Why Europe’s Shocking Right Turn Is An Opportunity For The United States

Why Europe’s Shocking Right Turn Is An Opportunity For The United States

European liberals labeled everyone an inch right of Antonio Gramsci ‘far-right.’ Now they have no mode of reference to explain what just happened in the European elections.
Sumantra Maitra
By

“The one system that absolutely does not work and never will is ersatz democracy,” Tucker Carlson writes in his book, “Ship of Fools,” adding that, “If you tell people they’re in charge, but then act as if they’re not, you’ll infuriate them. It’s too dishonest. They’ll go crazy. Oligarchies posing as democracies will always be overthrown in the end. You can vote all you want, but voting is a charade. Your leaders don’t care what you think. Shut up and obey.”

For a while, analysts on both sides of the Atlantic after 2016 would have given anyone the idea that everything that had happened was a dream, and a rotten one at that: an aberration, a short deviation from the inevitable progressive arc of history. Brexit was treated as simpleton Brits making a mistake. Donald Trump as president was considered even worse. And most Americans had no idea what was brewing in Europe, after German Chancellor Angela Merkel disastrously carried on her country’s tradition of deciding finance, military, and demographic issues for Europe and inviting a backlash.

Well, what a backlash it has been. The latest round of European elections was a total meltdown for the managerial and technocratic center-left and center-right parties. It is hard to put in words how broken the European landscape is, but to put it simply, the center no longer exists.

In Poland, the battleground of the future direction of Europe, the national conservatives won the majority, and the hardcore nationalists also get representation in the European Parliament for the first time. The center-right liberal conservative coalition barely managed to survive, and the social liberal and the left parties are wiped off the electoral map.

In Italy, another battleground nation, Matteo Salvini’s La Lega netted an overwhelming majority. Italy had been the worst-affected by German financial strangling and mass migration from Africa. Salvini tweeted that he led the number one party in Italy, and behind him was a recognizable and highly symbolic red cap with Make America Great Again and a statue of Jesus.

In Hungary, Victor Orban won an absolute majority while vowing to stop mass migration. And in France, Emmanuel Macron’s centrist liberals got an absolute belting, in an electoral map that looked eerily like Hillary Clinton’s 2016 journey, with the cities and urban areas voting for his En Marche Party and the rest of the country going to Euro-sceptic Marine Le Pen.

Meanwhile, in the original Brexit Land, the new Brexit Party walloped the craven Conservatives and Labour both, becoming the single largest U.K. party to be represented to the European Parliament. A country in which commentators regularly remind us that everything will change if there’s another referendum showed it remains stubbornly Eurosceptic and willing to leave the EU. Almost all of England other than London and Wales voted for Leave parties, and only Scotland voted for Remain, by a thin majority.

Boris Johnson, the front-runner for the next Conservative leadership, said his party is on notice after the disastrous premiership of Theresa May for the last three years, arguably the worst in the history of the post-war United Kingdom. And in parts of Scandinavia and Germany, the hard left coalesced behind the Green parties, thereby finally shattering the carefully crafted illusion that the Greens are any different than the Cold War-era Euro-Marxists, who instead of promoting violent revolution believed in undermining society from within. This is except the Danish left, which stayed to the Social Democrats, but only after the Social Democrats moved right on stopping migration.

Interestingly, the analysis has been predictable from the liberal commentators. Wherever liberals and Greens won, they gained a victory for “the people and true democracy,” and wherever there is any shade of right, they proclaim a win for the “fascists.”

In reality, however, the only simple answer is that Europe is permanently broken. Since anyone to the right of Antonio Gramsci is considered “far-right” by the mainstream commentators, it is difficult for them to explain, without the help of any racism or xenophobia narrative, what just happened in Europe. In reality, however, patterns emerged.

For example, the right parties that won in the United Kingdom, France, Netherlands, etc. are not xenophobic, as portrayed in the media. They are not even socially conservative, much less “borderline fascist.” In the United Kingdom, both the Brexit Party led by Nigel Farage and the Conservatives want to get out of the EU not because they want to isolate into a little Britain, but because they want to trade freely with the rest of the Anglosphere without EU control and to side more freely with the United States on defense issues, instead of being forced to be a part of the EU Army.

Likewise, in both France and the Netherlands, the right-wing parties are not socially conservative at all. In fact, they want to restrict mass migration from Africa and the Middle East because they want to safeguard the liberal society, LGBT rights, and the separation of church and state from groups of people considered extremely socially unorthodox.

Contrast that with the right parties in Hungary, Italy, and Poland, all of which want to transform the EU from within and, in their own words, preserve the “Christian civilization” and Judeo-Christian values of Europe. The stringent issues in these countries included the increasingly hard-left LGBT and transgender movement.

The Polish, Hungarian, and Italian right are also distinctly socially conservative and in some cases anti-free market, instead focusing on heavy subsidies for the elderly and promoting pro-natalist policies for new mothers. In the common liberal siege mentality, all these people are considered “far right” when in reality the only common theme tying these parties is their opposition to a European empire under German hegemony, and their support for national sovereignty.

As I wrote earlier, the biggest folly was to ever believe that Europe can be united without force, and the European Union, while turning into an empire, faces an existential challenge from sovereigntist and conservative forces from within. The latest election proves that national-conservatism is here to stay, and that the conservative parties that refuse to acknowledge this simple reality will be obliterated.

In fact, the desire for Westphalian nation-state sovereignty never left us. How to channel that new energy to a more constructive force across the continent, instead of pockets of sporadic resistance, remains to be seen.

However, this is the moment for the American government to channel these forces and shape Europe towards a more pro-American direction. The conservative forces within the continent are desperate for leadership against Berlin and Brussels. Washington DC should urgently take note.

Sumantra Maitra is a doctoral researcher at the University of Nottingham, UK, and a writer for The Federalist. His research is in great power-politics and neorealism. You can find him on Twitter @MrMaitra.

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