About the East and the West, a British man of letters, Rudyard Kipling, insisted that “Never the twain shall meet.” Well, they have actually met in the European Union.
In terms of the political and economic systems, both parliamentary democracy and free market capitalism obtain throughout the EU.
However, there is a vast cultural difference between the component parts. The West tends to be politically correct and awfully woke; the East significantly lags behind in this respect and, in places, actively opposes cultural innovations imposed by Brussels.
Of course, the people of the Intermarium – the lands between the Baltic, Black, and Adriatic seas – do not march as automatons of the Prussian army. Each nation there consists of progressive and traditionalist orientations. They tend to alternate in power.
In a way, then, the European Union is like the United States: the Red States with the flyover country (like the Intermarium), on the one hand, and the Blue States with both costal rims and their mega-cities (like Western Europe), on the other.
Further, there are Blue liberal urban enclaves in the sea of Red, e.g., Budapest and Warsaw, both ruled by liberals. By the same token, there are conservative enclaves in the dominant progressive swamp, for instance in France’s western region of the Vendée.
There are also political forces in both the western and eastern parts of the EU that unite and work together in Brussels. For example, just recently, in the EU parliament, the top populist, conservative, and Christian nationalist leaders have signed a joint declaration to protect traditional values, like faith and family.
The signatories included representatives of a dozen right-wing European parties from Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Holland, Hungary, Lithuania, Poland, Rumania, and Spain.
For the most part socially and culturally conservative attitudes prevail among the electorate in the eastern part of the EU. Nationalism is rather strong there as well.
The common folks have not been neutered and demobilized. Also, because of the legacy of the Soviet Communist occupation, the peoples of the Intermarium are less eager to experiment with social engineering and cultural innovation, like the critical race theory, and other such phenomena.
Sometimes the contrast between the attitudes of the Western pansexual glitterati and the Intermarium’s good old boys and girls is shockingly stark. For example, Poland has very tough pro-life laws. They include prohibition on eugenic abortion, or killing infirm babies in the womb.
Meanwhile, Germany’s government has just introduced a bill to ban destroying chicken embryos because “they feel pain.” Aborting human beings is just fine, of course.
Most conservative folk in the Intermarium are aghast at Berlin’s ditching its moral compass. The German elites are proud of their support for animal rights.
But the most violent spat has been over the sexual revolution. Hungary has just passed a law barring minors from pornography, gay advocacy, and transgender surgeries.
In response, the European Union had a fit. The Netherlands called for an outright expulsion of the Magyars from the organization.
Prime minister Viktor Orban fired back by charging the western part of the EU with colonialism. He proudly affirmed his nation’s Christian roots and vowed to uphold tradition.
How we raise our children is none of your business, Brussels.
There are other bones of contention between the West and the East.
Rather significantly, Western progressives have criticized Poland in particular about the alleged interference with the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary. The problem is that the courts are chock-full of post-Communist judges who quite openly cavort with leftists and liberals.
Suddenly, it turns out that Slovenia has similarly offended Brussels. The former moved to neutralize its “Communist judges,” implicated in totalitarianism before 1989.
Western elites whined in their defense and sharply criticized the Slovenians. Their prime minister Janez Janša (known as “the Slovenian Trump”) retorted: “If someone thinks that the EU, consisting of 27 member states, will become within a few years or few decades a melting pot, where everyone holds the same opinion, one should think again.”
This is significant because it is Slovenia’s turn at the Presidency of the Council of Europe.
And so it goes. The East defends traditional values from the onslaught of the West, where a conservative minority awaits salvation from the woke revolution imported from the U.S.
The right twain meets its counterpart in the EU and the left twain tries to entangle everything.
Marek Jan Chodakiewicz is Professor of History at the Institute of World Politics, a graduate school of statecraft in Washington D.C.; expert on East-Central Europe's Three Seas region; author, among others, of "Intermarium: The Land Between The Baltic and Black Seas." Read Marek Jan Chodakiewicz's Reports — More Here.
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