by Dr. Monroe Mann, PhD, Esq, MBA, ME, LLM, EMT
I’m pleased to report that my prediction came true: the EU just lost a member and the UK is now a free and independent nation once again! If you haven’t read what I wrote two days ago, I suggest you read that one first, about why Brexit came to be, to provide some context. Read it here.
While most of the world is clamoring about how horrible Brexit is, and predicting that the British pound will never recover, blah blah, I continue to remind everyone that:
a) this was inevitable
b) this is good for the world
c) this is ultimately good for the UK, and
d) this is a harbinger of things to come, so if you didn’t like THIS, you may not like what comes next.
What comes next? The UK regains its importance as world leader, side by side with the USA; a re-emergence of the pound as a world currency of great importance (being a part of the EU diminished its caché in the world); and yes, further erosion of the EU.
Granted, the UK has an easier time getting out of the EU simply because they don’t have to ‘recreate their currency’, but aside from that, there is no doubt that even countries within the eurozone are going to start having their own discussions about what is best for their unique PEOPLE, their unique LANGUAGES, their unique CULTURES, and their unique HISTORIES. The EU just lost one of its two most powerful economies (the other, of course, being Germany, which is still a part of the EU and EMU… but for how long?).
Now, of course, there is a big difference between the UK and continental Europe. I have, in fact, always believed that the UK has far more in common with the USA than it does with continental Europe. The UK is an island. The USA, while not an island, is only bordered on the northern and southern sides, and far away from all other continents to its east and west. The UK and the USA share the same language and… in many ways, the same history too: former colonial relationship; major allies in World War II; and now, they have both declared independence from a great power.
Therefore, the EU will continue. However, I believe its power has reached its zenith, unless the countries are willing to relinquish some political, military, and economic power in favor of a more traditional federal type of system. As I mentioned in my earlier post however, this is highly unlikely to happen, due to the reasons of differing cultures, languages, and histories. France has French pride in a way that New York does not have New York pride. We New Yorkers are proud to be New Yorkers, but we are FAR more proud to be Americans, and again, therein lies the big difference.
Moving forward, the next question is: which country is going to start grumbling about the EU next? Might it be one of the Scandinavian countries, so far north? Might it be Germany itself, recognizing that the rest of the EU is dragging down their economy? Or might it be one of the weaker economics of Spain, Portugal, Italy, or Greece, believing that their economic plight might actually improve if they could make their own decisions?
When the EU began, there was some merit to it, and it was a small bloc of countries. Now, it seems every country and its cousin wants to join. The very fact that the EU is even considering bringing Turkey into the EU is shocking. It has nothing to do with the fact that Turkey is primarily a muslim nation. It has to do with the fact that Turkey is not a part of Europe! Sure, Istanbul is an amazingly beautiful city, and one that unlike any other in the world uniquely melds both the east and the west (and you NEED to go see it), but… Istanbul is but a sliver of the country. It’s a gorgeous city on the FAR WESTERN EDGE of the country. As soon as you leave Istanbul towards the east, you are most certainly in the middle east. Guess what countries border Turkey to the east? Maybe you’ve heard of them: Syria. Iraq. Um… Iran. Take a look at a map. If Turkey is admitted, what of those middle eastern countries is next?
Now, if Istanbul wanted to secede from Turkey (which is likely to never happen), that might be another story entirely, because there are indeed western influences in Istanbul that in many ways outweigh the eastern ones. But to even consider bringing Turkey into the EU shows just how crazy things have gotten.
The original 1958 countries were: Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands. Five countries. How many members are there today? 28. Oh, scratch that: 27 once we remove the UK. TWENTY SEVEN.
And guess who is on deck to become a member: Albania, Montenegro, Serbia, Former Macedonia, and yes, Turkey. But that’s not all. There’s also Bosnia and Herzegovina, plus Kosovo. It’s a mad house of countries who want the benefit of a unified currency, but refuse to unify the politics, the military, the languages, or the cultures. Yet they want to grow bigger, and bigger, and bigger (but in a super strange and off-kilter sort of way that makes no sense whatsoever).
Why has the EU grown so big in the last 50+ years? Precisely because the countries don’t really have to give up much of anything. It’s a chimera. They think they can get something for nothing. They want to have their cake and eat it too (which is an expression I have never understood because it is illogical. If I have a cake, what’s wrong with me eating it, huh? I guess the point is that after you eat it, you will no longer have it, but it’s still stupid. And yet, I used it nonetheless, so I’m a hypocrite!) My point is that if becoming a part of the EU required the abandoning of a national language, and abandoning certain traditions, and unifying behind the culture of EUROPE rather than the culture of your country… no one would join. Think about that for a moment: none of these countries wants to become “European”; they want to join the “European Union”. Therein lies a huge difference.
A better (but never going to happen) solution would be to create smaller unifications, i.e. Germany and Austria join together into one TRUE country. France and Spain. Italy and Switzerland. Let’s call them Germanria; Frain; and Italiland. Ha ha. Sounds pretty horrible, and guess what: that’s exactly why what is happening in Europe is just ultimately unworkable on a greater scale than it already is. There can and never will be a unification of Europe. That is, until and unless they rally behind a single president, which again, will not happen except by some miracle.
So what does this mean? It means the EU needs to stop accepting new members. It needs to establish VERY strict economic guidelines and if you don’t meet them, you get kicked out. There can be no bailouts. It needs to start focusing on creating a European identity that is greater than the national identities. All of this is extremely difficult… if not impossible.
There is only one certainty regarding the future of the EU: if it continues to grow simply as an economic union, with no measures to unify in other ways—while it may not be destined for failure, it will certainly never be destined for greatness. And that’s good. As I’ve mentioned before, the greatness of Europe is not in its unification, but rather, in the individual awesomeness of every distinct country, language, culture, and history. THAT is Europe. Not some arbitrary and largely fake collection of countries who claim they are unified but in fact are anything but.
When I go to Europe, I’m not going to Europe: I’m going to France. I’m going to Germany. I’m going to Norway. I’m going to Spain. I’m going to Italy. That’s the way it’s always been, and in all great likelihood, the way it’s always going to remain.