Monday, February 9, 2009

The New European Politics

By Douglas Kohn

In stark contrast to America, it seems that Old Europe is taking a different turn politically.

After years of lagging behind the United States both in economic growth and in the ability to assimilate immigrants, ordinary Europeans are bringing center right governments to power all over the continent, lead by the charge of the nativists.

Europe’s inability to assimilate its mostly Islamic immigrants stands in stark contrast to the US. In America, in every poll Americans are overwhelmingly open to legal immigration, but paranoid of the illegal kind which threatens our cultural integrity and is a drain on our resources.

It started with Germany, when in 2005 Angela Merkel led Germany’s Christian Democrat Union to electoral victory over Gerhard Shroder’s Social Democrat Union. Germany has gradually begun to tackle some of its long term problems such as a social safety net that is unsustainable with a low birth rate.

Next was France, where Nicholas Sarkozy has proven himself quite a dynamic leader by Continental European Standards and has also begun to implement reforms and is thoroughly resisting the pressure of massive strikes to free up markets.

Now comes our old mother country, the United Kingdom. The Conservative Party has generally been the favored party in British elections and is now staged for a massive comeback. The Labour Party coalition was largely held together by the force of Tony Blair’s remarkable political ability, charm and no nonsense leadership that embraced markets, an Atlanticist foreign policy and led years of sustained economic growth and shared prosperity in the Island.

Gordon Brown, his successor, while a competent politician, has none of the charisma and agreeableness of his predecessor. Polls show a significant lead for the Conservatives under their young leader, David Cameron. This is particularly interesting because it shoots a hole in the notion that politics in Britain and America follow similar trends.

Italy, while recently moving to the right is so corrupt that it is aptly named the new sick man of Europe. Silvio Berlusconi is a man many Conservatives should like to be able to agree with but his personal corruption bodes ill for the sunny peninsula.

The Czech Republic is an interesting case, although it is a small country. Its leader, Vaclav Klaus, is widely regarded as a grumpy old man. It is important to mention them because the Czech Republic is now holding the rotating EU presidency. Klaus has referred to Al Gore as ‘an apostle of arrogance,’ denied global warming, affirmed the right of countries (Israel specifically) to defend themselves from terror, opposed government intervention in the economy to try to re-inflate bubbles that have long since burst and promotes economic prudence everywhere.

The holdout of major powers on the Continent seems to be Spain. In 2003, Jose Maria Aznar was the Conservative Prime Minister but his views on just about everything were significantly to the right of the Spanish public. He sent Spanish troops to Iraq when 90% of Spaniards were opposed to cooperation with the United States. After Spain was attacked by Al Qaeda in 2004, the new Prime Minister, Zapatero immediately pulled Spain out of Iraq, which in my opinion was a show of weakness even though Iraq may not have been necessary.

Now, a far left attitude prevails all over Spain combined with ignorant policies. Spain recently granted basic human rights to apes. The population is unwilling to change governments because they rightly view the financial crisis and housing bust as not being Zapatero’s fault. But it would seem the country at large has fallen into a cultural ignorance that will greatly harm its future.

It seems that the left is taking a time out in Europe. This is the first time in the Post War histories of most European countries that the left has not fared better in the polls during recession.

1 comment:

Phil said...

Very interesting piece. The decline in leftist governments in Europe is an interesting phenomena. Perhaps Europeans are returning to their small-government, free-market routes. If only Americans would do the same...