A large selling point for the European Unions’ formation was the history of endless hostilities in the region. Once WWII was out of the way, the place has been uncharacteristically placid, attesting to the success of the E.U. idea…unless of course, one worries about such trivialities as Kosovo, Bosnia, Croatia , Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia and such but those are funny folk very far away and hardly count. The ‘real Europe’ has remained at peace, even though Germany sits in its midst. That is to say, all the fighting has remained the province of diplomats., However, statisticians say that however far the outliers appear, a distribution will always revert to its mean eventually, right?
Britain, nowadays a peaceful democracy, had a little warle over its Falkland Islands with Argentina across the Atlantic, which doesn’t count either; Argentina isn’t European, but by Baptism of Desire. So the Rurofolk have remained at peace, at least by their standards.
However, now they’re all gone broke and trying to sponge off Germany which while better off, is also essentially broke. Their highly touted model of allegedly catitalist socialism, dubbed ‘welfare states’ has proven unaffordable. This has resulted in various stresses and strains as politicians yammer about how it’s not their fault, looking for targets upon which to settle blame. They’ve been, of course, in charge but the economic failure must be the result of some nefarious plot or ineptitude somewhere else.
Now, Spain is serving as a lighthouse for the financially incompetent, taking over from Greece; that has the Spanish politicians searching frantically for distractions as the citizens are unhappy with necessary progress defined as everybody getting by on less. Except of course, the politicians.
That distraction is turning out to be the big rock sitting on Spain’s doorstep, Gibraltar. As the Spaniards take to the streets, it is suddenly intolerable that the border boulder is a British colony and one with the nerve to build on the empty spur of land connecting it to Spain besides. Probably worse but ignored is Gibraltar’s unemployment rate, standing at about 3% while Spanish joblessness soars. Spain seems to need Gibraltar like Argentina needs the Falklands, or the Malvinas if you’re Argentine.
Both countries are collapsing financially for the umpteenth time, pretty much for the same reasons and in both cases, those reasons replay their yo yo like histories. Britain has sent a naval ship to ‘visit’ the Falklands and isn’t backing off Gibraltar, either. And Spain is talking to Argentina re a partnership against Britain.
By European historical standards, this sort of thing has led to wars and at a time when the durability of the E.U. is a concern over it finances, or lack of same. Plus ca change’… or as we English speakers put it, ‘the more we change, the more we remain the same.’
While this is proceeding, back at the ranchhaus, the Germans, with their own issue from their own welfare state to face, are increasingly unwilling to finance the feckless spenders such as Spain. That is fomenting –or being used to foment– anti-German resentment. ‘Germans owe it to us because of WWII’ seems to be the mindset. Very European!
This isn’t a prediction that a New Armada is about to sail from Spain, though Britain has sent a warship to ‘visit’ its colony, much to the annoyance of the Spaniards. But it does illustrate the realities within the European so-called Union under financial stress.
The E.U. and the U.S. (and others) are now living beyond their means, running up bills they will never pay, though their taxpayers will be ruined in the process. History says such times generate wars and such wars inevitably impoverish everyone. Aren’t we supposed to be an intelligent species?