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Can Europe survive the age of strongmen? Our leaders are too weak to enforce their will

Armenian men rally in Yerevan (KAREN MINASYAN/AFP via Getty Images)

Armenian men rally in Yerevan (KAREN MINASYAN/AFP via Getty Images)


September 21, 2022   7 mins

The latest military assault by Azerbaijan’s oil-rich dictator Ilham Aliyev on tiny, democratic Armenia places the European Union, once again, in an awkward position. On the one hand, as EU leaders never cease to remind us, the continental bloc stands for liberalism and democracy against the rising tide of Eurasian autocracy. On the other, European leaders such as Ursula von der Leyen, who signed an EU energy deal with the very same Aliyev just a few months ago, feel somehow compelled to place the continent’s fate in the hands of anti-democratic strongmen, whether bullied by autocrats like Erdogan or Lukashenko pumping migrants towards Europe’s borders, or dependent on dictators like Putin or Aliyev for Europe’s energy needs.

It is unnecessary to debate whether this situation derives from hypocrisy or bad diplomacy. It is both, and at the heart of it, lies the fundamental conundrum facing EU geopolitics: how to defend Europe’s liberal-democratic ideology in a hard world where it is too weak to enforce its will, and the continent’s nearest neighbours are emboldened towards swift, decisive action by their total rejection of Europe’s moral norms. What the self-proclaimed moral superpower lacks is a basic understanding of power: where it lies, and how to use it. But worse, Europe’s leaders lack the fundamental willingness to act strongly and decisively in defence of European interests.

In his 1951 masterwork The Forest Passage, the writer and philosopher Ernst JĂŒnger observed of pre-war German society’s meek subjection to the Nazi regime he despised that “long periods of peace and quiet favour certain optical illusions. Among them is the assumption that the invulnerability of the home is founded upon the constitution and safeguarded by it. In reality, it rests upon the father of the family who, accompanied by his sons, appears with the axe on the threshold of his dwelling.” A naive and self-regarding faith in the smooth functioning of liberal institutions serves only to render you powerless when faced with a challenger who does not respect the rules of your game: ultimately, freedom and security depend on your willingness to wield power yourself, and to actively defend your liberty and way of life.

Nearly seven months into Putin’s war in Ukraine, we see this is the essential challenge facing Europe today. The US security umbrella has rendered Europe weak and powerless, believing that it could sway the rest of the world towards its governing philosophy through offering trade deals as carrots, relying on America’s offstage presence to wield the stick. Yet the continent now finds itself a geopolitical pygmy, bullied by autocrats like Putin, Erdogan and Lukashenko, structurally at the mercy of more assertive actors. This winter we shall endure the results: just as Covid finally revealed our continent’s structural dependency on Chinese manufacturing, so has Putin’s invasion of Ukraine revealed our dependence on Russian energy to sustain not just our industrial capacity but the very building blocks of modern, middle-class life.

Commentators who once lauded figures such as Merkel have suddenly perceived, too late, that there is nothing very liberal or admirable about subjecting your people to the whims of illiberal tyrants. Yet Merkel’s sudden fall from grace shows us only half of the equation: the nature of European institutions, built around myths of ever-expanding liberal progress, remains the same. History has moved on, but Europe’s governance has remained infantilised, stuck in a vanished past. Even after Merkel, Europe remains ruled by Merkelians and institutions expressly designed to stymie the swift and decisive action a world of crisis and competition demands.

In his 2019 book The Strongmen, the German political theorist Hans Kribbe distils his rare policy experience of having worked for both the European Commission and Putin’s government to claim that to survive an anarchic world, Europe will have to adopt many of the manners of the archetypal strongman. It was no more a call for an actual European strongman than Hobbe’s Leviathan was a demand for rule by monstrous giants: Kribbe uses the term more as a metaphor for comfort with executive power than as a political roadmap.

The strongman, as he notes, citing de Gaulle as an example, differs from the dictator or the classic totalitarians of the 20th century in that his transcendence of the ordinary rules is always limited in time. Born of crisis, the strongman’s brief but decisive display of executive power aims to unblock a congested system — a great reset if you will — allowing the ordinary functions of the state to return, reinvigorated, once the crisis of the day has been surpassed. Unlike the fascists or communists of the past, he is not ideological: ”the strongman lives in an embattled, chaotic and post-ideological present, not an idealised future”. The language of consensus and persuasion can only work so far in an illiberal world: “Europe should be fluent in its liberal values, but it should also be strong. It must become aware that it is but one community in a pluralistic world that is potentially hostile, and that may destroy it.”

Kribbe likens 21st-century Europe to 19th-century China, which even as European powers seized its territory and imposed humiliating terms on the Middle Kingdom, retreated to a smug and self-defeating certainty in the superiority of its values and political system. “Only after suffering humiliation after humiliation did China conclude that its cultural sophistication would not protect its freedom,” Kribbe notes, adding that: “Today, if Europe clings to the notion that the world just wishes to emulate its model, be taught by it, it risks making the same mistake. It will tell strongmen like Putin and Erdogan to behave or go home, and they will only laugh and go about their business as before.” Indeed, Kribbe observes darkly: “if Europe’s position is that the truthfulness of its liberal values suffices to secure its sovereignty, it may need its own century of humiliation to discover that only the strong can be free.” As a vision of a better world, Europe’s idealism and commitment to persuasion and consensus may be admirable, but it is no roadmap to navigating an anarchic world of competing states.

There are echoes of Kribbe’s analysis in Macron’s landmark speech to the conference of French ambassadors earlier this month, in which he observed that for things to stay the same for Europe, everything must change. “The economic order, open, liberal capitalism
 has gone out of order,” he said. “The reality is that the pandemic has fractured production lines. It has re-regionalised, sometimes re-nationalised, certain production chains. And I think it has permanently de-globalised a large part of world production.”

Similarly, in the political sphere, Macron observed, “we are living in the beginning of an illiberal moment”. Indeed, “geopolitics is gradually being structured around a competition between the United States and China”, in which China “can legitimately challenge” the American-led order and “redefine the rules of the international game”. The result, for Macron, is that “we will also have to rearm ourselves morally”. Like JĂŒnger, Macron understands that true liberty ultimately depends on strength and the capacity for self-defence. As he declared: “We must be a strong nation which, as I said, knows what the price of freedom is.”

What would a sovereign Europe, able to defend its customs and way of life against autocratic challengers look like? For Macron as for Kribbe, to avoid its looming fate as a helpless vassal of one great power or another, Europe must reclaim the language of power — and finally accept the reality that it is a sovereign polity among others, with its own interests to defend. Yet as Kribbe notes, for the ruling generation of EU politicians, the language and worldview of sovereign power is seen as somehow immoral, a fundamentally indecent relic of a less enlightened age. But delegating our security to America is no more moral or stable in the long run than delegating our industrial capacity to China, or our energy security to Russia: it leaves us at the mercy of non-European actors, whose interests are not identical to ours, and whose actions will always subordinate our security and prosperity to their own. As Kribbe warns, “Those who farm out their protection to the strong, also farm out their freedom. They can never eliminate the possibility of extortion.”

Adopting a Schmittian frame, Kribbe observes that it is only in the state of exception that sovereign power reveals itself. Yet, he warns, “given that they are designed as a bureaucratic and technocratic escape pod from the world of geopolitics and power, the EU’s institutions are not fitted out to project strength”. Citing Europe’s difficult and so far subordinate relationship with the strongmen of Eurasia as the necessary harbinger of a new age of European sovereignty, Kribbe terms the continent’s current predicament as “the age of encounter” — the encounter being with sovereign power itself, raw and vital. But we can take the Schmittian framing further: we still live in an age of exception, a period of ever-spreading, accumulating crisis, in which only those actors capable of bold and decisive action will survive. As Kribbe warns, Europe must decide just one great dilemma: “choosing strength. Is it a vassal or sovereign? 
 In a world dominated by power, no question is more important.”

What the assumption of sovereignty would look like is hard to determine: it need not, and probably ought not, as Kribbe emphasises, mean the consolidation of supreme power in one person, but is better interpreted as an understanding of what sovereignty means, and a willingness to use it. In any case, Kribbe’s portrayal of the former EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker as the continent’s chosen interlocutor with autocratic rivals appears misguided. Meanwhile, the longest-serving European leader, Viktor Orbán, though well-versed in the language of power, shows himself in practice more an accomplice to Europe’s autocratic rivals than their challenger. Perhaps Macron himself, one of the few theorists of statecraft and no stranger to a certain Gaullist temperament, would seem a better avatar — though the perennially hostile Central European response to his attempted geopolitical balancing act mitigates against his chances.

Arguably Poland’s decisive policy choices in Ukraine, and its rapid programme of rearmament is itself just such a form of swift, decisive action, which may soon make Poland the sovereign land power on the European continent — indeed, without the vital rearmament aspect, a similar case could be made for the UK. Yet what is certain is this: we live in an anarchic world of hard power, and the European Union’s current structure and idealistic worldview leaves the continent weak and almost powerless. Far from the nascent superpower it hovers indecisively on the edge of becoming, Europe, similarly wedged between rival empires, is as helpless at determining its own fate as tiny, luckless Armenia. The coming winter, and the years that will follow, will be harder than they needed to be. We must ensure at the end of this period of trial that we Europeans are never left this vulnerable again: Europe cannot survive another Merkel, nor prolong the vanished order of willed powerlessness she presided over.


Aris Roussinos is an UnHerd columnist and a former war reporter.

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J Bryant
J Bryant
1 year ago

I don’t disagree with anything in this scholarly article. I would only add that I don’t understand why it took Europe so long to wake up to the danger.
The Chinese have never hidden their intentions. They have systematically purchased or stolen Western know-how for twenty years or more without any indication they intended to follow Western, liberal trading practices. And the West has allowed them to become the primary manufacturer of numerous essential products because the Chinese do it cheaply.
China has also not hidden its military ambitions. Europe willingly accepted America’s leadership and protection in military matters but it has been clear for a long time that the US will manage that relationship for its own benefit.
West European countries have gone far down the road of self-hatred. They cannot bring themselves to once again develop national pride and a well-funded military. They cannot do what America has so far managed to do: separate national self-flagellation in accordance with a “progressive” world view while at the same time maintaining an effective military and aggressive military stance. It remains to be seen how long the US can manage that balancing act.
As hinted in the article, it will likely take many years for Europe to reinvent itself as a self-confident player on the world stage.

Richard Calhoun
Richard Calhoun
1 year ago
Reply to  J Bryant

‘ Europe’s’ reinvention will be a return to Sovereign country by dismantling the politcal EU … it is slowly but surely imploding … the Euro will in all likelihood be the catalyst to bring an end to this malign ‘super’ power

Mr Sketerzen Bhoto
Mr Sketerzen Bhoto
1 year ago

Those sovereign states would immediately need a strong defense pact or be doomed to be even more subject to thugs.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago

Of course: that is obvious. But if the UK cannot agree with its EU partners on simple economic and human rights issues what chance is there of military alignment?

Doug Pingel
Doug Pingel
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

The UK is still a functioning menber of NATO and Brexit will not get in the way of co-operation between (at least) some of the major members.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  Doug Pingel

Agreed: but didn’t you cite the EU? Anyway of course NATO, bored with having nothing to do for 50 years is now on the offensive: which is anathema to it’s raison d’ĂȘtre is it not?
I’m defending myself against my dangerous next door neighbour by moving into his back yard! Yeah, I know I said I wouldn’t but I lie: I’m the USUK: it’s what we do!

Kate Heusser
Kate Heusser
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Small matter of actual invasion by the ‘neighbour’ of a non-aligned country you missed out there, Liam.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  Kate Heusser

You forget the small matter of 8 years of attack by the Azov thugs on the Russophile Donbas. Please consider the following fictitious scenario…
Spain elects a bitterly anti-Brit govt and starts to attack British immigrants (sorry expats) in the Costa del Sol. The British there suffer terribly at the hands of Anti-Brit n€zi like Spanish troops. The UK naturally supports it’s countrymen by providing defensive weapons to the expats. But after 8 years they are still suffering at the hands of brutal Spanish bombardment! 8 years! Would you expect the UK to invade Andalusia to protect it’s own people (even if they’re Spanish citizens now: or second generation etc: they speak English abd look to the mother country).
You’re already in Gibraltar so that’s a head start maybe? And then, the EU takes the side of Spain saying the UKs invasion was unprovked! ..and floods Spain with billions of €uro worth of weapons to defeat the UK!
In short: try to see both sides for a better perspective on the Ukraine.

Kate Heusser
Kate Heusser
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

… following the previous invasion, which involves the continued, forceful, annexation of the Crimean peninsula.

There is a nasty hangover in many ex-Soviet states, of the break-up of the former union. It will take decades to work through, and any idea of nationalist ‘purity’ or foreign interference (to take the example you posit, Britain ‘naturally’ sending troops and equipment for the English-speakers to defend themselves – which would not happen, except to facilitate evacuation). It needs UN peacekeepers inside the governing classes of both ‘sides’ in each of those Russophone areas to defuse tensions. Instead, Russia manipulated the demographics, while the EU and NATO raised the prospects of expansion to Russia’s border. But I don’t think there’s a genuine equivalence between the ‘discrimination’ Russian citizens and Russophones ‘suffered’ and the mass murders, kidnappings and population transfers of the Russian invasion, do you? Really?

Last edited 1 year ago by Kate Heusser
Bill Tomlinson
Bill Tomlinson
1 year ago
Reply to  Kate Heusser

You refer to “annexation” of Crimea.

Ask yourself who the Crimean War was fought against?

Russia or Ukraine?

Mikis Hasson
Mikis Hasson
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

A voice of understanding among the Putin hating herd. I doubt that you will get many up votes but you have mine. It is the Ukrainians with NATO support that constantly broke the Minsk agreement but I guess it is not popular to mention this.

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
1 year ago
Reply to  Mikis Hasson

So the leader who has now obliterated Grozny, Aleppo, Kharkov and launched a major invasion in Europe since the 1930s has your support? I wonder what Churchill’s stance would have been? We don’t actually need to wonder do we?

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Wow! So now, along with your usual anglo and US phobic ravings you show yourself to be an out and out apologist for Putin. The countries you so often disparage are the reason we live in a free Europe today. (Oh, you might smugly retort, the Red Army defeated the Nazis. That is largely true but the USSR under Stalin was at least as brutal as Hitler’s Germany and the US held it at bay, a world changing achievement but of course one dismissed or entirely ignored by endless bien-pensant smug leftists).

Extreme right wing nationalists are more prevalent in Russia than Ukraine – and in any case what you do and not what you say is more significant: Putin has used military violence in the most brutal way against Chechnya, Syria, and now Ukraine (and with many more minor military incursions – Crimea not very bloody but nonetheless an illegal annexation). Attacks on Russia by NATO and the Ukrainian Nazis in the meantime – surely must be loads, oh, err zero!! There was no ‘genocide’ of Russian speakers – and the Russian invaders did not seem to care a great deal for their supposed compatriots when launching massive artillery attacks against Kharkov and other cities. Your concoction of a supposedly ‘similar’ scenario in Spain is ridiculously far fetched and simply indicates of how weak Putin’s case is. An excuse is not a reason, as the antics of a certain Herr Hitler in the 1930s should have told us..

This was will actually reinforce a separate Ukrainian nationalism, as wars often do.

Whose side are you on? Self interested and brutal autocrats or free, albeit imperfect democracies? It should be simple enough. The fact that there is any doubt at all on this point just shows precisely why there seems to be in much of Europe’s political and intellectual class at best a wilful naivety and at worst a kind of pusillanimous corruption when confronting totalitarian evil. No, Brexit is not the worst thing that can happen in Europe!

Last edited 1 year ago by Andrew Fisher
Andrew F
Andrew F
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Fisher

Great post.
Anyone supporting Russia invasion of Ukraine is either Russian troll or “useful idiot” in Lenin’s words.

Bill Tomlinson
Bill Tomlinson
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Unlike most of the people commenting on Ukraine, I am old enough to have adult memories of the Cuban crisis of 1962. So let’s recap.

Russia, fronted by the USSR, moved missiles into Cuba – a sovereign nation with a right to make any military arrangements it pleas es – but situated on Ameri ca’s doorstep.

President Kennedy said “I’m not having that” and ordered his military to put a stop to it. Russia realised it had overstepped the mark and ordered its ships to turn round. So war was averted.

Fast forward 60 years.

America, fronted by NATO, moved missiles into Ukraine – a sovereign nation with a right to make any military arrangement it pleases – but situated on Russia’s doorstep.

President Putin said “I’m not having that” and ordered his military to put a stop to it. America did NOT realise it had overstepped the mark. So we have a war.

Andrew F
Andrew F
1 year ago
Reply to  Bill Tomlinson

Any evidence that USA moved nukes to Ukraine?
Your analogy fails on quite a few grounds.
1) Cuba was, and still is, communist dictatorship so Cuban people were not sovereign to make any decision.
2) Ukraine is democratic country unlike Russia. Not perfect but much better than gangsters state like Russia.
3) There are USA nuclear armed submarine within 15 min rocket flight to Moscow, so Ukraine is not that important from that perspective.
Russian invasion, people like you support, is nothing to do with military threat to Russia.
It is about extermination of Ukrainian state and culture.
UK stood up against similar aggression in ww2 (albeit to late) and West, apart from few deluded people like you, supports Ukraine fight for freedom.

Bill Tomlinson
Bill Tomlinson
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew F

I didn’t say the missiles were nuclear.

If they had been they would be less of a worry, because of the taboo against using nukes and because, as you rightly point out, if it did come to nuclear war, there are SLBMs available.

By what logic does a country’s right to defend itself as it sees fit depend on its form of government?

You say the UK was “too late” in standing up to Hitler – presumably a reference to Chamberlain and Munich.

At the time of Munich, Fighter Command had just 5 squadrons of Hurricanes, and no Spitfires at all. So the BoB would have been lost in the first few hours.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

none, thank God!

Doug Pingel
Doug Pingel
1 year ago

Most of them are already in NATO which would survive (after a fashion) even if the Americans went home.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago

As if the EU had strong defence! Aside from France and some of the new Eastern European countries, the EU military, led by Germany is a hopeless joke.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago

Europe has made an art form of surrender. Germany 1918 & 1945, France 1940, Italy 1943, plus the minnows on numerous occasions.
We by contrast haven’t “chucked in the sponge” since 1783, and then we had virtually the whole world against us.
Rule Britannia!

Mr Sketerzen Bhoto
Mr Sketerzen Bhoto
1 year ago

Where’s the British empire these days?

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago

Somewhat reduced in size sadly, but as Goethe and FU said “nothing lasts forever”.

Last edited 1 year ago by CHARLES STANHOPE
Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago

probably run by the likes of you

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
1 year ago

It was voluntarily and largely peacefully dismantled, none of which seems to carry any weight with the Britain haters, many of whom at the same time seem to see no contradiction in living here!

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago

What about Singapore: you threw in the sponge there didn’t you? And Suez? And Afghanistan (or do we not talk about that)? And… wait? Where’s your empire then?

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Yes Singapore was a fiasco, not helped by the Australian CO, one Major General Gordon Bennet “running away in the face of the enemy “ and subsequently getting away with it! “Strewth” as they say.
Suez, an idiotic decision, particularly as the US was paying all the bills.
Where’s the Empire then? Well thanks to transfiguration it is now the USA.Rather like Rome and Byzantium if you get my drift?

Jerry Carroll
Jerry Carroll
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Have another pint and hope no one in the pub takes a shillelagh to ye sitttin’ there talking to yerself..

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

The Empire was largely peacefully and voluntarily dissolved, which is not too common an historical outcome.

Suez was a military victory but a foreign policy disaster and Afghanistan was indeed a catastrophic defeat in an ill defined mission.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago

There is no EU military (apart from a tiny rapid response unit – irrelevant to this discussion).. each nation state has its own military. NATO fits the bill on that score..

Paula G
Paula G
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Germany’s army has nice new pregnancy uniforms under Ursula van der Leyen, but not much in the way of military equipment. Not enough to send to the Ukraine, even if promised, as they don’t have equipment for their own military.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago
Reply to  Paula G

In Afghanistan the Germany Army’s main contribution was their rear echelon females causing mayhem amongst soldiers by being somewhat over liberal with their availability.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago

Foot Guards Warrant Officers view ” The only thing the Germans would be good for is a 2 hour rifting in double time on the drill square”…..

Andrew F
Andrew F
1 year ago

They are already in strong defence pact called NATO.
They just need to start paying for it instead of expecting USA to defend Europe.
Especially with clowns like Macron still pursuing their dream of European Army.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago

What? Super power? Surely the whole point of the piece is the the EU is NOT a super power but a relative weakling? Make up your mind: which is it?
It is a sad reflection on the species that, after all, it turns out we’re just a brutal, stupid ape rather than fully evolved moral, spiritual, semi-divine supercreatures..
The meek shall inherit the Earth but the strong shall then inherit the meek. Ireland, in the 12th century was (like China in the 18th) culturally more advanced than most other countries and was then overrun by marauding savages with titles starting in 1169 AD. One might have hoped as a species we would have advanced in the intervening 850 years but it seems not!

Hardee Hodges
Hardee Hodges
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Apparently greed is built in to humans by that evolution as is tribalism. Kindness comes from that awareness. Winners can then be kind once their greed is satiated.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  Hardee Hodges

“Can be kind”: sadly rarely are.. I wonder how I ‘missed out’ on that greed and tribal thing? My highly educated, good Christian parents I suppose?

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Vae Victis!
You shouldn’t have invited us IN, back in 1169! Idiots!

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago

WE didn’t: one disgruntled, much despised, traitorous chieftain did in a fit of pique. No one else sent out any invitations. Of course the invasion was blessed by the Pope as we Irish were using Christ’s teachings instead of the hateful, war like (antiChrist) version of Christianity practiced by the Norman savages and their ilk.

Mary Thomas
Mary Thomas
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

The “Norman savages” you mention were the Northmen – Vikings who took over France only a century or so earlier – and were also the invaders and conquerers of England, viz William the Conqueror. (1066) The people you talk about as if they were separate were actually cousins and neither of them were what is now known as the “indigenous” people of either country.

That’s what happens. Strong overtakes weak. Pious and relatively sophisticated and Christian Anglo-Saxons first had to re-learn how to make war when the Vikings invaded, and secondly how to capitulate when a violent and ferocious enemy forces it.

Kate Heusser
Kate Heusser
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Strange how it’s only the overrunning of Ireland that bothers you. The overrunning game was being played out all over Europe at the time, and the stakes were never just about Ireland, but it’s only Ireland’s sufferings that count?

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  Kate Heusser

Nope: the others count just as much. I use Ireland only as an example as I have a good knowledge of its history and little knowledge of the others. Also I’m less concerned about the early part of that 750 years than the later part. It is generally considered instructive to look at the past to clarify the present and have some chance of predicting the future.

Andrew F
Andrew F
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Problem with your, so called, logic is that if UK behaved like Russia in Ukraine Ireland would not exist.

Milton Gibbon
Milton Gibbon
1 year ago
Reply to  J Bryant

Europe has most certainly not woken up to the danger ahead of it.

Germany is the country on the continent I know best and the wavering and provaricating from the government has been woeful when compared to Britain and Poland (peripheral powers). The opposition (barring the AfD and left-wing Linke) have been solidly behind Ukraine but the Chancellor – a famous (infamous?) russophile – has tried to have the best of both worlds. He has kept the EU neutral in action and even this has caused Putin to try to blackmail him further with Nordstream 1. Remember at the beginning of the war when it was Nordstream 2 that was frantically trying to be kept on the rails by the Germans? What a joke.

In the UK we are worrying about energy but in Germany people are bying oil burners and wood to burn even in urban areas to get through the winter (green targets out of the window for ordinary people). All the while the government has pushed through huge expansion in the benefits system which won’t be means-tested.

If this is Europe waking up I dread to think what a sleeping Europe would be doing: partitioning Poland maybe?

Matt M
Matt M
1 year ago
Reply to  Milton Gibbon

Milton, as you know Germany, do you think if Putin declares a ceasefire and turns Nordstream 1 back on, the Germans would, even now, move to re-normalise relations with Russia, stop the arms supply to Ukraine and phase out the sanctions? I fear they would but I don’t know the country well enough to be sure.

Last edited 1 year ago by Matt M
Milton Gibbon
Milton Gibbon
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt M

I can’t say much with certainty but at the moment the government is failing pretty much everyone in some way by trying to chart a middle path. For public support for Ukraine you would have to look up opinion polls as otherwise I am just guessing. I think there would be a big split between East (poorer, more radical AfD/Linke, generally more favourably disposed towards Russia for some reason). A lot will depend on how mild the winter is. It’s come to the Russian’s aid before…

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  Milton Gibbon

“Agree with thine enemy quickly” – Jesus. I wonder if he was/is right?

Mike Doyle
Mike Doyle
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Or what king, going out to wage war against another king, will not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to oppose the one who comes against him with twenty thousand? If he cannot, then, while the other is still far away, he sends a delegation and asks for the terms of peace. Luke 14: 32 – 34.
Presently, though, perhaps it is the Russians who ougt to take this to heart.

Duncan Senior
Duncan Senior
1 year ago
Reply to  Milton Gibbon

They could turn on Nordstream 2 tomorrow if they wanted. The offer is there. It’s a matter of political will to be tested.

Jerry Carroll
Jerry Carroll
1 year ago
Reply to  Milton Gibbon

If the pipes freeze in a hard winter and Germans in heavy coats, mufflers and hats have to carry their faeces and garbage to a neighborhood pit for storage until Spring, you will get a true test of their endurance. I wouldn’t be optimistic; they’ve gotten soft and comfortable in the past few decades.

Paula G
Paula G
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt M

There is no substantive arms supply to the Ukraine. Olaf talks big and then doesn’t deliver. They would of course take gas delivery, with “strong words” about supporting Ukraine. And maybe a statement about how enriching it was to be supportive of Ukraine, as it was for the peoples of Martha Vineyard to show their solidarity with Venezuelans.

To be fair, Real Politik: They won’t want to take Russia down (as Zelensky asks the U.S. to nuke Russia!) because they don’t want waron their borders. And they don’t want to freeze.

It would be nice if Zelensky and Biden would stop fishing to bring down Russia and just work for a compromise to stop the war.

Paula G
Paula G
1 year ago
Reply to  Milton Gibbon

Germany cancelled coal and shut down its nuclear industry (although coal extraction is now being revived to a degree) so the Germans placed all their eggs in the Russian basket.

By the way, pity all the (Green) voters without chimneys and oil burners in city apartments. The majority of Germans will simply have to pay up large to feed off the energy grid.

Jeremy Poynton
Jeremy Poynton
1 year ago
Reply to  J Bryant

I don’t disagree with anything in this scholarly article. I would only add that I don’t understand why it took Europe so long to wake up to the danger.”
The EU. Simple

Duncan Senior
Duncan Senior
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeremy Poynton

They were hooked on and benefited from cheap energy for years. Now the crunch has come. Destroy the economy or hook back up to Russian gas. The choice is clear.

Mr Sketerzen Bhoto
Mr Sketerzen Bhoto
1 year ago
Reply to  J Bryant

You are underestimating the effect of US ideology here. Is the US really castigating itself when it launches attacks on white supremacy? These are not really internal attacks since the US believes it is post racial or getting there. Biden has attacked tiny little nations like Hungary. Which means any European nation that deviates from Americas new ideology is under ideological attack. The EU would need some backbone to challenge that.

(An intelligent alien would wonder why if the US opposes white supremacy why doesn’t it let China run Asia?)

Anyway China isn’t a threat to Europe at all.

Last edited 1 year ago by Mr Sketerzen Bhoto
Steven Campbell
Steven Campbell
1 year ago
Reply to  J Bryant

Excellent article. The U.S. is dismantling it’s power as fast as humanly possible without surrender. Our border is non-existent, our military weakened daily and woefully short of skilled operators. The Educational system is awash with woke and communist doctrine. The Media is little more than a propaganda arm of the left. If anyone needed a strong man it is us. I hope that Europe is not looking for leadership from this side of the pond, we may be busy saving ourselves.

burke schmollinger
burke schmollinger
1 year ago
Reply to  J Bryant

The only Navy’s in Europe that can touch anyone outside Europe are yours and the French.

We Americans are tired of holding up the global order on our own. Especially when our rivals use it to their advantage. Why is it our Navy that guarantees Maersk container ships can sail from Europe to China unharmed?

I don’t think most people really get how incredible it is that big, fat, slow tankers and container ships don’t have to worry about privateers or piracy (state sponsored or private). If they did they would have helped secure these things.

If you’d like to continue trading with the world, feel free to send your Navy to enforce the law.

Simon England
Simon England
1 year ago

Well, America deliberately dismantled Europe, especially the UK and Germany. The US wrested global hegemony and the role of world policeman when it was already being done very efficiently.
To claim to be tired of it, now that the irksome, thankless, unjust and unfair task has been revealed in its full arduousness of commitment and responsibility, reminds me of the language used to describe the results and consequences that feminism is currently cogitating on.
The US national and global experiment has not worked in the long term interests of the US, much less the rest of the “free world”.
Perhaps the countries who had already been inching, with many flaws, sometimes badly, sometimes violently, but always toward a common weal, toward a global solution to the benefit of all ( education, infrastructure, law) with the experience of several centuries under their belts, might have been best left alone by an overgrown infant nation led by resentment of 1812 and unfettered avarice and jealousy for the cultural and commercial achievements of the mother countries?
Fair play to the US, it was a remarkable achievement and a clear victory. You don’t hear the Europeans whining much about their Client State status or chafing with malice at the glaring inaccuracies of US post-war propaganda. But for the victor to complain about how difficult it is to sit on the top of the pile, whilst having contributed nothing fresh to the political, philosophical or technological advancement (all current technology and political philosophy can be traced directly to a narrow band of European genius) of humanity is taking the biscuit frankly.
Be careful what you wish for.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Simon England

An excellent polemic, thank you. I particularly enjoyed your reference to 1812.

burke schmollinger
burke schmollinger
1 year ago
Reply to  Simon England

This is simply an utterly hilarious take on modern history.
Two World Wars in 25 years was what you would call “very efficient” management of the globe?
The European Imperial Empires ground themselves into dust during the first half of the 20th Century, and both times we would have been happy to sit by and watch (and sell Europeans weapons and raw materials and debt to continue killing each other). Unfortunately, we were twice dragged into European affairs from our state of blissful ignorance, which we would have preferred to continue. The War of 1812 was a silly aberration, not a trend, and the sole exception to tangling with a European power between then and 1917 was making Spain’s last colonies our own.
After our victory, it wasn’t primarily the US who benefitted: It was all of those client states who are free to trade anywhere in the world and sell in our market without having to contribute anything except a united front against the Soviets. That threat no longer exists, and neither does the rational for defending Europe’s frontiers. Or their access to energy from outside Europe. Or their ability to trade outside Europe. Much less stationing a fleet in the Persian Gulf to protect oil flows to much of the world, now that we simply don’t need them.
We Americans haven’t fought a war amongst ourselves since 1865. And not just amongst the USA but anywhere in North America and little else anywhere else in the hemisphere.
Outside of the American umbrella, Europe has barely managed to go a generation between major wars since the fall of the Romans.
Nothing has stopped Europe from re-arming and reestablishing itself as a real power broker. Hopefully as we withdraw into ourselves once again -our favorite place to be- you all can figure it out. I believe it’s the point being made in this article: Vassal status is likely the only outcome.
Good luck!

Last edited 1 year ago by burke schmollinger
Simon England
Simon England
1 year ago

“After our victory, it wasn’t primarily the US who benefitted: It was all of those client states who are free to trade anywhere in the world and sell in our market without having to contribute anything except a united front against the Soviets.”
I think you sincerely believe this.
All the best Burke.

Jerry Carroll
Jerry Carroll
1 year ago
Reply to  J Bryant

Wokeness has made its appearance in the American military with expected results. Weapons training is given the same weight as instruction in gender rubbish and other offshoots of Marxist ideology. The super-fit SEALS model in time will be replaced by the podgy, feminized look of London police officers.

Paula G
Paula G
1 year ago
Reply to  J Bryant

Whatever the danger, so what, when the Pelosis and Bidens and such have children with business interests in China? Remember, there are always enclaves for the elite to keep themselves safe from the fallout of their decisions. They are also having too much fun at the silly games they play.

What armies? Ursula van der Leyen got promoted to the E.U. in order to flee from the political consequences of hiring McKinsey post grad advisors to have the “expertise” that German politicians (also) lack. (Just out of grad school Chelsea Clinton and Pete Buttigieg being past “expert” advisors at McKinsey. ).

V/d Leyen was not interested in panzers that didn’t work, firearms that jammed, or aircraft that no longer could fly when therewas low hanging fruit to adorn herself with—pregnancy uniforms for women and trans women!, of course, now both being known as “women.”

Ex Chancellor Schroeder had to make his money from Russian oil boards, and Merkel had to ignore consequences to keep manufacturing running. In walks the new cabinet, and they bow down to all the WEF indoctrination swallowed by the Vatican, The E.U., Mc Kinsey and so on.

We will eat bugs, and the elite will live in the South African and South American walled compounds of their fevered Nazisin Exile after the War dreams,(or so I wonder if this is what motivates them.)

Andrew F
Andrew F
1 year ago
Reply to  J Bryant

Many great points, but idea that Europe will ever be coherent power on the world stage is completely unrealistic.
For a start it was France which supported Germany energy policy of reliance on Russia.
But the main problem is about national self interest.
The only country directly threatening SOME European countries militarily is Russia.
But from a perspective of Spain, Italy, Portugal, France or even Germany, Russia is not direct threat.
So why should they care about Baltic States or Poland?
That is why Europe will never be independent global player, whatever EU clowns or Macron imagine.

Aaron James
Aaron James
1 year ago

”Yet the continent now finds itself a geopolitical pygmy, bullied by autocrats like Putin, Erdogan and Lukashenko,

How is it possible the writer left off Zelensky in that list? He bullies Biden and Boris, and even the USA Congress, and they all jump when he barks.

Anyway; Truss says Boris did such an excellent job of covid and Ukraine – when will she sent anti-tank rockets to Armenia? (if she could figure out which side to send them to) Maybe some Stinger missiles to Yemen also.

The biggest problem I found in the article is the writer uses the Word ‘Liberal’ to mean anything he wishes depending on what context he wants.

Now days Liberal means – – Left wing Fas*ist, Woke Militant, social media cancelers, Marxists, Antifa rioters, BL m, schools teaching drag lapdancing to 5th grade students, Welby and his version of Anglicanism, and on to even the benevolent Socialism of the welfare State.

As well as The Classic Liberals of the Enlightenment who wrote the USA Constitution yet in no way are thought of as liberal by today’s usage, rather as Right Wing Extremists, But they are what Liberal means. And those guys would soon deal with the issues the Writer lists.

The problem is Western society is Sick. That is the problem. Decedant, Depraved, Amoral, Corrupt, and Weak, in other words what ‘Liberal’ means today; when it used to mean the opposite.

It is not the leaders, it is the society.

Last edited 1 year ago by Aaron James
Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
1 year ago
Reply to  Aaron James

I think, for once, I may be in agreement with one tiny part of your argument, that the writer mistakenly assumes democracy and liberalism are always bedfellows.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  Aaron James

It is both surely: one a reflection of the other? Whatever (modern) definition one puts on the word ‘Liberal’ it is anathema to divorce it from ‘Freedom’ its etymological origin. But for sure we must qualify the term: ‘freedom from What? Currently it seems it means frredom to oppress and to steal (legally) from the masses. This is the freedom exercised by a very socialist driven (for themselves) bank-led anti-culture.. when the banks screw up it’s a socialist bail out for them after all is it not? So let’s have that list please:
Liberal = Freedom from…
Remember freedom for one side means imposition on the other, eg imposing taxes on legal thieves to prevent freezing and starving of the masses. The latter gain the freedom to live while the former lose the freedom to amass obscene wealth. Maybe it depends which side of the fence you’re on and how much fear and gullibility you suffer from.

Wim de Vriend
Wim de Vriend
1 year ago
Reply to  Aaron James

What do you mean by “Decedant”? (I am NOT nitpicking.)

Wim de Vriend
Wim de Vriend
1 year ago
Reply to  Wim de Vriend

Wait, it just occurrred to me: DECADENT.

Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
1 year ago

Good essay, completely accurate of the European Union mindset. Illustrated by Borrell, who went to Russia in the depths of the lockdow with begging bowl for Russian sputnik vaccines, only to take a humiliating kicking in the shins from Lavrov? Also illustrated by the fact that Borrell, von der Leyen et al are still in place, and no simple means exist to oust them.

Richard Calhoun
Richard Calhoun
1 year ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

There is no ‘European Union mindset … it is divided between East and West … think Poland & Hungary vs Germany & France … the Euro will do for it

Roy Mullins
Roy Mullins
1 year ago

There is no single European Union mindset but EU leadership and most ( not all ! ) major European countries have embraced the naively optimistic model of a liberal world order for decades – since at least the time of Fukuyamas ‘ End of History ‘ essay. When will the EU realise that the world is ruled by food and fuel and not by liberal ideology ?

Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
1 year ago
Reply to  Roy Mullins

A winter being spanked by Putin, followed by a year of being taken to the cleaners by the Saudis should do it. And if not, a further year, being looted by the Chinese will I’m sure convince them.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

We just had 33,000 tonnes of grain from Ukraine.. how did we ‘achieve’ that? I’d no idea we Irish were so powerful. bow to us you weaklings!

Paula G
Paula G
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Ireland is a model U.N. country, losing its religion and taking in huge amounts of differently legal migrants, changing its laws and happy while doing this!

Mr Sketerzen Bhoto
Mr Sketerzen Bhoto
1 year ago
Reply to  Roy Mullins

Theres an awful lot of blaming the EU for American philosophies here.

Roy Mullins
Roy Mullins
1 year ago

The EU have bought wokeness, ESG and ‘liberal’ world order hook line and sinker,( but without the economic and military clout). IF it comes from across the pond ( and to clarify I am not claiming that it does ), sobeit

Last edited 1 year ago by Roy Mullins
Simon England
Simon England
1 year ago
Reply to  Roy Mullins

Thanks for stating what should be obvious. It apparently escapes even the most sophisticated thinkers in the UK and Europe that importing the US zeitgeist, language and for want of a better description, philosophy, is also to gorge on the concomitant poison. I most certainly do claim to find the source of the current madness to be North America. The US is a cultural pigmy in contrast to Europe (still, although the gap is closing exponentially. Once the post-war generations are gone, so will be the lion’s share of the culture), yet we buy their language, history and mindset.
A spectacular own goal. Luckily, I won’t be around to see the ultimate consequence.

Last edited 1 year ago by Simon England
Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  Simon England

I think the pushback will keep it at bay. Don’t worry: the US is looking more and more stupid and the re-election of Trump the Mad will seal it. The poisoned Woke will awaken from their nightmare.. all will be well.

Simon England
Simon England
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

The US has always looked stupid, for as far back as I can remember, about 55 years. Whether that’s fair or not is moot. To my mind, ‘pushing back’, using their language and cultural references, as the young are wont to do in every European language I speak at least, won’t achieve much.
I don’t wish to appear churlish at your well received encouragement, no sarcasm, but I just don’t see how.

Paula G
Paula G
1 year ago
Reply to  Roy Mullins

Come on, most German politicians didn’t graduate from university. They all let themselves be led by McKinsey Consulting (from just out of grad school types, such as Chelsea Clinton andPete Buttigieg, in the manner of in the valley of the blind, the one eyed man is king) and seminars led by the WEF.

Even the Pope listens to the same global liberal cabal. They all sing from the same hymn sheet. (This, btw, being extremely lucrative, as the same advice sold to Germany is then sold on to the U.S. a few years later, like pregnancy uniforms for trans women and old fashioned women, rather than money spent on working weaponry.)

Yes, they buy this [] from us. We sneeze, and the E.U. happily follows to get a cold. They seemingly happily embrace American ideological imperialism.

Last edited 1 year ago by Paula G
Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
1 year ago

That’s like the EU saying, “it was the Americans wot made me give up my energy, defense and tech security, because I’m too stupid to make the decision to make myself secure by myself”. So the Americans held a gun to Merkel’s head did they?

Roy Mullins
Roy Mullins
1 year ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

I wasn’t saying the crazy ideas came from America. Perhaps some did – I don’t know. And I certainly don’t blame America at all. It seems to me that ‘the west’ has succumbed to a totally unrealistic ‘new world order’ group think

Paula G
Paula G
1 year ago
Reply to  Roy Mullins

Why not? Lots of people enjoy feeling better than and exclusive in Davos resorts. They get to fly on private jets, never worry about cost of living increases and are just really, really excited to “lead” the world.

They don’t wake up one day feeling ashamed of their narcissism, but find like minded others to play the game with them. “Gutsy” Clinton wasn’t going to let Markle and the Obamas have all the cake to themselves!

Duncan Senior
Duncan Senior
1 year ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

But I think they did!

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  Roy Mullins

We Irish produce lots of food: fae more than we need. Also lots of wind energy. I’d no idea we were so powerful! I’ll expect a lot more deferrence in future!

Paula G
Paula G
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

They will let you produce wind, but shut down your farms, as they are doing in the Netherlands. People gotta eat bugs and the elites just gotta go all Stalin starving the Ukraine and the regions dependent on them.

No idea why the elites want to play at Stalin and Marie Antoinette and such. But, they all have bigger Harvard and Yale brains, so they will do it right. The world will be better, especially with billions fewer in it.

Paula G
Paula G
1 year ago
Reply to  Roy Mullins

Oh please, food and fuel for elites, and bugs and cold for the great MAGA unwashed—and that will include YOU if you complain about anything the government is doing.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago

Boris Johnson was the epitome not only of weakness, but self serving delusion brought on by listening to his Australian faux snake charmer Lynton Crosbieand , the overpaid ” advisor” who analysed voting areas in order for Boris to be able tell the voter that he would give them anything that they desired, in order to secure their vote.

This, coupled with the media National Socialist propaganda brainwash, via the internet, convinced politicians that ” racism” lgbt and global warming were the key issues.

Her Majesty The Queen’s death and subsequent proceedings have clearly demonstrated in neon red letters 100 ft high, that for the majority of voters loyalty, honesty and duty matter, along with a set of values that do not include the aforementioned National Socialist and media ” Woke Trident”.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago

Don’t forget the wretched Cummings aka: THE MEKON!
More than anyone else he was responsible for the ridiculous lockdown and thus destroyed Boris, The Red Wall, and the hopes of millions and all in a jiffy. Bravo.

Paula G
Paula G
1 year ago

I think Green Carrie shapes his thinking. Plus, he knows that whatever he does, he gets to get rich now, with book deals, speaking engagements,Spotify, and whatever else the great and good get rewarded with.

Bernard Hill
Bernard Hill
1 year ago

…so what you’re saying Aris is that we’ve let the girls out of the kitchen to pretty much run everything, but they have now screwed it up?

Jeremy Poynton
Jeremy Poynton
1 year ago
Reply to  Bernard Hill

The girls – and the childless

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeremy Poynton

What’s a girl, whatever that is, to do?

Kerie Receveur
Kerie Receveur
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeremy Poynton

Not all the childless are like this – please don’t generalise. Some of us care deeply about the future of the country and the West, but for whatever reason, we don’t have children.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago
Reply to  Kerie Receveur

ooooo poor diddums

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  Bernard Hill

Have you just opened a box there?

Bernard Hill
Bernard Hill
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

…Pandora said its ok with her.

J Hop
J Hop
1 year ago
Reply to  Bernard Hill

Yeah, Margaret Thatcher was awful and thank goodness Queen Elizabeth is dead. Time to get some testosterone in there, like Jeremy Corbin. Phew!

Bernard Hill
Bernard Hill
1 year ago
Reply to  J Hop

…funny how one doesn’t think of Maggie’s gender as her essential feature, nor with the Queen for that matter. Neither played it up in the Girl Boss manner which now seems to be the nauseating norm, including for women in politics.

Last edited 1 year ago by Bernard Hill
Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
1 year ago

The best thing the U.K. achieved in the EU was getting membership for Eastern European countries, and then supporting them – almost worth the excruciating cost of our 50 years in the EU gaol. And now they’ve started to unify against EU dictats as well as the Russian threat – they will hopefully provide the strongman needed.
As an aside, Macron rather surprisingly seems to be talking more sense these days.

laurence scaduto
laurence scaduto
1 year ago

There’s much to disagree with here.
The EU’s philosophy has been, for many years, neo-liberal capitalism. It is inherently craven. None of the “leadership” have any intention of standing in the doorway with their sons to defend anything.
It’s also inherently dishonest; pure self interest leaves no room for honesty. I can remember a certain giant Tech overlord corporation that began with the motto “Do no evil”, but then almost immediately turned around and started innovating newer and better forms of evil.
That’s modern capitalism.

Paul Ashley
Paul Ashley
1 year ago

Perhaps the question should be whether Europe can survive the era of it’s own anti-democratic WEF-affiliated strongmen. After all, it is they who are primarily responsible for the current collapse

Brian Villanueva
Brian Villanueva
1 year ago

The problem isn’t with the leaders, it’s that the “liberal-democratic” ideology itself is logically nonsensical and thus very weak. It’s an oxymoron; the two legs conflict with each other.
Witness Hungary today. The EU just last week claimed that Hungary “isn’t a democracy” because the Hungarian people have chosen (via several EU observed elections) a path that rejects gender ideology and LGBT propagandizing of children. By refusing to accept a democratic outcome they abhor, the EU is acknowledging that they are liberals first and democrats second. Authoritarian bullying is just fine if you’re doing it for “liberal” reasons, but even democratic processes that produce illiberal outcomes are illegitimate.

This is the tension in so called “liberal democracy”. And that’s what makes it weak; too weak to stand up to the authoritarian bullies of Eastern Europe who aren’t afraid of being neither liberal nor democratic. Are we in the West really backers of democracy? Or do we really just push unbridled liberalism, including by coercive means?

Last edited 1 year ago by Brian Villanueva
Dermot O'Sullivan
Dermot O'Sullivan
1 year ago

‘The EU just last week claimed that Hungary “isn’t a democracy”’

I don’t think that is based on his legitimate election success but rather on some dodgy stuff sround media ownership and filling the judiciary with his mates.

Brian Villanueva
Brian Villanueva
1 year ago

It’s based on just what I said: Hungary disagrees with the EU bureaucrats on LGBT exposure to children. They will couch their complaints in a wide variety of other terms, but anyone who has spent any amount of time following the tiff between Brussels and Budapest knows what it’s really about.
More importantly, Hungary was simply the most readily understandable example of this tension. The larger point is that the tension is real even though we pretend it’s not.

Last edited 1 year ago by Brian Villanueva
Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago

Are you sure rhat is the main issue between Brussels and Budapest? Really? You’re havin’ a laugh aren’t you?

Brian Villanueva
Brian Villanueva
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Yes, Liam. I have good friends who live in Budapest. I’m sure. Are tehre other things that have come up since the Russian invasion of Hungary’s next door neighbor? Absolutely. But Hungarians know full well what the EU’s obsession with their country is about.

Victor Orban believes Hungarians deserve to make policy for their own country; Brussels believes in a universal set of policies that must be adopted regardless of local preferences. LGBT is not the only, but it is the largest area of conflict between these two value systems.

I understand that this is very hard to believe if your only exposure to Hungary is the Western press.

Last edited 1 year ago by Brian Villanueva
Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago

Nope I’ve visited Hungary and yrai ed Hungarians so I’m not completely in the dark. But I still say the LGBTQ+ iss ue is a minor, exaggerated issued. The main issue if Orban’s lack of understanding of democracy and basic human rights. Not the Hungarian people btw.. just the Orban faction.

Richard Calhoun
Richard Calhoun
1 year ago

Interesting but we need to go back to the basics
The EU ‘liberal’ values are suspect and fractured between East and West .. think Hungary & Poland vs France & Germany
From the financial repression in Greece to the moral and political cowardice in facing up to Russia the EU’s record is a disaster, and that’s before you view the disaster that is the Euro
Driven by Mercantilism the EU and its members lack a moral compass
Thankfully it is imploding slowly but surely .. an EU with a powerful military would surely be a very dangerous beast under the auspices of Germany and it’s supplicant France

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
1 year ago

Yes the writer seems to think that democracy and liberalism go hand in hand, and are exemplified by the EU. Did he miss what Germany and France did to the med countries for the last 20 years? Economic supremacy used to subjugate other countries. It almost happened to us too.

And prizing Armenia as a democracy over the dictatorship of Azerbaijan? He’s clearly not aware of the extreme human rights abuses exercised by ‘democratic’ Armenia against the native Muslims, resulting in their mass ethnic cleansing from territory within Azerbaijan. I normally speak up for the underdog, but Armenia went too far in its brutal oppression of Azerbaijani muslims over several decades, protected by Russia, and it’s now reaping that whirlwind.

Last edited 1 year ago by Ian Stewart
Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

It did happen with you as well.. but earlier, and you were on the other side!

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago

Don’t worry: the Germans don’t want that role: neither would the rest of Europe allow it. It is likely that the smaller countries would lead it up ie as top brass, to appease everyone. Equally, EU nations will almost certainly maintain a large degree of autonomy over their own forces while cooperating very closely on weapons systems etc. Strategy will be by mutual assent. After all it’s not as if multinational forces haven’t fought together in the recent past

Last edited 1 year ago by Liam O'Mahony
Christopher Chantrill
Christopher Chantrill
1 year ago

I think we should all go and reread Gaetano Mosca’s Ruling Class.
However, I don’t know what this Schmittian frame is supposed to be. My reading of Schmitt is that the political is the distinction between friend and enemy, and you really want to reduce the political in your society so that everything doesn’t reduce to calling the “other” names. When you get too much politics then you get the Politics of Pejorative, where the ruling class gets to call people names like racist-sexist-homophobe.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago

..you missed a major cause: xenophobia!

Peter Johnson
Peter Johnson
1 year ago

A great comment I read this year was “the law is whatever the men with guns say it is and you can whine about your constitutional rights all the way to the mass grave”. That seems to be something progressives don’t understand. Without the threat of violent force behind them – there are no laws – or borders.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Johnson

So in essence, we humans are not just animals but lower than most animals? A dreadful, brutal cannibalistic blight on the planet?
Speak for yourself I say. Some of us have a better opinion of what we are.

Simon England
Simon England
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

If we create the technology to live without food, then I’d agree.
But we have clear evidence from the Bronze Age collapse and the fall of the Western Roman Empire what actually happens. A natural catastrophe, followed by mass migration, possibly encouraged or reluctantly allowed out of humanitarian grounds. Then some event triggers a violent confrontation and then we see behaviour “lower than most animals”. We have recent examples too, but I’m sure you are well versed in them. Body parts for sale in the Holodomor.
All law and governance is ultimately dependent on muscle, male muscle. From the parish council to an empire, the punch, or the threat of a punch is what keeps order.
to quote Queen Victoria:
Were women to “unsex” themselves by claiming equality with men, they would become the most hateful, heathen, and disgusting of beings and would surely perish without male protection.

Last edited 1 year ago by Simon England
burke schmollinger
burke schmollinger
1 year ago
Reply to  Simon England

Britain is very fortunate in this regard compared to much of Europe and Eurasia, being an island with open lanes to the western hemisphere.
Whether Britain will utilize these inherent advantages seems to be an open question at the moment, but we are also not at the point where it is a matter of life or death. Yet.

Ian Johnston
Ian Johnston
1 year ago
Reply to  Simon England

This is an example of what can happen – Zanzibar in the 1960’s :
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n7bXBJaH484

Simon England
Simon England
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Johnston

Thanks very much for that link. It’s the first time I have seen that video.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  Simon England

I’m not sure Queen Victoria would be my definitive source on philosophy.. so how do puny states like Ireland, Switzerland, Norway etc. survive? ..and thrive? ..without that male muscle you speak of.. are you sure there isn’t another way? Are you sure peace is such a weak ‘tool’ especially when combined with Christian (etc.) values, logic, commonsense and all the good stuff? Are you sure most people eschew such values (or should?): are you sure people power is so weak?

Simon England
Simon England
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Aside from the, admittedly, sketchy Victoria quote, I don’t follow any of the logic of your response. In small countries, as anywhere, governance is backed by a force which is both persuasive and irrefutable to the peace-time, populace, the ultimate, violent, expression of that political will is male. All religions that I am aware of describe the power of the male as cautionary examples on the limit of behaviour. Logic and order are etymologically masculine nouns. ‘People’ are comprised of males in roughly equal proportion to females. Women are rarely used in history as enforcers for the military or keepers of civil order, except as a fetish. That experiment in the West is likely to show its lack of efficacy in the coming months, as it has in various cultures which tried it before. Put it this way; I’m more likely to be persuaded against a course of action by a larger, fit male than a larger, fit woman explaining the error of my judgement. My wife would be the one, formidable exception, no-one messes with her and comes out smiling. All jokes aside, physically, even though she is a very fit woman, I’d brush her aside like a rag doll if push came to shove.
Of course peace is a fragile and weak tool in the face of determined hostility. What a strange thing to observe. for most of recorded history, conflict has been the norm rather than the exception. Where there is a resource and agency, there is a contention which is resolved by superior force, or the threat of it.
What exactly do you mean by people power? Government, revolution, a collection of amorphous blobs reading a smart-phone and getting taken in by do-gooders? Even Americans, with their precious guns and ‘rugged individualism’ (sic), would be feeble against the power behind the throne, using whatever nasty things they have thought of, for just such a contingency.
You have quoted the lessons of history in other threads, yet seem to overlook the masculine power by which most of its course was charted and defended. “Good stuff”, or “(social, moral, political) values” have nothing to do with it when your families very existence is at stake. The charge that “I” “eschew” or that they “should” be, I leave to the impartial reader to decide what is implied by such language. I was merely commenting on a perception of reality based on my 50 odd years of reading history avidly. Plus personal experience gained living in diverse countries and cultures. Not once have I given an opinion, nor implied, what I think “should’ be.
As for “Christian”, if that embodies any egalitarian code that favours emancipation, and is a template to set a moral and ethical aspiration to, then it is a considerably different version of the Bible from the one I have read.

Gordon Arta
Gordon Arta
1 year ago

An interesting article, but ‘strongmen’ simply provide a focal point for a more fundamental weakness; the strengths of Western democracy are being eaten away from within. Complacency; the religion of ‘rights’ and its attendant industries; purposeless, short termist politicians in outdated institutions; more determined interest groups and ideologies, such as ‘big money’ and Islam; the ‘age of feelings’ replacing the age of reason, driven by social media and desperate clickbait newspaper journalists. Like lead in waterpipes, all these are enfeebling Western intellects, courage, social cohesion and resilience, and morale.

Last edited 1 year ago by Gordon Arta
Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  Gordon Arta

I don’t disagree: it might be instructive to look at the opposites to the weakness inducing aspects of the modern Western mindset, eg…
Complacency/Purposlessness – Idealism? rubbishing idealism in favour of ‘realism’ is anathema to human spiritual evolution!
Rights – Duties? Responsibilities? Obligations?
Shorttermism (political) – Vision? Development of long-term plans that all politicians sign up to instead of bleating childish, point scoring opposition for opposition sake.
Outmoded institutions – radical, independent root and branch reforms as a matter of course every 5 years (whether needed or not).
Islam (opposed to Christian values??) – in my opinion this is caused by a lack of Christianity rather than the growth of Islam: at their roots both religions have far more in common than divides them. Serious theological and ‘practice’ inter-faith reconciliation is needed. Bishops and Imams please note!
Big Money power – this is perhaps the greatest threat to our human values. Having money (and power) as your god is greatest driver to moral decay and attack on humanitarianism.
Clickbait Journalism – Truly independent journalism in the many online news channels is already a good counter to sell-out journalists: I recommend DDN ..Double Down News but there are many others. Unherd is the best right-wing channel, essential for balance.

Matt Hindman
Matt Hindman
1 year ago

I thought the big lesson from history was a strongman or a massive strong armed bureaucracy do not produce a strong state. They produce a weak one. The former because it is reliant on one flawed person who cannot be kept in check, the later because it is a bunch of flawed people fighting the populace and each other over the control of power and also cannot be kept in check.

Last edited 1 year ago by Matt Hindman
Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

If there’s anything we learn from history it’s that we learn nothing from history. Same ol’ hawkish, belligerent sabre rattling! It’s like “deja vous all over again” – Sam Goldwin!

Simon England
Simon England
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

If there is anything we learn from history, it’s that all historians lie.
Or to quote Napoleon “History is a set of lies agreed upon”.
The fundamental problem of the West is that from religion to politics to academia, we are fed lies on an industrial scale. No trust leads to frustration and violence.

Andrzej Wasniewski
Andrzej Wasniewski
1 year ago

Europe clings to the notion that the world just wishes to emulate its model”
The suicide of Europe, or what French and Germans consider Europe is in progress: starving civilization of energy, COVID fascism devastating economies and education systems, denial of basic human biology, which one of those idiocies the world would like to emulate? Of course the woke in the US made a big progress devastating their country, children and economy, but they still can be stopped. Central and Eastern Europe is not willing to enter the suicide pact, neither are Asian countries.

Dermot O'Sullivan
Dermot O'Sullivan
1 year ago

Brexiteers, it would appear, never miss a chance to lambast the EU and to try and seperate the UK in particular from the general European malaise. I don’t see a whole lot of difference in European countries politics and cultural ‘wars’ to be honest, whether these are EU members or not. Germany in particular, is a regular target and little understanding is shown for the deeper dilemma they are in. Of course with the gift of hindsight it is easy to point out that they only have themselves to blame, but please do not forget that Germany is important to Europe – and to the UK BTW.
Putin has woken us up and it will be rocky for a while.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago

EU countries have nothing in common culturally or racially

Wim de Vriend
Wim de Vriend
1 year ago

Now that’s just silly. And in more ways than I can count.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago

I beg to differ. Most of them have felt the German Jackboot in recent years

.and most enjoyed it!

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago

I have many German friends: near total match in terms of culture and values. I think you may be reading too many Battler Britain comics..

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Possibly, but let’s face it, it will take the fabled “thousand years” before the Germans rejoin the human race.
Auschwitz will never be forgotten or probably forgiven will it?

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago

Of course never forgotten but there is no one left to forgive: all those dreadful N€zis are long dead. Germans carry ‘national’ but not personal shame. At least they are willing to face up to their past atrocities unlike others: I think we both know who we’re talking about?

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

The Belgians?

Last edited 1 year ago by CHARLES STANHOPE
Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago

Yes, the Belgians especially: dreadful atrocities in the Congo: where, incidentally Irish peacekeepers also served. But there were other colonies under French rule, eg Algeria: more atrocities there! And one or two others we both seem to missing out??

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Yes off course. The USA in the Philippines circa 1900 for one, and the Dutch in the East Indues and South Africa also deserve a mention.
As for our ‘saintly’ selves, bar a bit of bother in Amritsar and a few excesses during Mau Mau, it was a fairly good report.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

No. I think you are being naive. Europeans NEVER abandon their history. To this day the Nazis’ offspring live on as fully paid up members of the proscribed Nazi party, building their businesses on the amassed wealth stolen from the Jews sent to the camps. Hyperbole? No there is a certain large, Luxembourg based machine tools company I do not buy from for just that reason.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago

Em.. I think you’ll find the vast majority of Europeans are Caucasians so I’m afraid your notion of racial might be a bit off? Secondly the vast majority of us are Christian and share Western values. Personally I find I have a huge amount in common with my Portuguese friends (I spend half my time there).. I find our cultures almost identical! Have you ever been to the EU? It has vast numbers of expat (immigrant) Brits living there! No culture riots on the street unlike say Leicester in the UK.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Come off it Liam you old Paddy bullshit*r, you represent a land notorious for the ‘Craic’, brawling and a visceral hatred of good old England. This Pan European nonsense is ephemeral and cannot last, as you well know.
For the first time in 800 years Ireland has struck it lucky with bucket loads of other peoples money (EU). Don’t let it go to your heads! It may very well destroy you.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago

Ireland is a net contributor to the EU. We have been for many years: and rightly so as we are a wealthy nation.
You’re notion of Paddy is based on a long outdated view (of how we Irish behave). That reputation was based on largely uneducated imigrants working on your navigation, road and general building industries: homesick and often drunk as a result. It is akin to seeing all English people as similar to the union jack boxer wearing yobos in the Costa del Sol.. we know that doesn’t represent the average Engishman for whom we have far more respect.. a little reciprocity wouldn’t go amiss.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Charlie Haughey, the Christian Brothers,the Magdalen Laundries, the Tuam baby murders, the woman killed because she was refused an abortion by the Galway Regional Hospital (“we’re a Catholic country”), the Banking scandal and on and on.
Even the COVID response was the most draconian in the British Isles, even worse than the Scotch and Welsh! Which is saying something.
Where will it end?

Last edited 1 year ago by CHARLES STANHOPE
Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago

Indeed. You picked out the very worst there: mostly a long time ago (not all). To quote one stupid nurse on that Galway case is hardly a reflection on the whole country. It was medical negligence for sure. Not on the scale of your Dr Shipton (?) ..sadly, medical controls are poor in both our countries. I’m not sure what all this has to do with rhe issues at hand??
We fared better on Covid than the UK with far fewer deaths per 100k.. but otherwise we didn’t do a whole lot better than the UK fiasco under BJ.. again, I’m not sure what the relevance of all that is to the issue at hand?

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

I agree it doesn’t have any relevance to the issue at hand. It’s just an off-piste diversion that
UnHerd rather kindly tolerates!
Incidentally ‘our’ Doctor was one Harold Shipman, who I must admit did made Jack the Ripper “look like Noddy”.

Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
1 year ago

You are correct – perhaps in bad taste, but us Brexiteers will shamelessly pick any opportunity including the most inappropriate moments to take a pop at the EU. I make no apology for that whatsoever.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

I was going to say ‘shame on you’ but on reflection I think I just pity you. Enjoy the rape of your benighted country under the jackboot of Liz Truss and her oligarch puppet masters as you freeze, starve and lise your jobs this winter; with all available resources going to support the N€zi Ukraine war effort.. ie anything left over when the obscenely rich bleed the country even drier than it is already.
So yes, pity is in order. How can you be no naive and not see how you were all duped?

Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Is joking against the law now in Ireland?

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

Definitely since COVID!

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

Only when it’s funny! Unfunny jokes are not allowed! Lol..

Martin Terrell
Martin Terrell
1 year ago

Yet the paradox is that the modern Western state is very powerful when it comes to asserting its power against the individual. Our liberal leaders can be quite forceful if their own citizens oppose the official mandates and values prescribed for them.

Miss Me
Miss Me
1 year ago

“Even after Merkel, Europe remains ruled by Merkelians and institutions expressly designed to stymie the swift and decisive action a world of crisis and competition demand”
In the UK, we could substitute the words Merkel and Merkelians with Blair and the Blairites.

Jerry Carroll
Jerry Carroll
1 year ago

This kind of thinking will get the pigeons in the Brussels dovecote fluttering. They thought their prodigious production of treaties, agreements, rules, procedures, studies, meetings, memoranda and so forth over the years by a permanent bureaucracy with cracking good salaries and terrific fringe benefits would alter the basic nature of mankind. Give me hard power over soft power every time.

Last edited 1 year ago by Jerry Carroll
Tony Sandy
Tony Sandy
1 year ago

You have peaceful cooperation within a living organism or tearing it to shreds by greedy predators from outside or acting as a cancer within

polidori redux
polidori redux
1 year ago

This warning will fall on deaf ears.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  polidori redux

I sincerely hope so! It is based on a false assumption namely that Putin threatens the EU militarily. If he cannot take Ukraine what chance has he of taking Europe? The piece is MSM scare mongering propaganda pandering to armchair hawks.

polidori redux
polidori redux
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

That isn’t the point of the article.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  polidori redux

Isn’t it? I’d better read it again then!

Katy Hibbert
Katy Hibbert
1 year ago

 the perennially hostile Central European response to his attempted geopolitical balancing act mitigates against his chances.

Militates.

Andrew E Walker
Andrew E Walker
1 year ago
Reply to  Katy Hibbert

A thousand upticks!

Claire D
Claire D
1 year ago
Reply to  Katy Hibbert

*

Last edited 1 year ago by Claire D
burke schmollinger
burke schmollinger
1 year ago

Since 1945, and 1990 especially, European militaries have become nothing but a luxury product that have no more usefulness than a yacht in a typhoon.

It’s time for us Americans to come home. While the Atlanticists celebrate new American commitments to European frontiers today, it makes little to no sense that our fleet guarantees non-US shipping everywhere in the world. Why are we protecting the Arabs ability to sell 10 million barrels a day of oil to China? Or Maersk container ships between Shanghai and Europe— nowhere near anywhere called “America”!

The USA is the only Empire in history who will arguably do better when we disband it. The Empire made sense when we were containing the Soviets, but there hasn’t been a rival threatening economic system for some time. In fact, subsidizing the rise of our rivals by guaranteeing open trade on the oceans makes less sense everyday.

You Brits won’t be so bad off, your Navy can actually go out and touch people who aren’t in your neighborhood if needed. Your French neighbors are the only other power in your continent that can do the same. And that’s what matters.

Your Navy doesn’t exist to look pretty. It exists to make sure your island can source enough food to feed your people, enough energy to maintain civilization, and enough raw materials to allow shortcomings to be overcome. And, of course, to make sure anyone who wants to touch your island has their hands bitten off before they get far at all.

Welcome back to History Europe!

Ps all the debates re Scottish independence are completely idiotic, from both sides. Never are the real, hard, questions asked. And that is because you’ve been living in an ahistorical fantasy world courtesy of the USA. That era is ending.

Last edited 1 year ago by burke schmollinger
Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago

Please let us know a few things that clearly, we silly Europeans are unaware of:
1. Who are all the immensely powerful pirates roaming the seas? I’ve never seen any but perhaps they’re all at anchor afraid to venture upon the high seas for fear of US warships?
2. Why is the might of EU warships (27 countries: 17 with coastlines) so useless against these (mythical?) pirates?
3. If you’re referring to Russian warships I have to tell you that a whole fleet moved away from a dozen Irish fishing trawlers upon being requested to do so.
Personally, I fear the US as much as Russia which is not at all! We’ve never been threatened by either and we’ve been cooperating peacefully for 100 years!
4. If you’re referring to Chinese warships I think we’d know if they were about.. they tend to stay over 10,000 miles away from us.
Obviously we are very naive in all of the above so can you explain a little more please…

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago

You’ve obviously never been in a yacht in a major storm.. reasonable safe: safer than many other vessels!

Kate Heusser
Kate Heusser
1 year ago

Europe to gain confidence as ‘A’ sovereign power?
Surely, for that to happen, all Europe’s individual countries must first accept that they are no longer to be sovereign in themselves? That Europe is no a country? And isn’t that the wheel on which the butterfly is broken?

martin logan
martin logan
1 year ago

This isn’t rocket science, and it certainly isn’t something unprecedented. It’s called “Balance of Power.”
Simply look back at Europe’s history for the last 500 years. Every time a ruler has sought to dominate the continent, other Europeans have banded together to stop him. I suspect that’s why the response to Putin’s invasion was so quick and decisive. Each politician saw in Putin the spectre of past enemies. A Frenchman saw the Kaiser and Adolf. A German saw Napoleon. An Italian saw the Habsburgs. Indeed, Britons have been doing a very good job of creating coalitions to stop any would-be “tyrant.”
Sorry that the future won’t be an uninterrupted climb to nirvana. Like every generation before, this one will have to soldier through something called “history.”

Toby B
Toby B
1 year ago

I read “The Strongmen” on holiday. Good book. Very readable & describes the disconnect between the strongmen (Putin, Erdogan, Trump, Xi) vs the rules-based bureaucrats of the EU very well.

James Kirk
James Kirk
1 year ago

“The EU” as if they were an entity, to some a friendly uncle to others an evil python stealing your chickens (with visible success). We didn’t want an enemy, didn’t want to cease trading, to stop travelling freely and nor did their business men and tourist industry.
Ukraine has shown the EU up. The EU had no intention of stopping Putin’s depradations. They are Thatcher’s ‘other people’s money’ with their fingers in our till. We joined their AA / RAC but they didn’t want to fix our car.
A contrarian view could be the new ‘Spectre’, the WEF, Gates, Soros, Fauci, Schwab and assorted perceived boguymen have succeded in ending globalism and engendered a nationalist backlash against China, immigrant rapists and external control. If Covid was a depopulation experiment and Brexit a contrived early start, covid was as much a failure as them stopping Brexit; deliberately half hearted. Quite subtle really. Bravo.

JĂŒrg Gassmann
JĂŒrg Gassmann
1 year ago

This is a very odd piece – the unelected EU Commission, led by the unelected Ms. von der Leyen, both during Covid and after the Russian invasion took bold and decisive action. Only the Covid-related measures were in total defiance of the EU’s core constitutional principles in the areas of governance, of individual rights, and of the economy, and in its reaction to the Russian invasion, contrary to Europe’s interests. And now the unelected EU Commission is appointing itself the arbiter of democratic choices made by the peoples of the EU’s member states (Hungary, Italy).
Mr. Orban fits Mr. Roussinos’ template of the strongman much better than Mr. Macron, who has sounded moderately good internationally, but whose domestic record is again one of brutal suppression of popular sentiment and anti-constitutional executive rule.
Mr. Roussinos is onto something and I broadly agree with his prescription, but his analysis of the reality is clouded by his ideology. The old truth reasserts itself: Disaster strikes when you start believing your own propaganda.

Simon England
Simon England
1 year ago

“Disaster strikes when you start believing your own propaganda.”
Yep. Sic transit gloria mundi.

Vici C
Vici C
1 year ago

So, basically, you fight fire with fire.

Andrew Boughton
Andrew Boughton
1 year ago

“The US security umbrella has rendered Europe weak and powerless, believing that it could sway the rest of the world towards its governing philosophy through offering trade deals as carrots, relying on America’s offstage presence to wield the stick.” The fundamental error of Aris’s analysis seems to be that he has not recognized that Europe has been too weak to protect itself against an American foreign policy that does not in fact care much about Europe, and which has, indeed, persistently wielded power, without any effective independent policy or push-back from Europe. Even within the US this same power contest exists. The opposition within the US political class to 30 years of off-track post-Soviet policy has been dramatically under-reported everywhere. And yet is includes former Presidents, Secretaries of State and Defense, and their most senior policy experts. As I would know. Power has been wielded, alright, just in the wrong directions. Hence this outcome in Ukraine. Go back to its roots. Ask General Michael Rose about NATO versus UNPROFOR in Sarajevo. Or Canada’s Gen Mackenzie. Or India’s overall commander, General Nambiar, if you can get a peep out of such a tactful man.
Aris’s solution to the wielding of too much misdirected power regardless of Europe’s interests – think Libya – is to wield far more misdirected raw military power, in the wrong direction. Sending our waters into the sinking sands of a desert.
We’re seeing the results on the streets of Leicester. Our real threat, against which we were until a decade ago collaborating effectively with Russia and China. Now fractured.

Last edited 1 year ago by Andrew Boughton
Simon England
Simon England
1 year ago

Would you please elaborate on why Europe is so weak in your opinion? I know the history, both the propaganda and more believable, alternative versions of the account, but I am still baffled by the lack of chafing, the apparent lack of pride. How did the US neuter Europe so quickly and completely remove the will to rise as a global power again? Europe alone would have been a match for the Soviets, even after Semipalatinsk. Indeed, just 10 short years prior to the nuclear test, Europe could have held the US to a highly advantageous peace if the US Plan Red had ever been implemented.
I come from an international family, was educated in Germany and the UK and have close family ties to the Netherlands and the Scandinavian countries. None of them are meek people, they all mutter with pride and resentment about similar things. How did we get to be so abject and inconsequential on the global stage? By abject and weak, I mean in the sense that you do, not necessarily exerting influence by military power.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago

Forgive my stupidity but if Putin cannot take Ukraine how on Earth is he a threat to all of Europe (with or wothout US backing)? ..not that we Irish are much help as we’re neutral and a military minnow. However, we are among the world’s foremost peace keeping nations with a proud history of achievement in that important field.
Perhaps we can even mediate between the superpowers as honest and (as important) powerless broker. As a Christian (ie follower of Christs teachings as opposed to the norm) I believe the power to bring and keep peace is far, far more important that the power to kill and maim and destroy. Maybe, as the piece suggests, I belong in the past?

Gordon Black
Gordon Black
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

How come I have sat through 50 years of TV news about “kill and maim and destroy” in Ireland??

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  Gordon Black

Firstly what you refer to is NI (it’s in the UK you know?) – so you guys own the problem: we do not. Secondly, of the killers concerned many are of Scottish origin not to mention the English there (including convicted war criminals) you call soldiers.
The peacekeepers I referred to are from the Republic of Ireland and so under Irish control ie not those to whom you refer at all.
I’m not sure if you guys study history or even geography for that matter but I’m sure if you go back and revise you’ll see how inaccurate is your sense of NI geography and history.
For the record I am no apologist for IRA violence or violence of any kind. But the whole debacle that is NI is entirely of your making from the original conquest, to the plantation of Ulster to the partition of the island (1922) to your support of sectarianism, gerrymandering and brutal crushing of peaceful civil rights marches in NI.
If you break it you own it! You did break it so now you can bloody well fix it! Don’t blame the victim.

Gordon Black
Gordon Black
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

I propose that when we Scots get reparations from Scandinavia for their rape, pillage, killings, maimings and destruction, we should pass the money on to you.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  Gordon Black

..a trifle off point maybe? NI with all its issues is IN the UK and OF the UK and we in the ROI are powerless to do anything in the UK. I’m sure if we sent our troops and police to NI to sort out any lawlessness there the UK might not approve?
The lawlessness is now long since over btw – didn’t you hear?
For the record we suffered a similar fate at the hands of those pesky Scandinavian raiders as did all atlantic nations: but we defeated them (unlike England) so we take full responsibility for all that happens in the ROI. Had we lost to them and were they now in control (as you are in NI) yes, sure, we’d hold them fully responsible for lawlessness just as we hold you fully responsibility for NI. Conquest isn’t just about looting ‘you know: there are responsibilities as well as regards how you govern, law, order etc. Thats 100% a UK failure.. nothing to do with us in the ROI. By the way I’m CoI (like CoE), ie 3% of the population here and I’ve never witnessed ANY sectarian violence, discrimination* or anything if the kind here in the ROI. But we are a civilized, peaceful country unlike that part of the UK called NI. (* except positive)

James Kirk
James Kirk
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

If not you living in the past, many on the mainland would be skeptical of the Irish being peace keepers. A proud history? They haven’t forgotten the AK47s and the Semtex.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  James Kirk

Seet reply to Gordon Black.. you’ve got the wrong country! NI is in the UK!

burke schmollinger
burke schmollinger
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Today, Ireland is able to trade with the whole world because the US Navy guarantees shipping on all the worlds oceans.

Historically speaking there is no historical precedent for that. Without that guarantee, most European nations will not be able to secure food, energy, or raw materials from beyond their continents borders.

Maybe European Navy’s will continue to be a luxury product as the US order is maintained.

I doubt it, personally. We Americans are getting tired of guaranteeing it all on our own.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago

Happily we in Ireland are self sufficent in food (we import vegetables and fruit but we don’t need to). Last time I looked I saw no pirates out there nor did I see any US war ships. I think you may be living in a parallel universe there and you may be confusing the murderous US military machine with the Lone Ranger and Tonto?

burke schmollinger
burke schmollinger
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Good for Ireland!

There are pirates out there however, seizing container ships off the Horn of Africa. Do you know who deals with them? Not the Danes, who own the last Maersk ship that was seized.

How do you think all the Middle Eastern oil that civilization runs on is able to flow freely out of the Strait of Hormuz and on to Europe?

The entire European market that Ireland operates in is in reality an ahistorical fantasy propped up by a superpower who’s leaving, one way or the other.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago

Last time I looked Ireland (and indeed the entire EU) was nowhere near the horn of Africa. Maybe they moved it? We’re fully familiar with Somali pirates but I really think even the Irish navy (3 fishery protection vessels!) could radily deal with those guys if they came anywhere near us!

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

‘You’ are living at the expense of others, aren’t you ashamed at that? If not you jolly well should be.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago

Really? Who is expending on our behalf? We are not in NATO so are not protected by NATO under article 5. We’re taking the risk. We do contribute to the UN not just in monetary terms but, far more importantly as world class peacekeepers (check it out)..
We don’t feel the need to be protected as we have no enemies: we don’t make enemies. If you guys feel the need to protect us go ahead but really, you don’t need to. Thanks all the same.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago

You lazy b*ggers, we did it for well over a century, starting with destroying both yours and the French Navy, then on to dealing with the Slavers. It’s called “The White Man’s Burden”.
Don’t drop it at all costs, just because of the taunts from a smug Irish ‘Leprechaun’.

.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago

Ah yes.. the old Leprechaun invective. Comes in handy when your ability to discuss an issue fails. The white man’s true burden was the heavy weight of all the loot and pillage from the colonies. The ruse is up man. The lies don’t work any more (except on the willfully blind and extremely gullible)..
Take the shame and move on.. it’s the only way. Contrition, reconciliation and reparation are moral, manly things: self-hatred is quite different: no need for that. And lose the Leprechaun stuff: there’s a good chap. It just makes you look stupid: you don’t want that.

burke schmollinger
burke schmollinger
1 year ago

I believe Irelands best hope in the post-Globalized world will be appealing to Americans who consider themselves “Irish” to protect their interests (ie freedom of the seas) and ability to trade with the Americas.
I believe the UK would be a natural part of NAFTA and an American-led alliance such as Japan (AUKUS is a great start), but do not underestimate the effect of Irish clamoring on US politicians.

Simon England
Simon England
1 year ago

Your perception of the relationship between the UK and the US is a common, joyful, optimistic interpretation of Western post-war propaganda. Whilst the people on both sides of the pond are cheerfully licking up this narrative and eulogising one another, the politicians in the US, since 1812, have had entirely different notions and aims. After May 1941, the US began a shakedown of the UK and sequestered all of its easily transferrable assets in a few months, the rest shortly after. Built by individuals and hard work, often at great personal risk, over centuries. From the South American railways, to the chemical factories in the US, to the gold convoys from South Africa etc ad infinitum, the US took the lot. Then handed back just enough of an advance, with conditions, to keep Airstrip 1 on side long enough to knock the whole of Europe in to touch, with the overwhelming help of the Soviets. The US doubled its wealth, almost overnight, no hyperbole and sealed it after the war by making the Dollar the world currency. Now that’s not quite the altruistic version of events that people seem to think happened, is it? The common version is that plucky, weak, little England was protected from speaking German by good ole Uncle ‘Benevolent’ Sam, and if there wasn’t much of a financial obligation, at least there is a moral one, to be cashed in at every mention of the war.
The reality is, in return for allowing the biggest asset strip in history, someone thought we were buying protection, and themselves immortality, in the history books.
Now, I don’t begrudge the US taking advantage. The UK was extremely poorly led and/or advised by a series of chancers who were in it for personal gain. Except, arguably, Chamberlain, who had a far more realistic notion of the UK’s position. It’s just history and an example that stands for many others. The facts are still to be found, partially concealed by the propagandists, sorry, I mean historians, art. But please don’t imply the US does the UK any favours, or perceives the relationship as “special” at a global or political level. The only thing that’s ‘special’ about it is the extreme gullibility of the people who believe it.
To be blunt, the US wouldn’t turn a hair now for the UK unless there were a compelling, coldly rational or advantageous reason to do so. We embarrassingly found that out, and had it categorically proven to us, by another silly adventure in 1956.
Remove client status, allow financial latitude with a concomitant military, and the US will gain powerful neighbours once more. But that will never happen. To do so would be to fly in the face of the very reason we were weakened in the first place. The US government knows its business. It also knows that Europe is much better placed for innovation and technology, at least for now. It will fight tooth and nail to preserve itself, whatever the chattering classes say. So, look forward to intercepting pirates off the Horn of Africa, with token help from your ‘allies’, for the foreseeable future.
Edit:
I wrote this before I had seen your well-considered response to my other post a couple of days ago. As I’d rather not delete that which took me a while to write, I shall leave it up. It will be at the small price of your derision, I know, but so be it. Time will tell if the American Empire was indeed the only paragon of altruistic virtue to have ever existed in recorded history. I sincerely hope you are right and I am mistaken.
Cheerio.

Last edited 1 year ago by Simon England
Simon England
Simon England
1 year ago

It’s exhausting sometimes isn’t it? I spent my early academic years sifting through the inaccuracies of our historical record in the quest to acquire that most elusive skill; critical thinking. The assumption, by casual foreign readers, is that “our story good, you (sic) story bad” is one’s starting point in any discussion. They assume uncritical, nationalistic hubris. What most seem to fail to realise is that the criticism starts at home about one’s own country and a comment of the global situation is usually more about that than belittling another. Educated mistakes are one thing, opinion something else entirely. One can be discussed maturely and an inaccuracy corrected. Derision about a serious point, on the other hand, tells you all you need to know about the worth of a discussion.
I remember, at the turn of the millennium, chafing at an American colleagues re-writing of British history (yeah, highly unusual) with my manager who had been a Chief Petty Officer on HMS Tireless. He just shrugged me off, “that’s their problem, isn’t it?” It took a while for my emotions to catch up with the logic, but he was dead right.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Simon England

Yes it is “exhausting” but eventually the truth will out.
I am glad and somewhat surprised you replied, normally UnHerd is a ‘fire and forget’ site which is rather disappointing.

Mary Thomas
Mary Thomas
1 year ago

Quite true – and as many British sailors died in the doing of this patrol of the oceans as they number of Africans they managed to save. So don’t give up – we spent 100 years patrolling the oceans and didn’t give up until you actually capitulated in 1870. (Five years after you said you would).

The Blockade of Africa began in 1808 after the United Kingdom outlawed the Atlantic slave trade, making it illegal for British ships to transport slaves. The Royal Navy immediately established a presence off Africa to enforce the ban, called the West Africa Squadron. Although the ban initially applied only to British ships, Britain negotiated treaties with other countries to give the Royal Navy the right to intercept and search their ships for slaves.[1]

Gordon Arta
Gordon Arta
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

You’d be hard placed to find any ‘achievement’ in the miniscule Irish contingent to the UN peacekeepers. The Irish presence in the UN is a recruiting tool; ‘you’ll be poorly paid and poorly trained in our defence force, but you’ll get the opportunity to put your fingers into the UN coffers for a few months, and be paid a great big tax free bonus. Sign here’.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  Gordon Arta

Very cynical view and very unfair. You need to check your facts.. of course peacekeeping ‘forces’ are very small in number by their very nature. They keep the peace with the support of both sides and the might of the UN attack forces as insurance: but this rarely if ever is called upon as peacekeepers are rarely attacked thanks to their admirable peacekeeping skills. Check out Lebanon, Cyprus, Bosnia etc. For a tiny nation we do ok.
Sure, as Unherd and (especially) its commentators are right-wing and belligerent any talk of peace is seen as appeasement and military might is more your thing. But who is most remembered from GB v India? The generals of Gandhi? Who achieved more?

Johan Grönwall
Johan Grönwall
1 year ago

Oh, go away, russian trolls. Do us all a favour and sign up as canon fodder in Dobby the House-Elfs’ doomed war.

LCarey Rowland
LCarey Rowland
1 year ago

Whatever you Europeans decide to do, make sure you’ve got some warm clothing to keep you warm until …

paul treacle
paul treacle
1 year ago

The EU can’t be decisive or forceful without a democratic mandate, and creating that will mean a wholesale rewriting of its constitution and how it operates, a long term project if ever one was attempted ( may not even be possible in the medium term)

The EU thought it could control things quietly from the shadows avoiding all that nasty politics and consent of the populace, but it looks like events are overtaking them

Joshua PV
Joshua PV
1 year ago

Nice post. Useful stuff to discuss.