Catalans, Scots, Flemish… Western Europe is succumbing in its turn to the sirens of separatism. The new nationalists are entrenching themselves as feudal lords behind the walls of their economic prosperity, under the guise of protecting their identities.
In my opinion, the main cause of the disintegration of national territories is the neoliberal logic holding that immediate economic benefit is the sole and universal criterion. Consequently, a country, region or even a city begins to think of itself as a business and to act selfishly in the global marketplace. The visible aspect of this process is the hardening of the identity discourse, which becomes more aggressive, even fascistic. The British who are becoming increasingly anti-European, Germans who do not want to pay for the mischief of the Greeks … The new nationalism is defensive, and its symbols express the desire of a small group of rich to hide behind the walls of their castle, leaving those outside to their fate. Welcome to the Middle Ages!
A lot of ink will certainly flow again on all these subjects. We ought not to forget, however, the lessons of history. While Europe is reverting to feudalism, the great empires have the wind in their sails. This was true for the Ottomans, and it’s still true today for China and the United States.
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