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Tuesday, June 5, 2018

On the EU from the Left

Sorry for the delayed posting. I have been wrapped up in issues of my father's estate, and have ignored my blogging.

A good friend sent me a very interesting article looking at Trump, Merkel, and the EU from a leftist perspective.

I found the piece well worth reading, even if I don't agree with all of its conclusions. The author, as you will see, is none other than Yanis Varoufakis, once Greece's "far left" economic minister, and a prominent member of what I, at the time, called Greece's honest crooks (also here).

He tried to negotiate a better deal for Greece with the EU, and was stymied by mostly Germany, and left office. As I have written many times (here and here, for example) the EU tried to force its members to "swim with an anchor," aka, the euro--some successfully resisted. Varoufakis seems to agree, somewhat, but doesn't reach the same ultimate conclusion that I did, to wit, the EU, itself, is the problem not just the euro and its current crop of leaders. The EU, after all, was overwhelmingly a political project which sought to balance the political, military, and economic power of the United States, and do so with "magic totems" such as the euro and a massive and overpaid bureaucracy. It, of course, failed to do that, as President Trump has amply demonstrated repeatedly, e.g., his easy destruction of the Paris Climate Accord, and of the odious Iran "deal." The EU, in other words, could "balance" the US only as long as the US allowed itself to be checked, in other words, President Obama. Well, Trump ain't Obama; he won't help the Lilliputians tie down the US.

Varoufakis bemoans the EU leadership's obstinate refusal to make reforms, and blames it for the rise of populist movements in Europe that now threaten the whole EU "project." He particularly blames Merkel, as I have, for the EU's current predicament, but seems unable to grasp the monumental error she made by opening Europe to a rapid Muslim invasion. He makes a good case that the EU is heading for the dust bin, e.g., recent Italian elections, but ignores perhaps the single greatest indicator of this, Brexit--something which this humble blog did not. He also attacks Trump and his policies, although understanding their origins, as a threat to the EU project, a project which Varoufakis, it seems, would like to preserve--hey, I said I didn't agree with everything he wrote, right?

Varoufakis sees as negative the rise of movements to defend national sovereignty (I don't and wrote about that here, for example) and lashes out at the Trump administration several times. I, obviously, don't agree with his criticism of President Trump, but it is an interesting and well-written argument. That alone is something to be welcomed in these highly divisive times in which insults and craziness substitute for rational discussion and debate.

Anyhow, hope to have more thoughtful commentary soon. Back to the lawyers.


20 comments:

  1. Believing the EU can succeed is like believing you can flap your arms and fly. You may go to the top of a high building and leap off. You may feel a temporary exhilaration like flight, but the end will be the same whether you flap or not.

    another fred

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    Replies
    1. The old country song says "falling can feel like flying/ for a little while"

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  2. Re Germany, this was posted on your last thread of a few days ago:
    http://www.breitbart.com/london/2018/06/03/trumps-right-hand-man-in-europe-wants-to-empower-european-anti-establishment-conservatives/

    This ambassador is doing his job and EU leftists are enraged!

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  3. The EU (Left) just cannot bear to admit that the whole thing was wrong. They just can't, regardless of the cost.
    James

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  4. Varoufakis is quite an intelligent person and I highly recommend his latest book, Adults in the Room, for an unprecedented inside perspective on just how dysfunctional the EU, the IMF, and all their various institutions truly are.

    As you say, one does not always have to agree with everything he has to say, but there is no doubting that he has intelligence and a mostly sound perspective. I have a feeling that his lofty thoughts of pan-Europeanism will eventually erode with time as reality proves that the project is futile.

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    Replies
    1. I remember a notion among political academics during the 1950s and 1960s in Eastern Europe and nearby environs called pan-Slavism. It went nowhere slowly.

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  5. The EU, or rather Brussels and Merkel, have come out of the closet: they are finally fulfilling de Gaulle's dream of Eurabia. IOW, Envy will be the death of France. Greece? Sloth.

    As many central and east European countries (plus Italy for the moment) push for their rediscovered roots and boundaries, e.g., Slovenia's vote yesterday, the facile, corrupt cesspit of Brussels is falling to Islam. Soon only Islam and the EU will inhabit Belgium...which is a made-up state long past its sell-by date.

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  6. This is a link to a podcast that my son has started for people transitioning out of the military.
    This particular podcast is with a man that was scary smart while he was in the Navy and his transition to an FSO as a civilian.
    I bring this up because the Dip was an FSO and who, exactly, is taking his place? I have known Nick Abbate and his family since he was a plebe. He went to Harvard Business school and took a job churning money that he did not find rewarding and finds himself today representing our country again.
    This is a true patriot and people should listen carefully to what he has to say as people like Nick are our future..
    http://bmi-vip.libsyn.com/episode-108-nick-abbate

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  7. Yanis Varoufakis: it comes to something when a Greek marxist talks more sense on the EU than the whole set of panjandrums who run the joint. A marxist, for heaven' sake.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. did you listen to the podcast I linked to? Do you have anything cogent to say?
      Do you know anyone in the American Foreign Service that refutes this young man?
      You know what dearieme, go away, you make me sick.

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  8. The concept of a European Free Trade Zone was reasonable. The move to expand the idea, though, was ill-founded. Then the Gods made them Mad, and had them develop the Euro.

    Now if the Euro were confined to a few countries where people could easily move across the borders, maybe it could work. But that does not describe Europe.

    So how long before Italy withdraws from the Euro, and perhaps more? It will be interesting to see what the framework of Brexit says about the potential for Itaxit.

    Green Bear

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  9. Starting as a means to forestall yet another European war the EU rapidly became a project to create a large enough stage to contain the absurdly over-inflated egos of French bureaucrats; an exercise in America envy.

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  10. For historic and genetic reasons all of Europe and each country in Europe are not created equal. And for the most part within each country the citizens dislike or look down on most of the other European countries and people. The Germans don't like the French, Spanish, Italians and the French don't like anyone even most of their own countrymen and no one likes the Italians and the Swiss really wish they were an island and not contiguous to other countries. The EU was doomed from the beginning. The choice to make the leadership of the EU out of the control of the citizens of the EU committed that leadership to quickly become autocrats totally vested in self interest and the citizens reduced to serfs. The EU is doomed, it's just a matter of time until it collapses and the longer it takes the worse the fallout will be, especially for Germany and France.

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    1. While Castillians don't like Gallegos, and back when my father was a kid, cockroaches were _Preussen_ in Swabia while in Prussia they were _Schwaben_. I understand that even places like the Netherlands have their regionalisms. It's like the guide on our European trip who told us, "Don't worry about our anti-Americanism: we don't like each other very much, either."

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  11. Linked to article does one standard thing and one new, surprising thing. The standard thing is the author, a leftist, assumes Europe's nationalist, populist movements are zenophobic and racist. All European leftists are pro-EU and make this assumption. I always find it a disconnect - wasn't Marx writing as a populist?

    The new and surprising assumption the author makes is that Trump's actions in foreign policy are for the express purpose of destroying the EU and Germany in particular. This is a new manifestation of Trump Derangement Syndrome!

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    Replies
    1. Xenophobic, not Zenophobic. The Xi and Zeta aare very distinguishable in Greek.

      Delete
  12. "even places like the Netherlands have their regionalisms": even? They didn't call it the United Provinces for nothing. What next: "even places like Switzerland have their regionalisms"?

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