December 19, 2018

The EU’s Coming Crisis

“Since she succeeded David Cameron in the wake of the Brexit vote, the accidental British prime minister, Theresa May, has been trying without success to have things both ways. On the one hand she’s having to pretend to observe the wishes of the British public, which voted to leave the European Union, but her own inclination — shared by many Tory Remainers — is to keep fumbling the football until the clock runs out. Meanwhile, the Labour Party, which is now led by an out-and-out communist in Jeremy Corbyn, is delighted with the whole mess.

Across the Irish Sea, Britain’s ever-restive former colony, Ireland, is having its own troubles. The withdrawal from the EU by the United Kingdom will mean that the rump state of Northern Ireland (whose votes Mrs. May needs to keep her in power, as shaky as her current hold on it is now) will require some sort of border with the Republic to the south.

Meanwhile, in central Europe (where I am as I write this), the old European cultural fault line of the Alps that once divided the Protestant north from the Catholic south has been rotated vertically to the Oder-Neisse line, which used to simply separate postwar Germany from Poland, but now splits most of Western Europe from the former captive nations of Eastern Europe, with Germany, France, and Britain on one side and Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia on the other — the group of four nations that constitute the Visegrad Group.”

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