There is always a certain amount of risk associated with any election. It is a truth recognized by dictators around the world -- leading them to prefer predetermined results. In the last elections for the North Korean "parliament," for example, the Democratic Front for the Reunification of the Fatherland got 100 percent of the vote and all 687 seats. It was a result that was difficult to misinterpret -- and met the expectations of those involved.
One does not need to read any further to know that the EU elections have yielded a certain level of surprise, among the world's population. Europe has spent the last eight years criticizing the US, for its policies set forth by the Bush Administration. This means that anything economic was ridiculed as favoring the privileged rich; anything related to foreign policy was the subject of some extreme disdain, if not outright scorn. There was this overt display of worry about American imperialism and we heard about it almost daily.
So now comes Obama, who is everything the European intelligentsia could ask and hope for. Finally, here comes a man who understands both the politics and culture, of European-style socialism. Now we have someone that can talk the language of social democrats all over the continent, right?
But wait. Not wanting to be confused with someplace that appears to be in lockstep with America, maybe Europe has had a change of heart?
Certainly there is a shock factor in these results, for some. But I am not surprised at them and frankly, I am having some trouble believing those who live in Europe are as shocked as many would have us believe.
Maybe, just maybe, many Euros have come to a stark realization in the process that has been playing out before them. Maybe they are beginning to see that the practice of allowing immigrants to come into their country and brazenly dictate to the indigenous people the terms of their residency is not the kind of world, they want to create for themselves and their families. Maybe, many are just getting to the point where they are not comfortable with this ulterior objective of subtly transforming Western Civilization into a Middle Eastern caliphate, subjected to whoever the big Muslim Kahuna happens to be at the time..
Note the further prose from the piece:
The European shift to the right, which is being decried across the continent, isn't one. Rather, it is a signal for a return to reality. The established centrist parties -- in Germany, in the Netherlands, in Sweden, Austria and elsewhere -- are busy with crisis management, with the nationalization of ailing banks and bankrupt companies. They are neither able nor willing to attend to other problems.
They aren't thinking about the consequences of immigration, about the loss of cultural identity that many people with "non-immigrant backgrounds" sense -- people who do not want to be labeled as xenophobes, right-wing extremists or neo-Nazis as a result. This omission benefits so-called "populists" like Geert Wilders, who are not afraid to tackle politically incorrect issues and provide answers to questions that nobody else wants to pose.
Europeans are not stupid. They are human and subject to the same weaknesses and frailties the rest of us are. But they are not going to be fooled forever. They have eyes, they have ears, they have minds which can assimilate and analyze data objectively.
They were the Enlightment and Renaissance. They were the leaders of the world in almost everything at one time during history, and for good reasons. I cannot imagine they will allow outsiders to take away their Plato, their Monet, or their Bach. It's just not going to happen. But you can be sure, there will be some who will downplay and demonize the results of this election.
Xenophobia, will be the cause listed on many a blog and mainstream European media agency. Fascism and Nazism will be words frequently tossed around over the next few weeks, as well. What they are not taking into account is fairly simple and not hard to understand, if one has the slightest understanding of the basic fundamentals in the discipline of political science. Like the article says, there is no major shift. It's merely an awakening back to common sense on the part of some, at least enough to swing an election away from apologists and pacifiers.
Another fallacy that will surface in this is the tendency to believe that this signals a return to some pretty bad times. It is a fair assessment that there is a growing sense of nationalism beginning to reappear, or in this case continentalism. The problem with this is how it's interpreted. To say that all nationalism is fascism is nonsense. Not all nationalism is fascism, neither is all fascism, Nazism.
Another fallacy I have heard in the aftermath of the election is that Europe is tired of its socialist policies and it wants to reverse itself. In my lifetime, Europeans have always embraced tax and spend politics. After WWII, it was necessary in order to rebuild the continent into the modern world. As long as the bulk of the populace sees some bang for their euro, they aren't likely to change their approach anytime soon. But they may spurn a continued trend in that direction, or might be willing to reject more of the same. I know the word on the streets in many European nations is that bailouts are not a good thing.
Granted, it's never this simple to analyze the cause of any effect. There is no one reason anything happens in politics. Another rationale was brought up in the article:
The "stupid" voters have recognized that they are supporting a parliament whose primary task is not to oversee the EU's executive arm but to take care of politicians who their parties want to reward for their loyal support. Those who, for whatever reasons, have failed at home, or who need to take a time-out from national politics, get sent to Brussels.
It goes on to cite some examples. But the idea that the EU is essentially meaningless is bound to come up in the course of the explanation. It is one excuse that will be stated and repeated, again and again. But in the bigger scheme of things, the amount of meaning one side chooses for an entity (such as the EU) will depend on whom you talk to at a given point in time.
If a side that has lost must come up with reasons for their loss, it is easier to downplay the entity as meaningless, than to address the reasons behind the failure. If the side that has won is asked the reasons for their victory, they have the luxury of saying it was their message, their ideas, and their worldview that drew the people to them. As a result, the entity becomes extremely important to them.
But in this case, I think the truth lies somewhere in the middle. Just as Europe is split ideologically, so are the people's opinions of the importance of the EU. True nationalists are not too keen on the idea. Many of those people are in the minority right now. More and more Euros are becoming more continentalist and that means the EU will carry more responsibility in the future. It also means that for the purposes of the immigration issue, nationalists and continentalists will find themselves on the same side of the coin.
Another factor in this particular area is Euros may be coming to a realization, the USA is becoming weaker, something many of them wanted earlier in the decade. Obama is not particularly wowing the European leadership right now. Not only is he snubbing them, he is failing miserably to impress them. Many may be showing up for rallies and speeches, many may want to get a glimpse of him for hostorical reasons, and a select few may even think he is the best thing since 24 hour shopping. But under it all, there is some real apprehension.
They see massive deficit spending unlike any other era before. They see a foreign policy weakness, unlike any other seen in American history.
Many alive today, remember the Jimmy Carter days and know that the malaise created by him was felt hard in Europe. I know, I was there.
The dollar's value shrunk so much so fast during the reign of the Peanut Man, he was forced to buy back the dollars that Germany held, to keep the dollar afloat. He may have done the same with other currencies, I don't remember. But with the German Mark being the backbone of the European economy at the time, there was no other choice but to act, there.
If that wasn't enough, Carter's handling of the Iranian crisis was not impressive either. The botched rescue mission and the generalized state of inaction, didn't exactly reassure Europeans of American ability to assist them, should the Soviets decide to send up the balloon. These are things many of Europeans my age may very well remember clearly. These are things that many of MY countrymen have surely forgotten.
Obama should remind us all of those days. It's like deja vu, all over again.