Wednesday, July 23, 2003

Besides, it's not as if Berlusconi went around beating people up. That distinction is reserved for German foreign minister Joschka Fischer. These days he's a darling of the EU's elite despite (or, perhaps, partly because of) his extremist past. Back in the late 1960s and early 1970s, Fischer was part of a radical Left that was all too prepared to cross the line that divides legitimate protest from outright political violence. In 1973, Fischer took part in the brutal beating of a young policeman at a riot in Frankfurt. That moment of 'revolutionary struggle' was caught on camera, but most of his activities in those years remain clouded in somewhat sinister mystery. To take one example, after initial denials (attributed to 'forgetfulness') we now know that Fischer attended a 1969 PLO Conference in Algiers that passed a resolution calling for the extinction of the state of Israel. Fischer was there — an ugly place to be for a German less than twenty-five years after Auschwitz, and a gesture far more 'insensitive' than Berlusconi's ill-judged insult.

Ancient history, you say? Well, let's take a look at Lionel Jospin, a man widely respected across the EU for his "integrity." He was France's prime minister until last year, and the Socialist contender in that country's presidential elections — until he was beaten into third place by a neo-fascist (and people call Italy's politics a disgrace?). At about the time young Joschka Fischer was beating up a policeman young Jospin was an activist in a revolutionary Trotskyite group known as OCI. A youthful mistake? Perhaps, except that it was a youthful mistake that Jospin was to continue making into middle age. He maintained discreet links with OCI for another two decades. Jospin has said that he has no need to feel "red-faced" about his red past, but, strangely, he never chose to mention it to the electorate. Lionel's affection for Leon (a mass murderer, lest we forget) was only discovered a few years ago — after Jospin had become prime minister)...

Now, the point of reciting these tales of hypocrisy and corruption within the EU (and there are plenty of other stories where they came from) is not to exonerate Berlusconi. All those wrongs don't make a right. At the same time, they do make the indignation over the Italian prime minister look a little, well, selective. For an explanation, forget the dodgy dealings back in Italy. Berlusconi's real crime is something far worse — he is a capitalist, a conservative (of sorts) and, horrors, an Atlanticist, and in today's increasingly intolerant Europe the reward for such heresy is meant to be political and legal destruction.

And that's the real scandal.

NRO exposes the den of snakes that is the European Union. Hypocrisy is second only to cowardice as the EU's foremost vice. Thank God for Berlusconi and the few willing to speak out against the totalitarian beaurocracy that is the European establishment.


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