Smallness, writ large

I probably make fun of the Europeans too often – but what the heck, they make such an easy target.  They don’t marry, they can’t reproduce, they don’t trust their own people to govern themselves but they want to give citizen rights to the hairier primates.  They roast cars on holidays.  Their social adventures resemble nothing so much as – well, a French farce.

Also, they look funny.

Sorry. . .  The two magnificent exemplars of humanity shown above are the new president and foreign affairs minister of the European Council.  These are not just new incumbents – they occupy newly minted positions.  They were not elected, even by apes.  They represent no party or stream of public opinion.  Nobody knows why they ended up where they did, or what they are supposed to do now they are there.

The EU Constitution called for a president and a foreign minister – but that went down in flames way back in 2005.  Mistakes were made:  the French and the Danes were allowed a vote on the matter.  The constitution, an ugly bloated thing, was given a facelift and a girdle, and renamed the Lisbon Treaty.  It almost failed as well, when the Irish voted it down.  Luckily the Irish were allowed to vote again until they got it right.

For reasons nobody can account for, big names sought the presidency.  Tony Blair, for one – he was rejected because any big name who wanted this job was perceived to be nutters.  The defeat of Spain’s Jose Maria Aznar, on the other hand, probably had something to do with his mustache.

The winner is a Belgian whose name is Herman Van Rompuy.  No, really.  Herman Van Rompuy is the president of Europe.  One can learn about him here.  He appears happily innocent of convictions, but skilled in the art of nailing majestic-sounding title plates outside his office:  a member of the Euro-elite in good standing, in other words.

The foreign minister is a Labor baroness from the UK.  No doubt she’s an egalitarian aristocrat, and unlike Herman Van Rompuy she already has her title.  So there’s that.  While, being a baroness, she has never held elective office, one Euro-parliamentarian has stoutly defended her character as “reassuringly dull.”

One need only look on their faces to see the future of Europe.  It’s small in a big way.  These people embody a vision of Europe as a larger Switzerland, a mega-Belgium, a colossal old folks’ home.  Their political philosophy is a kind of narcolepsy.  Excitement in any form would make them keel over.

Historians of the future will wonder how the continent that gave us Luther and Columbus – and more recently, Churchill and De Gaulle – could produce, at the end, only a diminishing series of Herman Van Rompuys all in a row.

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