There’s something deeply and profoundly philosophical about the gradually decline of the Europeans: It’s going on for over a century now.
MOST observers will have heard about the latest US diplomatic gaffe: ‘Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs at the United States Department of State’, Victoria Nuland, in a phone call to the ambassador Pyatt said “F**k the EU.” The call was anonymously uploaded onto Youtube, the video platform, and immediately picked up by virtually all major European media outlets. That’s because, I think, Ms. Nuland frankly said what most people, certainly international journalist, letting alone top diplomats, already knew: The US has little patience with the European Union, and, sometimes, even less respect so.
But first things first: The “F**k the EU” is Ms. Nuland’s personal recommendation for the European Union’s latest attempt to influence the future of the Ukraine, a former Soviet satellite state (independent since Aug 24, 1991) and valuable pawn in the new Eurasian power game. The Ukraine experienced strong democratic protests ever since November 2013 because some citizens demanded the Ukraine’s integration with the European Union.
Since mid January 2014, the country has seen an escalation of violence between governmental forces and the protesters. So, naturally, diplomats may be stressed out and strong language used in private conversations becomes somewhat permissible. However, Ms. Nuland’s telephone scandal, now having turned into a global metaphor for backstabbing one's allies, comes at a time when Europe faces humiliation after humiliation for what many world historians think is its gradual political, military, economic, and cultural decline.
EU leaders find the remark "unacceptable"
So, when Germany and France protested against America’s NSA surveillance of the entire European phone and internet services, including the mobile phones of two German chancellors, the US contemptuously defied explaining or clarifying the espionage act, letting alone stopping the surveillance of its “allies.” This has alienated the German political class, and has deeply humiliated Angela Merkel and her current German government which obviously is incapable of protecting the privacy of its citizens –whether in the past, present, and the future. It’s rather disillusioning.
Why was Ms. Nuland’s phone call leaked and by whom? Some commentators suspect it was the Russian intelligence service that saw an opportunity of retaliation for the EU’s current Russia-bashing about corruption scandals surrounding Sochi where the Winter Olympic Winter 2014 take place these days.
Whoever it was, I'd say: Mission accomplished. “F**k the EU” has already turned into an Internet-meme (an element of culture passed on by imitation). We can already watch Youtube videos, read foreign blogs, articles, forums, and follow hashtags.
If Friedrich Nietzsche, the great European mustache, philosopher and nihilist, had lived today, perhaps he would have read for us from his little wise book Beyond Good and Evil:
“The Chinese have a proverb which mothers even teach their children: “SIAO-SIN” (“MAKE THY HEART SMALL”). This is the essentially fundamental tendency in latter-day civilizations. I have no doubt that an ancient Greek, also, would first of all remark the self-dwarfing in us Europeans of today – in this respect alone we should immediately be “distasteful” to him.”
This painfully slow decline of the Europeans in global status is tragic but not irreversible. First the people have to see the new reality clearly. Most Europeans, however, are completely unaware of their nation’s decreasing power status and declining influence. They were taught since they were little children that there’s this big brother USA that solves all their political, economic, military, and cultural problems. Not any more. Because the US is in decline too.
It is possible that the US – over the many decades of world domination and absolute technological, scientific, and cultural supremacy - has gradually lost its respect for the whining and utterly dependent European civilization; what if leading US diplomats are plotting against Europe? Imagine for a moment US intelligence services were infringing on European laws and dignities just because they can, or, worse, because they know that Europe can’t do shit about it.
Image credit: "Friedrich Nietzsche, 1899"/HistoricalWallpapers.com (public domain)