On the way from the Maloja saddle in the Engadine in direction of the Forno glacier, hikers pass a decades-old iconic building of the left-wing alternative scene. It is called Salecina House. There is a giant poster mounted saying: “No borders”. This text also flashes on the Salenica homepage. Some people will say: So what, these are the leftist alternative people. They are not to be taken seriously. They are an insignificant minority.
However, ever since a very high number of migrants have been coming to Europe, “welcomed” by the official policy of the (CDU – Christian Democratic Party) German Federal Chancellor and by the European Union, and ever since border controls, as well as the legal provisions for these controls, were suspended for months, the question is how much influence this minority has and who else is clamouring for “no borders”.
Publicist Friederike Beck has written a book on the subject of this question which she studies thoroughly and well documented. The title sounds a little sensational: “The Secret Migration Agenda. How elite networks want to destroy Europe using super rich foundations, the EU, the UN and NGOs”. (2016, ISBN 978-3-86445-310-6 – in German). But the statements in this book provide a lot of information – and are to be taken very seriously. Chapters are entitled “The great failure of the EU”, “The role of the UN in enforcing the migration agenda” and “no borders – no nation: the boundless agenda of the chaos-foundations”. The subchapters “Abolishing European National States by forming a European centralized State”, “The migration agenda of the United Nations”, “Who is Peter Sutherland?”, “The war declaration of the global elite on the nationhood of Europe”, “George Soros and his International Foundations network”, “The European Commission and private foundations are acting in concert”, “The fortress of Europe was razed” are particularly worth reading. But it is best yet to read the whole book.
It becomes clear that the migration-policy of the top politicians in UN and EU as well as of the German Government is being instrumented to dissolve the nation states in their present form. It also becomes clear that left-wing alternative circles as well as the profiteers of a neo-liberal policy support this program. Actually there is a huge international network of foundations, associations and societies which promote their political operation of “no borders” and “unlimited” globalisation in close cooperation with and financed by national and international institutions. And unlimited globalisation means that now all people of this world can be shifted around, back and forth, homeless and rootless, but “flexible”. Thus it is shown that the arguments of these circles, although presented as philanthropic, are in fact deeply inhumane.
Perhaps add to this a second book, which appeared in German translation in 2015 and which had already been published in Dutch in 2012. This was written by Thierry Baudet, a still quite young scientist and publicist from the Netherlands. The title of the book: “The ongoing Attack on the Nation-State” (2015, ISBN 978-3-86445-222-2 – in German). One does not have to share all the considerations and conclusions of the book, but the first and the third chapters are well worth studying. The headings: “The emergence of the Nation-State” and “The importance of the Nation-State”. The author argues that the current attacks on the sovereign European nation state, especially the accusation that their existence endangers freedom, do not withstand scrutiny, and that the world wars in the 20th century – notwithstanding EU allegations – were not caused by the existence of sovereign nation states.
On the contrary, the way to the two world wars was led by the warring parties’ imperial ambitions, by their will to dominate other nations and to put an end to sovereign nation states. For example, the passages in which the book reminds the reader of the Nazis’ ideas about Europe are well worth reading, for example the speech by Joseph Goebbels on 11 September 1940, titled “the Europe of the future”. He says: “European peoples are becoming more and more aware that much of what happened between them was basically family disputes only – compared with the big questions that have to be clarified between continents. […] I am convinced that – in 50 years’ time one will not think in the categories of one country – many of today’s problems will disappear.” Or there were Hitler’s reflections in a discussion with the Finnish Minister of Foreign Affairs on 28 November 1941, which the protocol quotes as follows, namely that “it is gradually becoming apparent that the peoples of Europe belong together like a big family of nations”. The protocol goes on: “[Hitler] was not one of those willing to leave a very difficult task presented to him to the surrounding world instead. The task of merging the European family had to be solved at once. Given modern military technology, small states could no longer exist independently. At a time when a plane could fly at a speed of 600 km per hour, a large spatial concentration of nations was needed.”
Finally there were the Nazi “theses” for “a new Europe”. There is mention of the “unification of Europe, which is already apparent as a result of compulsory development under the iron laws of history”. And then: “the new European order will largely remove those causes, which have given rise to intra-European wars in the past. The Nations of Europe will not turn against each other as enemies any longer. The age of European particularism will be overcome for ever.”
The actual policy of the Nazis and its results are well known.
The dutch author of the book is convinced that sovereign nation states are needed to guarantee constitutional and democratic conditions, as well as to take into account the citizens’ necessary “sense of unity”. This essentially includes the citizens’ sovereignty in deciding who they want to accept into their nation State, but also who they do not want to accept. “We cannot do without unity” is the title of the book’s last sub-chapter.
Fact is: The development of European nation states is an essential step of adjustment in the struggle for true dignity. Europe’s history shows the striving of its peoples for a stable order of freedom and equality in human community, and against instability, chaos, and imperial heteronomy.
This development was different and unique for each of today’s European nation states and happened at different times. At the same time, it was also the core of a “democratic world revolution” (Martin Kriele), which resulted in a public commitment to the state monopoly on legitimate violence, to the separation of powers, to the rule of law and the sovereignty of the peoples in all European States. All the constitutions of the European nation states reflect this today – despite different nuances.
It was stony path to get this far.
Towards the end of the ancient European world, the wish of the peoples of Europe had been to cast off the Roman Empire. But the result after three centuries of turmoil was not sovereignty and statehood with free and equal citizens. In its western part, the old empire was replaced by a new one. The German kings took on the task that Rome had attributed to them, namely that of a secular peacekeeping power and as the successors of the Western Roman Emperors. This development reached its peak in the 15th century in the form of the “Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation”. The eastern part of the Roman Empire continued to exist for many more centuries. But, with the conquest of Constantinople by the Turks in the 15th century its gradual dissolution also led to the rule of a new empire, the Ottoman Empire in southeast of Europe.
Although around these two empires a few European countries already took the first steps towards developing into nation states in the late Middle Ages, i.e. France, the British Isles, the Scandinavian countries, or a few eastern European dominions – these remained hierarchical corporative states. The princes regarded them as their property, and in spite of the developing princely monopoly on legitimate violence, they were still far from being states under the rule of law and from granting freedom, equality and sovereignty to their own people – let alone to other peoples and states.
Swiss history went its own way. Although they formally still belonged to the “Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation” until 1648, the Swiss strove after more independence from the German kings and emperors and from their bailiffs as early as in the Middle Ages. They formed a kind of confederation with largely independent cantons and were practically independent of the directives of the Emperor in Vienna since the end of the 15th century.
In the centre of Europe the way toward national states did not open up until the middle of the 17th century: with the Treaty of Westphalia, with the achievement of religious tolerance and with the new ideas of the time. These, for the first time in history, involved the history and significance of peoples and nations, as well as their rights and obligations.
The “Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation” was only a shell, and it was replaced by a large number of regional central European absolutist states, whose rulers had the princely monopoly on legitimate violence and laid claim to sovereignty. But for many years there was no national idea, no rule of law and no sovereignty of the people even here.
Eventually all that was left of the central European empire was its heartland, the realm of the Habsburg dynasty, which lasted until the end of the First World War and was only then dissolved into different nation states – but those also according to the directions of others and to imperial specifications.
There was also another great empire, not of Europe but that had reached all the way into Europe, and was finally dissolved during World War I: the Ottoman Empire. As early as in the 19th and at the beginning of the 20th century the fragile nation states of Southeast Europe had emerged on its former European territory – but also here the process went on according to the directions of others and to imperial specifications.
There remained only one empire: the Anglo-Saxon one. As before, its claim to power stretched to all continents. And after the turn of the century a new empire had begun to spread and to challenge the British for their role even in Europe: the United States of America.
Nevertheless, all European nation states gave themselves constitutions in the 19th and 20th centuries, and they tried – step by step and with delays – for a state monopoly on legitimate violence, for the separation of powers, the rule of law and the sovereignty of their people. All European nation states have a constitutive people; they have state authority with the monopoly on legitimate violence and they have an internationally recognized territory with its established borders.
Even though many of these states were created according to the directions of others and did not spring from their own people, each of these states looks back on a long history of cultural traditions and communal identity. Despite of all the differences in details there is (still) in each of these countries a sense of unity that has developed over generations. The peoples have become citizens of their nation states – but each new generation is newly faced with this task.
International law and national constitutions today command all European nation states to respect the rights of their own citizens and the rights of other states and nations, i.e. human rights, the sovereignty of citizens and the integrity of state borders. And no country is obliged to admit everyone who wants to be accepted as a new citizen.
It is the nation states and their constitutions which have become the guarantors of peace and international understanding. But the breakdown of national and international law has for the last 25 years led to new wars in Europe. Nation states that participate in such wars do so not because of their nation statehood and their constitutions, but out of disrespect for the sovereignty of their people as well as disrespect for their own laws – they do so because of their own imperial claims or because they are submissive vassals of non-European imperial powers, notably of the United States of America.
Even the European wars of the 20th century were not the result of the existence of sovereign nation states. Power greedy and unpatriotic leaders tried to live out their imperial delusions, to abuse their peoples and to push them into the abyss of misery. The same is true for the 21st century.
National identity and consciousness are not contradictory to international understanding and peace, no indeed, these are interdependent. The following applies today as it did yesterday: “An entrenchment in one’s own culture, meaning the inner understanding of our culture’s universal values, is the condition for having a firm place in this world and in this time. It is also the condition for establishing a respect for other people and their culture, and it is the condition for a productive co-existence among people.” (Annemarie Buchholz-Kaiser: Strengthening human beings, 2000)
Power always tends to overextend itself when leaders are no longer bound to the will of their people and when they disregard the commitment to the rule of law and to popular sovereignty. In that case these leaders may slip back into imperial madness even today. But it is not the citizens’, not the peoples’ madness.
It is therefore part of the duties of citizens that they keep their senses alert, that they do not tolerate accumulation of power in the hands of just a few people and that they actively help fashion the political life of their country. But of course this requires the citizens to be mature, upright and honest, to be aware of their history and culture, to know what is unique for their nation and its very own as well as what they have in common with all people in the world – and to live joyfully according to these conditions.
The European national and democratic state is the sustainable model of statehood in the 21st century. The attacks on the nation-state are not conducive to self-determination, to the rule of law, or to peace. New imperial ambitions aiming at depriving citizens of their rights of decision and incapacitate and debasing them are hidden behind these attacks. In order to achieve this, these ambitions make use of manifold tools.
The European Union and its institutional framework is one of these tools. The European Union in its present form is not a guarantee of peace and international understanding – on the contrary. The predecessor organizations of the European Union were the brainchild of imperial thinkers at the time of the Cold War. Plans devised by the US intelligence agencies were the starting point. Also in the new Cold War the European Union is to serve imperial plans. This must be prevented.
Peace in Europe can only be made secure with a revival of the European nation states, their sovereignty, their culture and identity. They are prerequisite to an equal and positive cooperation between states in Europe, to the satisfaction of the dignity and the rights of man, and to the exercise of people’s duties as citizens. •
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