Saturday, July 28, 2012

Europe in danger

A blogger always enjoys discovering a piece that takes a vague notion, an intuition, and then develops it in a persuasive way. That's how I felt reading an article by Walter Laqueur in The New Republic. Laqueur is a distinguished 91-year old political analyst of European affairs.

His article, "The Weimar Union," lists the many ominous similarities between the economic and political conditions in Europe today and those that facilitated the rise of fascism and other radicalism in the 1920s and 1930s: high youth unemployment, vigorous political movements mostly led by the young, and a yearning for a different political order.

Laqueur warns that "a latent potential for extremism is very much present in Europe."  He fears "a precipitous descent into rank populism" and bitter "chauvinism."  I share those concerns.

The pan-European dream that led to the EU and then the euro is becoming a nightmare. The technocrats of "Brussels," who are appointed rather than elected, are easy targets for people with almost any grievances, and they have no basic legitimacy to fight back.

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