on Paul Krugman’s ‘What’s the Matter With Europe?’
Paul Krugman’s right: Le Pen is an ugly choice for France. But Macron is ugly, too.
I think Krugman is too quick to dismiss France’s populism, which is at its core more about the consequences of globalism than white nationalism. He doesn’t mention Mélenchon in this piece, but his supporters are — in the conventional sense — far-left antiglobalist populists. When you consider the immigration issues of France — and Europe — as an outcome of hypercapitalist globalism and former colonialism, sovereignty is an economic question, not just a cultural one.
I am not suggesting that Le Pen would be a good outcome for France, but I equally abhor Macron and his metropolitan Eurocratic, hypercapitalist, globalist vision.
Here’s Krugman, stepping back and looking at what ails Europe:
it seems clear that votes for Le Pen will in part be votes of protest against what are perceived as the highhanded, out-of-touch officials running the European Union. And that perception unfortunately has an element of truth.
Those of us who watched European institutions deal with the debt crisis that began in Greece and spread across much of Europe were shocked at the combination of callousness and arrogance that prevailed throughout.
Even though Brussels and Berlin were wrong again and again about the economics — even though the austerity they imposed was every bit as economically disastrous as critics warned — they continued to act as if they knew all the answers, that any suffering along the way was, in effect, necessary punishment for past sins.
Politically, Eurocrats got away with this behavior because small nations were easy to bully, too terrified of being cut off from euro financing to stand up to unreasonable demands. But Europe’s elite will be making a terrible mistake if it believes it can behave the same way to bigger players.
Indeed, there are already intimations of disaster in the negotiations now taking place between the European Union and Britain.
I wish Britons hadn’t voted for Brexit, which will make Europe weaker and their own country poorer. But E.U. officials are sounding more and more like a jilted spouse determined to extract maximum damages in a divorce settlement. And this is just plain insane. Like it or not, Europe will have to live with post-Brexit Britain, and Greece-style bullying just isn’t going to work on a nation as big, rich and proud as the U.K.
Regarding EU’s plans to exact the maximum damage on the UK for Brexiting, I’ve noted that they seem to have left the spirit of Article 50 behind in their acrimonious and sanctimonious attacks on Theresa May. Is she supposed to kiss the hem of the EU’s robes? After all, article 50 is constructed around the premise that members of the EU might decide to leave, and spells out how it’s to be done. It does not state that EU officials should work to make such an exit a failure. And in fact — despite what Merkel says about not talking about the future relations until the divorce agreement is settled — Article 50 says the EU must take into account ‘the framework for its future relationship with the Union:
2. A Member State which decides to withdraw shall notify the European Council of its intention. In the light of the guidelines provided by the European Council, the Union shall negotiate and conclude an agreement with that State, setting out the arrangements for its withdrawal, taking account of the framework for its future relationship with the Union.
Regarding the French elections, Krugman’s main point: I think Krugman should read Chris Caldwell’s The French, Coming Apart (here’s my notes), which is about Christophe’s Guilluy’s views on what’s up in France. In particular, he should check out Guilluy’s observations on the viewpoint of the Left Behinds, the average French living outside the metropole filled with the elite, out past the banlieues filled with immigrants, out in La France périphérique, which is 60% of the population.
If not this election, then in the next, Eurocrats’ hubris will clearly become their nemesis.
Originally published at stoweboyd.com.