The other day I expressed astonishment that people are so attached to the European Union. I assumed that after the problems with Greece that have lasted for so many years, people would be reluctant to express any enthusiasm for the EU at all. After all, the obvious solution was for Greece not to have joined. Yet, lots of people seem fervently attached to it and have called those voting for Brexit stupid, racist, etc. Now Sarah Hoyt has reminded me in this column that lots of Europeans drew a certain lesson from WWI and WWII, that nationalism was horrible. The EU was devised as a counter to nationalism, so when England voted for Brexit, it was (in their opinion) like voting for war. How barbaric!
One of the commenters pointed out that we Americans didn’t seem to learn this lesson in school. “The run-up to WWI was ‘We’ll have all these alliances and war will be so terrible that none will consider it.’ Then a Serbian anarchist shot an Austrian archduke in Sarajevo and the whole thing blew up in their faces.” Let me add that our own big wars, the Revolutionary War and the Civil War, had nothing to do with nationalism. And let me also add that Europe has had wars involving religion and not nationalism. In fact, all one needs for a war is someone with a big ego who wants to rule the world. How will an entity like the EU prevent that? I don’t see that it can.