The slow death of EuropeMonday, August 08, 2016
BY Alexander Scott
For the past eight years Europe has been in crisis mode. By Europe I mean all of continental Europe and do not solely mean the European Union. Europe has seen serious economic crisis, political upheaval, serious violence, and basic social unrest. With all of this going on can the Europe that we know of today remain? It looks to be tearing apart at the seams.
The Europe that we know of today is historically an anomaly, with no major wars for some 70 years, Europe has enjoyed one of the longest periods of peace in memory, mainly because of the United States-backed North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). This, however, seems to be changing as NATO nations, such as Turkey, openly saber rattle, shooting down Russian planes and engaging openly with nefarious characters in the Syrian-Iraqi conflict. The recent attempted coup will also lead to a purge of the military and leave it ultimately more in the hands of a leader who looks like he is drunk on power, to put it mildly.
However NATO is not the only shady actor when it comes to military actions that threaten current European existence. Russia, over the same period, has been flexing its military muscle, be it cyber warfare in Estonia, routing Georgian forces or the land grab that was the Crimean incident, it is clear that Russia is back to being a major player when it comes to the military.
Some may say that the Russian incidents were all reactions to NATO and United States intervention in Russia’s backyard, but that is the point. Even if they were reactions to provocations — which some clearly were — that shows us that Europe is a gunshot away from a major calamity, that is made all the more realistic when one remembers NATO is about collective defence, if a Turkish jet is shot down by Russia we can realistically expect a NATO and thus a European reaction.
Europe as a society is also splitting apart at the seams. With a migration crisis of their own making, and with an economy that is tanking (taking into account the eurozone) we are seeing groups popping up everywhere demanding independence. The Scots are testing the waters as it relates to independence after the Brexit, the Catalans are also demanding a referendum on independence in Spain, and if they get it the Basques will surely demand one too, thus killing off Spain as we know it.
We also see a deep societal split amongst both the people and there governments, but also regionally (Western standards as compared to the standards in the old Soviet bloc) and has given rise to extremist groups and far right neo fascist groups all the way from Holland to Poland. The rise of the far right, especially in a European context, is always a harbinger of doom and destruction and history backs that up.
Finally, we come to the violence, the open and obvious area of the slow demise of modern Europe. With a violent attack almost every month in a European city, we see the nations respond by hunkering down and militarising the streets. We see them — rightly or wrongly — cracking down hard on certain religious groups and ethnic minorities as diverse as Arab to African. The militarising of the police and the State, as a response to the violence, as opposed to common sense approaches such as travel bans for suspected terrorist sympathisers; regarding schooling them in Islam and the Quran; stop taking advantage of the Middle East, is not only hampering them in the ‘war on radical Islam’, but is also a threat to European security.
With many nations still having historical grievances against each other, and with the rise in the far right, nationalist rhetoric and the splintering of the European Union, it is, I believe, only a matter of time before Europe gets involved in some major internal conflict.
Some may say it it too far-fetched an idea, but so was World War I at the time, though with hindsight we can see the fault lines. The same is happening here, and be it a NATO shot, Russian shot, or Kosovon shot, Europe will see a violent change and will look radically different when the dust settles.
Europe as a society is also splitting apart at the seams. With a migration crisis of their own making, and with an economy that is tanking (taking into account the eurozone) we are seeing groups popping up everywhere demanding independence. The Scots are testing the waters as it relates to independence after the Brexit, the Catalans are also demanding a referendum on independence in Spain, and if they get it the Basques will surely demand one too, thus killing off Spain as we know it
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