08 - 14 марта 2019   № 8 (2245) Издается с 1990 г.
The re-emergence of Central Europe
Washington has rediscovered Central Europe. A conference on the future of the Middle East in Poland will focus on Iran, but becomes the rationale for the visit of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
The real concern is the growing influence of Russia and China in the region.

There is concern over regional reliance on russian energy, and fears of the power of chinese telecom gian Huawei.

There is a belief that while russian president Putin and chinese leaders made the region a priority, Washington turned attention elsewhere.

There are notes of agreement between president Trump and influential right-wing nationalist movements in the area.

The Visegrad group, including czechs, hungarians, poles, and slovaks, plus austrians now have voted in conservative governments. They now have more in common with the american right, than with the many in Western Europe.

Central Europe philosophies have become eurosceptic, isolationist, nationally conservative, often agrarian-based, economically nationalistic, and a form of militarism seen in a universal interest to rearm with the army as a vision of a national militia or territorial defense.

We view the counter-trends of regional integration of energy, labor, trade, and movement, while at the same time a growing distrust of multiculturalism, multinational institutional dominance, anger toward foreigners based on race or religion has become a reality.

In reality, Trump has altered transatlantic relationships, with traditional allies.

Where he has strengthened ties are with a growing conservatism in Central Europe.

Hungarian president Victor Orban shares Trump views on limiting immigration and desire for additional authoritarian controls. Orban has fought to limit his political opposition, labor unions, independent media and academia.

These are policies which Trump only wises he could accomplish.

Orban now seeks to make ‘anti-immigration forces” the majority in all European union institutions, including its parliament and the European union executive commission.

Orban’s desire is to create two civilizations” in Europe-one that builds its future on a “mixed islamic and christian coexistence” and another in Central Europe which would be only christian.

Orban and others seek to redefine what it means to be citizen and to live in a democracy.

Michael Abramowitz and Nate Schenkkan in foreign affairs magazine note in attacking civil society and media in these terms, they are attacking the concept that pluralism and opinions within a society is normal and even beneficial…”if illiberalism becomes normal in countries that have traditions of liberal democracy, then we are likely to see illiberalism thrive around the world.”

The conservative american interest magazine has noted that Trump has legitimacy with the new anti-globalist leaders in this region.

This regional indifference toward Atlanticism and globalization have turned away from the United States, just as Washington has largely ignored the area.

Obama desired a pivot to Asia”, with plans for a missile defense shield in Poland and the Czech Republic lessened as a priority. One sign of Obama’s indifference was the designation of the american ambassador to Colleen Bell, the unqualified former producer of an american soap opera. She was a major Obama political contributor.

Under Trump, any criticism of regional corruption, disappearance of rule of law, or reaction to punishment of homosexuals and minorities have been ignored by Washington.

Hungary’s Orban and polands’s Jaroslaw Kaczynksi’s actions became irrelevant to american policy.

Central Europe has become increasingly prosperous and integrated into both the European union and NATO.

The calm is deceptive.

There is struggle occurring in the region over future philosophical and economic futures, which will last long beyond the Trump presidency.

Brussels great influences the region because of the benefits and subsidies provided.

These include access to a single market, which has involved the area into the german supply chain, and the free movement of people.

In 2018, over a million poles and 400,000 romanians lived in the UK, a figure which Brexit is changing. European union funds are now responsible for most public investments in road, railways and other infrastructure.

Most the majority in most countries wish to remain in the EU.

Both Fidesz in hungry and the polish law and justice parties wish to remain in the EU.

Fights over immigration, social values, and authoritarianism, economic relationships are balanced by creation of true cultural separations.

Many in the region do not agree with Pompeo that Russia is a threat. The write Dalibor Rohac notes that in a 2017 pew poll 56% of bulgarians and 52% of romanians stated that a strong Russia was required to ‘balance the influence of the West.’

China is present in the area as part of their road and belt initiative, investments and political relationships.

The memory remains of the 1999 american bombing campaign against Serbia, along with the support for Kosovo’s independence.

For many the west has come to symbolize gay marriage, and political correctness, and multiculturalism. For many in this region, Russia has become associated with what is defined as a ‘christian way of life.

It does not matter if these perceptions are correct. The fact they exist provides a basis for determination of political action.

In Washington, the foreign policy fight is what type of country America will be, and if this influence shapes international actions.

Issues of rule of law, corruption, authoritarianism, openness of media, and social tolerance have defined the past hundred years of the West.

The issue is whether Trump rejects the basic philosophy of the past american century.

He appears to, and with that approach, his influence on Central Europe will either increase the forces of populism and nationalism or modify their direction.

The argument is worldwide over philosophy.

Central Europe provides the most visible stage.

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