The Duck of Minerva

The Duck Quacks at Twilight

The Quiet Assassin of European Democracy


May 4, 2012

Herman Von Rompuy is going to steal your sovereignty.
Also, Christmas.

There is something refreshing in British newspapers. Empires come and empires go, but tabloids are one of life’s constants. So with the Express, which has discovered “EU Plot To Scrap Britain”:

The new bureaucrat, who would not be directly elected by voters, is set to get sweeping control over the entire EU and force member countries into ever-greater political and economic union. Tellingly, the UK has been excluded from the confidential discussions within the shady “Berlin Group” of Europhile politicians, spearheaded by German foreign minister Guido Westerwelle. Opponents fear the plan could create a modern-day equivalent of the European emperor envisaged by Napoleon Bonaparte or a return to the Holy Roman Empire of Charlemagne that dominated Europe in the Dark Ages. They are concerned that David Cameron’s coalition Government is doing nothing to prevent the sinister plot. The secret talks were uncovered by Independent Labour peer Lord Stoddart of Swindon.

Forget the end of history. With Chinese infighting, Russian saber-rattling, and now German plotting, we have more than enough to convince even the most ardent constructivist that realism has triumphed. More seriously, how does extreme Euroscepticism fit in with IR theory?

This is a serious question, and one that deserves a serious answer. Does the repository of normative legitimacy follow the deposit of actual sovereignty? If so, then Eurocrats should just weather this storm and be patient. But if the peoples of the world are sticky in their loyalties–if they, too, think of France in a certain way–then how can revolutions from above ever take hold? (The history of the United States, and indeed of state-making in Europe and its offshoots more generally, suggests that Eurocrats should be less sanguine and more sanguinary.)

Of course, what I really appreciate about the Express is this excuse to link to Herman Von Rompuy set to a techno beat.

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