Europe was seemingly lost for a couple of days. The end of European History was cast aside by Brexit. The unthinkable now brought the EU to the brink of destruction and stock markets plummeted and in Brussels Monsieur Juncker reportedly refused to speak English due the British insolence of withdrawing from the EU in an open and democratic election and the fact that British nationalism was to blame. He would then only speak French as a token of his anti-nationalist stance? Perhaps it was also due to the burning of Joan of Arc or the outcome of the Battle of Agincourt as well? Who knows?
One might joke about the sometimes childish attitude displayed in European politics, both from those who are pro- and anti-EU. However the jokes quickly wears off given the watershed that we now face. No one really knows what the relations between Britain and the EU will be like? Nigel Farage (UKIP) told the EU-Parliament to behave in a grown up manner and adhere to free trade and so on. This wasn´t met with much enthusiasm however from the pro-camp. On the other hand MEP Farage had just before “rubbed their noses in it.” If the EU will allow Britain access to its common market we will just have to wait and see?
From a geopolitical perspective things may become radically different. Will Scotland declare independence and join the EU and if so, what happens with Scapa Flow? The Royal Navy is a corner stone in NATO and the British Trident-submarines essential in the Northern Atlantic as a deterrent in against Russia. However there is a popular majority in Scotland against nuclear weapons on Scottish soil.
On the continent French and German officials have begun chiseling the basis of the new European statehood without the British. The basis for the new “Pax Europeae”. However the Poles don´t seem to keen to put their resources too much unconditionally under Brussels rule, even calling it extortion. Perhaps the Poland’s historical experience with being run from Moscow (albeit the capital of Russia was then St. Petersburg), Berlin and Vienna is making an impact even though nationalism as a true power within the EU was somewhat declared obsolete with the Treaty of Lisbon, or at least thought so.
In the age of the new “Pax Europeae” the new EU will be more effective, with joined security and projection capabilities. Germany and France will lead the way..
Wait a minute. Doesn’t this start to sound somewhat reminiscent of the Habsburg Dual Monarchy? You know, the one that participated in the the three partitions of Poland?
And wasn’t it the Habsburg Dual Monarchy that led the road to Europe’s first great disaster in the summer of 1914 by taking on Serbian nationalism and separatism after Gavrilo Princip’s fatal shots i Sarajevo? The Serbians then being supported by the slavic big brother to the East, Russia. Russia on it´s side being ready to seize the Habsburg province of Galizia in what today is Ukraine.
As we all know things did not end well for the dynasty in Vienna, the different peoples increasingly felt less and less belonging to rule of the Emperor and the Austro-Hungarian elite so it was ultimately nationalism in the various provinces in combination with the war on the Eastern and Italian fronts that broke the spine of the Habsburg Empire. After much turmoil new nations arose somewhat in line with President Woodrow Wilson´s ideas based upon the thought of one people one nation.
Doesn’t the current situation in Europe sound a bit like the runners up to the situation the Habsburg Empire ultimately ended up in? A threatening Russia to the East, although now the rumbling is in the Ukraine and not in Bosnia and nationalists within the Empire’s borders threatening the cohesion of the Empire since the elite is failing to secure popular support in the provinces?
Wouldn’t it be a much better idea to actually learn something from the History books and come to the conclusion that the EU needs less of “Europe”and more of securing self determination with actual democratic rule under a mutual umbrella? I wonder however if Emperor Jos..Sorry, Juncker, agrees?