The election of Nicolas Sarkozy as the new President of France caused an unprecedented wave of enthusiasm among many political analysts on the right, as they see him as a sort of ‘French Thatcher or Reagan’. The same occurred with the election of current German Chancellor Angela Merkel in 2005. I am sorry to say that any big hope on these new leaders is misplaced and exaggerate. While there is no doubt that they can contribute to heal some diplomatic wounds and strenghten transatlantic relations deteriorated under previous governments, as well as adopting a more credible foreign policy, the overall scenario is not the one some are expecting and hoping for.
Most of the editorial columns I read over the past few days were written by U.S.based pundits that seem to have little or no idea about the complexity of the European mentality. History should have shown that the West has never been a monolithic block; rather, it has been always divided by a deep cultural gap separating the Anglo-Saxon world from Continental Europe, with the first proving to be the winning model. Very few are those who are willing to concede that Continental Europe is suffering from a slow but inexorable decline, very hard to stop, at least in the short time.
The youths are exasperated for the lack of job opportunities and their only alternative is to leave their homeland and move elsewhere in order build a future of their own. Those who can’t move are doomed to live with their parents even after the 30, either because of the high costs of rental houses or the low salaries and pensions their parents earn. National governments have been for years promising drastic and sometimes ‘unpopular’ reforms to reverse the negative trend, but the reality on the ground makes it extremely hard — let alone impossible — to take courageous steps into the right direction. During the 2001 election campaign, former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi had stirred up hope when he proclaimed himself ‘ready to modernize the country’ and ‘make a Thatcherite revolution’. The illusion lasted just a couple of months. He was unable to deliver promises, mostly because of strong pressure on part of his very coalition’s parties and the labor unions. Some not very familiar with the history and culture of non-Anglosaxon Europe ignore that the Right here is far from being free market-oriented.
While the Left has never denied to be anti-capitalist, the bigger problem is that — at least so far — there exists no modern and politically-mature Right that once and for all get rid of the belief that Mussolini was a ‘statesman’: on the contrary, sadly many still believe the latter. Similarily, quite the same can be said of the right-leaning politicians in the rest of sourthern Europe. Even the very few who attempted to pave the way for a free trader change, clashed with a part of society that is not willing to sacrifice their own interests and privileges. Labor unions are so powerful that they often influence governments’ decisions and blackmail by threatening multiple public strikes unless the status quo is kept. The major obstacle to a radical reform of the stagnant systems in each countries of this part of the world, however, is the culture and mentality of the people themselves. Overall, a significant number of people see the rich (that is, the enterpreuner) as the exploiter and the poor as the innocent victim who needs to be protected by the State, no matter that he does nothing to earn a living on his own.
Notwithstanding everyone’s quite aware that things are going from bad to worse, there seems to be huge indifference on the fate of their countries and societies. On the contrary, a slight majority of European citizens are demanding that the bureaucrats in Brussels act as a counterweight to what their sick mentality sees as the worst threat to world’s peace: the United States, the very country that rushed into their rescue when the Nazis — whom the Euros helped bring to power and engineer the Holocaust — were murdering them in their thousands.
Anti-americanism in Europe is very strong and widespread and isn’t going to disappear anytime soon, regardless of the political tendency of the governments in charge. Its roots lie on a widespread jealousy for the progress and success of the Anglo-Saxon model in all of its respects, something they won’t admit. It would be high time to stop believing that the Continent can somehow be again a reliable ally in the war on terror, because it is quite the opposite. It looks like Europe hasn’t actually understood the nature of an enemy who threats the survival of the civilization as a whole. The appalling results of polls about war on terror, Israel, America, Iranian nuclear weapons and so on, offer us more evidence about the astounding ignorance that exists and is hard to die.
After all, what should we expect from those who let themselves be brainwashed by the Hollywood lefties and lay down a red carpet to opportunists like Michael Moore, who go around spreading falsities and telling exactly what they want to hear? I may sound too pessimistic, but the economic, moral and social decline of the Old Continent is a matter of fact and is visible to everyone who wants to see it. If there is any chance to stop it and revert the course, it will depend on whether the very same Europeans will put their false superiority complex aside and realize that ‘becoming Anglo-Saxon’ is the only medicine capable of treating their disease.
But don’t hold your breath. That’s mere utopia.