February 9, 2019


America's policy on Europe takes a nationalist turn (Constanze Stelzenm├╝ller JANUARY 30, 2019, Financial Times)

In Berlin, meanwhile, diplomats have been poring glumly over The Virtue of Nationalism, a book by the Israeli writer Yoram Hazony, which Mr Mitchell had told them was the key to the Trump administration's Europe policy.

Mr Hazony's book -- published in 2018 to fervent applause from conservative commentators in the US -- purports to provide the theoretical gloss on Mr Trump's tweets: nationalism as the cure to "liberal imperialism". The two main "empires" he has in mind are post-cold war, liberal-interventionist America and the EU.

Teutonic brows are furrowing presumably at passages from the book such as this: "The European Union is a German imperial state in all but name . . . Should the United States ever withdraw its protection . . . a strong European executive will be appointed by Germany." Mr Hazony goes on to write that a "German-dominated EU" is an "imperial order", that "will work to delegitimise and undermine the independence of all remaining national states".

Never mind that this is spectacularly misinformed about the status of nation states in Europe or Germany's power over them and the EU. Repress, if you can, the realisation that Mr Hazony thinks the EU could succeed where the Nazis failed. And try to ignore the question implied by both Messrs Pompeo and Hazony: to what imaginary golden age of nationalism exactly should Europe's clock be turned back? 1989? 1945? 1918?

Most Europeans could list a litany of genuine ills afflicting governance in Europe at all levels that this cod-philosophical take misses by a mile. Mr Hazony blithely disregards the complexity and depth of economic, social and technological integration across national boundaries. And, of course, disassembling the EU would not solve the problem of German preponderance -- it would exacerbate it.

But the real value of this and other prescriptions for a new divide-and-rule US policy for Europe lies in the piercing new light they throw on the Trumpian mindset. The nationalism it peddles is not the inclusive, civic kind practised by, say, Canada. On the contrary, this is an ethno-chauvinist nationalism premised on the rule of a majority nation "whose cultural dominance is plain and unquestioned, and against which resistance appears to be futile", as Mr Hazony puts it. That is a framing entirely compatible with the thinking of Hungary's Viktor Orban, the Kremlin or, for that matter, Germany's far-right Alternative for Germany party.

...it's a defense of the Occupation.

Posted by at February 9, 2019 3:24 PM