Let’s be perfectly clear: The destruction of the EU is not Britain’s doing alone. All Europeans took part in it and I’m looking especially strictly at Germany – the biggest, most powerful, most influential and therefore more responsible one in the room.
Since the 90’s I’ve heard here in Germany nothing but a chorus of dissatisfied nagging voices – the EU is a bureaucracy, a dictatorship, anti-democratic, an unnatural idea that can’t work, doesn’t watch over our interests, a construct of international corporate powers, we are being ruled by unseen masters overseas! Why dies Greece get so much money? Why is it our problem that Putin is grabbing off land just outside EU borders? It was never only the extreme right , it was the left as well, and, most importantly, the middle of society that complained and complained endlessly about the EU.
In Europe and especially in Germany, bellyaching has long since replaced any kind of critical thought or political dialogue (oh yes, by the way, I would have to include my Heimat America in that list). It’s a sign of infantile authoritarianism – authoritarianism man never sees his own responsibility to build up the state, to create something for the future, he realizes his emotional and political self by nagging at those in power – everything is the responsibility of the big guy, nothing is his responsibility, except for complaining about the big guy, and so he complains and complains and congratulates himself on being so smart.
The results is: European patriotism never happened. Pride in the EU never happened. No one saw any reason to personally support the EU, no one saw his neighbor working hard to make the EU work, or even just praising the EU and all its advantages; no one thought: “Boy, if all these other guys are in my face about how important the EU is, maybe I should take a stand too”. No one thought: “Yeah, come to think of it, there are things in life worth fighting for.” We saw a little bit of that in the last two weeks before the Brexit, but that was too little too late.
(And before I hear a lot of people pooh-poohing the idea of European patriotism – “Oh Eric, patriotism is so American, we Europeans have evolved beyond such childish things” – since I’ve been living here, I have heard everyday about how far superior European culture and the so-called enlightenment in Europe are to anything in America. Europeans are absolutely convinced that they are the greatest peoples in the world. They won’t sow it like Americans do, but if anything they are more arrogant. At the same time, they don’t want the money-where-your-mouth-is responsibility that comes with patriotism.)
Europeans are like children who don’t understand that Mommy and Daddy have to actually earn the money they’re spending on their kids, and the kids won’t stop complaining: Why can’t I have the things the neighbors have? Their Mommy and Daddy are better!
This attitude made it easy for the hard-working, determined and convinced anti-European Nationalists to be successful. Their success is founded on the apathy and egocentrism of the average voter. They only sounded so good because they were just saying what everyone else had been saying already.
I’ve said it before and will say it again: If you’re not willing to defend and fivght for what you have, it will be taken from you.
The EU is being taken from you. There will be no compromise-EU, not smaller EU, not core-EU. There may continue to exist some kind of loosely-organized economic association with about as much power as an old, toothless weasel. In a few years, maybe in a few decades, Europe will be living once again in national states much like in the early modern period – centuries beind the times – surrounded by mammoth power centers like America, China and possibly a unified Russian-led Eastern Europe. And the small European states will have no say in what these great powers do.
On the other hand, I’m an American – I almost forgot – and I see the bright side to everything. There’s a bright side here, too: We Americans will have no more competition in the Western World!
We Americans have been fearing a loss of power and influence, a decline, for some time now. A truly unified EU self-confidently wielding massive power would have pushed us off center stage – we would no longer have dominated the Western World and thus, indirectly, the entire world. We would no longer have been able to tell our allies what to do and make them accept our interests.
Finally that fear has vanished! Europe is falling back into meaningless and helpless nation states that will never be able to tell us what to do.
After the first “American Century,” we are about to see the rise of a second. But no worries, poor little Europeans, we’ll be gentle with you. On the contrary, you can be happy that you have a Big Brother to watch over you and take care of you, as you are obviously not capable of doing that yourselves. You couldn’t do it in 1933, you couldn’t do it in the Cold War and you won’t be able to do it in the next 100 years. Because none of you have the guts to stand up and fight for what you have.
So let us celebrate together, ye Europeans – you’ve gotten what you wanted – you’re taken a couple of major steps backwards into the past you value so highly – and at the same time you’re given us Americans what we wanted – a Second American Century. Cheers!
Eric T. Hansen is American, author, journalist and satirist, lives in Germany and today in Berlin for over 20 years. His books: Planet Germany. Planet Germany. Eine Expedition in die Heimat des Hawaii-Toasts or Anxious superpower: Die ängstliche Supermacht: Warum Deutschland endlich erwachsen werden muss, Eric T. Hansen The Hula Ink Blog.
Foto: screenshot youtube