The spectre of Charlemagne (Karl der Große) has tantalised demagogues in the western part of Eurasia for centuries. The dream of recreating his short-lived empire has cost countless millions of lives. European history is littered with the shades of failed empires. The result of personal egos, they were bound to fail when the egos dimmed.
The latest attempt at defying history is being made by the EU. Many, including Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev, suggest it is modelled on the USSR. Undoubtedly, it shares a religious zeal with that failed empire. In organizational terms it has borrowed much too. Its Commission like the Politburo dictates whilst the European Parliament pretends to oversee it, as did the Supreme Soviet the Politburo. EU functionaries enjoy special privileges, as did Soviet ones.
However, I think we need to look further back in history to find the model. It is now the ghost of Otto Eduard Leopold von Bismarck-Schönhausen - the Iron Chancellor of Prussia that quickens the pulse of a new generation of imperial activists. A Prussian nationalist, he used the Zollverein to achieve his goal of Prussian hegemony. The Zollverein created an economic union without a political one. Bismarck seized the opportunity this offered to exclude and diminish Austria. The EU is following the same path to nationhood, with the USA as the new Austria.
It is claimed that Bismarck united German-speaking people in their own sovereign country. In reality, he created a Prussian empire. By engineering wars with Denmark and then Austria he was able to invade and annex Schleswig, Holstein, Hanover, Hesse, Nassau and Frankfurt. Saxe-Lauenburg was annexed and subsequently forced into union with Prussia. Saxony, although invaded by Prussia, escaped annexation until 1871 and the creation of the Prussian (German) Empire.
Throughout his machinations, Bismarck used the Zollverein as the foundation stone of his imperial ambition. For centuries, German-speaking people had been part of the Holy Roman Empire led by Austria. Although dissolved by Bonaparte, Austria remained the leading German speaking state. This was anathema to Bismarck. To exclude and marginalize Austria, he engineered a war with France and the Prussian Empire was born out of the Zollverein.
In many ways, the present Franco-German axis is a rerun of the past. Like children playing pass the parcel, they have chucked neighbouring countries to and fro for centuries. Germans happily fought for Louis XIV and for Bonaparte too, until they saw his game was up. Prussia turned its coat in time to gain the victor's spoils of the Confederation of the Rhine. Germany had its turn when the Vichy government proved a willing helpmate.
Following Bismarck's script, the rulers of the new EU Empire edge closer and closer to political integration. They have learned the lesson well. Other empires have failed because they were founded on conquest and political coercion. Prussia's empire succeeded at the beginning because it seemed to offer economic gains. Like Bismarck, the modern imperialists are distrustful of democracy and rule through a strong, well-trained bureaucracy. They espouse the theocracy of 'the new European citizen.' But it is not easy to dissolve people's identities into a new nationality. Economic union has been difficult for some, and monetary union catastrophic for many. The beneficiaries are Bismarck's German successors. They have cleaned up financially, benefiting from a grossly undervalued Euro that has impoverished most of their competitors. Macron's government, like its Vichy predecessor, is reduced to carrying the German briefcase and supporting the creation of the Fourth Reich.
True to Bismarck's script, after economic and monetary union, the EU plan is for fiscal, political and military union. Fiscal union is inevitable if the Euro is to survive. Political union requires only a few tweaks. Military union is the cherry on the imperial cake. Eurocorps established in 1992 by Germany and France, and confirmed by the Treaty of Strasbourg in 1994, is its embryo. An army has always been the EU's aim. Article 42.3 of the Treaty of Lisbon requires member states to: "make civilian and military capabilities available to the Union …. to contribute to the objectives defined by the Council." All coordinated by the European Defence Agency. Already, they have Europol and a militarised police force EUROGENDFOR.
Now, Macron and Merkel call for an EU army that will defend the EU against enemies including the USA. They are supported by the EU Commission whose spokesperson said,
"The commission last year (2017) launched a €4.5bn defence fund…"
With a few honourable exceptions, notably the UK, EU members of NATO have failed to live up to their obligations. They are unwilling to pay for their defence, a defence that has kept the peace since 1945 though they can find the money for their own self-aggrandizing army. It is a vivid example of EU priorities.
On November 9th this year, France's Finance minister Bruno Le Maire, told the French-German Business Forum:
"Europe has a choice: nationalism or sovereignty ……. I think Europe has to become an empire again; between the American empire and the Chinese empire."
On the Euro he said it is
"the future of Europe. With Brexit, the Euro Area will account for 85% of European wealth…Every state which isn't a member and saw Britain as an ally… will be led sooner or later to join the Euro Area."
Achieving the EU Empire, he explained is:
"not the responsibility of friendly countries …like the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Finland or Sweden; it will be the responsibility of France and Germany." So much for opt-outs and respect for treaties!
Those with even an elementary knowledge of history will wonder how Europe can become an Empire again, for whenever was it one? This is EU speak at its most Orwellian. Le Maire made much of the need for European Sovereignty; an Imperial dream in which Germany aided by France controls the vassal states that comprise 67% of the empire's population.
Note: Sovereignty for an elite few but servitude for the many sows the seeds of future strife.
The EU elite believe they have cleverly engineered an empire from which there is no escape; an empire established without a democratic mandate and without asking its subjects opinion. But, there is always an escape from injustice. Democrats should be alarmed that the EU already possesses a paramilitary force.Add to that an EU army and we come to Bismarck's end game. The Prussian Empire came into being not through the economic advantages of the Zollverein, but military force; as its founder declared: through "Blood and Iron." Those seeking to repeat history should take time to consider its lessons lest they unleash tragedies on this century equal to those of the last.
After 'Bloody' Mary and Phillip of Spain lost Calais, England turned to the world, and despite having to intervene to stop continental despots from subjugating our neighbours, we have kept our distance from European affairs. Apart from Gibraltar, we never sought expansion in Europe. According to de Gaulle, Churchill told him
"…each time we must choose between Europe and the open sea, we shall always choose the open sea."
Together with the USA, after WW2 we imposed democracy on Germany. Sadly, it seems that too many Europeans are incapable of accepting democracy - as we define it. Perhaps, the EU is simply the manifestation of their preferred way.
For Britain, joining the Common Market was a tragic mistake, one accomplished by lying to the people and ignoring democratic procedure and expectations.We faced an existential threat when Churchill led us. We face one now, for, again, we have leaders and a civil service, who lie to us and thus destroy our democracy and sovereignty.
It is time for democrats - irrespective of political party - to join together to defend our values. Together we must heed the words of our greatest son and choose freedom and the open sea.