Saturday, July 2, 2016

The fall of the European Empire

After World War II, the French and British empires were so weakened by war that they lost their far-flung empires.  The British let go more gracefully than the French who fought bitterly to hold onto their IndoChinese and Algerian possessions.   But looking at this sort of thing now, what "fall" most closely approximates the anticipated fall of the European Empire?  Brussels has become increasingly dictatorial and offensive but it leads a liberal empire with no military might to back up its power.  Yes military might exists, but it resides with the individual nations and not with the Brussels leadership. 

Consider the collapse of another empire:

"As the Getica tells it . . . the Hunnic collapse . . .  soon degenerated into civil war . . . and the outcome was a battle on an unidentified river in Pannonia called the Nadao: 

"There an encounter took place between the various nations Attila had held under his sway.  Kingdoms with their peoples were divided, and out of one body were made many members . . . responding to a common impulse.  Being deprived of their head, they madly strove against each other . . . And so the bravest nations tore themselves to pieces . . . One might see the Goths fighting with pikes, the Gepids raging with the sword, the Rugi breaking off the spears in their own wounds, The Sueves fighting on foot, the Huns with bows, the Alans drawing up a battle-line of heavy-armed and the Herules of light-armed warriors.  Finally, after many bitter conflicts, victory fell unexpectedly to the Gepids."  [pp 353-354 of The Fall of the Roman Empire by Peter Heather]

After this battle, fought in 454 AD, the Huns ceased to exist in history.

Those expecting the EU to break up aren't expecting a Pannonia-like battle, but why not?  Is it because of our Christian-influenced peace of Westphalia as some would argue?  Is it because we have grown in liberal wisdom as some modern-day Liberals might believe?  Or as Nicholas Wade might argue, has our malleable double-helix turned us into beings who strive more than our ancestors to avoid war?  If the latter, the Liberal idea that we (those of us who are Liberal and not former Marines) have grown in wisdom might be a rationalization.

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