2015 June

What Borders Mean to Europe | Stratfor

Nice piece:

“Today, Europe faces three converging crises that are ultimately about national borders, what they mean and who controls them. These crises appear distinct: Immigration from the Islamic world, the Greek economic crisis and Ukraine would seem to have little to do with each other. But in fact they all derive, in different ways, from the question of what borders mean.

Europe’s borders have been the foundation both of its political morality and of its historical catastrophes. The European Enlightenment argued against multi-national monarchies and for sovereign nation-states, which were understood to be the territories in which nations existed. Nations came to be defined as groupings of humans who shared a common history, language, values and religion — in short, a common culture into which they were born. These groups had the right of national self-determination, the authority to determine their style of government and the people who governed. Above all, these nations lived in a place, and that place had clear boundaries.”


Under fractionalization which maintains the separate sovereign nation-states people have much more of a choice about their political destiny,

The “attempt” to create a “one-world” government modeled by the European Union will fail NOT because of money, but because fractionalization is natural.


7 replies on “What Borders Mean to Europe | Stratfor”

George Friedman loves his strategic narratives, but the European reality is messier than his categories. At present we are seeing a lot of migration from sub-saharan Africa. These people are only in parts Mulims and the Muslims amongst them have little to do with muslims from Syria. And the Turks that immigrated to Germany over the past decades identify little with the Algerians that live in France or the Pakistanis in England. When I look at the „islamic” communities here in Switzerland, you have the devout and the secularists, you have the educated and the non-alphabets, first and foremost you have national communities (Lebanese, Turks, Kurds, Bosnians, etc) all speaking different languages and largely keeping to themselves, just like the Tamils from Sri Lanka, the Philippines, the Thais, etc. We have immigration, but the problems ensuing are not that much different from the migration the US is facing at the Mexican border. The Greek economic crisis is a result of a flawed Euro policy based on fiat money. And the Ukrainian problem wouldn’t be where it is if Nato had kept to its sphere.

Most nation states in Europe were born out of kingdoms and the lands of feudal dynasties, such as UK, France, Sweden, Spain, Greece, also Germany up to 1918. They are not the products of „European Enlightement“. The issues the EU and Brussels are facing is non-democratic centralization, similar to the issues the Americans have with big government in Washington DC.

It is true that language and local political culture probably have more weight on this continent than it in North America. But then I am sure, and here I agree with Mike, that also in the US people feel a lot more at ease with their municipalities and states – because they know and may even trust each other more, and feel more in control. But you find conflicting dynamics: on one hand nationalist movements who want to put up fences everywhere and keep the “others“ (of which there are more and more) out. On the other people like going on holiday to Dubai, Australia, Mauritius, etc. and keep in touch with their kin at home on their mobiles fabricated in China. In this world national borders look very artificial.

I don’t think the future lies with big central governments, especially not in Europe. But there must be a way for smaller entities to co-exist without going to war with each other. The EU did try this. The Euro was a mistake as we now witness, especially by going the way the dollar is. Europe up until 1914 was very multinational, worldly and open – then suddenly things changed…

My tuppence on Friedman’s strategic world-view.


Thanks for this viewpoint, I see more problems than solutions stemming from the ignorance/enlightenment after WWI…

That marked the penultimate end of that paradigm as they screwed things up royally all over the world with their redrawing of borders…a period which is now giving us the problems of an earlier “tier” (paradigm)…

The current paradigm is now exhausting its final breath…as we move to cement the next paradigm in place at the trough created by the old…

I’m not an historian, but my guess is – The Soviet economist Nikolai Kondratiev (also written Kondratieff) was the first to bring these observations … cycles are going to line up pretty well with paradigmatic implosions…

A clash of civilizations is being setup with the accompanying host of problems as human needs plunge down the hierarchy (Maslow) as a result of paradigmatic signaling and existential noise if the crumbling paradigm.

How FAR regressed this gets portends a clash between Islam and Christianity with the FIRST inclusion of secularism–so far I seen in a clash of civilization that awaits!

My GOD, Your GOD, No GOD…


A clash of civilizations “is being setup“ is a pertinent observation. I wonder who and what moves this set-up? It’s incredible how these paradigms „Free world” against „Communists“, „Christians” against „Islam“ work. When you travel in muslim countries you above all encounter the importance of families and clans – which at closer look play an important role in our and other cultures. The Nation state is a miscarriage, an absolutely artificial object of identification.
The American historian David Hackett Fischer wrote a book with the title „The Great Wave – Price Revolutions and the Rhythm of History“ (1996). In it he discusses the term „cycle“ and explains why he prefers the term „wave“ or „rhythm“ to „cycle“: History doesn’t come round or back to the same point as „cycle“ implies, however there is a rhythm that you can see in waves. They come small, the come big. Humanity is at a point on a global scale where it has never been before, but it is still subjected to the underlying forces.


U said it:

” Humanity is at a point on a global scale where it has never been before, but it is still subjected to the underlying forces. ”

So surface tensions and manifestations will appear to signal differences in underlying forces, but the common thread will still be there covered by noise.

Instead of cycle or wave, I prefer pattern but any term works in my view as long as one realizes the something is creating the wave, cycle or pattern…


Basically the conventions and the conditions by which entities are formed change constantly when you look at the history of kingdoms, empires, states. Just look at the maps of Europe within the small times span of 200 years. Look at how organisations change. You start a job in some firm in some division and department (all little kingdoms). You are brainwashed to adopt some Corporate Identity, only to find yourself in some completely different environment shortly afterwards maybe with some boss who has a completely different view than the previous one „today, we don’t like that anymore…“. Panta rhei here too.

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