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A game of betrayals

From Cassius and Ephialtes of Trachis to the infamous “Percentages agreement“, and continuing to modern times the history of the people living on the European continent is littered to the brink with betrayal. It is, to put it mildly, a perfect portrayal of our apparently born inability to trust each other or work together.

One needs only to consult European history to arrive at this conclusion. And surprise surprise it’s not always a question of individuals betraying individuals with dire consequences but more often than not it is a case of a nation betraying another nation. And while it can be argued that nations were represented by individuals, the gesture remains however one accountable to the entire nation.

And that in itself is a problem when dealing with nations – “national interest demanded this or that”, “it was done because it was needed” and all such plethora of excuses can and have been ushered to explain post factum this long history of betrayal. But removing nations, and implicitly “national interest” from this issue and suddenly everything would look a tad bit different.




And there are 2 faces of this coin too – removing national interest from the debate, raises a different question – who replaces the national interest, as key preoccupation for perpetrating this or that betrayal? Populist as it might sound, it’s the people.


In one of my favorite movies the main character, faced with imminent danger is advised to “If the king is no more, protect the people” – and moving past the king part, which is contextual, the second part imparts on what I have previously said. It’s not protect the kingdom, it’s protect the people.


Now this is in turn a very complicated business. To protect the people, would inherently imply to know, understand or at least have a means to find out what the people actually want. They might not want to be “protected” in which case this whole debacle is over. But the endeavor to find what the people think, want, desire, etc. is not something to be taken lightly or considered a matter of simply asking questions. Because asking questions is directly dependent to what answer you seek to receive. To put it on a general note, asking whether you want a wall blue is a whole different question than “what color would you like this wall to be?”.




Now that you got this far, here’s an exercise – go home and think about the Greek referendum and the apparent pursuit by Mr. Tsipras of Russian funding for a Greekexit. And when you’re done with that think about how the EU played this game – fair up to a point, but subject to vanity, national vanity, and populist rhetoric also. There are no winners, yet, we all somehow managed to loose.

And we shall all be judged by history, who ever shall make thee.






Author :
EurActiv Network