If we make the same mistakes, does this guarantee the same results? World recession leading to protectionism and trade wars. Growing nationalism and fascism, creating ‘strong’ leaders. Strong being self-obsessed, who use fear and immigration to consolidate their Homebase creating hatred towards a group in their country, even though they are that nationality.
Am I talking about 1925-35 or our current political system? Well, you can see the similarities and how our current political class are either making the same mistakes as the past or purposely using that knowledge to get what they want. The latter is a scary thought because what is there end game?
Although it is a worry that the same mistakes are being made, there are institutions that have been embedded that can hopefully stop a major conflict from happening. The UN is far superior to the league of nations, but its fundamental weakness is that it hasn’t evolved to be more inclusive and remove the power base from the 5 main nations, all of whom have betrayed the trust in the UN. Will it hold up against the current attacks by the US and Russia? I think it did in the cold war because it was essentially two main powers and they ignored smaller conflicts and both had nuclear weapons, but so many smaller, unstable nations are now acquiring these weapons, it means although a low risk, there is more possible chance of a nuclear war than before.
The other major institution is the EU. All the major wars of the past were started in Europe, with atrocities killing millions in both world wars. Churchill saw that economic union was the way to create stability and peace, which has been shown to be correct. Although not eradicating fascism in Europe, it has never risen to the heights of the 1930’s. The economic union, soon turned into a political union, as Churchill foresaw and wanted, and this peace seemed unbreakable.
This is why it has been attacked so much by the far right and the constant abuse of the EU, was allowed in Britain because of our natural suspicion and prejudice to foreigners. This is especially present in the older generations who hold these views far more than the younger population of the country. Fortunately, the chaos of the UK has shown the rest of Europe just how much it does for each individual nation and where many predicted France, Netherlands, Greece and Italy would join the UK in leaving, not one is close to this. Even Italy is discussing many aspects of the EU, but in no conversations is there talk of leaving the EU.
So, the mistakes of the past do not necessarily lead to the same end results. But the fascist leaders, Trump, Farage, Le pen have had an impact funded and supported by Putin. All these have continually argued against these world bodies because they bring that stability, peace and prosperity. They have undermined the UN to cause the migration problem. They have undermined the EU with Brexit and they are now undermining democracy in the US.
These institutions are not perfect, but do you trust the UN and EU to work it out, or selfish, lying sycophants who currently drive Brexit and the trump administration. I know where my loyalty would lie. With democracy every time and Russian supported election results with Brexit and Trump are not something I would trust. So, I would call for greater integration, unity and collaboration, while keeping the individual nation state as the EU has. It worked. Not perfectly, but it has brought peace and prosperity. The Fascists try to fuel nationalism to divide us, but the institutions we have developed are there to unite us, we should continue to work on these institutions, to improve and support our weakest individuals and avoid the wars that blighted us in our past so that we don’t keep making the same mistakes.