Tuesday, January 17, 2017
European Democracy : Not with a bang, but a whimper
...is basically the thesis of Dalibor Rohac in his US News and World Report piece, Europe's Slow Rot.
Instead of big-bang resets or global conflicts, the biggest dangers to Europe are coming from sources that might seem mundane. As the Scottish philosopher David Hume noted, "it is seldom that liberty of any kind is lost all at once." The EU does not have to implode dramatically in order to become irrelevant. And European countries do not have to go through violent revolutions in order to end up looking increasingly like Russia and Turkey...
Finally, much as the idea of an open military conflict between Russia and the West is troubling, it does not seem to be on the table. For one, it is not clear what Western power would be willing to fight in it. Considering the views of America's president-elect, the fact that pro-Kremlin candidates dominate the French polls ahead of the presidential election, and the focus of British leaders on Brexit, it is reasonable to expect more accommodation of Russia.
That will come at the expense of liberal democracy and rule of law in Central and Eastern Europe. The Kremlin's job is made easier by the loss of historical memory across Europe, even in places that experienced totalitarianism and Soviet oppression less than three decades ago. With the exception of the Poles and the Balts, few in Eastern Europe see Russian propaganda and the co-opting of local political elites as an existential threat to their societies.