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Op-Ed: Right-wing parties in the European Parliament — Gift for Russia and poison for EU

If Europe wants to go back to 1945, this is how. Maybe not, eh?

European Union: — © AFP
European Union: — © AFP

Nearly 80 years after the end of World War 2, the stench is happening again. The not-very mysterious simultaneous rise of the right in both the US and Europe looks odd.

These are typically “aren’t we great” nationalist groups, with no real credentials in government or anything else. They usually don’t have much history. The just “sprang up”, like MAGA,

These groups do have a lot in common. Their various criminal matters and incidents regularly show up monotonously on the news. In Germany, the pattern would be drearily familiar to anyone from the mid-20th century.

All these supposedly disparate groups sing from the same old hate hymns and prejudices. They all target people for ethnicity, religion, or any other excuse. They polarize every issue. They disunite.

There is not and never has been any such thing as a right-wing ideology. It’s about grabbing power by any means possible. That’s what Mein Kampf is actually about in practical terms. You’ll note that Hitler didn’t refer to it much himself when in power.

Appeal to stupidity and you’re bound to appeal to somebody. All idiots speak the same language. If you have a populist idiot appealing to other idiots, just pretend to be a news network.

The right-wing groups have maybe far too much in common:

They all started to get globally noisy around 2016. Trump and Brexit happened in that year.

They have more or less the same outdated national and international views.

They’re invariably anti-immigrant.

They’re anti-globalization.

They’re anti-foreign by definition.

They’re therefore anti-Europe by definition. Not too many dots to join there.

They have the same prejudices and hatreds as peasants from the Middle Ages.  

They typically appeal to a non-existent patriotic provincial past. The good old days under Soviet rule, and similar fictionalized tales are standard,

Their propaganda is all disinformation, not a fact in sight, and if there is a fact, they spin it into fiction.

This methodology is standard. It’s basic Goebbels with a tinge of McCarthyism when for US consumption.

When in power, they’re disastrous without exception. These “governments” fail on a routine basis.  If you think the Nazis and Fascists were “inept”, they’re worse. They’re also utterly incompetent. They’ve already effectively destroyed the UK with the ridiculous, economically and socially illiterate Brexit. (Do Brexiteers have educations? According to whom?)  

If they did the same things in the wider EU, it’d be catastrophic. One of the most advanced social and economic entities to ever exist is being systematically sabotaged.

Europe, one of the world’s most popular war zones for the last few thousand years, should know so much better. When not at war with itself, Europe is very like the EU. It’s like a Chamber of Commerce meeting with attached neuroses.

Member nations have their sovereignty and clear rights within the EU. They get funding from the EU. Citizens can travel freely. Companies in the EU can do business without all the red tape.

Now, in context with “the rise of the right”, compare Brexit as standard right-wing anti-EU dogma. The sovereignty case against the EU was completely false and misleading. Britain is now paying an incredibly high price for apathy and ignorance. It’ll take decades to recover.

Basic rule – Disinformation leads to disasters. Sound slightly familiar?

Nobody believed anything as incontrovertibly stupid as Brexit could possibly happen, and it did. Even a watered-down version of Brexit applied to much smaller economies would be just as bad or worse.

From that perspective – Who benefits from EU dysfunction far more than anyone else? Specifically, Russia.

One area in which the West has never really outclassed Russia since the days of Bismarck is diplomacy. When Bismarck was told the Russian ambassador had committed suicide, Bismarck commented, “I wonder what his motive was”, meaning he was wondering what was the ambassador trying to achieve.

The EU woke up and united after the invasion of Ukraine. A common threat can do that. The EU has been a serious herniation of Russia’s bullying since 2022.

So, if you’re Russia, what do you do about that? You weaken the EU, and by default, with a bit of luck, NATO. All you need to do is grow a crop of weaklings in the various European states and disrupt policy by obstruction or simply changing the policies.

Just add some money to the mix and watch the fun. Right-wingers don’t ask questions about why they’re doing things. It’s a form of political slapstick.

It makes perfect sense to use proxies, however unhygienic they may be. It’s not directly confrontational. It’s also a lot cheaper and safer than going to war with NATO.

…And if, perchance, you have to have some infantile fool making noises in the US distracting US foreign policy from an easy kill, so much the better. There is something incredibly unlikely about so many US politicians being so pro-Russia.

The terrible flaw with this whole scenario is that Russia is losing. History is moving on, with or without Russia in its current form. The wellspring of all this new zealotry will as usual dry up when the money runs out.

The longer-term looks far worse. Whoever or whatever comes after Putin will have different objectives and priorities. The shelf life of these pseudo-nationalist groups can’t be very long. It’s a classic “everybody loses” scenario.

If Europe wants to go back to 1945, literally back to the rubble, this is how. Maybe not, eh?


The opinions expressed in this Op-Ed are those of the author. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of the Digital Journal or its members.

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Editor-at-Large based in Sydney, Australia.

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