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Europe Isn’t Working 9 June 2006

Posted by David in Europe, Formal Works.
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It is clear to see, from whatever perspective is taken, that the European Union isn’t working. What was meant to facilitate peace and promote free trade, has become an instrument of disagreement and trade protectionEU and US flagsism. From the annual budget disagreements to the unfair Common Agricultural Policy that impoverishes the third world, the European Union is in turmoil. Previously passionate supporters, such as France, have struck down its proposed constitution as a failure. Its unity of purpose has become a false unity of artificial culture, attempting to mimic a nation more than an alliance. Politicians vie for control to exert hegemony over others, the individuals are distant to its organisations, the structure archaic and its language a labyrinthine compound of management speak that would put George Orwell‘s new-speak to shame. The EU and its “ever closer union” has failed.

So how should the EU change? Before any proposals can be even considered, the ultimate aim must be agreed. For one, the European Union is not to rival the USA. This would be pointless. A multi-polar world would only create tension, unless both were of the same will, in which case there’s no purpose to being plural. Even in trade, size is not the important factor, rather the flexibility of economies to adapt to changing trends, a factor that benefits smaller economies that can be managed accurately. Copying America, with a single currency and singular economic policy, would be insane. This is demonstrated by the different woes of the Euro-zone. Would America not benefit from different economic policies in California than say, Alabama or Ohio? So any attempts to rival America are misguided, as are attempts to rival China or India, for the exact same reasons. Our strength is in our flexibility, the dynamism of our economies, not in their sheer bulk. The choice is between a cheetah or a walrus.

But when troubles appear in America, they are exaggerated elsewhere. When America sneezes, the World catches a cold. But the creation of a megalithic bulky economy will not aid this, certainly when weighed up against the benefits of flexibility. However, trade can insulate against fluctuations. What can be clear is that we are too dependent on America for trade, and should seek to expand other markets. Depending too much on a single nation for trade is the problem. This does not mean to encourage trade only between European nations, this only shifts the problem to Europe. The answer lies in wider, international free trade. Making everyone less singularly dependent on anyone else. So whilst rivalling America is not a good purpose, promotion of international trade is. Furthermore, trade is of benefit to both partners, and so beneficial to living standards. It is also a foundation for peace.

If trade can be a good basis for peace, then greater understanding can too. The purpose of whatever the EU changes into must not be cultural singularity, and certainly not hegemony, as these merely destroy local culture. The nature of each should be celebrated, not oppressed. To attempt to phase out local customs, atmosphere or legal individuality is akin to attempting to phase out a religion or even race. In centuries to come the attempts to ‘integrate’ differences will be viewed with the same rightful contempt as those who sought to eradicate cultures among natives in the Empires of the past. The differences of the World must be rejoiced in. We must not attempt to create a nation, with one government, one mind and one people, as the EU so boldly dreams of. How monotonous would a World be where everything were the same? A vapid, singular and uninteresting place with nothing to inspire or amaze.

We must promote the liberty of native peoples, whether they be. All peoples have a right to a nation, and no nation has the right to govern another without its consent. National self determination must be promoted. Any attempts at ‘sovereignty pooling’, in effect ganging up to exert power over another without their consent, either internationally or by majority voting, is fundamentally wrong. Any use of force, either by military or politics, against another nation, unless it is in breach of agreed treaties is a fraudulent and unfair doctrine of illegitimate power that has no place among the peoples of the free world. The works of one nation, so long as they are in no way damaging to another nation or in breach of an agreed treaty, are of no business to anyone but the said nation. As such, any new organisation must be inter-governmental in nature and seek only to promote peace, understanding and trade. It must be liberal in nature, laissez-faire in its workings. Beside agreement on non violence, free trade, free temporary movement of people and basic human rights, its function should be merely to promote understanding, reconciliation and culture.

And so a maxim for this new organisation could be agreed; to facilitate free trade without borders, to ensure peace between the free nations of the World, to protect each allied nation from aggression as if it was one’s own, to support local culture, and to allow national self-determination in all matters that do not infringe another’s self determination.

What has been described can only be described as liberal unionism. The creation of a liberal empire, a Commonwealth or Alliance of self-governing nations, each individual, free and unique, within an umbrella grouping that neither seeks to impose wills or weaken identity. An organisation that is inoffensive to any culture, is truly democratic through national self-determination, that enforces peace, cultural understanding, and the freedom of its members.

And it is not as if this is an untried concept, far from it. In Victorian times, the concepts of “Liberal Empire” were popular concept among many in Britain, resulting in the granting of self government to settler colonies in Canada and Australia. Though limited by lack of understanding of people in other colonies, the concept remained and was planned to be initiated elsewhere. The notion of Commonwealth was created, the discovery that nations need not govern other nations to benefit from trade and that both partners can benefit from that trade. It is during this time that slavery was abolished and its ban enforced elsewhere, and from this same ethos the notion of Commonwealth first originated. The eventual creation of the Commonwealth is perhaps the closest we have come to the creation of a free alliance of nations, although this was very substantially weakened by Britain turning its back on former colonies to favour protectionism and the EU after the Second World War. How many wars and genocides could have been averted had the Commonwealth been developed further?

But this concept of liberal unionism can go further. If thus new institution, which for current purposes I shall call the European Alliance, does not seek cultural monotony, then it need not draw any geographical borders. The World does not end at the Ural Mountains or Straights of Gibraltar, nor at the Atlantic or Bosphorus. This new alliance of independent nations could include all nations, and why not? They are not inferior or to be controlled, and so should be warmly welcomed into this new organisation to further expand peace, understanding and trade. The larger it becomes, the better it would become.

And if it did expand beyond Europe, it could incorporate existing institutions, for instance NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation. This exists to unite its members for defence, but could easily be absorbed and extended to cover anywhere. The new International Alliance could even replace the United Nations, which itself is failing, and further develop peace internationally. By uniting in a free organisation with solid principles and belief in justice, far more could be achieved. There would be no need for the World Trade Organisation, as the new International Alliance’s basis would be free trade anyway; gone would be the petty protectionism and barriers the WTO seeks to remove with such difficulty.

There is so much more to the World than Europe. We must stop looking in, but look out. We must embrace globalisation and freedom, not try to hide from it by ganging up as Europe and using illogical and damaging protectionism. We must celebrate differences and never seek to eradicate them in favour of integration or common identity. This will not create peace, only resentment at destroyed cultures and lost freedoms. Trade, prosperity and peace should be our maxim. A new commonwealth, built around liberal unionism, a commonwealth of independent, free and sovereign nations, working voluntarily and freely together, based on self-determination and liberty. We have the choice, a nation of Europe, a single, plain and dull region of enforced false cultural identity and destruction of native traditions; or a Commonwealth of the World, a diverse, interesting and vibrant place, where diversity and culture are celebrated, respected and understood, where resentment is reconciled and prosperity built through freedom, peace and trade. There’s more to the World than Europe.

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