In The American Conservative, Cato Institute senior fellow, Doug Bandow takes readers through the rapid downfall of Europe’s elite globalists. Riding high in 2017, this group is now barely hanging on. He writes:
In mid-2017, the European Union seemed ascendant, led by the young visionary Emmanuel Macron, the president of France. Macron advocated a united Europe, having dramatically vanquished the disreputable forces of nationalism during his election. Moreover, the EU had overcome threats of dissolution, as no other state had joined the United Kingdom in a rush for the exits. The EU remained the latest variant of mankind’s last best hope. Debt and migration crises seemed far behind.
All that remained was for Macron to convince Angela Merkel, chancellor of the continent’s de facto bank, Germany, to unite countries’ finances. If prosperous German burghers would take on the rest of the continent’s debts, the so-called European Project, envisioning something akin to a United States of Europe, would be on the move once again.
That was then. This is now.
The best that can be said for the Eurocrats is that their opponents are no more competent. UK Prime Minister David Cameron resigned after a majority of Britons voted to leave the EU in a referendum he had placed on the ballot. Yet he almost certainly would have handled his nation’s exit more skillfully than has Theresa May, who triggered Brexit before her own government was prepared to negotiate. She then called an election with no message other than that she wanted a bigger majority, and ended up losing her small one. She was badly outplayed by EU negotiators at every turn. Now her Brexit package could lose by upwards of three digits in the House of Commons.
Alternative proposals include calling a second referendum, approving revised legislation that the EU says it will not consider, and “crashing out” of the organization to which London has belonged for four decades without even skeletal agreements for much of anything, including air travel, customs, and criminal justice. Yet as noted earlier, European leaders refused to help craft an agreement that May could sell. She survives as premier simply because there is no obvious alternative; stumbling along seems the best course for everyone.
It almost makes the prospect of a government headed by Jeremy Corbyn look good. Almost.
Those predicting the end of history never imagined Donald Trump, or the collapse of the self-assured elites who ruled Europe with little challenge for decades. European peoples still benefit from continental cooperation, but they appear to recognize that creating a powerful bureaucratic behemoth like America’s national government would be to replicate a failed model. Europeans should go their own way, irrespective of what their “leaders” desire.
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