In common with other fortunate folk, I have just enjoyed time out of life on the latest NR cruise. While we were sailing in the sunshine oblivious to events, the international order was shaking to pieces that little bit faster. So many decisions taken by the powers-that-be are irrational or mistaken that we have no choice except to endure. To step off the cruise ship and catch up with what’s happening in the Middle East and Europe illustrates the great human lesson that actions really do have consequences, and we all have to pay the price for rulers or politicians who behave as if that wasn’t the case.
Egypt is in the hands of a few senior officers who have no intention of giving up their financial and political hold on the country. The Muslim Brotherhood believes the moment has come to start a test of strength. The Brothers are dragging hapless liberals along with them into protesting in Tahrir Square in the centre of Cairo. The military junta is responding with force, and it is an illusion to suppose that this is any kind of solution. Syria is in the hands of Bashar Assad and his family, and there again the Muslim Brothers are dragging hapless liberals along with them into protesting ever more violently. Civil war is quite likely, with the further spectre of intervention by outside powers such as Turkey or Iran, even the United States and NATO. Responsible for the irrational and mistaken measures that have led to these crises, the Egyptian committee of generals and Bashar and his hangers-on show themselves incapable of comprehending how human beings react. All they seem able to do is to count their money and their guns.
The European Union proves an equally efficient mechanism for destabilization. The governments of Greece and Italy, Portugal and Ireland, have been put through the inflexible grinder devised by the Eurocrats to serve their interests, and now it is the turn of Spain. As outgoing prime minister, Luis Zapatero gladly fulfilled all the demands the EU made of him, and has consequently and deservedly lost the trust of the voters. His successor, Mariano Rajoy, nominally a conservative, has no prospect of being able to make the rational policy choices that might rescue the country. No government can expect to survive in conditions when politicians and bureaucrats in other countries are able to impose their will upon them.
The Arab Spring has long since been a misnomer for the attempt to introduce more rational governance. The European Spring with luck will not involve resorting to force and bloodshed in the Arab style, but it will last so long as the Eurocrats refuse to understand that the malignant turn of events is the outcome of their illusions and mistakes.