An establishment pillar of the European ‘order’ – the Frankfurter Allgemeiner newspaper – explicitly touches the ‘live rail’, which is to say, it ran an op-ed last month titled ‘A Nazi EU?’, speculating on whether or not the present EU, dominated by Germany, should be understood as a lineal extension of German National Socialism. This has not before been an issue at all touched upon in mainstream German discourse. That it appears at all signals something important: a recognition that the dissidence being experienced by the EU has its roots in something other than just populist grievance tantrums. It is the resurfacing of an ancient struggle for the ‘soul’ of the international political order.
The author, Jasper von Altenbockum, quotes the AfD (Alternative für Deutschland) leader, Alexander Gauland, at its party conference, saying that the:
“Corrupt, inflated, undemocratic and latent totalitarian apparatus” of the EU should have no future. Gauland traced a popular line of reasoning: Because democratic legitimacy deficits can be observed in EU supranational institutions, [one must conclude that the EU] must be a coercive regime. The radical opponents of progressive integration [however] go one step further: They compare the EU … to the European ideology under National Socialism …”
“Gauland also [advanced] a recently popular argument, which [allows] Brexit to gain a historical justification: [Speaking about European Unification], Gauland in Riesa said: “This goal was pursued by the French under Napoleon and, unfortunately, in a way, by the National Socialists. And, as everybody knows, England opposed them.
“What [that means, is that Gauland takes us beyond the mere claim of the EU being] a ” latent totalitarian apparatus”. [Rather, it suggests that] the EU and German European politics are in continuity with the Nazi propaganda of the European Union. There can hardly be a worse reproach. It provides the AfD with the welcome side effect of being able to present itself as immune to Nazi ideology”.
Well, as might be expected, von Altenbockum sees little to connect the European project with earlier Nazi racial ideology, but nonetheless he does concede that it is not only Gauland and the AfD (“fast becoming the German Brexit party”) who see these national socialist connections, however “the continuity of the European project from the National Socialist era is also considered by historians”, especially since Germany has again been accused of hegemonic strivings in Europe. As early as 2002, Hitler biographer Thomas Sandkühler called for “not so much to emphasize the breaches in European politics, where there should be more talk of continuities”.
What did this mean? Today, it is difficult to move beyond the racial ideology aspect. But, despite the appearance of the word ‘national’ in the name of the German National Socialist party, Hitler was no great advocate of nationalism. He was a harsh critic not only of the Protestant Westphalian triumph of 1648, but also of the institution of the national state in particular, which he saw as vastly inferior to the Germans’ historic imperial legacy. In place of the order of national states he set out to establish a Third Reich that expressly drew its inspiration from the ‘First Reich’—that is, from the German Holy Roman Empire with its universal aspirations and thousand-year reign. Hitler’s Germany was thus intended as an imperial state in every sense.
In short, in the centuries’ old politics of Europe, Western nations have been characterized by a struggle between two antithetical visions of world order: an order of free and independent nations each pursuing the political good in accordance with its own traditions and understanding, and an order of peoples united under a single regime of law, promulgated and maintained by a single supra-national authority.
In other words, Germany was on the side of the ancient tradition extending from Babylon to Imperial Rome, who saw it as their task, in the words of the Babylonian king Hamurabi, to “bring the four quarters of the world to obedience.” That obedience, after all, was what ensured salvation from war, disease, and starvation.
Von Altenbockum’s conclusion that the origins of the ideas underlying European integration are not so much those of Napoleon or Hitler, but derive from the Thirty Year’s War and Westphalia, which precisely precipitated the fall of that old (Roman) notion of a Christian Universal Empire of peace and prosperity, is more compelling. To the victors, victory – and the victors set the narrative, one which remains as today’s European political paradigm.
The ‘Liberal’ construction of the EU is premised on that famous liberal manifesto: John Locke’s Second Treatise on Government, published in 1689 that asserted that there is ultimately only one principle at the base of legitimate political order: namely, individual freedom.
Locke’s was very much a product of the Protestant construction. It opens with the assertion that all human individuals are born “perfectly free” and “perfectly equal,” and goes on to describe them as pursuing life, liberty, and property in a world of transactions based on consent.
From this premise, Locke built his model of political life and theory of government: And from Locke’s framework has descended to us today’s economic model – in Adam Smith’s transposition of John Locke’s and John Hume’s Protestant vision of individualism and property into an economic structuring.
But being Protestant, this vision also took from the Old Testament (rather than the New), sovereign ‘authority’ (like Yahweh) was jealous and intolerant and unitary sovereign. One authority, one law, one ‘gun’ was the organisational principal of the nation-state (rather than the overlaid call of an ‘empire’ of confused sovereignties and spiritual allegiances that had preceded it).
At some point, liberal political, economic theory and international law crushed the life out of other, competing accounts, becoming the virtually unquestioned framework for what an educated person needs to know about the political world.
So what? What is the point? Well, firstly, it is that the AfD leader, Alexander Gauland, is saying that the EU is neither liberal, nor free, nor an ‘order’ (or Empire), but is coercive in its (secularised, Judeo-Christian) desire to achieve human or social unity through reducing ‘all’ to a single model (the liberal, regulated, EU ‘order’).
The point here is not just that such an establishment German publication should be touching such a ‘hot button’ issue (the possible influence of German national-socialism as the scaffold, on which EU politics is structured); but more substantively, through the tacit admission that that the AfD leader has a point (i.e. he is advancing the ‘other’ grand vision for Europe’s political order).
The author duly concedes this: “there are many politicians in the AfD who would like to return to traditional equilibrium thinking” (a concert of independent sovereign powers). But then – echoing the Establishment line – the author says simply that it is impossible: Too much has been invested in the EU project to permit it to be yielded-up.
The ‘retrospective’ after the Second World War, von Altenbockum says, led to the [EU project] “being given an immovable, institutional anchorage, which inevitably involves a renunciation of sovereignty”.
But it is here that Brexit takes meaning for Gauland: Not simply as British resentment at Germany’s domination of Europe, but because England consistently was ‘on the other side’, opposing these visions of a universalism imposed through a reduction to a single model of empire – “as everyone knows, England opposed them”, Gauland states.
Locke, it is true, sought to strengthen the nation-state paradigm and not undermine it. Nevertheless, in fashioning his theory he downplayed or entirely omitted essential aspects to human society. In the Second Treatise, Locke abstracts away the intellectual, spiritual or cultural inheritance that one receives through descent. The result is the depreciation of even the most basic bonds that had been thought to hold society together.
Similarly, the government that is brought into being by the social contract of the Second Treatise is eerily without borders or boundaries. Institutions such as the national state, community, family, and the church appear to have no reason for existing at all. Without intending it, the framework provided by Locke’s Treatise makes the Protestant ‘order’ exceedingly difficult to explain, much less justify. He may have intended otherwise, but what he did was to give birth to a ‘liberal’ construction of politics which underpins the opposite of the nation-state.
What does this mean? Brexit, les gillets jaunes, la Lega, the Afd, the Visegrad group – the future of Europe is in serious contention, despite the fact that University-educated political and intellectual elites in America and Europe are now mostly sequestered within the liberal frame.
Yet an article such as this piece from the Frankfurter Allgemeiner newspaper – and its discussion of the purported link between European integration and national socialism – Wolfgang Münchau remarks, represents “an explosive connection” hitherto confined only to fringe discussion in Germany. It underlines that the Euro-élite are beginning to recognize the potential combustibility of this conflict. They can see that real issues – ancient struggles about the very nature of politics, society, culture and how human potential is to be developed – are at issue.
And to understand this gives the framework to understand European foreign policy: How, even after the disaster of Libya, European leaders can, for example, ignore the long history of interventions in Venezuela, to support a new intervention. Or, wish to withhold reconstruction finance and assistance from Syria. It recalls the Babylonian king’s desire to “bring the four quarters of the world to obedience”. That obedience, after all, being in their own best interest.
Is it going too far for Gauland to have described the EU as ‘latent totalitarian’? Well, Yanis Varoufakis gives us the flavour of it: from his first visit to Brussels and Berlin as Greece’s freshly elected finance minister: “When Schäuble welcomed me with his “it is my mandate against yours” doctrine, he was honouring a long EU tradition of neglecting democratic mandates in the name of respecting them. Like all dangerous hypotheses, it is founded on an obvious truth: the voters of one country cannot give their representative a mandate to impose upon other governments conditions that the latter have no mandate, from their own electorate, to accept. But, while this is a truism, its incessant repetition by Brussels functionaries and political powerbrokers, such as Angela Merkel and Schäuble himself, is intended to convert it surreptitiously into a very different notion: no voters in any country can empower their government to oppose Brussels.”
Varoufakis adds, they never listen:
“My team and I worked hard to put forward proposals based on serious econometric work and sound economic analysis. Once these had been tested on some of the highest authorities in their fields, from Wall Street and the City to top-notch academics, I would take them to Greece’s creditors in Brussels, Berlin and Frankfurt. Then I would sit back and observe a symphony of blank stares. It was as if I had not spoken: As if there was no document in front of them. It would be evident from their body language that they denied the very existence of the pieces of paper I had placed before them. Their responses, when they came, would be perfectly independent of anything I had said. I might as well have been singing the Swedish national anthem. It would have made no difference.”
Originally published on 2019-02-11
About the author: Alastair Crooke is a former British diplomat, founder, and director of the Beirut-based Conflicts Forum.
We would like to ask you to consider a small donation to help our team keep working. We accept no advertising and rely only on you, our readers, to keep us digging the truth on history, global politics and international relations.
The United States is killing entire families in Raqqa, Syria, and enabling Saudi Arabia to do the same in Yemen.In June of this year, the U.S. led a campaign to retake the city of Raqqa from ISIS fighters while the Russian and Syrian militaries were also attempting to do the same thing. In the first week of fighting, U.N. war crimes investigators warned that the U.S. had already killed 300 civilians from air strikes alone in that seven day period.Rather than heed that warning, the U.S. has continued the same strategy of pounding Raqqa into the ground despite the likelihood of civilian casualties. Pentagon ...
When I think about North Korea, what first comes to my mind is a mist over the calm and majestic surface of the Taedong River near Pyongyang. Next I always recall two lovers, locked in a tender and almost desperate embrace, sitting side by side on the shore. I saw them every day, while taking brisk walks at dawn. Now I don’t know for sure whether they were real or just a product of my fantasy; a sad and gentle reminder of all that has been already lost, as well as of all that should have happened but never really ...
The American media specializes in fake news. Indeed, since the Clinton regime the American media has produced nothing but fake news. Do you remember the illegal US bombing and destruction of Yugoslavia? Do you remember “war criminal” Slobodan Milosevic, the Serbian president branded “the butcher of the Balkans,” who was compared to Hitler until Hillary passed the title on to the President of Russia? Milosevic, not Bill Clinton, was arrested and placed on trial at the International Criminal Tribunal. He died in prison, some say murdered, before he was cleared of charges by the International Criminal Tribunal. http://www.globalresearch.ca/milosevic-and-the-destruction-of-yugoslavia-unpleasant-truths-no-one-wants-to-know/5540873 Do you ...
Brzezinski’s death at 89 years of age has generated a load of propaganda and disinformation, all of which serves one interest group or another or the myths that people find satisfying. I am not an expert on Brzezinski, and this is not an apology for him. He was a Cold Warrior, as essentially was everyone in Washington during the Soviet era.For 12 years Brzezinski was my colleague at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, where I occupied the William E. Simon Chair in Political Economy. When I was elected to that chair, CSIS was a part of Georgetown University. ...
Four men, accused of being partisans, are alleged to have been buried alive. The wife of a partisan is said to have been “pierced by bayonets and drowned in a garbage pit” [искололи тело штыками и утопили в помойной яме].
The author (who is unnamed) states that his own elderly father was taken as a hostage by Allied forces from the town of Kharitonovka [Харитоновка]. He was returned home alive but in a bloodied condition. He is said to have died a few days later, after asking “Why did they torture me…”? [За что меня замучили]. The man is said to ...
“Workers of my country, I have faith in Chile and its destiny.
Other men will overcome this dark and bitter moment when treason seeks to prevail.
Keep in mind that, much sooner than later, the great avenues will again be opened through which will pass free men to construct a better society.
Long live Chile!
Long live the people! Long live the workers!” President Salvador Allende’s farewell speech, 11 September 1973.
“It’s hard to find someone with the fighting spirit, courage and the story of Allende. He was a man who actually had the branded name in history: democratically the left came ...
The New York Times loves NATO, but should you?Judging by comments in social media and the real world, millions of people in the United States have gone from having little or no opinion on NATO, or from opposing NATO as the world’s biggest military force responsible for disastrous wars in places like Afghanistan (for Democrats) or Libya (for Republicans), to believing NATO to be a tremendous force for good in the world.I believe this notion to be propped up by a series of misconceptions that stand in dire need of correction.1. NATO is not a war-legalizing body, quite the opposite. NATO, like the United ...
On October 12 the British media gave prominence to a three-hour foreign affairs debate that had taken place in the House of Commons the previous day. The Commons’ proceedings centred on allegations that Russia had committed war crimes in Syria and there were many insulting and purposefully offensive statements about Russia and its president made by almost all members of parliament who took part. The final speech was made by the foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, and can be taken as reflecting the policy of the British government towards Russia.
The Guardian newspaper reported that “Making his frontbench debut as foreign secretary ...
The Kosovo Question recently once again became an important issue of global politics and international relations for two reasons: 1) The Albanian “government” of the “Republic of Kosovo” announced to officially proclaim the existence of the Kosovo Army (that is a violation of the 1244 UN Resolution in 1999), and 2) The “president” of the “Republic of Kosovo”, a war criminal Hashim Tachi, participated on November 11th (2018) in Paris to the world leaders’ celebration of a centenary anniversary of the end of the WWI (the signed armistice with Germany) as the official representative of an “independent” Kosovo. He was ...
The only discussion of principle emerging from the debates over Kosovar and Crimean independence is that initiated by Woodrow Wilson towards the end of World War One, about whether national minorities have the right to self-determination. Can a smaller group be compelled to be part of a larger state, or should they be permitted to secede? To what extent do minority rights amount to a freedom to determine one’s own sovereignty?
In June 1999 an international military force led by the United States annexed Kosovo, then a province in southern Serbia with a population of perhaps 1.6 million people. Virtually all ...
On December 7, 1941 the U.S. naval base in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii was attacked by Japanese forces. President Roosevelt, in his well known Infamy speech delivered on December 8, claimed the attack was “unprovoked” and, on this basis, asked for and received a declaration of war from the U.S. Congress.
But the evidence suggests the attack was not unprovoked. On the contrary, it was carefully and systematically provoked in order to manipulate the U.S. population into joining WWII.
This provocation game, spectacularly successful in 1941, is currently being played with North Korea. The stakes are high.
Many good people are reluctant to look critically ...
When I read Professor Thomas DiLorenzo’s article the question that leapt to mind was, “How come the South is said to have fought for slavery when the North wasn’t fighting against slavery?”
Two days before Lincoln’s inauguration as the 16th President, Congress, consisting only of the Northern states, passed overwhelmingly on March 2, 1861, the Corwin Amendment that gave constitutional protection to slavery. Lincoln endorsed the amendment in his inaugural address, saying
“I have no objection to its being made express and irrevocable.”
Quite clearly, the North was not prepared to go to war in order to end slavery when on the very ...
One of the most steadfast beliefs regarding the United States is that it is a democracy. Whenever this conviction waivers slightly, it is almost always to point out detrimental exceptions to core American values or foundational principles. For instance, aspiring critics frequently bemoan a “loss of democracy” due to the election of clownish autocrats, draconian measures on the part of the state, the revelation of extraordinary malfeasance or corruption, deadly foreign interventions, or other such activities that are considered undemocratic exceptions. The same is true for those whose critical framework consists in always juxtaposing the actions of the U.S. government ...
Source: VPN Mentor
Origins of images: Facebook, Twitter, Wikimedia, Wikipedia, Flickr, Google, Imageinjection & Pinterest.
Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement!
Donate to Support Us
We would like to ask you to consider a small donation to help our team keep working. We accept no advertising and rely only on you, our readers, to keep us digging the truth on history, global politics and international relations.
In late November 2013, the 'Euromaidan' in Kiev began as a popular protest against a generalized state of corruption and cronyism in Ukraine. The spark that ostensibly ignited the protests was the inability of then President Yanukovych to sign an EU Association Agreement that would cut Ukraine's economic and military ties to Russia in favor of a closer relationship with the EU and NATO.
The EU had made the release of former Ukrainian prime minister and "gas princess" Tymoshenko a precondition for signing the agreement. But the fact that Tymoshenko was/is a convicted embezzler of state funds, combined with the rather ...
CNN explained well “5 surprising lessons from Trump’s astonishing win”, and the historic crushing failure of traditional Presidential-year American politics, but it really boils down to one simple fact: In the battleground states, where most of the advertising dollars and get-out-the-vote money was being spent, the Trump organization made use of the Republican-Party organization in those portions of the campaign-operation that benefited from those established contacts and its tried-and-tested methods and techniques, but not in the portions of the campaign-operation that needed to be improved and to function better than in all prior U.S. Presidential elections.
The simple fact is that ...
Can the world wake up?
On September 19, 2000, going on 16 years ago, Ambrose Evans-Pritchard of the London Telegraph reported:
Declassified American government documents show that the US intelligence community ran a campaign in the Fifties and Sixties to build momentum for a united Europe. It funded and directed the European federalist movement.
The documents confirm suspicions voiced at the time that America was working aggressively behind the scenes to push Britain into a European state. One memorandum, dated July 26, 1950, gives instructions for a campaign to promote a fully fledged European parliament. It is signed by Gen. William J. Donovan, ...
The U.S. public loves fascists; they elect them, constantly. Donald Trump, who “says he would raise the minimum wage and stop the endless efforts at regime change,” is called a fascist by some. But Hillary Clinton “is happy to bomb Libya or Syria or any other country,” and played a major role in mass Black incarceration. Barack Obama is the war-maker and deporter-in-chief. “All of the major party candidates fit the F word description in some way.”
“No one comes into office with any intention of undoing America’s leadership as the world’s worst jailer.”
Donald Trump is the ill spoken, boorish, graceless ...
The political and, in some cases, military stand-off between the West and Russia that has unfolded over Ukraine and Syria also includes a number of secondary fronts in which the two actors’ interests clash. The Baltic States, a long dormant political issue, reactivated itself following the Ukrainian coup of 2014, as the leaders of these states believed that they could benefit from fanning the flames of conflict. In that they were likely mistaken, as the status of the Baltics in the future of the European order is far from certain.The coup in Ukraine and the subsequent defection of Crimea from ...
Former President Bill Clinton continues to be feted around the world as a progressive champion of human rights. However, a European Union task force last week confirmed that the ruthless cabal he empowered by bombing Serbia in 1999 has committed atrocities that include murdering individuals to extract and sell their kidneys, livers and other body parts.Clint Williamson, the chief prosecutor of a special European Union task force, declared that senior members of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) had engaged in “unlawful killings, abductions, enforced disappearances, illegal detentions in camps in Kosovo and Albania, sexual violence, forced displacements of individuals from ...
SHORT LEGAL DISCLAIMER: The website’s owner & editor-in-chief has no official position on any issue published at this website. The views of the authors presented at this website do not necessarily coincide with the opinion of the owner & editor-in-chief of the website. The contents of all material (articles, books, photos, videos…) are of sole responsibility of the authors. The owner & editor-in-chief of this website is not morally, scientifically or legally responsible for any inaccurate or incorrect statement in the contents of all material found on this website. The owner & editor-in-chief of this website is not responsible for the content of external internet sites. No advertising, government or corporate funding for the functioning of this website. The owner & editor-in-chief and authors are not morally, scientifically or legally responsible for any inaccurate or incorrect statement in the text and material found on the website www.global-politics.eu