Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Was European Federation possible at the end of 2008 crisis?

European Federation — a political integration of Europe, seemed to be one solution to the European Crisis. Then again others argue it was doomed to fail.

A political integration is an emotional, cultural and political process. By themselves, these each of these are quite challenging. Secondly, the budgetary/financial discrepancies between member countries had to be resolved in a Federal style — even before a federation came to being. Again a big issue. So was federal Europe possible? It was. In fact, “other things being equal” European people would have had no problem integrating — this time or a bit later. But other things were not equal. The central issue, I think, was the political situation.

The compulsion for political union came at the time of immense political turmoil. What started as a refugee crisis, quickly turned into a religious friction and today Europe sits at a major inflection point. Instead of expanding their identity into a bigger European identity, the citizens are faced with reducing it to exclude some religions, minorities and others-not-like-us. The reductionist forces are winning — radicalisation of european muslims, terror attacks, rise of IS and other thorny issues are shoe-boxing the European identity further and further. Without guidance of able leadership, the mindset will become closed. Hate will once again building up.

There was a massive leadership crisis. A great european leader would have focused on the migrants who were malleable and worked on them. She could have identified the refugees keen to integrate and empowered them to expand the integration process to their communities. Sadly, european leaders tried to shepherd their own population into a forced acceptance of refugees. Like a forced marriage, it was bound to fail. At such stage, we wish we had leaders of caliber. If there was an insurmountable obstacle this is it. The level of politics is shameful.

The fault is also with the people. The pedestrian politics of our times is narrowing our minds into seclusion and hate. That it is so possible in the time of internet and social media is the blight on our humanity. And past 10–20 years have brought the peoples of the world closer through the internet. Our choice, the one our politicians ignore, is to expand our minds. We need to remember that eventually the identities must expand and embrace all of humanity. To expansion, there is no end.

Similar circumstances faced the American a few hundred years back. They expanded themselves into a federation, bet on humanity and came to lead the world. The people of Europe face a similar test today. Sadly, there is no Washingtons, no Jeffersons and no Franklins. Or are there?