Of the wind and waves

This time, it’s different. This time, I think, everybody knows, everyone understands that the stakes are higher. As the clock ticks down and as the world enters its final act, this time there is a realization that the struggle for what is right must be won. This is true not only in Macedonia, but around the world. This past weekend we saw two opposite sides of this — in Austria the battle was won by those who champion individual freedom, personal responsibility, sovereignty, limited government, the traditional family, a free market economy and strong national defense. In Macedonia, that battle was won by those who champion the opposite of these things and then some: the willingness to give up Macedonia and what it means.

Yes, there have been elections before in Macedonia where one side has supplanted the other, only to have the pendulum swing back the other way later. But this time, it’s different. Why? Let’s take the leviathan that is the EU, for example. There are millions of people in Europe who have a vested interest in the continued expansion of the EU and its powers. These are elected politicians, unelected bureaucrats, NGOs, think-tanks, academia and, of course many in the media. They all have their own personal power, prestige, financial success and more tied to the expansion of the European project. Even as the EU deals with Brexit, Catalonia and Spain, and even as Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic and others assert their sovereignty, the EU attempts to draw more into its orbit, creating an “ever closer union” and “more Europe,” at the expense of national sovereignty and individual identity. But because this vision is being challenged those who have a deep personal stake in this vision are fighting back with all that they have.

“The era of nationalism is over.” So asserts Zoran Zaev, parroting his Western minders subtly reminding Macedonians that to enter the “club” of the EU, Macedonia must give up on its name and identity as he equates “nationalism” with wanting to protect Macedonia’s interests, its name and its identity. Except that this does not apply to Zaev’s coalition partners in government, the Albanian parties who are nothing but nationalists. None of them have ever had an ideological bone in their platforms or bodies — which is why, as political parties, they come and go like the wind (the subject of a future column). The only thing they are interested in is “What will the government do for me and my ethnic group?” That’s no way to run a country. “The era of nationalism is over.” So asserts Zoran Zaev. But this doesn’t apply to the Bulgarians or Greeks who will continue doing what they can to undermine the Macedonian ideal as we know it.

Nikola Dimitrov told one media outlet “Let’s make Macedonia European, just and successful. It will not be easy, but our generation has a second chance. Last week, I asked for wind from Europe, but the wind blew from my home. There is no stronger wind in the back of the election results today.” There are a few problems with this statement. First, Macedonia is already European. Last time I checked, it was in Europe and engaging in trade, commerce, sport, art — you name it — with all of the other countries of Europe. Second, his statement was well coordinated with others like him. Erwan Fouere, former EU representative in Macedonia wrote a piece for Balkan Insight titled “Europe Must Support ‘Winds of Change’ in Macedonia.” Fouere wrote “In the four months since Zoran Zaev was elected Prime Minister of Macedonia at the head of a coalition led by his Social Democratic Union, SDSM, the winds of change have swept across the country.” Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, which will hopefully be defunded at some point by the Trump Administration, quoted NGO activist Andreja Stojkovski who obviously got the memo when he too tweeted that “Macedonia wakes up to a new dawn, election results bring winds at the back to reforms and democracy.”

These people are essentially liberal fascists to borrow a name from American conservative author Jonah Goldberg. Why? Because they seek diversity but only if everyone is the same, thinking like they do. They seek conformity but only if you conform to their thoughts, their ways, their agenda. They seek equality of outcome, not of opportunity. And in Macedonia’s case, their agenda is a demand that you, Macedonia, do what they say. There is no room for discussion, debate, or disagreement. There is only one way: their way.

And then there is the issue of waves. Regarding the election results in Macedonia, a friend of mine mentioned that it was a wave. “Yes,” I told him. “But what do waves do,” I replied? “They toss, turn and then break,” he replied. They certainly do. Wind and waves — separately or combined they produce hurricanes, cyclones, tornadoes, and tropical storms; they spread fires, they break ships apart, and they destroy and they cannot be tamed, or contained.

Going back to Fouere, in the article referenced above he essentially stated that the center-right in Macedonia must disappear, writing “Today, Gruevski and his party remain the biggest obstacles to a return to normality and the rule of law in Macedonia.” Vessela Tcherneva, senior director for programs at the European Council on Foreign Relations and the former spokesperson of the Bulgarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (which should tell you something about her) wrote “The EU should not allow leaders like Gruevski to remain in power for so long in any candidate country.” Aside from the fact that a former senior EU diplomat and a former MFA diplomat from an EU country are calling for the center-right in Macedonia to be destroyed and for the EU to intervene (which really isn’t very much pro-rule of law), there are other voices calling for the same thing and rejoicing over the recent elections. I’m reminded, however, of Mark Twain’s famous quote: “The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.” Hubris is a dangerous thing. You become outspoken and then overconfident. You become self-assured and then selfish. You become cocky and then careless. And then you are defeated.