Left and Right in a Divided Europe

Written by Sam Vaknin

Continued from page 1


The cult of youth in central Europe was an inevitable outcome ofrepparttar utter failure of older generations. The allure ofrepparttar 125930 new andrepparttar 125931 untried often prevailed overrepparttar 125932 certainty ofrepparttar 125933 tried and failed. Many senior politicians, managers, entrepreneurs and journalists across this region are in their 20's or 30's.

Yet,repparttar 125934 inexperienced temerity ofrepparttar 125935 young has often led to voter disillusionment and disenchantment. Many amongrepparttar 125936 young are too identified withrepparttar 125937 pratfalls of "reform". Age and experience reassert themselves throughrepparttar 125938 ballot boxes - and with themrepparttar 125939 disingenuous habits ofrepparttar 125940 past. Many ofrepparttar 125941 "old, safe hands" are former communists disingenuously turned socialists turned democrats turned capitalists. As even revolutionaries age, they become territorial and hidebound. Turf wars are likely to intensify rather then recede.


Communist managers - alwaysrepparttar 125942 quintessential rent-seekers - were trained to wheedle politicians, lobbyrepparttar 125943 state and cadge for subsidies and bailouts, rather than respond to market signals. As communism imploded,repparttar 125944 involvement ofrepparttar 125945 state inrepparttar 125946 economy - andrepparttar 125947 resources it commanded - contracted. Multilateral funds are tightly supervised. Communist-era "directors" - their skills made redundant by these developments - were shockingly and abruptly confronted with merciless market realities.

Predictably they flopped and were supplanted by expert managers and technocrats, more attuned to markets and to profits, and committed to competition and other capitalistic tenets. The decrepit, "privatized" assets ofrepparttar 125948 dying system expropriated byrepparttar 125949 nomenclature were soon acquired by foreign investors, or shut down. The old guard has decisively lost its capital - both pecuniary and political.

Political parties which relied on these cronies for contributions and influence-peddling - are in decline. Those that hadrepparttar 125950 foresight to detach themselves fromrepparttar 125951 venality and dissipation of "the system" are onrepparttar 125952 ascendance. From Haiderism to Fortuynism and from Lepper to Medgyessy - being an outsider is a distinct political advantage in both west and east alike.


The notion of an a-political civil service and its political - though transient - masters is alien to post communist societies. Every appointment inrepparttar 125953 public sector, down torepparttar 125954 most insignificant sinecure, is still politicized. Yet,repparttar 125955 economic decline precipitated byrepparttar 125956 transition to free markets, forced evenrepparttar 125957 most backward political classes to appoint a cadre of young, foreign educated, well-traveled, dynamic, and open minded bureaucrats.

These are no longer a negligible minority. Nor are they bereft of political assets. Their power and ubiquity increase with every jerky change of government. Their public stature, expertise, and contacts with their foreign counterparts threatenrepparttar 125958 lugubrious and supernumerary class of professional politicians - many of whom are ashen remnants ofrepparttar 125959 communist conflagration. Hencerepparttar 125960 recent politically-tainted attempts to curbrepparttar 125961 powers of central bankers in Poland andrepparttar 125962 Czech Republic.


The malignant fringe of far-right nationalism and far left populism in central Europe is more virulent and less sophisticated than its counterparts in Austria, Denmark, Italy, France, orrepparttar 125963 Netherlands. Withrepparttar 125964 exception of Poland, though, it is onrepparttar 125965 wane.

Populists of all stripes combine calls for a thinly disguised "strong man" dictatorship with exclusionary racist xenophobia, strong anti-EU sentiments, conspiracy theory streaks of paranoia,repparttar 125966 revival of an imaginary rustic and family-centered utopia, fears of unemployment and economic destitution, regionalism and local patriotism.

Though far fromrepparttar 125967 mainstream and often derided and ignored - they succeeded to radicalize bothrepparttar 125968 right andrepparttar 125969 left in central Europe, as they have done inrepparttar 125970 west. Thus, mainstream parties were forced to adopt a more assertive foreign policy tinged with ominous nationalism (Hungary) and anti-Europeanism (Poland, Hungary). There has been a measurable shift in public opinion as well - towards disenchantment with EU enlargement and overtly exclusionary nationalism. This was aided by Brussels' lukewarm welcome, discriminatory and protectionist practices, and bureaucratic indecisiveness.

These worrisome tendencies are balanced byrepparttar 125971 inertia ofrepparttar 125972 process. Politicians of all colors are committed torepparttar 125973 European project. Carping aside,repparttar 125974 countries of central Europe stand to reap significant economic benefits from their EU membership. Still,repparttar 125975 outcome of this clash between parochial nationalism and Europeanism is far from certain and, contrary to received wisdom,repparttar 125976 process is reversible.


The recent bickering aboutrepparttar 125977 Benes decrees proves thatrepparttar 125978 vision of a "Europe of regions" is ephemeral. True,repparttar 125979 century old nation state has weakened greatly andrepparttar 125980 centripetal energy of regions has increased. But this applies only to homogeneous states.

Minorities tend to disrupt this continuity and majorities do their damnedest to eradicate these discontinuities by various means - from assimilation (central Europe) to extermination (the Balkan). Hungary's policies - its status law andrepparttar 125981 economic benefits it bestowed upon expatriate Hungarians - isrepparttar 125982 epitome of such tendencies.

These axes of tension delineate and form central Europe's political landscape. The Procrustean categories of "left" and "right" do injustice to these subtleties. As central Europe matures into fully functioning capitalistic liberal democracies, proper leftwing parties and their rightwing adversaries are bound to emerge. But this is still inrepparttar 125983 future.

Sam Vaknin ( http://samvak.tripod.com ) is the author of Malignant Self Love - Narcissism Revisited and After the Rain - How the West Lost the East. He served as a columnist for Central Europe Review, PopMatters, and eBookWeb , and Bellaonline, and as a United Press International (UPI) Senior Business Correspondent. He is the the editor of mental health and Central East Europe categories in The Open Directory and Suite101.

A Letter of Congratulation to George Bush

Written by Arthur Zulu

Continued from page 1

Even then, writers arerepparttar most disgraced people for writing you out ofrepparttar 125929 White House before your time. Let them dare write again. Never mind, I will send them a riposte in your behalf. Evenrepparttar 125930 movie stars are up in arms against you,. Now, I will advise you to turn uprepparttar 125931 thermostat ofrepparttar 125932 Fahrenheit and burn them till they expire.

And cynics who are coming to terms with your victory are saying that you only won by a "slight" margin. Some are also wondering if your brother inrepparttar 125933 "F" state didn't do one or two things behind a magic curtain to influencerepparttar 125934 poll's result. So they are still using words like "rigging" andrepparttar 125935 "F factor." But don't mind them, even if they call itrepparttar 125936 "hand of God."

Those that I pityrepparttar 125937 most are terrorists, leaders of rogue states, and those producing weapons of mass destruction with evil intentions. I did not mention North Korea or Iran. To be honest with a capital "H," I do not want Hong Song-nam and Mohammad Khatami to be "Saddamized." Or will they berepparttar 125938 next to go? You know what I'm talking about--"regime change" andrepparttar 125939 hooded man in red,repparttar 125940 hangman. I'm told thatrepparttar 125941 job is in high demand in these seasons of anomy.

I didn't realize how easy it is to create jobs till now. What ifrepparttar 125942 U.N. sponsors an international conference titled HOW TO CREATE A MILLION JOBS IN A YEAR, with a little explanation on how to do mass rape and operate torture chambers, forrepparttar 125943 FULL benefit of genocidal heads of state. For spcial guest of honor, I nominate Omar al-Bashir of Sudan. And for observers, I recommendrepparttar 125944 "janjaweed," and delegates from Bosnia and Rwanda.

I feel very sorry for them because as you said in your 2004 State ofrepparttar 125945 Union Address,repparttar 125946 work would not be left "unfinished"; "this danger must be defeated"; "we refuse to live inrepparttar 125947 shadows of this ultimate danger."

Good talk. For according to you again "the world without Saddam Hussein is [really] a safer and better world." See how peacefulrepparttar 125948 earth is now. Actually, "the world is changing forrepparttar 125949 better," as you said and before you leaverepparttar 125950 White House,repparttar 125951 world would have been transformed into a paradise without wars and terrorism.

But make no mistake about it,repparttar 125952 world will return torepparttar 125953 status quo if you hand over power torepparttar 125954 Democrats. I think thatrepparttar 125955 only electable person who can consolidate your enviable legacy is Dick Cheney. I do not mean that his unsmiling visage will frighten away terrorists and bad people. Rather, I know that he isrepparttar 125956 most suitable man forrepparttar 125957 job judging from what he said on July 24, 2003: "One by one, in every corner ofrepparttar 125958 world, we will huntrepparttar 125959 terrorists down and destroy them." He sounds even a bit more upbeat than you.

Which means that after you have leftrepparttar 125960 paradise earth to him, he will upgrade it to heavenly status. Then we will have heaven on earth and live in ETERNAL BLISS ever after. I am eagerly looking forward to that GREAT day.

Once again, congratulations! And three cheers!

Yours sincerely, Arthur Zulu.

Arthur Zulu isrepparttar 125961 author of HOW TO WRITE A BEST-SELLER, CHASING SHADOWS! and A LETTER TO NOAH to be published soon. Goto: http://www.1stbooks.com/bookview/21013 Maito: mostcontroversialwriter@yahoo.com For his works and FREE articles,userepparttar 125962 search engines and search "ARTHUR ZULU."

Arthur Zulu is an author, book reviewer and editor.

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