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Thursday, 17 November 2016

United States of Europe (2)

There are two fundamental forces in life for uniting people: Love and Fear.

There is little to no Love lost between most European countries. There are several reasons for this observation. I think, feel and believe that language is the 1st and most important one. Each European country sticks to its own language (eg, French, German, Italian, Spanish). Due to the UK's Brexit, these differences in European languages are likely to become more important. To some extent, English was a binding language albeit not wholeheartedly for some European countries.

Secondly, there is a history of European distrust following the many continental European wars. The last big European war is some 80 years ago. Although Wikipedia shows many conflicts after WW2, few people will remember those. Distrust and Fear are closely related in this context but mainly with respect to country size. Some people may still distrust the French but would no longer fear them. The same cannot be said of Germany.

The European Union project has largely failed due to a lack of Love between European countries. This is not likely to change anytime soon, despite the British exit (ie, Brexit) which will remove one of the major obstacles within the European Union. I doubt this is enough for the remaining countries to suddenly start liking each other.

In the absence of Love, Fear is the best way to unite people. Recently, Turkey has shown the world how to do this since their failed coup attempt. Russia has a habit of using Fear. Both countries combine 4 successful ingredients: (1) create a common enemy, (2) a crackdown on news media, (3) using fear management towards people reluctant to get in line, and (4) playing the victim role towards the own population.

The element of Fear is slowly being introduced to underpin European safety and security. This introduction hardly needs any official European support as two global actors are making its business case: (1) the Russian threat in Eastern Europe and the Baltics and (2a) the election of Donald Trump as the 45th US President and (2b) Trump's view on the role of NATO.

The European fear for war is stronger than the European love for cooperation. Trump's threat of removing the American safety and security umbrella (ie, NATO) will force Europe to reconsider its future. Essentially, Russia is offering a simple future choice between continuing European lifestyle or becoming part of an authoritarian kleptocracy, ruled by fear and force.

On 10 January 2015, I published part 1 of my United States of Europe blog. Back then, my blog was implicitly built on Love for the European dream. Back then, I failed to see that there is a stronger argument than Love - being Fear. I think, feel and believe that we have never been closer to a European federation of independent states than today.

Federation of European States would be a powerhouse, controlled by reason and doubt rather than force. It would be our best guarantee for lasting peace with adjacent aspiring regional superpowers.

Doug Ashdown - Winter in America (1974) - artist, lyrics, video, Wiki