Austria: European Union eats humble Pie
On September 12, 2000 European Union members lifted diplomatic sanctions against Austria after an investigating committee concluded the measures had only fed the nationalistic fervor they were designed to punish. Â â€œA dark veil has fallen from the face of Europe,â€ said Austriaâ€™s Chancellor Wolfgang Schuessel, hailing the decision as â€œa great success for Austria.â€ Â Vice Chancellor Susanne Riess-Passer, the current leader of the Freedom Party, declared that a â€œdark chapter has endedâ€ and that the decision affirmed that citizens of Europe â€œhave the right to determine their own government.â€
It all started on January 31 of this year when the European Union informed Austria that it would face boycott if its new government, that was due to be formed in Vienna in the aftermath of the general election, included Joerg Haiderâ€™s â€œfar-rightâ€ Freedom Party (FPÃ–). Â On February 4 Chancellor Schuessel nevertheless went ahead and brought members of the Freedom Party into his coalition government.Â He was acting in full accord with the rules of parliamentary democracy in establishing a government with a clear majority of 104 out of 183 parliamentary seats.
Â EU governments duly severed all bilateral political contacts with the Austrian government.Â They also restricted the promotion of Austrians at EU headquarters in Brussels, and ignored Austrian ministers at EU meetings. Â The measures also included ban on school trips, cultural exchanges and military exercises.Â The U.S. joined the bandwagon and the State Department called Ambassador Kathryn Hall back to Washington for â€œconsultations.â€
Although the measures had little impact on ordinary Austrians, they triggered a backlash among the Austrian public, which considered them an affront to the nation.Â They also caused an outcry in some smaller EU nations â€“ notably Denmark â€“ fearful of the domination of more powerful members, such as France, which pushed for punitive measures.Â For months thereafter the EUâ€™s Portuguese presidency maintained that the sanctions would remain, but after the EU foreign ministersâ€™ Azores meeting last June, it was obvious that Ireland, Italy, Finland, Greece, Denmark and Spain favored ending the embargo.Â It was the first public sign that some cracks were appearing within the Euro-monolith of Messrs. Blair, Chirac and Schroeder.
The end of Austriaâ€™s boycott was long overdue.Â The EU sanctions were illegal because the decision to apply them was taken outside the EU structures and without due process: the Austrian government was not allowed have its point of view heard before the other members states took action against it.Â The attack on Austria was a politically motivated action by the â€œthird waveâ€ socialists who are in power throughout Europe, and much of the EU rhetoric was political posturing from socialists trying to keep a firm grip on Europe. Â The EU action was doubly contentious in view of the fact that Mr. Haiderâ€™s party was democratically elected, having received 27% of the vote, and had not done, or even said, anything contrary to Austriaâ€™s constitutional system or European law. Â Even people who have no time for the likes of Herr Haider came to believe that EUâ€™s heavy-handedness was damaging European unity and further turning the Union into a mechanism of crude bureaucratic control aimed at eradicating national sovereignty.
Haiderâ€™s ambiguous statements on the Third Reich — that are the primary source of his current reputation – have long ceased to be part of his politically operative vocabulary.Â But while Haider is not a Nazi apologist, he is an effective and successful law-and-order populist-nationalist, and thatâ€™s why he is so dangerous to the ruling Western elites. Â And so, in countless editorials last winter he was presented as a xenophobe neo-Nazi, and his being â€œopposed to immigrationâ€ was in itself construed as a mortal sin.Â Israeli president Weizman even stated â€œthe situation in Austria now is exactly the same as it was in Germany 70 years ago.â€Â The clips that television stations all over the world broadcast have been formulaic for the most part: Hitler arriving in Vienna in March 1938, adulated by the crowds lining the streets; Kurt Waldheim, former UN Secretary-General and Austrian president in his Wehrmacht uniform; Haider celebrating FPÃ– electoral victory.Â Haider shared the cover of the February 14, 2000 European edition of Time magazine (â€œShould Europe Fear this Man?â€), and was alone on the European cover of Newsweek (“Thunder on the Right”).
Hardly any dissenting voices were heard.Â An exception was the Jerusalem Report (February 17), which wrote that the indictment against the Austrian populist, and especially the charge of anti-Semitism, â€œseems strangely thinâ€:
Haiderâ€™s opponents usually admit that he is not a Nazi, and most concede that he is not even a neo-Naziâ€¦ Haiderâ€™s main message is that there are too many foreigners in Austria, and that immigration threatens the countryâ€™s economy and traditional ethnic composition.Â Such views may be selfish and xenophobic, but they arenâ€™t inherently racist.
The campaign nevertheless rose in a crescendo, and before long Haider stood accused of Holocaust denial.Â â€œThe Holocaust is not only the worst crime of the 20th century, it is one of the most monstrous crimes in the whole history of mankind,â€ said Moshe Ronen, President of the Canadian Jewish Congress, condemning Haiderâ€™s private visit to Canada last February.Â â€œAnyone who does not say this clearly and unambiguously is unsuitable to be entrusted with any responsible public position, either national or international.â€
â€œTo be entrustedâ€ is the key phrase in this remarkable sentence, and it explains the reasons for the world-wide globalist campaign against Austria.Â The â€œentrustingâ€ of national governments is no longer to be left to the voters in sovereign nations, especially if they are unable or unwilling to produce the right results.Â To the assorted Blairs, Clintons, Baraks, and Chiracs, Herr Haider is odious not only because he proclaims Austria to be a nation based on the links of kinship, language and culture of its inhabitants.Â He is dangerous because he may prod other Europeans into questioning the reigning internationalist orthodoxy.
The hypocrisy of Haiderâ€™s critics is even more obvious when we compare and contrast their attitude to some real transgressors of civilized norms around the world.Â If the alleged â€œthreat to democracyâ€ were to be taken seriously as the basis for downgrading relations and imposing boycotts, then the EU (and America) would have to re-examine their relations with some hundred-plus governments â€“ two-thirds of the worldâ€™s humanity, in fact — from Angola and Afghanistan to Zambia and Zaire. Â If they were half-serious they would never have recognized Croatia of the late Franjo Tudjman, who reveled in the fact that his wife was neither Jewish nor Serbian.
Haider would have no problem with his acceptance by the â€œinternational communityâ€ if he were a communist, of course: communists still participate — without so much as a murmur of protest from anyone — in European coalitions.Â Globalists love them because they have no loyalty to a nation.Â Tens of millions of destroyed lives and dozens of ruined countries are never invoked to chastise Dâ€™Alemas of this world. Â Communist affiliations are not a threat because our ruling elites share with Communists the â€œcultureâ€ that seeks total leveling of the ethnic identity of peoples, their special color and uniqueness.
[Chronicles Magazine, September 14, 2000]