EDITOR’S NOTE: This piece appears in the April 11, 2005, issue of National Review.
The last building blocks of the European Union are being set in place, and a weird unfathomable process it is too. A dozen of the 25 countries involved are to hold referendums to ratify the continent-wide constitution already approved by their leaders; the others are ramming the issue through by executive or legislative means. The majority of European governments, in other words, including the all-important German government, have found some way of avoiding the test of public opinion in order to consummate the federal empire now in full view. Public opinion nevertheless compelled President Jacques Chirac to concede a referendum to be held on May 29. Polls show that rejection by the French of the constitution is possible, maybe probable, precipitating who knows what kind of a crisis.
What’s up? Why so much furtiveness? The most convincing answer comes in The Great Deception, a recent magisterial history of the EU, by Christopher Booker and Richard North. They show how decade after decade a small self-selected clique of politicians has worked single-mindedly to create a supranational Europe. In their own eyes, these politicians are visionaries, but they have always known that they could never carry voters with them, and therefore they had to conceal their goal: Deception was implicit, even structural to the project, according to Booker and North. The intention was to confront people with a fait accompli about which they could do nothing–and that is what today’s constitution is designed to finalize irrevocably.
The Cold War years divided Europe into one half under Soviet rule, and the other under the protection of the United States. The consistent ambition of the Soviets, and the many Communist parties subservient to them, and fellow-traveling Socialists as well, was to weaken the American presence, and if possible, remove it altogether from the continent. One way or another, the EU has taken up where the Soviets left off, and is proving more successful: Look at the doubtful future of NATO, the growing European army, the relocation of American troops and bases out of Germany, Franco-German efforts to stymie the United States over Iraq, the lifting of the arms embargo on China, uncritical sponsorship of the PLO, and much else besides…
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