Thursday, December 19, 2019

Europe's Humiliation

I will leave it to others to decide whether the meek will inherit the earth, but the current European experiment in empowering women seems not to be working very well. Women run the European Union. A woman is the president of the EU. A woman runs the central bank. A woman used to run foreign policy. Women have been put in charge of defense policy. And now, a college girl has been elected prime minister of Finland.

Surely, gender politics played an important role in the recent election victory of Boris Johnson. The British people have chosen not to follow feminized Europe into the land of constant humiliation. 

Polish foreign policy expert SÅ‚awomir Sierakowski argues in a recent essay (via Zero Hedge) that Europe is becoming an also-ran. To his mind, the future will be defined by the competition between America and China. All that remains to be seen is which side Europe aligns with.

The thought bears an uncanny resemblance to a remark made by AI guru, Kai-fu Lee. Speaking about the future of artificial intelligence, Lee said that the field would be dominated by America and China. Europe will not be able to compete… because Europe is more concerned with regulation than with innovation.

Guess what, the European regulatory authority is led by a woman. 

To be fair, America seems now to be involved in its own internecine conflict, between the boy party and the girl party. When they start acting like adults we will call them the man party and the woman party.

Have you noticed that whereas Republicans favor free market competition, industrial innovation, manufacturing and production, high risk entrepreneurial enterprise, gun rights and even the use of military force, Democrats are all in with care and compassion, with open borders, with health care for all, with gun control, with the Nanny state, with the regulatory state, with the pristine beauty of Mother Nature and with leader Nancy Pelosi.

Meantime, back in Europe, Sierakowski reminds us of a wrongheaded prophecy by one Jeremy Rifkin. 

In 2004, the American economist Jeremy Rifkin wrote a bestselling book, The European Dream, in which he proclaimed that the twenty-first century would belong to Europe – and even would depend on it. In Rifkin’s view, a Europe held together by the idea of “unity in diversity” would be the most effective answer to globalization. Europe was supposed to represent a new “global awareness” and “freedom from the slavery of materialism,” which would be “replaced by empathy.”

Rifkin was arguing that the future belongs to feelings, to feeling your feelings, to empathy and to emotional intelligence. By the terms of Rifkin’s prophecy girl power was going to overtake materialism and especially the competitive free market. 

Surely, there is a place for more spiritual values, but the marketplace is not that place. And there is a place for empathy in human life. Yet, the battlefield is not that place.

Sierakowski explains that Europe’s success is now looking less likely. The EU, now about to lose a leading member, is dysfunctional:

Europe was not, and is not, bound to succeed. In fact, as 2019 comes to a close, the European Union is seemingly helpless and resigned in the face of its most important challenges: completing the economic and political integration of the bloc, creating a common defense policy, and even safeguarding basic standards of the rule of law.

As Europe withers on the vine, China is taking its place in the world:

In fact, we are witnessing a great reversal of roles between Europe and China compared to the nineteenth century. For China, the 1800s were the “age of humiliation,” a period when it was infiltrated by the French, British, and German empires, as well as by Russia and the US. These foreign powers imposed humiliating trade treaties, subordinated and exploited China economically, and controlled it politically.

Today, the EU increasingly resembles nineteenth-century China: a still-rich empire that cannot be occupied by others, but is weak enough to be infiltrated and exploited. China, meanwhile, has assumed Europe’s former role, with its companies and investors increasingly penetrating the European economy and extending their influence.

Chinese investors are buying Europe’s best factories (including the pearl of German robotics, KUKA) and its largest ports (including Duisburg in Germany, the world’s largest inland port, and Piraeus in Greece). They are signing unequal economic agreements and gradually conquering the EU, beginning with the weakest links, namely Eastern and Southern Europe – and, in particular, Hungary, Greece, and Portugal.

What is Europe doing about this? Nothing. They are manifesting the same weak complacency they have shown toward Iran, accompanied by their pathetic attempts to prop up the mullahs:

Worse, there is no reaction from Brussels. There is a rickety plan to build European industrial champions, but it is being blocked by the fear of violating EU competition rules. The EU does not know what to do, including with the 5G infrastructure being built by Chinese companies.

Girl power is averse to risk. Taking action requires an ability to take risks. Ergo, no action. And a retreat from the world of economic and technological competition. Welcome to Europe's century of humiliation.


UbuMaccabee said...

You know what idea China might like? Carving up Europe into concession territories, with the US and China getting the first (and best) ports and portions. The Turks, Russians, and Japanese might also have an interest. I bet even Britain can be roused from her slumber to take a little slice. The Concession territories can provide historical re-enactments, carnivals, and erotic games to entertain the nation that controls their commerce and trade. I bet China would love that idea, and the exploitation of Europe would take some of the edge off US/China competition for a while. Oddly, I bet the Europeans would enjoy being glorified servants, it is a kink they have longing for some time. It might even inspire them toward more introspection.

trigger warning said...

"[Chinese] Diplomat Wu Ken warns ‘there will be consequences’ if the Chinese telecoms giant [Huawei] is excluded and floats possibility of German cars being banned on safety grounds."

My German diplomatic source, Merkin Muffley, tells me that pantyliner sales are up in Berlin. :-D

UbuMaccabee said...

Great articles and links, btw. Important stuff. Agree entirely. 2 horse race between US and China. Your sources have given me much to read.

BobJustBob said...

You didn't add Europe's new import...7th Century Death Cultists. Girl Power is not ready for that challenge.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

About those Meek Ones: The interpretation I think fits best in the context of Jesus's Beatitudes is that the meek are not inheriting the earth more than other groups because they are meek, but that they are just as eligible as all the non-meek others, if they seek the Kingdom of God. Further, they are perhaps more likely to seek the Kingdom of God than those who have it pretty good here. Jesus's intent was not to reverse the worldly values as to declare them irrelevant.

As evidence, consider the statement in the same sermon, "blessed are those who mourn." Jesus is not saying that it is a good thing to mourn, and you should go out and do more of it, hope your relatives die, dude. It is a statement that those who mourn should also have hope.