Twilight of the superstate: Rise of the nation-state

Europe was late to the feast. It had to self-destruct in two world wars before it would yield to the American tempo. Soon after, the rich tapestry of Europe would become the increasingly dystopian EU in hopes of being more like America, and “... to make war not only unthinkable but materially impossible,” said Robert Schuman, one of the EU’s founders 60 years ago. Seriously? After 750,000 died in the American prototype? 

But Schuman and his contemporary followers, who are still trying to abolish the old European nation-states and replace them with a federal pan-European superstate, are politicians of the past, says Geert Wilders, a member of the Dutch Parliament, in an essay Friday in The Wall Street Journal’s European edition. “The EU represents the old political order.”

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The idea that Germany, France, Britain and other nations in the past went to war because they were sovereign nations is simply ridiculous, Wilders writes. They went to war because they had fallen for totalitarian ideologies. Democracies do not go to war against each other; they trade with one another.

“Next May's European elections,” he writes, “in which almost 400 million people in the 28 EU member states will be allowed to cast their votes, will in all likelihood produce a landslide against the Eurocrats.”

The rising times may be seen in David Skilling’s essay In Praise of Small States in Global Brief: “With growing competition between the US and China and calls for tighter European integration, it is often said that the world is moving into an age of big powers. But this obscures as much as it reveals. The global process of 100 years of political-strategic fragmentation, which has issued in an ever-growing number of smaller countries, will continue. These smaller countries are likely to be better able to navigate the increasingly complex, turbulent global environment of this new century. And while new regional and other groupings will emerge, the ongoing lowering of the decision-making centre of gravity will, alongside the transfer of power from West to East, be a defining feature of the emerging global system.”

“Large countries matter and can act to shape the global system,” he writes, “but it is small countries that are best equipped to adapt and prosper.”

Small is beautiful and enduring. And it may be nature’s way of making us fuller and more complete and connected human beings. And this time, as goes Europe, so perhaps will go America.

The idea of a utopian “bioregion” called “Cascadia” in the Pacific Northwest has been around for decades. From the group's site: “The Cascadia Project is a grassroots movement dedicated to the people who live here. It’s about the food we eat, the culture and regional identity we foster, and how we interact with both our land base and between each other. Our work connects, supports and advances our society in the Pacific Northwest by promoting policies for increased direct democracy, land rights, individual rights, environmental sustainability, social justice and freedom.”

Very few have taken these born-again Jeffersonians seriously. But very recently California and British Columbia, with the New York Times's endorsement, have officially ignored federal and international law (“superstates”) and advanced closer to their positions in an original new alliance to reduce emissions by 80 percent by 2050.