For 41 years Britain, the world's most famous Island nation, went through a period of national LARPing. After watching ABBA triumph in the Eurovision Song Contest in 1975, it tried its best to become a landlocked or semi-landlocked Continental nation that could fit in with its neighbours. To do this, the Brits gave up the shilling, the inch, and almost the pint, and instead tried their hand at being a nation of wine-swilling, baguette twirling coffee drinkers.
The Brexit vote has hopefully reversed this insanity, even if it can't quite bring back the silver sixpence and the Fahrenheit scale. But who knows? Once you start getting back in touch with your true self, anything is possible.
This is the way to view the 52% vote by British voters to leave the EU – as a form of collective self-re-discovery and a return to the nation's essence and authenticity. Be who you are, as they say. Not who EU are.
In those terms Britain is very much an island at the center of a global web, which, though much tattered and faded, still stubbornly persists and extends far and wide, giving the Brits a foot-up in most parts of the world they choose to shine in.
Thanks to Brexit, we can expect to see Britain re-explore this aspect of itself, possibly reviving and strengthening its links with its daughter colonies of Canada, Australia, and New Zealand – and revisiting, if in a somewhat less bombastic manner, its old stomping grounds in Asia and Africa. A sort of “Commonwealth Plus+,” if you like.
|Brexit Man – making |
Britain great again?
Depending on how hospitable the global economy turns out to be to this particular tack, this could be either a fortuitous or cursed direction. But it is certainly a dynamic we see being played out in the wake of the Brexit vote, along with the associated and supposedly offsetting narrative that, instead of becoming a "Little England" and lapsing into "petty nationalism" and "xenophobia," we must somehow embrace our "true global destiny."
Yet another historical echo is the way that Britain's decision to leave the EU, at a crucial juncture in that entity's cancerous growth and organizational calcification, threatens to bring it crashing down, as an earlier Britain brought about the collapse of other over-inflated Euro projects.
But the general prospect of collapse also raises the question of what other historical patterns will reassert themselves in the wake of the EU’s downfall, assuming that Brexit is merely the first deadly domino.
The best guide to prognosticate this, is actual history, combined with an appraisal of the main flaws in the present situation. Clearly, in the present Europe, there is something of a North-South divide, as well as a revived tension between the two remaining major powers – France and Germany – who have been thrown into sharp relief by the exit of Britain. When Britain was still a member, these three made up a relatively stable triad, even if the British leg was often a bit wonky.
|Metternich – making a comeback?|
Metternichian Europe vs. Kalergian Europe
In the wake of a Frexit, it would be quite feasible and sensible for France to seek some kind of economic cooperation with other Latin nations, left "homeless" by the collapse of the EU – Italy, Spain, Portugal, and maybe even Greece, could come together in a "Club Med Bloc," which, of course, would be a much looser federation than the present one, which, as I have observed elsewhere, is dominated by the Germanic Gleichschaltung spirit.
As for Germany, it would, of course, not take European disintegration lying down. Instead, we could expect to see it also seeking some larger economic and geopolitical ambit, probably involving those countries that are most tied to it culturally, economically, and historically. This would probably involve nations like Austria, Czechia, Croatia, Slovakia, Hungary, Poland, the Baltic states, and even a state or two in the Balkans. For this to work, however, Germany would have to veer more towards the common values of the Visegrad countries, in the process rediscovering its Christian conservative roots.
How these three entities – Commonwealth Plus+, Club Med Bloc, and The Fourth Reich – compete and cooperate would remain to be seen, but here too we could expect to see a certain amount of historical deja vu, with Commonwealth Plus+ adhering closely to the United States, the Club Med Bloc seeking advantage from its cultural and historical ties to the Global South (i.e. Latin America and France's post-colonial penumbra in Africa), and the Fourth Reich possibly revisiting Metternich and Bismarck's "Holy Alliance" arrangement with Russia, a historical parallel that Alexander Dugin has also been drawing on.
This would represent the triumph of a saner, more natural, and conservative Metternichian Europe over the madness of a Europe based on the unnatural, utopian, and anti-historical notions of Count Coudenhove-Kalergi, the visionary fanatic usually cited as the inspiration of the EU.
Harmony consists of finding the natural fault lines and limits of things, not mashing them together. Europe, by recognizing and accepting its differences and distinctions, and navigating them with urbane and intelligent discrimination, will find much greater peace and amity than it ever can in a forced and false union destined to break.
As ever, to understand and shape the future, simply study the past.