EUROPEAN NEWS



LEARNING FROM CRISES

2019-05-21

The Austrian politcal crisis should teach the European voter a few important lessons. 

Once upon a time Europe lived through the Cold War. At the time Western European countries were faced with fringe parties on the left, who sought support from the Soviet Union, or were offered such support under cover. Today we live through a revival of nationalism, mostly manifest in the growing number of fringe parties on the right, we call (wrongly so) populist parties. They seek and receive covered support from Putin's Russia; in Italy, in France, in the Netherlands, in Austria and in Hungary; most likely also towards Brexit in the United Kingdom and in favour of Trump in the United States.

The left-right politcal scheme is  confusing. At the time of the Cold War, I used to present that scheme in the form of a circle. When you move from the center above to the center below - right or left - you move from democracy to dictatorship both ways. Ideology breeds repression. Ideology at the same time is an invitation to corruption. The latest Austrian crisis teaches us again  that the center must hold against ideologies and must - today - defend the European Union against resurgent nationalist ideologies.

The greatest mistake made by moderate left-wing parties in the Cold War is  now being made by the moderate rightwing liberal and Christian political parties: try to steal their votes by going a little their way .

As we should have learned, going such way strengthens their ideologies and undermines democracy and moral fortitude. Illiberal democracy today is what peoples democracies were during the Cold War: a cover name for dictatorship and repression.

Democracy may not work properly and the European Union may not function ideally. Still, reality tells us that together they are the best we can have, despite their weaknesses. 


Download Document



Back
Frans A.M. Alting von Geusau

Email

  • Cultural Diplomacy: Waging war by other means?
  • Order Book
  • The Illusions of Détente,
  • Order Book
  • Western Cooperation
  • Order Book
  • Sporen van de Twintigste Eeuw
  • Order Book
  • European Unification into the twenty first Century...
  • Order Book
  • De geest van Christus leeft in Europa
  • Order Book
  • Neither Justice nor Order
  • Order Book

European Unification into the Twenty First Century

Footprints of the 20th Century - Third Edition

Description

The story of European Unification is fascinating. In 1950, two sworn enemies – France and Germany – decide to seek reconciliation and European federal unity. As a first step, they created the European Coal and Steel Community together with Italy and the Benelux countries. The fathers of this new Europe were visionary persons. Does today`s student or scholar still know who Robert Schuman, Konrad Adenauer, Alcide de Gasperi or Willem Beyen were and what they stood for?

The Illusions of Detente

Footprints of the 20th Century - Third Edition

Description

Since 1989, we refer to the whole post-war period as the “Cold War Era”. Such was not the case in 1968. At the time, the Cold War – in our perception – was behind us. We no longer felt to be in the midst of it. Europeans on the Western side of the Iron Curtain0 felt relatively at ease with Europe’s division. The era of Détente as we called it, was0 considered to be a fairly stable and long-lasting political condition, even after Soviet tanks crushed Dubcek’s socialism with a human face in Pragu