Thinking About The Unthinkable: "Eurowhiteness"
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From the New York Times opinion section:

Europe May Be Headed for Something Unthinkable

Dec. 13, 2023

By Hans Kundnani

Mr. Kundnani is the author of “Eurowhiteness: Culture, Empire and Race in the European Project.”

Hans Kundnani is half-Indian so, presumably, like so many other Indian intellectuals in the West, he has lots of relatives still stuck in India. Marina Wheeler explains in the New Statesman why Kundnani is mad that the European Union is supposed to benefit Europeans:

Hans Kundnani’s mixed heritage—he was born of a Dutch mother and Indian father—frames his very readable critique of the European project (the EU), Eurowhiteness. When his parents arrived in the UK in the 1960s his Indian father was, he tells us, in some ways less of an outsider than his mother – he could vote, she could not. In his lifetime however, non-white Commonwealth citizens were “reimagined as immigrants” while the rights of Europeans continually grew.

It’s almost as if European imperialism proved to be a pretty bad idea for Europeans, so Europeans have since moved on to working on getting along better with other Europeans.

Kundnani writes:

… European elites are right to worry. But the focus on divisions within the bloc obscures a much more disturbing development taking place beneath the surface: a coming together of the center right and the far right, especially on questions around identity, immigration and Islam. With European parliamentary elections next year, this convergence is bringing into clearer view the possibility of something like a far-right European Union. Until recently, such a thing would have seemed unthinkable. Now it’s distinctly plausible.

For the past decade, European politics have widely been understood in terms of a binary opposition between liberalism and illiberalism. During the refugee crisis in 2015, for example, Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany and Mr. Orban were seen as political opposites—she the figurehead of liberalism, he of illiberalism.

But, Europeans have since, on the whole, decided that in 2015 Merkel was recklessly negligent about inviting in a million marching Muslim men and then trying to foist them off on other European countries, while Orban was prudent and far-sighted.

Since then, the convergence between the center right and the far right in Europe has gone further. The lesson that center-right parties drew from the rise of right-wing populism was that they needed to adopt some of its rhetoric and policies. Conversely, some far-right parties have become more moderate, albeit in a selective way. At a national level, parties from the two camps have governed together, both formally, as in Austria and Finland, and informally, as in Sweden.

Yet the most striking illustration of this convergence is the harmonious relationship between the European center right and Giorgia Meloni, the leader of the post-fascist Brothers of Italy, who became prime minister of Italy last year. As soon as she indicated that she would not disrupt the bloc’s economic policy and would be supportive of Ukraine, the European People’s Party was willing to work with her—and its leader, Manfred Weber, even sought to form an alliance with her. The center right, it turns out, doesn’t have a problem with the far right. It just has a problem with those who defy E.U. institutions and positions.

The two, in fact, can agree on a lot—something that plays out most clearly in immigration policy. In contrast to its progressive image, the European Union has, like Donald Trump, sought to build a wall—in this case, in the Mediterranean—to stop migrants from arriving on its shores. Since 2014, more than 28,000 people have died there as they desperately tried to reach Europe. Human Rights Watch said earlier this year that the bloc’s policy could be summed up in three words: “Let them die.”

The European Union’s distinctive approach to migration depends on what might be called the offshoring of violence. Even as it has welcomed millions of Ukrainian refugees,

Who are fellow Europeans

the bloc has paid authoritarian regimes in North African countries to stop migrants from sub-Saharan Africa

Who are not

from reaching Europe, often brutally. Through this grotesque form of outsourcing, the union can continue to insist that it stands for human rights, which is central to its self-image. In this project, the center right and far right are in lock step. In July, Ms. Meloni joined the head of the European Commission, the bloc’s executive arm, and the Dutch prime minister to sign one such deal with Tunisia.

The blurring of boundaries between the center right and the far right is not always as easy to spot as it is in the United States. … But it is also because of a simplified view of the far right as nationalists, which makes it seem incompatible with a post-national project like the European Union. Yet today’s far right speaks not only on behalf of the nation but also on behalf of Europe. It has a civilizational vision of a white, Christian Europe that is menaced by outsiders, especially Muslims.

Germany and France, for instance, really don’t need to fight any more nationalist wars. What they need to do is to unite with other European nations to resist inundation by non-Europeans.

Such thinking is behind the hardening of migration policy. But it is also influencing Europe in a deeper way: The union has increasingly come to see itself as defending an imperiled European civilization, particularly in its foreign policy. During the past decade, as the bloc has seen itself as surrounded by threats, not least from Russia, there have been endless debates about “strategic autonomy,” “European sovereignty” and a “geopolitical Europe.” But figures like President Emmanuel Macron of France have also begun to frame international politics as a clash of civilizations in which a strong, united Europe must defend itself.

In this respect, Mr. Macron is not so far from far-right figures like Mr. Wilders who talk in terms of a threatened European civilization. His electoral success in the Netherlands could be a prelude, many fear, to a major rightward shift in the European parliamentary elections next June. That would give the far right substantial power to shape the next commission even more than the current one—both directly, with the possibility of far-right figures in top positions, and indirectly, with their concerns channeled by the center right.

Supporters of the bloc tend to see European unity as an end in itself—or to assume that a more powerful European Union, long idealized as a civilizing force in international politics, would automatically benefit the whole world.

But, Europeans, you see, are white, so the European Union is bad.

But as the union unites around defending a threatened European civilization and rejecting nonwhite immigration, we need to think again about whether it truly is a force for good.

Sounds pretty good to me.

Americans haven’t had to worry about the downsides of nationalism, such as being stuck in a small country with a small economy, because our nation spans an entire continent. American nationalism is, in effect, continentalism. Many Europeans, especially ones in smaller countries like, say, Denmark do have to worry about the downsides of having a small country.

So, Denmark, which currently has a left-wing but immigration-restrictionist government, sees membership in the E.U. as combining the best of nationalism and continentalism: Danes get to participate in the vast, lucrative European economy and vacation in Spain with maximum convenience, but they still get a fair degree of self-government, as shown by their trend-setting immigration and assimilation policies.

Of course, the EU brings problems as well, such as when one country lets in migrants who then move on to other countries. But that’s why Europeans need to value the beautiful civilization they’ve built and defend their continent from being overrun.

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