Facing Europe's Far Right
Anti-EU and Pro-Putin, Farage Destroys Clegg in UK Debate
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  • free_agent

    Whoo… Smells like the run-up to World War III.

    • Jim__L

      Nah. The Cold War taught us how to avoid that… Proxy wars. There’s no reason the principals should come to blows themselves. Too destructive.

      Unless we can come up with some better alternative (or put all our efforts behind a worse one, as Obama is wont to do), I suspect that Syria is going to turn into a military-industrial Exhibition Games / World’s Fair, where hardware from around the world struts its stuff and shows exactly how destructive it can be, for the discouragement of the others.

      It’s horrible, yes. No argument from me. But it’s better than WWIII.

      • free_agent

        I doubt that it will come to serious war between major powers. But the rewarming of ethic animosities in Europe might lead to something like World War I, with every group going all-in to grab their “historical homeland”. There could also be a lot of ugliness if the Shia vs. Sunni trouble really gets going in the Arab/Muslim world; that smells like the wars of the Reformation to me.

  • free_agent

    The dynamic in Europe is different from that in the United States. In the US, there’s an expansionist, assimilationist mindset that drastically limits centrifugal forces. As far as I know, the only serious secessionist movement in US history was the Civil War, which was fueled by an attack on the entire political/social/economic system of a region. In contrast, in many European countries there are many regions that don’t have a strong sense of attachment to the nation as a whole.

    • This is all true. And it also seems to me that the European project as currently conceived is not a very good thing.

      But I also think we shouldn’t fool ourselves about the provenance of the ‘populist pushback’ in Europe. It’s double un-good.

      • Stacy Garvey

        Your painting with a wide brush. Classing Farage and UKIP with the NF is a gross oversimplification and an outright smear of Farage.

      • Andrew Allison

        Strange, I though these countries were democracies. Fully 75% of the population of the UK, for example, distrust the EU (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Euroscepticism).
        Similarly, there’s widespread concern about immigration throughout Europe. You appear to share the EU elite’s view that “we know what’s good for you, democracy be damned!”

      • the viceroy’s gin

        UKIP is a reaction to the LibLabCon clones in Westminster. If the clones change, UKIP will disappear. Clegg is the fearmonger, if you watched that video. He’s the one who’s shrieking about the horrible inferno that will result if his plans aren’t followed. UKIP is arguing for freedom and liberty and independence. There’s nothing “double un-good” about freedom and liberty, unless you’re a socialist authoritarian .

    • Andrew Allison

      I fear that the expansionist, assimilationist mindset that drastically limits centrifugal forces is a thing of the past. Tribalism is being fostered in the US today.

      • Corlyss

        Andrew, you exaggerate. It’s not nearly as bad as it was in the run up to the civil war. We survived both. We will survive this as well. It may end up being equally messy, but we will survive.

        • Andrew Allison

          I’ve told you a million times that I never exaggerate [/grin]. More seriously, I don’t share your optimism. The first Civil War was between two ethnically homogeneous groups who had radically different views about slavery. The emerging one is a result of the demise of the melting-pot (which encourages Black and Hispanic separatism) and setting the poor against the rich. My fear is that it will become as messy as the first one.

          • Corlyss

            I didn’t say it wouldn’t get messy. In the interest of full disclosure, I expect us to survive, but not before blood runs in the streets as the minority have-nots begin to wage real war against the haves when the money runs out. I expect to be dead before the shooting starts . . . . 😉

    • PKCasimir

      Try reading an American history book. There was a strong secessionist movement in New England prior to and during the War of 1812 (Hartford Convention 1814) and a strong abolitionist movement for secession in the North prior to the Civil War; but more importantly the dynamic in the United States has always been the right of revolution as set forth in the Declaration of Independence. It’s a fascinating subject that still reverberates today and your complete misrepresentation, taken out of some Marxist text book, about an expansionist, assimilationist mind set (whatever the hell that means) limited by a centrifugal force is just gibberish.

      • Jim__L

        It’s fascinating to read some on Lincoln’s early letters regarding the status of Texas’ efforts to throw off Mexican rule… Lincoln himself recognized the “right of revolution as set forth in the Declaration of Independence”.

        As I said, fascinating stuff.

  • Maynerd

    I’ve seen video clips of Farage intermittently over the past few years. To smear him as a Putin stooge is a gross misrepresentation. He is a British nationalist pure and simple. He values the sovereignty of his native land over a supranational Utopian construct.

    • Corlyss

      For over ten years, I’ve been observing the reactions of elites on both sides of the pond to any party that doesn’t mouth the elites’ juvenile platitudes about the superior judgment of multinational NGOs like the UN, EU, etc. The reaction is primarily to recoil in horror, denounce them all with the ever-serviceable “far right” or “ultra conservative” or the somewhat bolder “neo-nazi” tags. It’s so predictable, it’s become as meaningless and as fatuous as calling fiscal conservatives “racists.” When people like huntington

      • See, I think everything you say is right: the transnational projects are both foolish and toxic, and have created the conditions for a lot of this. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that Farage and others are a healthy reaction and should be applauded. Farage might moderate into a more responsible politician if he actually caught the car he’s chasing, but the rest of his fellow travelers—even in his own party— are cut from a dark cloth.

        One can be dead set against idealistic transnational projects and still pull back from praising a dangerous leader like Putin. That there’s something of a consensus among the anti-EU crowd to find nice things to say about what’s happening in Ukraine should give us all pause.

        • the viceroy’s gin

          What is this rot you’re spewing, catch the car and dark cloth nonsense? Why do you socialist authoritarians always have to smear? Make an argument. Make one. Stop smearing. Stop. Just stop. You’re disgusting.

          They’re not finding nice things to say about Putin in Ukraine, you muppet. They’re decrying the US and the EU stuffing their nose into that and causing a violent revolution, and then decrying what Putin did, which is no different or even better than Libya, Kosovo, Syria, et al.

        • Corlyss

          “But that doesn’t necessarily mean that Farage and others are a healthy reaction and should be applauded.”

          I hear ya, but when the response for the transoceanic elites to all these grass roots efforts, from the Tea Party to the UKIP et al., is the same Chicken Little hyperbole, why should be believe their characterization any more than we believe the UN IPCC Executive Summaries that are purely political documents designed specifically to stampede the media and the legislators into precipitate action that harms all advanced economies or compels massive transfer payments to 3 world nations unwilling to bear their share of a climate burden?

          Until these “extremists” bear actual policy fruits, I rate the hysteria as purposeful lies designed to keep the Ins in and the Outs out.

        • Andrew Allison

          At the risk of being repetitious (as you are being), Farage expressed well-deserved admiration for Putin’s political skills, which are clearly superior to those with which we are burdened, not his actions in Crimea.

          • Corlyss

            Last week in our humble local newspaper, what must have been a weary liberal in this staunchly conservative area wrote a lengthy denunciation of Fox News commentators like Col. Ralph Peters, who identified Putin as the victor in every encounter TeamObama has had with him purely as a matter of acknowledging reality. The author of the letter to the editor, too clever by half, tried to impute to the commentators envy for the sort of decisive action to seize territory and rule by fiat that Putin has exhibited. I thought about replying, but what are the chance and why should I try to educate someone who had to reach far for his conclusions, I suppose in an attempt to be humorously ironic.

          • Andrew Allison

            I assume that we (along with Nigel Farage) are, as more often that not, in agreement that there is no question that Putin has been the victor in every encounter with the stumble-bums you refer to as TeamObama?

          • Corlyss

            Absolutely. I’m not one of the school that thinks US Presidents’ foreign policy become respectable just because it’s the Presidents. Wilson was a fool. Johnson was a fool. Carter was a fool. Clinton had foolish moments when he was in the grip of the Dem ideology and let that dictate his policies, like appointing Warren Christopher SecState. Obama is the biggest ‘foon of them all. The fact that all of them are Dems is a symptom of the fact that Dems can’t be trusted with foreign policy decisions since they decided socialist tyrants had a lot to recommend them. Sometimes even Republicans can’t be trusted with foreign policy, esp. if they start thinking NGOs are the solution and not part of the problem.

        • gabrielsyme

          With all due respect, Farage complimented Putin in almost exactly the same terms various of your writers have done. I hardly think WRM is a dangerous emblem of pro-Putin thought.

          • Fat_Man

            Just because we recognize that Putin has beaten Obama like the red haired step child, does not mean that we think he was “right” as a matter of morality or legality, and just because we recognize that Obama is clueless and ineffectual does not mean he was legally or morally wrong.

          • gabrielsyme

            I quite agree; however, Farage never expressed moral approbation of Putin – he stated he admired his excellent diplomatic manoeuvring, as might we all. I am not sure when last we saw a world leader so outclass his contemporaries. Of course, Putin is remarkably fortunate to have the most feckless American president in a century as his chief antagonist, but even so…

          • Curious Mayhem

            This is a dangerous game. Would Farage have praised Hitler for his skill in seizing the Rhineland, or taking the rest of Czechoslovakia, after Munich? From a purely amoral point of view of admiring a gangster’s skill in winning more turf? Does anyone here understand the danger?

      • Lyle7

        I remember Pim Fortuyn was called all sorts of names.

      • Curious Mayhem

        Our current elites are provincial, overweening, arrogant, expensively miseducated boobs.

        • Corlyss

          …and in charge. I could happily tolerate their grievous faults if the weren’t in charge. Why, then the would be only amusement. What they are doing to the nation isn’t funny!

    • Fat_Man

      Hear, Hear. Beyond that, I am unfamilair with UKIP beyond having heard James Delingpole and Daniel Hannan in several fora. The ideology they espouse would be called libertarian in the United States. That is the opposite of what you have accused them of.

      • Andrew Allison

        Might it perhaps be called libertarian (see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Libertarianism) anywhere? Isn’t UKIP espousing liberty from the authoritarianism of Brussels? Just a thought.

        • Fat_Man

          I meant only that Americans who confuse liberalism with socialism would use the neologism “libertarian” to designate ideas based on the classical liberal thinkers like Locke, Smith, and Mill. Americans would call UKIP libertarian. Others would simply call it liberal.

          • Andrew Allison

            Does that make TAI, which accuses UKIP of “. . fanning the flames of the same toxic ideology irredentism – that has repeatedly led to wars and destruction on the European continent.” Un-American? [/grin]

          • Corlyss

            That confusion has persisted for decades. An early example of subversion of the language that Orwell decried.

          • Curious Mayhem

            What happens when that “libertarianism” is under threat from a corrupt neoimperialist power on the European continent? When “libertarianism” means having an amoral City of London run your foreign policy?

            Does the “libertarian” invite the bear to gobble up more — or the butcher in Damascus to butcher some more as he dismembers his own country and his neighbor — while bleating about free markets?

            I’m a supporter of free markets myself, BTW.

    • Curious Mayhem

      I used to have a lot of respect for Farage, and he’s no Putin stooge. However, the Putin episode has brought to the fore the recklessness at the heart of the current anti-EU parties, just as it and other episodes have exposed people like Ron Paul as just not fit for serious leadership.

      It’s too bad: I’ve railed myself against the EU and the euro for years. What Europe needs is a free trade zone and a common security system. What it got was an expensive, unpopular, and gratuitous monstrosity, largely at the behest of the French, with German acquiescence.

      When the bear is on the prowl, various European countries emphatically *cannot* go it alone. The problem is that the US has been there for so long on behalf of Europe, that Europe cannot take care of itself. Ironically, it’s the central and eastern Europeans who get the importance of “Europe” as an ideal. But the EU has made a terrible botch of what postwar Europe’s founders envisioned.

      All of this, like what’s happening in Asia and the Middle East, is making regional wars more, not less, likely. That’s why Farage, Le Pen, et al. — no more than Ron Paul or Pat Buchanan — cannot be taken seriously as national leaders. Their strength is a function of the implosion of the main parties, not something intrinsic.

      • Maynerd

        I don’t disagree with your take. However, I hope there is a middle way.

        The status quo is not sustainable and will ultimately fail. Foreign policy retrenchment is a byproduct of a weakened economy. Economic reform will more likely succeed on a state or national level. Citizens are more willing to sacrifice for their country than the EU or UN.

        Ironically, the “too big to fail” state/union is doomed to either economic failure or despotism.

        • Curious Mayhem

          No argument from me. The EU should have been like NATO, a treaty organization without the disastrous currency union, not a superstate. There’s a word for what both the Brussels bureaucracy and Putin are doing, the “I” word, imperialism.

    • Jim__L

      A quote from Winston Churchill:

      “One may dislike Hitler’s system and yet admire his patriotic achievement. If our country were defeated, I hope we should find a champion as indomitable to restore our courage and lead us back to our place among the nations.”

  • Pete

    Many normal people are sick of immigrants coming in and transforming the culture of their country.

    • free_agent

      An interesting and informative way to characterize these nationalist parties.

      • Andrew Allison

        Not sure if you were being sarcastic, but the fact is that the statement is absolutely true.

        • free_agent

          Well, I have a general dislike of nationalistic politics of this sort, and one of the things that I dislike about it is its cultural chauvinism. Now you make your statement above — which is admirably clear and concise — and you apparently *like* nationalistic politics — and your statement characterizes such politics in about the same way I do. This leads me to believe that we are in agreement and correct on the *facts* of the matter, and that your summation of it can be used by people on either side of the issue to clarify why they are for/against nationalistic politics. So in a sense, I’m sarcastic, because I’m saying “that’s why people dislike these parties”, and in a sense I’m supportive, because I’m saying “that’s *also* why people *like* these parties”.

          • Corlyss

            Interesting. Somethings simply can’t be disputed, Free. It wasn’t oriental or African bush culture that gave the world free market capitalism, or liberal representative government, or the Sistine Chapel ceiling, or Shakespeare, or the Enlightenment, or observational science. I could go on but I’m sure you take my point. Some cultures simply are more productive of things that most modern humans value than others. That in no way detracts from those less productive cultures were not very efficient at coping with their environments and therefore, by the sociologist’s assessment, successful. I’m sure Bantu culture was fabulous for negotiating the African bush. But I’m grateful that our ancestors didn’t hang about there in sated satisfaction with the known.

          • Anthony

            Pardon my intrusion but as someone whose great grandfather helped to maintain democracy (culture) on Western Front in World War I, I find use of term culture (in this reference) both misleading and myopically opportunistic. Granted Institutions matter (not culture per se) and acknowledging Treaty of Westphalia and Glorious Revolution providing impetus to modern order however solely crediting culture (as term is used above) is misnomer and self serving (wittingly or unwittingly). As an illustration, Feudalism embedded a culture. Leviathan and gentle commerce (civilization) and its movement across globe via interplay with institutions and peoples forged world you want to credit to a specific culture.

          • Jim__L

            Corlyss isn’t advancing anything at anyone’s expense. When others adopt our ways, they advance too — just look at the Japanese since the Meiji Restoration, or China since Deng.

            That’s the problem with identity / resentment politics. It holds people back, when they should be advancing along the paths that the West first explored.

          • Anthony

            Give it a rest and me too (and recognize when you’re beyond your depth). Thanks.

          • free_agent

            I don’t think you’re looking at this in the right way.

            The US didn’t become great because it took in the finest people, the “best and the brightest” of the world. It’d be more accurate to say that it took in the scum of the earth. Some immigrants were the vaunted refugees from religious persecution, but most of them were just looking to make a better living, and were sort-of accepted because they’d work for less than the people who were already here.

            A few examples: The first English settlers hardly the leading citizens of England. The Scots-Irish Americans, the people who today are most likely to consider their ethnic background to be simply “American”, were drawn from the hardscrabble areas of the British Isles to do hard work cheaply. The Blacks were brought as slaves, and you can be sure the African slave traders weren’t exporting the cream of Africa. Nonetheless, American Blacks are now the best-paid large African-derived population in the world (with the possible exception of Canadian Blacks); and they’re better-paid than the average Briton. The Irish Americans were peasants who fled starvation in Ireland, and they’re now paid better than the Irish. Around the turn of 1900, vast numbers of immigrants were brought in from the poor countries of southern and eastern Europe to fill US factories. They were considered scum back then, but today they’re richer than the countries from which their ancestors came — compare Greek-Americans and Greeks.

            In addition, immigration has a number of advantages. One is that after a couple of generations, the productivity and income of immigrants matches that of the country they join. And a sizable fraction of a nation’s GDP growth comes from population growth. Given the coming struggle for dominance with China, there’s a risk that as China’s GDP per capita rises toward industrialized levels, China will have a larger economy and all the power that flows from that. But if we increase immigration by a couple of million per year, we can probably come close to China’s population in 100 years. And since China’s GDP per capita is likely to be still be well behind ours, we’ll have a larger economy.

            Since immigrants are usually in their twenties, they provide immediate tax income for the Social Security system, while it will be many decades before they get a SS payout. So increased immigration, combined with reforms that will start to bite in maybe forty years, can make Social Security stable for the long run.

          • Andrew Allison

            Agreed except for your assumption that I like nationalistic politics. I don’t but, like death and taxes, they are inescapable.

          • free_agent

            Aye, my mistake. The person I really intended was Pete, who made the original comment.

  • qet

    We are already in dark days. The long-looming spectre of EU economic collapse; the inability and unwillingness of Europe to defend itself from aggression; the wholesale rejection (or so it seems) by modern British public sentiment of every idea, principle and practice that made Britain, and then America, great.

    There have been a great many non-extremist writers over the years who have observed that (i’m freely paraphrasing) the iron laws of human society do not function when scaled up too large, and/or that nationalism is a vital political force. Unfortunately, the only Europeans who seem to possess the will and the energy to resist the tide of bureaucratic-totalitarian supranationalism that is the EU also harbor, in some cases, some unsavory views. But what was it that Kant said about the crooked timber of humanity again?

  • Andrew Allison

    For shame! Such blatant misrepresentation has no place at TAI.
    “Voters are fed up with how the EU elite has handled things, turning a collective deaf ear to growing fears over immigration and ramming through unpopular austerity measures that would not likely pass if they were decided in national parliaments.” is sheer nonsense. All the austerity measures required by the ECB in return for lending money to effectively bankrupt counties were passed by the respective parliaments.
    None of the “fringe” parties (it has apparently escaped TAI’s notice that there a good chance the UKIP and FN will be the majority national parties in the next European parliament) have praised Putin’s actions in Crimea. FN and Jobbick have stated their views that the present Ukrainian is illegitimate, a subject which is clearly debatable. Jobbit has has demanded that full territorial autonomy should be granted to the Hungarian and Ruthenian minorities in Transcarpathia, and Mr. Farage has professed admiration for Mr Putin as a political operator and “brilliant” tactician in the Syria crisis (indisputably true), a very far cry from praising his actions in Crimea or iredentism.

    • Stacy Garvey

      Andrew has it right. What’s happening here at TAI when an headline so blatantly biased and inaccurate is posted? Pro-Putin? Really. I watched the debate – all 45 minutes and Farage was very clear in his characterization.

  • JoeThorpe1963

    Lets get one thing correct, Farage is no more far right than Ronald Reagan the far right carry banners with swastikas or dress up in bed sheets & carry burning crosses. So please stop dressing up democratically elected politicians that actually reflect the views of their electorate as far right whack jobs. The Cuckoo in the nest is Nick Clegg who’s treasonous agenda will see the British people lose their identity to European leaders that we have never voted for let alone even heard of or even speak English.

  • Anthony

    Free_agent in his second post gives summary to Clegg/Farage debate and underlying EU tension of Supranationalism vs. Blood and Soil; most important, idea of Supranationalism is not new in Europe’s history. Accordingly, current conversation over nation states – people embedded in a culture and place – is 21st century version of counter enlightenment argument in form of updated “Blood and Soil” (the notion that an ethnic group and the land from which it originated form an organic whole with unique qualities….) propositions.

  • Jacksonian_Libertarian

    The Euro Zone and the EU = the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact
    Both are unstable political unions held together by authority from above. The moment that authority weakens, internal forces drive the union apart. It’s just a matter of time before the EU and the Euro follow the Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact onto the junk pile of history.

  • David Legge

    How the hell Is Nick Clegg talking about chemical weapons, did we not lie about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, we in Britain its so dam false come on!!! The reason why he respects Putin is because unlike America and Britain Russia has not invaded countries for the past 10 years! Can you believe that America and England has invaded more countries then China and Russia ? I’m British by the way but people really need to wake up/

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