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Published on: August 10, 2017
Sovereignty Redux
Germany and the Return of a Europe of Nations

The growth of “populism” in European politics is better described as a response by Europe’s populations to Germany’s increasingly dominant position on the Continent.

Andrew A. Michta is the dean of the College of International and Security Studies at the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies. Views expressed here are his own
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  • Boritz

    “74 percent now insist that immigration decisions should be made by national governments, and not the EU.”

    Cold Comfort. The current refugee crisis has been driven by Germany, well the Chancellor, deciding for Germany, although it’s not hard to imagine the EU making things even worse.

    • Yes, her attempts to impose uniformity were also what spurred Britain to leave the European Union as well.

      • FriendlyGoat

        Except that Britain has not really left yet and likely never will in full.

        • Boritz

          Brexit is like the election. A majority voted to leave the EU but likely never will in full. A majority voted for HRC who will likely never assume presidential powers in full.

          • FriendlyGoat

            Indeed. Britain will avoid its electoral folly, but we won’t. There is a difference between electing the wrong thing and not getting it——vs.—–electing the wrong thing and being stuck with it. (BTW, did you know that about half of Republicans think Trump won the popular vote?)

          • Boritz

            I have heard two arguments. That without California Trump won the popular vote. This seems to be a “to h**l with CA who needs ’em” attitude. The other idea is that 3+million illegals put Hillary over the popvote top. I’m not sure what percentage simply aren’t aware of the official numbers. This is reminescent of 2000 where the following happened: Election officials in FL were holding ballots up to the light and making decisions regarding what do we do with a 3-corner chad? How do we count a 2-corner chad? How do we count a dimpled chad? What was in the voters minds when they dimpled or cornered chads in such a manner? Let’s discern what their intent was and count it accordingly. Bush took Gore to court with the following argument: Federal election law requires all rules governing a federal election to be in place six weeks prior to the election taking place. You can’t come along after the election and make up additional rules that you think are necessary at that point in time. They were weeks too late to formulate rules according to the law. The FL Supreme Count said, no we don’t see it that way, go ahead and keep holding your chads up to the ceiling lights. The U.S. Supreme Court agreed that rules were being created after the six-weeks-prior deadline and ordered that the chad intent discerners pack it in. For grins the NYT and others held various unofficial recounts anyway attempting to cherry-pick Democrat strongholds within their spreadsheets. Result: Bush won, and won and won all recounts not matter how they tried to come up with a count that gave it to Gore. End result: A huge number of Democrats believe Bush behaved illegally used the Supreme Court to steal the election from Gore, the clear winner.

          • FriendlyGoat

            We need to concentrate on two things: 1) The popular vote was near 50/50 (small edge to Clinton), meaning that there is no real mandate for Trumpism, and 2) The only reason we have Trumpism is because of about 78,000 out-of-their-minds evangelicals in WI/MI/PA who all by themselves swung the electoral college. THE STORY is that Trump did a Pied Piper number on some very gullible folks from church. There is really NOTHING else worth talking about except 1) Flipping some of them back, or 2) Naming and shaming them for every ill effect of Trumpism until sufficient numbers of previous non-voters rise up and resolve to defeat Trumpism.

          • Dude

            “The other idea is that 3+million illegals put Hillary over the popvote top.” You misunderstand the argument. It is not that 3+ million illegals voted. The argument is that 3 million or so illegal votes were cast. This takes into account votes cast by dead people, people ineligible to vote, permanent residents, people voting in multiple precincts, and people legally here on visas. California has an extremely high number of permanent residents. There is nothing preventing a non-citizen from registering to vote and voting. Voting registration forms are available at DMVs, and no one even asks whether you are a citizen, much less asks for some sort of proof of it. They just offer you the voter registration form. It is not uncommon to see this phenomenon at trials. During voir dire, the court will give its speech about the importance of jury duty plays in citizenship and it being one of the responsibilities of citizenship, and one of the potential jurors will tell the court that he/she can’t serve on the jury because they are not a citizen. (Oh, and despite what you’re heard; yes, we do, for the most part, get lists of potential jurors from voting rolls. It’s just a lot easier than any other method.) Of course, it’s possible that there were 3 million illegal votes cast. Clearly, some of it goes on regularly, and it is quietly acknowledged by those involved in politics. The underlying assumption is always that there aren’t enough of these illegal votes to sway an election. It’s possible, but the same ones who insist that this is the case, are also the ones objecting to any checks being put in place or even providing data for a presidential commission investigating such illegal coting. So, they don’t have a lot of credibility.
            You also misunderstand Bush v. Gore. You’re likely thinking of the first case, Bush v. Palm Cty Bd. Canvassing Board. In that case, the issue of whether the belated hand count violated due process or 3 U.S. 5 was presented. A unanimous court vacated the Florida Supreme Court’s opinion and remanded for clarification. So, they did not decide the issue. Bush v. Gore involved an application of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The Court held 7-2 that handcounting of ballots in only 4 (predominantly Democratic) counties violated equal protection. Two of the seven (Souter and Breyer) disagreed with the other 5 on the remedy. They held that the selective handcount was an equal protection violation, and the court should remand the case for Florida to come up with a uniform recount. Because it was undisputed that such a recount would be well passed the safe harbor provisions of 3 U.S. U.S. 5, the best Gore could have hoped for under Souter and Breyer’s remedy was a slate of disputed electors from Florida, i.e., because they were outside the safe harbor provision, Congress was not required to recognize them, see, e.g., the 1876 election. Despite public perception, the Court’s 7-2 decision that the selective handcount violated equal protection was not particularly controversial. (I’ve never seen or heard anyone attempting to defend either Stevens’ dissent or Ginsburg’s dissent, including the usual left-wing law professors.) The real controversy was regarding the remedy itself. And, even Souter and Breyer acknowledged that any additional recount would produce a slate of electors that was subject to dispute, wihch was entriely at the discretion of Congress, both houses of which were controlled by Republicans. Accordingly, anyone who thinks the 2000 election was stolen or that the Supreme Court made a controversial political decision has no idea what they are talking about.

  • Kevin

    Interesting take on the topic.

  • QET

    I’m surprised that this article does not mention China or Russia, whose politics are motivated by a strong and even militant nationalism, which the post-nationalist West is finding very difficult to oppose effectively. As for Europe, the “idea of a common Europe as a shared project” is a poor one, always was. The EEC was the natural limit of a “unified” Europe and the “project” should not have advanced beyond that. Notwithstanding the invocation ad nauseam of Terence’s famous dictum and the exhortations to “global citizenship,” it is an inconvenient truth of the human psyche that people do not want to be transformed into featureless fungible grains whose only valuable traits are those of the genus, the traits they share with every other grain in the bin, all 7 billion of them. “Humanity” is not a group one belongs to in the meaningful sense of that word (at least not until sapient alien life is discovered); nor, apparently, is “European.” People value their distinctiveness and must be coerced into giving it up, and such coercion toward gray uniformity, which the EU apparatus and the self-proclaimed more-enlightened-than-thou “elites” inflict with a malevolent joy on the “masses,” tends to produce an equal and opposite reaction back toward distinctiveness. And I have said before in these pages (as have many others) that Germany, so far from being the solution, is the very problem.

  • Jeff77450

    The original goals of the EU made sense, i.e. the free movement of goods, capital and people. It’s just that it’s greatly exceeded its mandate. I’ve read that the EU can dictate what days & hours a hospital can be open, how much a banana can “bend” and how much electricity a vacuum-cleaner can use. What does any of that have to do with the free movement of goods, capital and people?

    In particular, they clearly didn’t think out the full implications of the free movement of people. If the EU can’t “return to basics,” so to speak, then the sooner it dies, the better.

  • alfred5

    German authorities are almost unable to deport refused asylum seekers from Germany to their countries of origin due to a number of factors, including migrants’ lack of necessary documents, Bavarian Minister-President Horst Seehofer told the Focus media outlet in an interview issued on Friday.

    “Basing on my nine-year experience as the minister-president, I would say that there is a big illusion in Germany in the issue of deporting [refused asylum seekers] … It is almost impossible to send back migrants, who have already arrived in the country [Germany],” Seehofer said.

    He went on to list several reasons for why refused asylum seekers stay in Germany. For instance, many of them have no proper documents, meaning that their countries of origin will not accept them in the event of deportation. Another factor is that migrants file many lawsuits in attempts to challenge their refused asylum.

    In some cases refused asylum seekers get documents proving they are in poor health and therefore not able to be deported. Germany has refused asylum to over 200,000 and yet few have actually been deported

    The reality is that anyone from the Third World can come to the EU ; we no longer have an enforceable immigration policy ..this is merely the beginning of the tidal wave !

  • alfred5

    The hard facts are that this migrant crisis is merely symptomatic of something that has gone seriously wrong within the EU ; the Third World has always been threatening to invade but now they have the opportunity because we have let our guard down ; there has been a fatal collapse in morale and self belief, something akin to the sudden collapse of the East Bloc in 88-91

    Ironically and paradoxically, it was the leader of East Germany, Egon Krenz , who triggered the collapse by opening up the Berlin Wall and it is another former East German, Frau Merkel, who has triggered the collapse of the EU project by announcing that Germany would take ”refugees” That’s not to say that Frau Merkel caused the collapse any more than Gavrilo Princip caused WW1, but they were the trigger mechanism

    The EU project had been fatally undermined over many years by top heavy bureaucracy, existential despair, materialism, hedonism, feminisation and decadence

    If we cannot even defend ourselves against unarmed migrant invaders then how can we possibly summon up the will to defend our political/economic interests around the world ?
    This sets a lethal precedent that will only encourage the contempt that our enemies have for us

  • alfred5

    This is the German problem afflicting Europe again ; they started WW1 and then WW2 , created the Holocaust and now wracked by guilt have embraced a fatal pacifism that has triggered an invasion by Third World migrants
    The unification of Germany under Bismark was a disaster and the reunification of Germany after the Cold War has led to this ! Germany, the problem child of Europe never grew up !

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