Some people think we Europeans have brought the ceiling down on our own heads. In the comments to “It’s Going To Get Truly Horrific: Gas, Electricity Bills In Europe Could Jump To 4.5% Of Disposable Income In 2023”, alatairmobius notes:
Europe is the birthplace of Karl Marx, Hitler and Greta. They deserve as much punishment as possible.
altairmorbius has a point.
We had peace, culture, long vacations. We’ve traded that for unsuitable economic migrants, Russophobia and war.
Thanks Ursula. Just the latest in a long line of disloyal Euro leaders going back to 2000 but perhaps the worst of all.
The above is the amusing bon mot part of the article and most readers should probably stop here. The rest gets depressingly earnest and dire. Not that the situation doesn’t merit it, but contemplating self-destruction is dour work.
Until the European electorate wakes up and tears down our new EU iron tower of tyranny, effectively we do deserve to lose our European idyll. Europe needs Russian energy and Russian trade. Russians were one of the largest markets for European automobiles, advanced machines, heavy machinery and agriculture. Russia was happy to sell us energy inexpensively and buy our expensive value-added products. All Russia asked of Europe was a military buffer zone and freedom to build their own economic associations with their neighbours.
European leaders first signed on to free elections in the Ukraine in 2014 in an agreement with Viktor Yanukovych. The next day political Europe stood passively by while the US organised an armed coup-d’état in Kiev. In 2015, France and Germany organised the Minsk Agreement to bring a peaceful end to the civil war in Ukraine. Our leaders did nothing to enforce that agreement which would have effectively brought the more Ukrainian and more Russian back together in a federation not unlike Canada (both English and French are national languages; for a hundred years, Quebec made up about half of Canada’s population). European leaders allowed the UK and US to use the OSCE as an espionage services for Ukrainian nationalist extremists (Aidar and Azov battalions) in the Donbass.
In December 2021, European leaders allowed the US and NATO leaders to dismiss Russian security concerns. In late February 2022, the OSCE documented an increase of ten times the shelling on the line of contact from the Ukrainian side but European leaders did nothing. European leaders stood by in Munich on February 24 and encouraged Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelinsky (originally elected as a peacemaker) to abrogate the Budapest Memorandum and commit Ukraine to build atomic bombs.
What astonishes was the false sense of outrage when Russia finally gave up on diplomacy to protect Ukraine’s Russian-speaking population and enforce its military buffer zone. After eight years of pain-staking work to reach a diplomatic settlement, and very pointed diplomatic notes, what did Europe’s leaders expect when Kiev prepared its all-out assault on the Russian-speaking regions? With any kind of diplomatic off-ramp, we’d still be enjoying inexpensive energy. Sanctions could have been slowly lifted, and a huge export market quickly re-acquired.
We could be talking about flourishing economic growth this summer instead of calculating inflation and negative economic growth figures. No, instead we are firing 90,000 civil servants in a single go, while doubling military expenditure. We are taking on enormous debts across the EU and on a per country basis. Many citizens don’t know whether to freeze at home or buy groceries. Germany has cancelled the autobahn, while private jets still fly with no fuel tax. Next winter we are all supposed to live at 15 degrees in three sweaters, day and night, in a second coming of the Dark Ages. How could anyone in a position of leadership have thought such policies are a good idea?
Canada has had to live next to the United States for its entire existence. Hostility towards or even competition with our larger neighbour1 has always been verboten. How many times must we pointlessly provoke war with Russia, losing a generation or two of men and destroying our extraordinary continent?2
Tourism, both internal and external, has been a huge part of our happy prosperity. How much tourism we will get when the main features of European life become race riots, violent crime, devastation, high prices, cold hotel rooms, lukewarm hot water and food shortages?
It’s depressing to think about our paradise lost (and yes it was a real paradise, in a historical sense). Much of the damage has already been done and will be difficult to undo. It’s a grave mistake to think it can’t get much worse. Of course it can, and if we don’t do something about it, it will.
Wake up fellow citizens of Europe. Time to cast our votes for politicians who protect our national interests, nourish small/family businesses, foster diplomacy and develop open trade.
Canada had a very successful fighter jet program called the Avro Arrow, able to exceed Mach 2. The US called up John Diefenbaker and told him Avro Arrow had to go and Canada had to buy its military jets from the US. Even the test planes quickly disappeared. RMI, better known as Blackberry, had to go as well. Strangely both Blackberry and Nokia were eliminated by Android and Apple. Microsoft played a principal role in the destruction from inside of Nokia. The RIM story is at least an article of its own. NAFTA forever compromised Canada’s ability to protect our own culture while guaranteeing the US equal access to Canadian resources, including water. The point here is that living next door neighbour to a huge country has consequences, some positive such as access to a much larger market both in cultural and consumer terms. Many famous Russian-language singers are Ukrainian with large fanbases in Russia, many of Hollywood’s famous faces are ex-pat Canadian actors (Rachel McAdams, Neve Campbell, Pamela Anderson, Carrie-Anne Moss, Keanu Reeves, Deborah Kara Unger, Geneviève Bujold, Jessica Paré, Margot Kidder, Natasha Henstridge, Nina Dobrev, Jim Carrey, Ryan Gosling, Ryan Reynolds, Donald and Kiefer Sutherland, Mike Myers, Seth Rogen, Michael J. Fox). Slovakia has a similar relationship with Czechia and Prague. ↩
At least six times. Poland had a go in the 1600’s. Sweden lost a couple of times in the 1700’s and 1800’s. Major efforts saw Napoleon bury the million man Grande Armée in Russia in 1812, Austro-Hungary disappear into the sands of time in 1914-1917, post-Revolution Allied Intervention and of course Hitler’s drang nach Osten in 1941. And we are at the start of NATO’s Russian campaign of 2022 to 20??. With such aggressive neighbours, it’s no wonder Russia is so keen on a largish military buffer zone. ↩