Friday, February 3, 2017

note to the EU President
—and some philosophical context

Earlier this week, I sent a message to the President of the European Union—seriously. I did it seriously. Of course, it’s comical to think that I reached anyone beyond a clerical screener. But the act will be useful for later discussion online.

I responded to a letter to EU heads of state by Donald Tusk that was posted for public purusal on the EU Council home page (link upcoming). The EU President was expressing very well the spirit of need for EU solidarity in facing immanent challenges. But he was invalidly equating (1) the travesty of Trump playing autocrat and (2) a general threat to U.S.-E.U. relations, as if The Donald has general public support. So, why not share my view of the matter, as a student of European affairs who can speak for the American situation validly?

Afterward, I posted the EU president’s Council letter at the Facebook/ Habermas Page and included a paste-in of my webmail message to Mr. Tusk (upcoming). But I was anticipating the EU's Friday, 2/3/17, "informal" Malta Summit (which Mr. Tusk's letter was also anticipating), which has now passed. So, I’ve moved my message to here (and afterward provided contextual links to discussion by Habermas and to some of my earlier, related discussions):

Mr. President,

Your inspiring letter should be complemented by an emphasis that the new “American” administration is largely not welcomed in the U.S. and should not be regarded as a singular, homogenous new force in the world against which Europe has to defend itself in long-range terms.

The Democratic agenda that the majority of U.S. Americans voted for—continuing the progressive Obama approach to the multi-polar world—will be front-and-center in the 2018 elections; Wall Street will tame Trump in the meantime; and European leadership can do much to hold fast the EU-U.S. accomplishments of the past few years until the absurdity of recent American events has passed.

Don’t make the “dialectical” mistake of shaping intra-European solidarity relative to an adversary who doesn’t speak for the majority of U.S interests; and who is going to self-destruct anyway. If you keep close attention to U.S. news, you know that Mr. Trump is going to be very contained by our agressive journalism, financial market power, Democratic elected officials, and the people’s (not populist) blowback against our reality TV blowhard.

This is a time for Europe—may I say—to take to heart everything you mention in your letter, but also to not lose sight of the tenuousness of recent American events. Remember: Multi-cultural as the U.S. is, we are largely Europeans, and again, the majority of Americans—especially the highly progressive “nation” of California—did not vote for and do not sit passively enduring the bull in the china shop who sells himself as a president. We, in the majority, are Europeans, too.
I should add that I expect leftist readers to feel unfriendly to the notion that “Wall Street” would be mentioned as a factor in containing Trump, since Trump is so Wall Street friendly. One should distinguish aspects of the global economy that is very roughly (indefinitely) referenced by “Wall Street.” Capital-intensive business is not the same as its subdomain: Capitalist business, which is not the prevailing factor in GDP.

Trump is friendly to Capitalism, but most of the economy depends on trade relations, material (commodity) market dynamics, consumer confidence, employment levels, and the financing which promotes this. Besides this, a great proportion of Capitalist interest is democratic, even within the Republican party, because health, education, and community investment is axiomatic for long-term returns on investment. Also, there is as much Democratic money (which favors that party and the Party's approach to global economics and geopolitics) as there is nationalist Republican money. (Overturning “Citizens Unitied” is as unfavorable to progressive money as it is to autocratic money.)

Anyway, elusiveness of durable transnational solidarity has plagued the EU for years. This was a keynote of the EU’s failure to ratify an EU constitution (seeking a formal “United States of Europe”), about which Jürgen Habermas discoursed at much length (for example). Indeed, the title of Mr. Tusk’s letter this week to heads of state was a famous motto of the U.S. during the Civil War: “United We Stand. Divided We Fall.”

A general problem that is now important to both the U.S. and the E.U.—which the apparition of Trump’s brand marketing inflames—is right-wing nationalism, which Habermas discussed at length some months ago, but which I haven’t yet discussed. Though the situation of the U.S. is not the situation of the E.U., understanding one continent’s situation can be useful for understanding the other’s situation. I expect to explore that soon, as best I can.