Opinions on a federalised Europe

We need another Winston

I admit to the fact that I woke up this morning prepared to write a piece on the TTIP. However, that was before I got to listen to Obama’s speech in Brussels. While full of interesting twists and turns regarding the future of the EU, the relationship between the US and EU, or Russia, the speech failed to deliver what was most expected – strength. It was the same with the press conference earlier two days ago with Jose Manuel Barroso and Herman Van Rompuy. There too we expected a message of strength. What we got was a message of “enduring peace in Europe”, if you catch my drift.

I don’t believe in Russia under the current rule and system as an equal partner. I don’t believe Russia as it is today can be trusted. I do believe Churchill’s words on Russia as highlighted by his “Sinews of Peace” speech – where he says that the USSR [as my views on the current state of the Russian Federation and it’s expansive nature tend to be a return to a USSR reality] does believe in the threat of war and the spoils that can be harnessed through the use of this threat. [transcript of the speech].

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The only difference between that USSR and this Russian Federation is that communism has been replaced by a distinct breed of nationalism, supported by religion and glorified propaganda. Not that the PCUS was not as proficient with propaganda.

So what happens now – we have the Russian Federation breaking every rule and international convention and annexing a part of a neighboring country, something they have a lot of experience with. On the other side we have US, EU and NATO protecting Ukraine’s territorial integrity, or so the official line goes. But in truth, in this day and age, everybody does business with Russia, and as we all know by now, if we have any type of common sense, it is fairly probable that business, aka money, trump values. Of course, every once in a while you stumble upon politicians who think the other way around – values cannot be trumped by money. but unfortunately for us they seem to come in a limited supply. I’ve read a myriad of blog entries and editorials on how the US and EU could punish Russia in economic terms. But I see none of it turned into reality. Looking at how things happened I could honestly say that Russian oligarchs, banks and state owned companies where allowed all the time in the world to protect their actives all over the world, in spite of repeated threats from every western ruler that they will not get a chance to do so.

So you could say that while we are very good at public speeches we lack the strength to see things trough. And what we don’t get, or we seem to turn our eyes on, is that this is empowering those we seek to punish. It’s like a PR war where they always get away with it.

Even in this incredible turmoil that the Russian annexation of Crimea has generated did not change the way EU politicians act. We are still millions of miles away from consensus. We have business interests pressuring politicians not to take action, and that is a fact. See recent statements from Siemens bosses on their involvement in the Russian Federation. And I am sure it is not the only case. We have Russian propaganda all over the continent, a reminder that those who where pro-USSR before the 90’s have not disappeared, just adapted to the new reality. I see it everyday, this propaganda war that for some reason has always worked and keeps working, albeit the vast amount of evidence that it is just propaganda.

I remember this speech from Reagan [transcript of the speech]:

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Now I may not fully agree with everything he says (I’m just not that republican) but that does not make the main idea presented in this video excerpt above any less true. We have allowed ourselves to be fooled by propaganda and deceit. And we should remember the lessons of history, as painful as revealing they are. I remember reading somewhere that “nothing in this world is new – it has happened before and will happen again”. And while this idea can be a little disturbing, considering what things have happened in the history of mankind, and on this continent merely 100 years ago. But one thing I would welcome right now is the rise to power of a new Churchill.

Even if he had his shortcomings (take into account the fact that he was a product of his time/reality) the overall achievements of this man of state are undeniable. And we lack exactly what he brought to the British Isles at the beginning of the 40’s – unity, hope and someone to rally behind. Europe needs it strongly – we need a charismatic powerful leader to give those of us in doubt the strength to proceed in making the dream that is EUrope long lasting.

Our leadership, such as it is today, is in many respects weak. It suffers at the mercy of interests other than those of the common folk. It lacks the power to uphold and protect the values inscribed within the EU project. It is constantly sabotaged by national governments of MSs, looking to maintain the power they hold. Jose Manuel Barroso admitted, on countless occasions that governments within the Union “nationalize success and europeanize failures”. They do that because they can.

So in this time of need, when events at our eastern border unfold with such speed and in total contradiction to international law and treaties, when within our Union voices of skepticism and nationalism are on the rise, we need the providential arrival of a leader such as Winston Churchill. We need someone to take us through this stage, and push us forward. We need him or her to stay upright and proud, as any European should, and tell us that values are above profit, and our resolve should stay as strong as ever, no matter the pressure and propaganda around us.

So Europe, give us a Winston!

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  1. It must be noted that Churchill was for a United States of Europe without Britain, which implies his blind nationalism and British exceptionalism. I don’t think the EU should have another politician who’s determined to unite the Union anew but believes that his/her member state is an ‘exception’ that does not need to conform with European principles.

    Nevertheless, it was a nice read. But it’s just my opinion that if we want that ideal “European Statesman”, using Churchill as a model may be to flawed.

    1. That’s why I mentioned that he had his shortcomings – his view on the United States of Europe was just one of them. He was and in many respects could be considered a controversial figure even today. It’s also controversial that he was the one to coin the phrase “Iron Curtain” when he was one of the 3 at Yalta, and took part in the whole napkin business. However what I would like to see in an ideal European Statesman is some of that determination and stamina, as well as the resilience to see things through and of course his ability to understand where things are heading. Oratory skills would also do a world of good. Winston was part of his world, which is no more.

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