Sean Gabb. A historian, writer, Director of The Libertarian Alliance
In 1815, at the end of the wars connected with the French Revolution, the conservative powers of Europe (Austria, Russia, Royalist France, and so forth) created the Holy Alliance. The purpose of this was to commit all its members to the suppression of liberal ideas wherever in any one member state they might take hold.
We can see NATO and the European Union as the modern counterparts to this Holy Alliance. This explains the crisis Brexit has brought through much of the West. One core member state is withdrawing from the New World Order. Others may follow – the Dutch, for example. Meanwhile, the countries of Central Europe are increasingly semi-detached from the European institutions.
Now Turkey appears to be leaving NATO. The internal affairs of Turkey are, of course, for the Turks alone to decide. But it seems they have decided to change their pro-Western policy of the past century – both internally and externally. Again, this is purely for the Turks to decide. At the same time, it is fuelling the sense of crisis in Washington and other Western capitals that the whole structure of world governance as it emerged after 1990 is falling apart.
This structure remains powerful, but is no longer unshakably powerful. Increasingly, its opponents know that a hard shaking will bring it crashing down.
We are told by our rulers that this structure is all that keeps the world from descending into another war, and that opposition is dangerous. The truth is that our present situation owes nothing to 1914, when the peoples of Europe went to war with each other. Instead, we owe much to 1848, when the peoples of Europe went to war with their rulers.