Ted Malloch: Remembering European Wars
November 11th is Veterans Day.
Because in 1918, on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, was declared between the Allied nations and Germany in World War I, then known as “the Great War.”
It is called Remembrance Day in the UK and Europe.
Patriots wear red poppies, the color of the blood stained fields of Flanders, to recall the tragic events of both European-made World Wars.
Europeans sunk their continent, and then America, into both sad episodes. It was German hegemony, imperialistic militarism and ideological arrogance that caused both sorry and costly affairs.
Some 17 million people were killed in WWI and 60 million in WWII.
This year on November 11th Presidents’ Trump and Macron and other European leaders will assemble in Paris to celebrate the end of the First World War.
It is the hundredth anniversary of the end of WWI.
Trump should gently remind them that America saved their ass, 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, 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 is against and it is time to take note.
Trump should give him a history lesson.
You see, there is a tendency towards rewriting history on the European continent, which must be addressed.
What has evolved into the EU has mistakenly taken to claiming credit for the postwar peace.
That is a patent lie.
This was a peace, which was and is corner stoned by NATO, the American bases peppered throughout Germany, and the nuclear weapons we parked in Turkey and Holland.
The Pax Americana didn’t come from the European Coal and Steel Community; it was not birthed or paid for by Brussels bureaucrats. Those institutions were part of the peace taking — not their cause.
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 under 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?
Enough about the past.
The future is what we should care and think most about.
Eastern Europe has flourished, having freed its people and freed its economies.
Under the capitalist, free-market system that won the Cold War, they are today more prosperous than ever before.
Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic have become integral security partners and dear friends of the United States, some of the few, which spend a serious amount on their own defense and are concerned with the nationhood and culture of their people.
They remain rooted in Catholic faith.
These countries are truly reliable actors in what could be called an unstable neighborhood.
Poland has also become an emerging leader within the EU itself, flanked by its allies in the Visegrad and the Intermarium nations.
America should be encouraged by these developments, but most of all, it should be proud that Eastern Europe has stepped up to the challenge of leadership, and that pride is shared by the millions of descendants back home in the USA.
Those proud and good people of some many millions are distinguished Americans and a bulwark to our own Republic.
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 the 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 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 would, today?
Europe can never have a union as tightly knit as America’s.
Different circumstances demand different means and different ends.
Herding together 27 (or less cultures now that the United Kingdom is leaving), 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 Esparanza 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 their conscience directs.
That is all we need to agree on, everything else naturally follows.
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; because one must necessarily take primacy over the other when they directly clash—and they do.
President Trump has empathically 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.
Eastern Europeans in particular, understand their own initiative and industry and give it to the community, so it is an injustice and at the same time a grave evil and disturbance of right order to assign it to a greater and higher association what lesser and subordinate organizations can do.
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.
The principle of subsidiarity is defined in Article 5 of the Treaty on European Union:
“Under the principle of subsidiarity, in areas which do not fall within its exclusive competence, the Union shall act only if and in so far as the objectives of the proposed action cannot be sufficiently achieved by the Member States, either at central level or at regional and local level, but can rather, by reason of the scale or effects of the proposed action, be better achieved at Union level. “
According to the EU glossary, ‘subsidiarity’ aims to ensure that decisions are taken as closely as possible to the citizen and that constant checks are made to verify that action at the EU level is justified in light of the possibilities available at national, regional or local level.
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 so 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.
Our US President vowed to make America great again.
Every country in Europe should seek the same goal.
The post-1989 generation has already made all of Eastern Europe great again.
It does so by being national.
It is time for all the countries in Europe to rise to their natural role as proud leaders and remain as sovereign entities.
Hopefully, Donald J. Trump can reiterate that point when he lays a wreath to honor the war dead this week in France.
The Europeans need to hear it.