WELCOME BACK AUSTRIA-HUNGARY!?July 11, 2016
Yes, you read that headline correctly. Austria-Hungary may be coming back, ironically about a century after the Treaty of Trianon broke apart the old Hapsburg monarchy and replaced it with yet other cobbled-together "states" such as "Yugoslavia" and "Czechoslovakia". Well, maybe not Austria-Hungary as such, but this article, shared by Mr. J.S., does raise questions:
Now you'll note something very peculiar in this article, besides the fact that it appeared after the historic BREXIT vote in Great Britain:
Hungary's leader Viktor Orban is forging ahead with his own referendum on migration and refugees, in what European diplomats see as a sign of battles to come with anti-Brussels populists across the Europe.
"We need to fight to prove to people that it is possible to form an EU migration policy that is in line with the Hungarian national interest," Orban said days after the Brexit vote.
"This is going to be a long struggle for which I will need a strong mandate, which cannot be ensured without a referendum," said Orban, who is in favor of remaining in the EU but wants more powers for member states.
Orban has enlisted allies, such as neighboring Slovakia, which also opposes the quotas and this week joined a chorus of eastern EU states calling for the powers of the EU Commission to be reined in after Britain's vote to leave.
You'll note that Prime Minister Orban - whom I have pointed out before has been raising questions about the Mr. Global's dogma of the obsoleschence of the nation state, and whether corporations can be trusted to run things oblivious to national culture and the wishes of people - is seeking allies in, well, Slovakia. Slovakia was the other part of Czechoslovakia, which, again, was carved out of the old Austrian part of the Dual Monarchy, which also then included Galicia (in southern modern-day Poland), and (here it comes) the Western Ukraine.
But if you've been following the growing reaction in Europe against the Islamicization of European cities due to the refugee crisis, not to mention the growing economic strains it's putting on smaller members of the EU like Hungary and Austria, you'll know there's a growing Austrian reaction as well. In fact, there is resistance to the EU policy in Croatia, in the Czech republic, in short, throughout provinces of the old Austro-Hungarian Empire, mostly in provinces that were formerly a part of the Austrian section of the Dual Monarchy, and in addition to Hungary itself(the other part). What's interesting here is that the EU policy and its dictates exceed anything that Vienna would ever have dreamed of doing, even in its wildest dreams. Indeed, the rickety Hapsburg Empire was trying to reform itself, to allow a growing representation of the Slavic components of the Empire to have greater local autonomy and genuine voice. Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir apparent to the Dual Monarchy, whose assassination sparked the war we were all fighting a century ago, was in favor of such reforms. Unfortunately, Kaiser Franz Josef, like Queen Victoria, doggedly held on to life until 1916, eclipsing even the famous British monarch's long reign and preventing one of the great what-ifs of history.
Nonetheless, the movement now growing in Mitteleuropa is interesting to watch, even if falling short of the old Austria-Hungary, for it does signal the emergence of what I predicted in last THurday's News and Views from the Nefarium, i.e., the emergence of regional blocs within the EU to pressure for reforms and changes in policy. Intriguingly, the EU does resemble the Austrian-Hapsburg Empire, before the reforms that turned it into the "Dual Monarchy", with Hungarian autonomy in everything except foreign policy and supplying units of the K.u.K.(the Kaiserliche und Koenigliche, Imperial and Royal, military): for the EU, like pre-reform Vienna, is quite content to ignore the wishes of various European peoples in favor of its insane centralization policies and dogmas. And the irony of the situation is that Mr. Orban, like the Hungarian leaders then, have had enough and are insisting on their national and local (and cultural) rights. And then, as now, Vienna and Budapest were worried about the growing power of their powerful neighbor to the north. It may not be quite the old Austria-Hungary, but the emergence of this bloc, in some respects, is a replay. They're stronger together, than they are separately. And in that respect, we may be watching the reemergence of an old power bloc whose dissolution caused a vacuum in Central Europe that Germany was only too ready to fill.
See you on the flip side...