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Populism & Nationalism vs. Globalism

by Patrick J. Buchanan
June 13, 2005

With their raucous "No!" votes on the new constitution, France and Holland have voted against the New Europe.

Seizing on the French-Dutch rejection, the British Labor Party has postponed a referendum, thus saving Tony Blair. For the near certainty of British rejection would have forced Blair's resignation. Now, Poland and other nations are putting off their referendums.

The new constitution is dead. New Europe has been rejected by the people in whose name it is being advanced. Repudiated, as well, were the political elites who campaigned for that constitution. But though Brussels is unloved and Jacques Chirac has lost France, this was no vote of affection for or confidence in Bush's America.

This was a nationalist-populist protest demanding that France be France and Holland be Holland, and to blazes with the world. It was a vote against the free-trade globalism of George Bush and the Reagan-Thatcher economic model the European Left decries as "savage capitalism."

It was a victory of the Old Right that would restore the sovereignty of France and retain the national independence and unique and separate identity of the French people and culture. It was a vote against both Islamic immigration and Turkey's membership in the European Union.

Turkey's quest to enter Europe appears dead, as the likely leaders of France and Germany, a year from now Nicolas Sarkozy and Angela Merkel oppose its application. Where Turkey a nation of 70 million, estranged from its old NATO ally, America, and shut out of Europe goes from here is a great question. Tehran, Moscow and Beijing would seem to be the probable next stops.

This was also a victory for French socialists and communists who are demanding retention of the 35-hour work week and the cradle-to-grave security they believe to be the great achievement of the Left.

But this Right-Left backlash against globalization and integration of Europe cannot save Europe. For the de-Christianized European Union does not contain a single nation where the birth rate is sufficient to replace the population. Europe has begun to die. In 20 nations, the native-born population has begun to shrink. The cohort of workers entering the labor force is not large enough to maintain the welfare benefits, pensions and health care for retirees and elderly.

The French and Dutch voted for a contradiction to preserve all the social welfare benefits they have, but to oppose the free-market reforms and immigration that alone can ensure economic growth and a steady resupply of new workers and taxpayers to preserve them. The crisis of Europe inexorable economic decline and the early death of the indigenous European peoples is unresolved by the massive protest vote of Left and Right. This was a cry in the wilderness.

Following the French-Dutch vote, it is not only the eastern expansion of the European Union that has been cast into doubt, but the survival of the European Union itself.

With growth in the major nations of Western Europe trailing that of the United States, France, Germany and Italy have repeatedly breached the fiscal guidelines set down by the European Monetary Union. These call for budget deficits of no more than 3 percent of GDP for nations that adopt the euro. France and Germany, the privileged pair, have been given a pass. But Italy is now being called to book, as its national debt now exceeds its Gross Domestic Product.

Cabinet ministers from Italy's Northern Alliance, fed up with the discipline imposed by the European Central Bank and a currency that has appreciated dramatically against the dollar, are calling for abandonment of the euro and restoration of the Italian lira.

This could trigger a financial crisis like the Asian crisis of 1997, when Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines and South Korea devalued and went into de facto default on their foreign debts.

Understandably, the political leadership of any nation in a prolonged slump will wish to retain control of monetary as well as fiscal policy. Some 58 percent of all Germans are said to seek a return to the deutschmark. Unless Europe finds a solution to its economic stagnation and France and Holland rejected the free-market, free-trade solution the euro could be the next to go, and the European Union could follow it to the graveyard.

The hiding that French and Dutch voters have given Europe's elites, who aspired to superpower status and used America as their foil, is delightful to observe. But Bush Republicans and neocons reveling in the humiliation of Schroeder and Chirac should take note.

In the rout and humiliation of a European establishment that is committed to open borders and free-trade globalism by a Left-Right coalition, they may be staring at their own future. For that same Left-Right coalition is forming in the United States against free-trade globalism, CAFTA, open-borders, amnesty for illegal aliens, Social Security reform and American empire.

Populism and nationalism have declared war on globalism.

2005 Creators Syndicate, Inc.

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