When I recently wrote about the possibility of a coming east-west schism in the European Union (EU), I focused primarily on Hungary and Poland. They’re part of that eastern bloc countries which joined the EU a bit later and introduced a definite culture clash with their significantly more socialist, globalist neighbors in France and Brussels. Recent events to the east seem to have signaled a swift erosion of the older, established “elites” who have been running the show. But there are still more dominos left to fall.
Signs of that happening come to us with additional news in a similar vein this month. For one example, can you name the youngest national leader in the world right now? If you said Emanuel Macron you’re probably in the majority, but you’re also wrong. Macron is already almost an old man compared to the guy who is set to take power in Austria. That would be 31-year-old Sebastian Kurz, leader of the reinvigorated People’s Party (OeVP), who is about to topple the Socialist Democrat establishment in his nation. This has resulted in what the Washington Times’ Wesley Pruden describes as, “An Austrian thumb in the eye of the elites.”
Herr Kurz is called “the Austrian Trump,” and not, to celebrate his youth, “the Austrian JFK,” which illustrates just how far time has marched on. Two generations have been birthed in Europe that can barely recognize the late president by his mere initials.
But the new Austrian chancellor, youthful as he is, represents just the kind of new blood that Kennedy brought to the fore in the new world. He has achieved something close to rock-star status. He took over a fading political party whose party colors were black and black, replaced them with turquoise, rebranded the party as “a movement,” promised to get tough on runaway immigration, go easy on new taxes but to stay in Europe and “put Austria first.”
Did Kurz come up with “put Austria first” as a copy of Trump’s America First or did they arrive at those catchphrases independently? At this point, it doesn’t really matter. But there’s more of a similarity here than simple sloganeering. Check out the details of the Kurz platform which the Daily Mail described with palpable alarm. Some of this may ring a bell to American observers of politics. (Emphasis added)
The young leader, dubbed Wunderwuzzi in his home country, which translates to Wonderkid, has pledged to cut benefits for all foreigners in Austria and has vowed to stop the European Union meddling in the country’s politics.
Kurz, dubbed the Conservative Macron due to his age and his party reform, said: ‘I would of course like to form a stable government. If that cannot be done then there are other options,’ adding that he planned to talk to all parties in parliament but would first wait for a count of postal ballots that begins on Monday.
Kurz may form a coalition with either the now weakened Social Democrats or with the more right-wing Freedom Party. But he’s also indicating a willingness to simply go it alone if he can’t structure a deal in keeping with his campaign pledges.
But Kurz isn’t the only one. The Czech Republic, also part of that same eastern bloc, is closing in on their own elections and if the current polling is remotely accurate the race won’t be all that close. Their next leader is most likely to be a far less youthful, but equally revolutionary gentleman who is being referred to as “the Czech Trump” or “the new Berlusconi,” depending who you ask.
63 year old Andrej Babis is the leader of the ANO party and is on track to take control. He’s similarly alarmed the defenders of the status quo with comments about how he is, “done with multiculturalism.” (The Telegraph)
“We have other enemies than Russia. We have to fight the human traffickers in the Mediterranean. Twenty thousand have died in that sea. We have terrorism blighting Europe. What are we waiting for?” Mr. Babiš insisted that there are no genuine refugees arriving in Europe.
To be clear, I don’t believe any of this signals the absolute end of the European Union, nor will the socialist tendencies of their more western member countries be completely subsumed any time soon. Neither Kurz nor Babis is signaling an immediate move toward leaving the EU and both of their nations still benefit greatly from trade through that organization. But at the same time, they have no interest in having Brussels micromanage the affairs of their respective nations and they want their borders to be secured. And seeing how well Hungary has done in thumbing its nose at the EU, both of these men have little reason to fear reprisal.
“Make Europe Great Again?”