred years of solid democratic governance. Europe has much less, with many more grand failures. Bringing down EU-US trade barriers could benefit the cause of peace and stability, and ultimately the cause of freedom and democracy.
But don’t expect the path to be straight and narrow. The Frankish Empire has its own ambitions and fears, and it has always followed its self-interest first.
James Lewis is a frequent contributor to American Thinker.