Reimagining Europe

Reimagining Europe
Brexit and Alt-right are living proof that virulently nativist politics can find their way into the mainstream and can deal a severe blow to the global order within the confines of the..

Brexit and Alt-right are living proof that virulently nativist politics can find their way into the mainstream and can deal a severe blow to the global order within the confines of the democratic process. The term Alt-right, borrowed from the French Nouvelle Droit (“New Right”), places race at the center of any political calculus.

Background

In June 2016, Britain narrowly voted to leave the EU. The country is currently negotiating with EU officials to draw a roadmap for its exit. It is scheduled to depart at 11pm UK time on Friday March 29, 2019.

Brexit was one of the biggest geopolitical risks of 2016 that became a reality on June 23. The referendum had attracted the attention of the whole world, as the outcome not only looks into impacting the future of UK but also bring about huge changes in the future of globalization. From a strategic perspective, Brexit may be the first wave of anti-globalization for most popular nations.

White supremacy and white nationalism along with “alt right” groups have been on the rise in western nations in the recent years. Thousands of nationalists and fascists from across the world flocked to Poland on November 11th, 2017 to attend an annual "Independence March".

Right wing hate groups can be defined as those who target racial, ethnic or religious minorities and may be dedicated to a single issue.

Analysis

Dr. Jorge Braga de Macedo, Distinguished Fellow CIGI, Waterloo Ontario, Former Finance Minister of Portugal spoke on the subject, ‘Reimagining Europe: Populism, Brexit, Alt-Right & the After.’ He said that people should not be taking Brexit “too seriously.” Importantly he noted that the various forms of populism currently existing in Europe is so diverse, that they will “go against each other” and everything will sort itself out. He used the example of the current state of politics within Portugal isa good example of warring political factions cancelling out each other’s influence.

He said that the great governance challenge in Europe is currently the Eurozone. “For countries of small and middle size (which is the case of most countries in Europe) the credibility of domestic policy is judged by external policy. Thus, foreign policy determines the domestic policy.”

He said there are three dimensions – globalization, democracy and development. “You see clearly that there are positive relations between the three variables. More globalization results in more democracy and more democracy brings more development.” He pointed out that more development denotes to the narrowing of GDP per capita with the United States. He said for such a model to be sustainable, nations need to belong to a security community. He pointed out that countries that are part of the organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) fall under such a category.

He stated that OECD is part of a “security community” along the same lines as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). He said that OECD primarily works through “peer pressure”. This is not the case outside of the security community and this, according to Dr. Jorge Braga de Macedo is a “problem.”

Assessment

Our assessment is that despite fears of rising populism and nationalist extremism within Europe, there is hope that these factors could be curbed. This could be largely due to warring and differing factions being unable to work together to spread one unified message. We also feel that Europeans will have to respond to challenges of political globalization in the future. They have a lot to lose in political globalization because their lifestyles are hard to maintain and defend. Some want to partake in it because they crave for it and others want to destroy it because they hate it. Europe needs a vessel to compete in political globalization and contribute to the global order. 

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