old patterns of behavior


Post photo: Rassemblement National | © Gregory ROOSE on Pixabay

Precisely because state politicians actually managed to break through old patterns of behavior and break new ground after the Second World War, we Europeans on both sides of the Atlantic have succeeded in pacifying at least the western world and, overall, in achieving unprecedented prosperity for worry most of us.

Harry S. Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Winston Churchill, Charles de Gaulle, Konrad Adenauer, Alcide de Gasperi, Paul Henri Spaak, Joseph Bech, Robert Schuman, Jean Monnet and Altiero Spinelli deserve special mention, because without them there would be neither NATO nor the Council of Europe nor even the European Union.

Only because of this event, which is very important for us today and also for world history, are we living in a time of unprecedented opportunities.

But because subsequent generations of politicians almost without exception had neither the courage nor the foresight of the men mentioned above, even with challenges and problems that we as humanity have never had either.

Recently, however, there has also been an increase in the fact that today's politicians, either not recognizing the overall context or simply incapable of demanding changes that have become necessary for themselves and their fellow citizens, fall back exactly into these behavior patterns that they believed to be dead.

Today's arsenal of "European policy" again includes, even if sometimes named differently: wars, colonialism, reparation payments, pacts, nationalism, racism, totalitarianism, resettlement, walls and striving for supremacy.

The most recent lasting result will probably be the exit of the United Kingdom from the European Union, followed by a withdrawal of the United States from world politics and flaring up fights between half-powered nations over the fragments of the same.

We should all know better - and be able to!

"La politique fut d'abord l'art d'empêcher les gens de se meler de ce qui les regarde. À une époque suivante, on y adjoignit l'art de contraindre les gens à décider sur ce qu'ils n'entendent pas."

Paul Valéry, Œuvres II (1960: 947, Des partis)

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