The European Spring

Humanity has yet to recover from the Arab Spring. It has yet to learn the phenomenon, and has yet to recover from the ramifications of this strange “Spring”. Now it is facing a new spring, a “European Spring”, which is the result of many of the phenomena which led to the Arab Spring.

A large population of angry and frustrated people, who feel threatened that foreigners are taking over their state needs and desires has expressed its will in a loud voice of protest, without fully understanding the implications of its vote.

In 1917, the Russian Revolution took place under similar conditions. The Bolsheviks created a new Communist era in Russia, which became the Soviet Union. A group of socialists who were attempting to advance the workers’ class stood behind this revolution, which was intended to replace the ruling elite with the rule of the people. It was meant to advance the plight of the weaker classes of society. However, as we know, Soviet Communism turned into the most oppressive regime in human history, which for over 70 years ruled over half of the world.

Lenin, the leader of the new Soviet Union, whose approach was based on the Parisian commune, believed that the will of the people can only be enforced and expressed through the ruler. He believed that it is impossible to grant the people the actual power of government, as they are unaware of their actual needs.

The European Union has fallen into a similar trap. It rose due to a desire of the world to unify powers, markets, find common interests, and to facilitate progress and peace. However, slowly, this union began to fall apart – both within and among states. States such as Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, Spain, Scotland, Belgium, started to sound nationalist voices, and stood up against the ideas of globalization, which did not reflect the desires of local populations. The European Union administration became domineering and ignorant to the needs of the people. Nationalist pride and collective memory were swept aside in the face of a need to unify and become a globalized economy. Indeed, the unifying mechanisms between the various parts of the union weakened.

The 21st century has brought upon us a period of a lack of leadership. Nations that believed that they could count on a Western patron, such as Georgia, Ukraine, and various states in Africa and the Middle East, felt that this patron was no longer dependable and could not be trusted. Political and military agreements and coalitions no longer proved themselves. Aside from the desire to cooperate in economic matters, other aspects of cooperation lost their value. Such a large entity as the European Union could not take into account the simple man’s needs. Thus, the simple man did not fear “breaking the rules” in the referendum.

Indeed, the 21st century is characterized by solitary entities who feel threatened by immigrant minorities, many of whom are fleeing from genocide. Thus, the demographic composition of states is being altered in an unprecedented way.

The “British Spring” is a rebellion against the current global system. The five powers of the Security Council – United States, Britian, France, Russia, and China – cannot deem to represent the needs of the various members of the United Nations. They cannot represent the current trends in global politics.

The Sykes-Picot agreement, which set borders following the First World War in Asia, the Middle East, and Africa, has been forever altered in recent times. Most of the governing powers that were established by the Sykes-Picot agreement have gone through deep and bloody revolutions and civil wars. Various coalitions have been broken and the demography of various states has been altered drastically. The ideology that led to the creation of the League of Nations and later the United Nations for the exchange of ideas towards the creation of a coordinated strategy for facing global challenges is no longer relevant to the needs of humankind.

Furthermore, Western patronage which attempted to impose democracy in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, has not stood the test of time. Today, it is not clear whether democracies are really democratic, whether they really allow for the voice of the individual citizen to be expressed. Perhaps the period of democracy has passed us by, and new forms of government are needed to allow societies to express their needs and desires. Is it best for a society to be closed and stand alone or to assimilate into a globalized reality? Not all states have the same answer to such a question.

The “European Spring” is the greatest threat to the existing global order. If it results in anger, hatred, and remuneration, the global situation could further deteriorate, with various achievements being destroyed. These events serve as a reverberating warning to humanity which could return us to dark periods of the past.

About the Author
Dr David Altman is senior vice-president at the Netanya Academic College and vice-chair of the college's Strategic Dialogue Center
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