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02 February 2017

The Nemesis

This is a translation into English of an article originally written in Portuguese for BomDia.eu.
I had in a previous career a diplomatic post where I helped bring down the Soviet Union. So maybe there's another union that needs a little taming.
It was this way that Theodore Malloch described the functions he will soon take by the EU, as ambassador of the USA. This is in no way a lapsos linguae, but rather a symptom of an overt drive by the USA to dismantle the EU. The support provided by the US government to euro-phobic politicians, or the announced arrival to Europe of BreitbartNews (an extreme right propaganda medium whose director integrates the new US government) are other pieces of the same puzzle.

Irrespectively of the credibility one may lend to personalities like Theodore Malloch, it is important to understand the root of this threat to the European Union.

In politics, the menace posed by an arch-enemy is an useful mean to unification and mobilisation. The USA largely own their existence to the perception of a threat common to different and dispersed colonies of the XVIII century: a ruthless imperial power. It was the fight against this common enemy the brought about a political edifice of unprecedented social and geographic reach.

After troubled decades in the XIX century, the USA re-discovered in the XX century the federative power of an arch-enemy. Built on entirely different political and economic systems, the USSR filled in that role perfectly in the half century that followed the II World War. But by the turn of the XXI century little was left of Soviet Communism.

An ideological void opened that had to be filled. Between the Maastricht treaty (1993) and the Lisbon treaty (2007), the EU became one of the largest political constructions of History, ending up taking the role of that great, federative and mobilising rival. Slowly, successive American pundits were able to find in the European values remnants of their old communist arch-enemy.

Institutions such as the national health system, public education, the national pension system, the unemployment subsidy, Flex-security, labour law, the 25 days of yearly vacation (in the USA are just 10), guaranteed minimum income and all other mechanisms that form the European Welfare State are today equated by American ideologues to the planned economy system of the old USSR.

The control christian-democrats have detained for over twenty years on the destiny of Europe and the recent hecatomb of the European social-democrat parties matter little. It is the European social matrix itself, based on the principles of solidarity, equality and fraternity, to be perceived as a threat by modern American opinion makers.

Heretofore common values such as democracy, freedom of speech or economic liberalism over-seeded these differences in social philosophy; today this is no longer the case. For large numbers of Americans the European Union is a Socialist stronghold that must be defeated.

The break down of negotiations on the free trade agreement between the EU and the USA is not extraneous to this development. Beyond the destruction of the Welfare State and the erosion of the charter of fundamental rights, this offensive against the EU also embodies commercial goals. A weak and fragmented Europe will not only be permeable to American ideology, it will be so to American corporations too.

In its rush to find alternative markets to fill the void of its extraction from the EU, the UK seeks now a bilateral free trade agreement with the US. From the other side of the Atlantic emanate pre-conditions that illustrate well these commercial goals, as is the requirement for the UK to privatise its national health system, for example.

Are these worrying developments? Yes, if we fail to identify those that are nothing more than puppets of this offensive against our rights, our principles and our social well being.

Delaying the European integration process will soon stop being an option. Not because the EU is a perfect construction, rather because, in spite of all its flaws and lacks, it remains the main protection around our way of life.

And after all, just as the USA root their cohesion on an arch-enemy, finding the Nemesis of the EU might well become the thrust needed to finally cast the European construction on a successful track.