Eurosceptics would do well to look beyond the totalitarian bluster of the EU to see a bloc struggling to keep its head above geopolitical water. While Europhilia remains just as toxic to Irish national aspiration as it was in 2021, the war in Ukraine and prospective Western split with China looks set to relegate the EU to the equivalent of the UN, i.e. an irrelevant talking shop of menopausal functionaries.
Already Brussels feels sidestepped by the NATO-led war effort in Ukraine, feeling that it has been overtaken by Washington and competent nation-states such as Poland or the UK in taking the fight to the marauding Muscovites.
No one seriously believes that the same shiftless bureaucrats and German social democrats who make up the EU’s leadership core could mount a serious offensive against Russia, let alone grapple with the turbulence ahead of us all as multipolarity sets in.
The EU, once thought of as a sleeping giant in world affairs, is increasingly acknowledged to be a greying anchor in a fast- moving world, especially in the Anglosphere.
Brussels has all the mechanisms and high offices of a superpower but none of the imperatives to get it over the line as a completed project, such as a centralised command structure, defence forces or even an European demos willing to defend it. In short, all mouth and no trousers.
Instead of Eurofederalism, a new and turbo-charged Atlanticism rules the roost in Europe today as America, even the Biden administration, begins to notice the rust gathering on what Eurocrats still hope to be a superpower in the making.
Eastern European nations such as Hungary and Poland rightly see Brussels as a feckless Soviet-esque madhouse, even if the conditions for individual exits from the Union are not yet right. Populism is gaining more and more ground in Western Europe as the UK warts and moves on from Brexit unscathed if not slightly buoyant.
Minus the eurocritical guardrail of Britain, EU elites are accelerating federalisation like a corpse floating through space still without addressing the root causes for its structural failures.
Any material gains the EU has given to Ireland ended around the time of the Maastricht Treaty, as the increasingly geriatric continent lives on its legacy holdings and hopes the modern world will go away.
Sure, small nations in the Balkans or those fearing the Russian yoke may opt for the liberal safety blanket of Brussels, but the prospect of the EU being a world player has evaporated.
As shown by the AI Act, Europe does not seek to create the future anymore but instead just seeks to regulate it in the hopes that the CCP or Silicon Valley tech barons will bend the knee to its 400 million strong customs union and ignore the rise of markets elsewhere.
The EU’s green deal amounts to economic and geopolitical suicide as it intentionally creates cycles of dependencies the bloc simply will not recover from. Despite noble chauvinistic feelings from the French, its foreign policy is a copy and paste of Washington’s just without the military might of the U.S. Army to back it up as the continent stands unprepared for a looming schism with China.
Readers of this publication don’t need to be reminded of the threat posed by mass immigration from the third world, as European elites ponder the imposition of fresh asylum quotas and France dusts itself off from a week of race riots. Like weary 7th century Byzantines doing battle with the Persian Empire and ignoring the threat of Arab expansionism, Europe wages war to the death with Russia all while it turns a blind eye to the true historic threats of our era, Turkey and immigration from the Global South.
Amid all of this the, EU’s top student, Ireland (or the chunk of it that still occasionally flies the green flags), follows in tow, hitching its wagon to a failing union, smugly thinking Brexit signifies that we will always have friends in Brussels.
A proper nation state or national leadership would come to the early conclusion now that the clock is ticking on the European project, whatever form a final meltdown takes. The grand post-war idea that Europe could transition herself beyond the nation-state model into an Enlightenment powerhouse has misfired and what we have left is a Continent about to be gobbled up by China, America and even the Islamic world in the form of Qatar and Turkey.
An Atlantic island with diaspora around the world has other options than simple EU sycophancy, even if a cultural connection with the continent is always a plus, with Ireland having all the raw potential of a viable nation-state as the day Griffith first elucidated the policy of “Ourselves Alone” over a century ago. As Brexit shows, leaving the EU is no substitute for a genuine national revival and does little to stop demographic decline, but surely Ireland can do better than a moribund early retirement home of European nations huddling for warmth as their societies demographically collapse.
Time to look beyond the EU nursing home and think of alternative options.