When I lived in Europe during most of the 80s feelings were running high on the probable success of European integration. Except for one problem: My German friends regularly trashed France, my French pals loathed the Germans, and my British chums detested them both.
So the tendency to look after your own people was never far from the surface. With the coming of the coronavirus it is taking center stage once again and bringing the favorable reality of the nation-state back into vogue.
Far from hating Trump’s “America First” views —as the public media-driven myth goes— the Euros are adopting them wholesale for their own nations now that it really counts.
The Germans have closed their borders and are ignoring pleas for help from other E.U. nations. Hard hit by the virus, the Italians are being left to fend for themselves. The Greeks are holding off hordes of illegal migrants, but only barely. The Brits are thanking the good Lord for the English Channel and the French have troops all over the streets.
Nobody wants anybody crossing their borders today and the supposedly enlightened superior non-violent Euro types and backing up their border safety with lots of big guns and well-trained troops. Gee, how American.
Included in that lot, one might add, are the Germans, who have an interesting historical record when it comes to national borders.
And free trade? The president’s ideas on that are being shown ahead of their time. No? Do you like a majority of your drugs being produced in China?
In fact, if globalism takes a fatal beating because of this virus it can only aid America. In national security and economics, while no one advocates national hermit-status in any way, more money and focus on America would be —as has been under Trump— a welcome respite from decades of fuzzy thinking knee jerk globalism.
If the long-term effects of this public health crisis means nations will look after themselves, secure their borders, and stop butting their collective noses into the national lives of other peoples, then some good may come of the virus in the end.
Those who thought Trump’s primary concern for the people who elected him was xenophobic, rash, and pig-headed are currently paying him the ultimate compliment. They are enacting his kind of measures themselves.