Sunday, 30 March 2014

Ukraine: A Sinister Method To The EU's Madness?

Ever since Nigel Farage's incendiary - and absolutely accurate - allegation during his LBC debate with Nick Clegg that the EU had blood on it's hands over Ukraine, we have had a predictable playground level of response suggesting that it shows that Farage - and by extension probably UKIP - supports Vladimir Putin's regime.

Granted, a few brave souls, most notably James Delingpole, has rallied to Farage's defence and pointed out the idiocy of the EU's actions in trying to bring Ukraine into it's orbit: after all, anyone who knew anything about Russian history and it's paranoia of encirclement would know how it would respond even in the most benign of circumstances, let alone when the country still feels wounded and humiliated after it's defeat in the Cold War.

However, a far more interesting question is: why the hell did the EU do it?

Those fews commentators who have bothered to look at the situation have concluded, perhaps correctly, that it is simply a mixture of vanity and arrogance. The EU's quasi-religious fervour towards the European ideal simply blinded it to the manifest dangers involved.

Another probably equally valid interpretation is the desperate need to keep forward momentum: with progress towards economic and monetary union currently stalled thanks to the grotesque consequences of the Euro, EU grandees may have reckoned that the need for progress in at least one area, enlargement, was paramount unless the whole project would start to slip into reverse. So blindly fanatical is the EU in support of it's goals that it would risk confrontation with Russia just to keep the ideal alive.

All perfectly plausible, but isn't there also a case that some kind of limited confrontation with Russia would suit the EU's purposes extremely well?

The fundamental flaw concerning the European project is, of course, the lack of a common European identity. In the immortal words of Enoch Powell: "Europe can never be a democracy because there is no European demos". 

Sooner or later the EU will have to address this fundamental flaw if the EU is to survive: somehow, we must all begin to think of ourselves as Europeans. A gradual introduction of European propaganda into schools and media may work, but only over the very long term. Instead, wouldn't it be easier to unite the people against a common enemy? It's a very old and successful trick, to be sure: Britain was cemented as a concept, for example, by it's constituent Protestant nations'  common fear of the continent's Roman Catholicism.

Here Russia fits the bill perfectly: it is geographically close, it's regime unquestionably sinister and it is just powerful enough to be seen as threatening but not powerful enough to make antagonising it not worth the candle. Moreover, there is still a widespread fear and hatred of Russia, particularly in the EU's eastern european member states, that stems from the memories of Soviet communism. 

Other potential enemies arguably don't work nearly so well. The far more real threat of militant Islam is simply too dangerous too confront, given the potential for sectarian conflagration that could result in scores of European cities. America is extremely powerful but a liberal democracy which no one seriously imagines has military designs on Europe. China is too geographically distant and is militarily still puny despite it's growing economic clout.

So a Russian bogeyman works best, but could it still really be the case that the EU would be so reckless, and so cynical, to deliberately poke the Russian bear with a stick? 

In life, it is generally best not to believe conspiracy theories, and to suggest that the EU's primary motive for it's idiotic Ukrainian policy was to resurrect the Russian bogeyman may well be going too far. Then again, the construction of the European Union has been a giant conspiracy against the people from the start. One cannot entirely rule out the idea that the EU did factor in the benefits, as well the risks, of provoking Russia into taking action against Ukraine, and moved accordingly.

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