Ursula von der Leyen won by eight votes. That was her margin of victory.
Angela Merkel wanted one of her own and her supposed heir apparent before she was dumped. So, Europe is now led by an inept, corrupt stooge who pretends to be a head of state. This, she decidedly is not.
The Brussels aristocracy wanted to impose a presidential candidate selected by the European Parliament’s political parties during the election way back in May 2019.
Falling into line, the European Socialists came to the aid of the center-Right’s U-turn on their own presidential candidate, Manfred Weber, another German who took one for the team.
The centrist Liberals, led by Emmanuel Macron’s own forces, also voted in lockstep, as expected. Poland’s government actually pushed the unappreciated candidate, who is scandal-ridden, over the finish line. She even plagiarized her doctoral thesis and got away with it! Not to mention her family pedigree: high-ranking Nazis.
Par for the course. It is the EU, after all.
More surprising was the support of the Greens, traditionally in opposition to the centrist establishment. Their performance in the election surprised everyone.
That they would so quickly turn their backs on their historical environmental stances confirms the suspicions of many Eurosceptics—supposedly of the Left, supposedly environmentalist, they voted in a center-right figure with no bona fides on either count. Lacking a Green head of state in the European Council, they were, as the old saw goes, not at the table, therefore on the menu.
Of all the votes that put Ursula von der Leyen, aka VDL, in power however, none were more unexpected than those of the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR).
The ECR, formed by British PM David Cameron after the 2014 edition of this electoral contest, was mainly composed of the heavily Eurosceptic Polish PiS Party and the British Conservatives, along with a number of other similar parties. The Tory wipeout in 2019 (losing all but 4 seats, including the ECR leader, Syed Kamall of London) was probably a factor in the decision to enthrone VDL.
That the ECR would swing the election for the EPP, the party they all left in 2014, was disgraceful.
Blocking VDL would have been a victory for Eurosceptics of all stripes. Enforcing the much maligned, spitzenkandidat process also would have made the EU a little more democratic, which it desperately needs to be. It was, after all, an idea of one of the great European Federalists (the opposite of a Eurosceptic) Martin Schulz, himself a spitzenkandidat for the socialists in 2014.
The prospect of an alliance of Eurosceptics and Federalists was quashed with the lashings of parliamentary whips and patronage—the smokiest of smoke-filled back rooms.
ECR had put forward their own presidential candidate—Jan Zahradil, a Czech.
Like Weber, Zahradil had no executive experience—but then, VDL hasn’t been Chancellor of Germany, either.
ECR shied away from coalescing with the political parties to its right. Had it had more courage, it would have assembled a group large enough to surpass the center-right EPP—becoming the largest group, with the first dibs on the presidency of the European Commission.
Instead, Nigel Farage’s massive victory in the UK—becoming the largest party in the European Parliament—was wasted on the non-aligned independent group, a mishmash of rejects that doesn’t fit into any of the serious parties.
The notion that the Eurosceptics could have forced the 500-odd other MEPs to vote for Zahradil was pure fantasy.
But playing by the rules of the centrists, the railroading through of VDL would have been a much costlier operation. Already tying themselves in knots to double back from their spitzenkandidats, the center’s self-serving, hypocritical nature would have been exposed for all to see.
Blocking her would have thrown a spanner in the works and forced the center to reconsider much of their received wisdom. As things stand, the center has taken the result of the election as a green light to continue with—business as usual. The statist EU cannot change—it is undemocratic by definition. VDL is its very embodiment.
One can only imagine the seething rage that Manfred Weber, having dodged these many bullets—second place in Germany, the prospect of a Eurosceptic party larger than his—and still not getting the spot he campaigned for. One might almost invite him to the Eurosceptic parties!
The Reign of VDL
So, you might rightfully ask: what has VDL produced in her reign?
She’s allowed a dyed-in-the-wool socialist, Josep Borrel, to run the EU’s foreign policy. An old-school, anti-imperialist, anti-Israel, pro-Chavista leftie, one is almost reassured that the embryonic European foreign policy establishment has yet to show any teeth.
The presidency of the EU parliament, another of the great plum posts, went to an Italian socialist, (even though his own country doesn’t want him) with the attending consequences for European legislation.
Having been Germany’s weak defense minister since 2014, with the responsibility to implement the NATO commitment from Wales—extracted by President Obama and more than supported by President Trump—that NATO allies would spend two percent of their GDP on defense, VDL has shown very little mettle in delivering any of these priorities. Her leadership on most everything has been nonexistent. She has no leadership qualities whatsoever. Her failed policies on COVID, vaccines, the economy, and just about everything she touches have made her about as popular as Joe Biden.
German defense spending remains at 1.2 percent of GDP, where it was when she assumed leadership of the armed forces of the Bundesrepublik. Her predilections appear to be more for a redundant EU army than the survival of NATO, although the Ukraine war has complicated that urge.
In other words, VDL wasn’t a head of state, she wasn’t a candidate to lead the EU, and her record wasn’t any indication of competence, skill, or courage. Shed a tear for Europe. They got what they deserved. No group in the damaged EU has its act together. Not the center, not the Eurosceptics, not even the much-celebrated Greens.
With a political class like this, is it any surprise the place is coming apart at the seams? Is it any surprise that Trump completely dismissed them or that the globalist Biden has wrapped them up close as the savior of the world? Europeans sunk their own continent, and then America, into two sad episodes: World War I and World War II.. It was German hegemony, imperialistic militarism, and ideological arrogance that caused both sorry and costly affairs.
There were some 17 million people killed in World War I and 60 million in World War II.
Trump less-than-gently reminded Europe that America saved their asses, rebuilt their countries, and has sustained their peace. They owe us a note of thanks and appreciation and should shoulder their own defense bills. And perhaps occasionally, they should nod to the significant American sacrifice of blood, sweat, and tears made on their behalf.
Macron, now newly reelected, running in his globalist direction, wants to decry military power while calling for a new EU army, end the nation state, and contain rising populism. He is for everything Trump was against and it is time to take note.
A History Lesson and a Look Forward
We should give him and the Eurocrats a history lesson, given the tendency towards rewriting history on the European continent, which must be addressed. The EU has mistakenly taken to claiming credit for the postwar peace. You hear it all the time in European capitals and among their ruling classes. That is a patent lie.
This was a peace, which was and is held together by NATO, the American bases peppered throughout Germany, and the nuclear weapons we parked in Turkey and Holland. Never forget it was the American burden and our contribution in blood and might that secured European freedom. Of course, parts of the Old World, being victimized by Soviet Communism so shortly after Nazism, might rightly ask what peace we speak of?
Decades of oppression gave rise to the heroes of the anti-communist Solidarity Movement and Saint John Paul II the Great, who smiles down on us. They were the ones who saw the better life their people could have and had the real courage to take it—to transform history.
Shall the European Union take credit for their courage too?
But enough about the past. The future is what we should care and think most about. Biden and his foreign policy experts would cede or share it equally with the faulty EU. An utter and complete mistake.
The great question of the day across all of Europe, East and West, is whether or not to form a federal entity, completely suborning the nation-state to a larger and undemocratic union. There may be many reasons, on paper or in theory, for the idea to be appealing. Unfortunately, some ideas are better left on paper. The identities that make up those European places have been forged through the fire and the flames of thousands of years of history and civilization. To try and subsume them into one larger and homogenous single “European identity” is pure fantasy. To force them through a homogenizing meat grinder is a serious crime.
Even America, with a history much shorter than almost any European country, made up entirely of the outcasts and pioneers who bravely opted into the American idea, had trouble forming a cohesive whole. When brother turned against brother in the Civil War in 1865, General Robert E. Lee, who would command the rebel forces of the Southern secessionists, gave a justification for his defection from the unionist cause saying: “I cannot draw my sword against my fellow Virginians.” His state loyalty superseded his loyalty to the Union, and as Virginia proclaimed secession from the union, so did he.
Now ask yourselves, could any Pole draw a sword against fellow Poles, in the name of Brussels? Could a Hungarian? Which country today would? Europe can never have a union as tightly knit as America’s. Different circumstances demand different means and different ends. Herding together 27 (or fewer cultures now that the United Kingdom has had Brexit) nation states, histories, every one of which is thousands of years old, is an impossible affair no matter how ideal it may be in some silly philosophy.
There is a reason no one speaks Esperanza today, an earlier bad European idea. No one enjoys pan-European food, either.
We children of the West have much in common and always will: Christianity, Roman law, the Latin language, and respect for the freedom of the individual to act as his conscience directs. That is all we need to agree on; everything else naturally follows their own trajectories.
We should remember that sovereignty and globalism refer to two very different reference points for understanding the primary locus of political activity. Sovereignty points to the nation-state as the primary player in geopolitical action. The globalist vision prefers to place this primary locus at the supranational level, either in groups such as the European Union or the United Nations, or to more nebulous realities such as the so-called “global community” or “international society.” These two perspectives are necessarily competing worldviews; one must necessarily take primacy over the other when they directly clash—and they do.
President Trump emphatically declared, “I am a nationalist, not a globalist, and will always put America first.” This debate harkens to an important principle of social philosophy that permits a more nuanced approach. This principle has been in the background of recent discussions, even though its name has not been specifically invoked.
This is the notion of subsidiarity, a concept with which people in Europe are very familiar. As papal legacy teaches, “For every social activity ought of its very nature to furnish help to the members of the body social, and never destroy and absorb them.” By its own charter, the European Union recognizes a relationship of subsidiarity with the individual states. In theory at least, it imposes upon itself the obligation to limit its intervention into lower forms of social organization, and to perform only such tasks that the lesser group cannot accomplish for itself without assistance.
Adherence to the principle of subsidiarity results in a genuinely pluralistic society, which is a union of lesser societies, each of which maintains its own identity, function, and sovereignty. If the lesser associations are reduced to mere agencies of the higher, the result is the monolithic state, which expresses the essence of social totalitarianism, the reduction of all societies to one omni-competent society.
In Europe, this genuine pluralism is manifested in the distinctive individuality of the states it comprises, resulting in an authentic collection of cultures. Italian culture cannot be reduced to a generic “European” culture, nor can French, German, Polish or any other culture. Attempts to homogenize European norms and regulations so that all member states look and act exactly alike, do violence to the rich history and individuality of each people and culture—and deprive Europe and the world of the creativity that lies within these dynamic traditions.
It seems evident that the recent growth of populist movements throughout Europe is a direct result of an instinctive understanding that the fundamental principle of subsidiarity is no longer duly respected or appreciated. A top-down approach to governance, where the smaller is subsumed into or supplanted by the greater, is in fact oppressive and ultimately unsustainable. It destroys civic culture. Increasingly, everyone knows this and support for various “exits” from European Union oppression are abundant and on the rise.