Yanis Varoufakis
Yanis Varoufakis and the construction of the post-war order: the "unbalanced balance" (Photo: Getty Images)

*By Hugo Albuquerque

EDo the Weak Suffer What They Must?, latest work by the Greek economist, thinker and activist Yanis Varoufakis, author of The Global Minotaur, reaching Brazilian readers, has a tricky and provocative title. Varoufakis refers to a passage from the classic “History of the Peloponnesian War”, by Thucydides, to explain the genesis of contemporary Europe: anti-democratic, forged by the imposition of force.

In the passage in question, Thucydides refers to the long debate in which, in the end, the Athenians conclude that they can do as they please with the small island of Melos (or Milo, the same as Venus), which they ended up invading that year. from 416 a. C., for a simple matter: they were strong and the invaded weak, deserving in part genocide, in part slavery.

What would such an ancient history have to do with Europe today? A sad realization that underneath the appearances, speeches and propaganda, the idea of ​​a democratic and fraternal Europe is not only very far from being achieved, but that was never exactly the plan behind the post-war integration project.

Let us reverse the role of Athens, today the capital of Greece, and place Germany in the dominant position of the three neins (no) of Merkel in the face of the negotiations to resolve the strangled Greece crisis and we have the representation of a relationship that is not different between that of Milo and Athens. As the economic crisis grows more turbulent and far from over, whether through the reinstitution of an “unbalanced balance” of the eurozone or a functioning multilateral order, the law of the strongest holds blatantly in Europe.

The worst thing is, as Varoufakis reminds us, this is not a novelty or a historical accident. This is exactly the way the post-war order was built, that is, the “unbalanced balance” imposed by the North American victors on the rest of the capitalist world, also resulted in an undemocratic process of European unification, from the beginning, ready to favor economic interests without democratic control – or often even to contain democratic claims.

Greece, the first country to impose a defeat on the Axis Forces, was, ironically, the first country destroyed in the post-war period – in a cruel civil war, aimed at eliminating the leftist elements that enjoyed high popularity for their participation in the resistance – while Germany, the first country to be destroyed for leading the Axis Forces, was the first to be rebuilt - but to serve with all its might to the development of the capitalist bloc, oiled by the US dollars, shaping Europe in its image and perfection and even subjugating its great partners, the French.

Along the way, albeit for the wrong reasons, it was the British Conservatives who saw the European Union's problematic destiny, a project of integration not only economic but also economistic, which would culminate in a single currency without a political structure capable of controlling it. . And it is this alliance between finance, the most powerful European states, the oligarchies of poor European countries and a technocratic class that has been entrenched in Brussels that the author seeks to dissect.

Varoufakis's answer to this is not lamentation, or a project of returning to the nation-state, as the British did, but the elaboration of a European project in terms of a federative democracy. A huge challenge, which is necessary not only for the weakest nations, but for all Europeans, because despite the timely use of the structure of certain nation-states, the fact is that oppressors and oppressed have no nationality.

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