Everybody Wants Their Empire Back

And we mean everybody:

Norbert Hofer, the candidate of the far-right Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ) in next month’s re-run presidential elections, wants Hungary to join a new alliance consisting of former members of the Austro-Hungarian empire.

The far-right politician believes Central European countries with similar cultures, including Austria, Hungary, Romania, Slovenia, Serbia, Croatia, and the Czech Republic, should form a new bloc within the European Union.

Erdoğan and the Turks have been making noises about their own ambitions for some time now.  We noted that long before it became fashionable in the West to discuss such things.  Now the Austrians, with possible help from the Hungarians, are getting into the act.  The Russians probably would like to do the same.

The end of World War I saw the emergence of many ethnic states and some whose logic is hard to figure out (Yugoslavia and Iraq top that list.)  People thought that empires like Austria-Hungary and the Ottoman Empire were a thing of the past.  European nationalism, however, has been poison in the Balkans and the Middle East ever since.  Maybe everywhere else, too: the EU is, in a sense, trying to go back to a super-national state.

Self determination is a great idea until you find out that “self” hasn’t quite figured out how to do it.

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