Calibration of our cannons

In Europe on 28. February 2017 at 22:43

THERE ARE SOME hard facts and realizations that are erupting in Europe. The coming surge of a nationalistic and inward-looking order is evident. It might be seemed a new trend, though many a countries have experienced just that.


We witness a stagnating and regional hegemonic Russia, completely different from the one born out from the worn out Union. We see an Administration in D. C. that tries to hollow out our main institutions of unity and security and we see an uncertainty, eruption of conflict and open war with people in need and refuge from south.

Solutions are many, and problems seems to be even more. However, Europe has what it needs to counter the tide, her cannons just needs a recalibration. Only abbreviation and threat to an isolationist and authoritarian tendency is exactly the liberal democratic order that dominates much of Europe, and until recently something to emulate around the globe.


Europe has delivered to the world, after itself being the inheritors of knowledge from other parts of the world, magnificent development through its age of enlightenment – it is at present nowhere near to lose this position in the turbulent to come decades.

The uncertain aspect of a Trump-Presidency is not that uncertain as time will tell. The first days did mark a chaotic situation where executive orders and twitter-statements were considered the order of the day – with time passing by, we know these sayings and signings have their limits. That a Congress is ready to strike back and that the correction will come in due time.

These limits will safeguards the relations, expectations and synergies on variety of political fields between Europe and USA. But an Administration has its powers, and it can stretch them. While Trump will witness a strait jacket, he will also witness success in other areas, and those areas will at most damage the international order that we combined strive for.

D.C. has already planned increasing its own defense budgets with a record nine percent, while cutting its share deal of spending on aid and global institutions. These cuts and more will need to be filled, if not permanently, then at least for a limited time.

Trade between Europe and US is one issue, but the security arrangement through NATO is of upmost importance. Not only will NATO be a necessity, despite a pressure for Europeans to pay up more, it will also be more actively in use, as deterrence against eastern aggression.

Interestingly enough its scope will be limited as similar alliances are up and coming, and they are already experiencing to solve major tasks in their regions – African Standby Forces is the African Unions peacekeeping force that has operated in averting several coups, or hindered civil wars.

NATO, it turns out, is not obsolete, it is being emulated for rather the good. An increased interaction with Europe’s counterparts in Africa will make sure local ownership in solutions, and a stable neighborhood down south.


The current situation has been slow to materialize, but also slow to be comprehended. That established parties would loose to popular anger, was no surprise, but its impact being a hijacking of popular resentment, by the very same policies and parties that create more resentment did break many a expectations.

Yet all is not lost – and all is not out of control. A disruption is not necessarily bad, as long as the progressive and liberal agenda is preserved. A counter-reaction to a tribalistic order is already at place, and it has managed to grab popular resentment and steered it towards a more enlightened, and progressive direction.

Many a pundits did term Austrian Presidential election a first victory after a year with setbacks in the form of BrExit and the Electoral College victory of Donald J. Trump. It is the wrong way to identify the counter punch.

Isolation has been tried out before without success – when economic meltdown, social resentment is at display, there will be anger. Fringe movements will take the helm of such an anger. Though the opposite, inclusion will not solve the issue either. BrExit was possible with the help of mainstream parties, and Trump won the election on the platform of the GOP establishment. An ‘alternative’-truth movement will shed away any hint of inconsequence or hypocrite behavior, as long as it can grab a popular resentment against imagined elites.

In London the counter came – with the campaigning and election of a centrist Labor candidate as Mayor. Sadiq Khan had to face attacks from his main contender in the established Tory party, which tried to sail the same rhetoric as right-wing had expressed earlier. Khan won, and with it, proved that social policies, aimed at the greater masses were the key to catch and address popular resentment.

Emmanuel Macron of the newly found En Marche! movement has too done success on portraying himself of the people – despite recently being a part of Government and the Socialist Party. While Le Pens policies are being emulated by Republican Fillon, and while latter struggles to stay head in race, Macron has become the movement that eats both massively from the Socialists, and from the Republicans as well.

At present what to expect is that the tribalist wave will have its victories in election after election, any deviation from this is to be considered a success. If France is bagged by Macron, the counter-tide has succeeded – if Holland can give itself a stable Government for the next period without a Wilders it has succeeded, if Germany continues with either Merkel or Schulz at helm it has turned the tables. If not – the mobilization has already galvanized, if not now, then next time.

Rebuilding the legitimacy of our liberal and progressive order is difficult, while damaging it is excessively easy. But the values of tolerance, equality, rule of law, freedoms of expression, of information and of print, needs to be again popularized, and they will be if they are delivered with policies that address inequality, insecurity, inflation and unemployment.


The national interest of individual European countries is in overall the same as the combined national interest of Europe. The latter is closely aligned with stability and security in our immediate neighboring regions

Our collective interest is in a Europe that turns more democratic. With it, addressing the challenges in our eastern parts, and the homegrown turn to authoritarianism, our stance on Russia regarding Crimea-annexation is what other Europeans should expect and trust, and our policy eastwards should be that of a deterrence, increased support for democratic movements and increased support for dissidents, activists and free-media in exile

Northern Africa has for decades been the unstable factor, falsely believed to be stable under strongmen and dictators. With increased demand for rights, the region is in fire and the result has for now only given Tunisia as a positive outcome of popular resolve. It is in European interest to help improve the democratic struggle in this island among unstable nations, but also support democratization of the entire region.

Egypt can at any time again erupt in popular protests, while Libya is in stalemate where UN brokered ceasefires tries to inch towards a solution. These uncertain moments needs to be more predictable – and hence our interference in the form of sheltering activists, giving voice to the voiceless and being principled for people right to administer themselves, should not be considered something of a domestic matter – be it Morocco’s occupation of Western Sahara, or Turkeys drift towards strongman-rule.


Populism is politics, and is as old as politics itself – or rather, modern politics is the result of a healthy progressive populism. It is founded on the will of the majority, but our institutions have a moral guidance in their constitutions that safeguards individuals from breaches in their rights – hence, the majority cannot always be right – but a majority does define a share deal, task is to steer it towards a solution.

The healthy kind of populism, does not find a breach between safeguarding borders, with that of helping those in need, or that reducing inequality does necessary means to oppose financial or customs unions. The healthy kind entrusts the central values on which its states did make success and reforms and refines it to a new level of success and stability.

Europe do need a collective action to safeguard it remain a powerhouse for rights and the liberal order. It should not be taken for granted, that the rights our intellectuals thought forth, our citizens fought for, and our politicians implemented, will stay so forever. Rights and duties define our states structures – and they should at all times be maintained – and further be refined.


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