The Snowden Affair and the Destruction of Effective Democracy in Europe

 

 

The Servility of the Satellites
by DIANA JOHNSTONE

The Snowden affair has revealed even more about Europe than about the United States.

Certainly, the facts of NSA spying are significant. But many people suspected that something of the sort was going on.  The refusal of France, Italy and Portugal to allow the private aircraft of the President of Bolivia to cross their airspace on the mere suspicion that Edward Snowden might be aboard is rather more astonishing.

Together, these revelations confirm the completion of the transformation of the “Western democracies” into something else, an entity that as yet has no recognized name.

The outrage against the Bolivian President confirmed that this trans-Atlantic entity has absolutely no respect for international law, even though its leaders will make use of it when it suits them.  But respect it, allow it to impede their actions in any way?  Certainly not.

And this disrespect for the law is linked to a more basic institutional change: the destruction of effective democracy at the national level.  This has been done by the power of money in the United States, where candidates are comparable to race horses owned by billionaires. In Europe, it has been done by the European Union, whose bureaucracy has gradually taken over the critical economic functions of independent states, leaving national governments to concoct huge controversies around private matters, such as marriage, while public policy is dictated from the EU Commission in Brussels.

But behind that Commission, and behind the US electoral game, lies the identical anonymous power that dictates its desires to this trans-Atlantic entity: financial capital.

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