By Deena Stryker and cross-posted from New Eastern Outlook
It’s hard to believe that in 2016, part of the world is looking so much like it did seventy years ago – and yet so different. US-led NATO troops are sitting on Europe’s closest border with Russia: the one with Ukraine, where, during the second world war, German troops began their invasion of the Soviet Union, aided by Ukrainian nationalists seeking independence. In 2014, the grandchildren of those nationalists helped overthrow the elected president of Ukraine, and are part of the government the US shepherded to power, with Neo-con Victoria Nuland playing the role of Deus ex-macchina from her desk in the State Department and on Maidan Square.
There is little chance that the Ukraine will soon join NATO, however, its far-right Ukrainian nationalists are a stark inspiration for far-right groups across Europe, as they gain power and influence in the wake of an unprecedented flood of mainly Muslim refugees. They can teach Europe a thing or two about violence, pushing it back toward the same fascism it defeated in 1945. The numbers are cause for alarm:
The Austrian Freedom Party almost won this year’s presidential election. The Alternative for Germany (AfD) party leader, Frauke Petry tweeted it could be “a foretaste of positive change in Europe.” Although her party still polls in the twenties, she recently made headlines for saying police should have the power to shoot migrants and refugees trying to enter the country.
In Italy, where the Prime Minister’s party got 34% and Five Star came in at 27%, Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia got 11%, Fratelli d’Italia 5%, and most significantly, the Northern League came back from the dead with 17%, thanks to “those who would like to stop the spread of a progressive and cosmopolitan worldview; who feel uncomfortable with multi-ethnicity and living with foreigners, as well as homosexual unions.”
The Northern League is close to France’s National Front, which is the third strongest party in France, and could win 28% in next year’s presidential election. Together, Europe’s far-right European parties formed a new group in the European Parliament, theEurope of Nations and Freedom. Its 38 MEPs include the Dutch Freedom Party and Belgium’s Vlaams Belang, and see the refugee crisis and related security concerns as an opportunity to move from the political fringe to real power.
This brings us to Turkey, which in addition to supporting ISIS, has been cast in a dangerous role in Europe…