The Eurozone crisis shows divisions run deep among western allies
Last week, at the height of the Eurozone crisis, Britain used its veto to scupper German and French attempts to rescue the Euro and thereby demonstrated the underlying disunity that exists among western nations. It is important for the Muslim Ummah to appreciate this political reality because among some it is almost presupposed that working for the re-establishment of the Islamic state is pointless as the united west will not allow such a state to emerge. As this episode so vividly demonstrated, the west is far from united, even when it comes to its own issues.
Britain guarded its narrow national interest even though it took the Eurozone to the edge of collapse – destroying a decade old union of seventeen European countries with a total economic output of $12 trillion, equivalent to 20% of global output – at a time when the world economy is on the brink of a second recession in as many years.
Indeed if we study the Eurozone crisis, it is evident that the pursuing of national interests has prolonged the crisis and prevented a final resolution:
- Germany has been reluctant provide the unqualified guarantees that would save crisis hit Eurozone countries from rescheduling their debt
- France and Germany are reluctant to write off Eurozone debts because it would mean their respective private sector banks suffering losses
- Germany has resisted the creation of a EU bond to raise finance for the debt stricken nations because this would effectively collateralise European debt
- France has been dogged in saving its banks due to their exposure to Eurozone debt
- The US has essentially stood on the sidelines unwilling to increase its debt exposure while Europe has suffered
- In spite of its nearly 40 years of European Union membership, Britain has been single-minded in persistently insisting it will not pay were the Euro to collapse even though this has further unsettled the markets
Europe has a history of very bloody war (WW1 and WW2) and while the above differences are new, the divisions go deep. National interest and competition between capitalist states means that even decades old political and economic alliances are not permanent.
Here, it is apt to relate the translated meaning of the beginning of Surah Al- Rum (The Romans) which discusses the politics of the competing powers of the time, the Romans and Persians, and reminds the Muslims that all knowledge is with Allah, that Allah (swt) is the best of planners and that Allah (swt) never fails in His promise to aid the believers. Allah says:
30:2 The Romans have been defeated.
فِي أَدْنَى الْأَرْضِ وَهُم مِّن بَعْدِ غَلَبِهِمْ سَيَغْلِبُونَ
30:3 In the nearest land, and they, after their defeat, will be victorious.
فِي بِضْعِ سِنِينَ لِلَّهِ الْأَمْرُ مِن قَبْلُ وَمِن بَعْدُ وَيَوْمَئِذٍ يَفْرَحُ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ
30:4 Within a few years. The decision of the matter, before and after is only with Allah. And on that day, the believers will rejoice.
30:5 With the help of Allah.
يَنصُرُ مَن يَشَاء وَهُوَ الْعَزِيزُ الرَّحِيمُ
He helps whom He wills, and He is the All-Mighty, the Most Merciful.
وَعْدَ اللَّهِ لَا يُخْلِفُ اللَّهُ وَعْدَهُ وَلَكِنَّ أَكْثَرَ النَّاسِ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ
30:6 A promise from Allah, and Allah fails not in His promise, but most men know not.
Despite appreciating the political reality and seeing the competition for dominance by the powerful nations of his time, the Prophet (saw) was not deterred from striving to establish a state that would one day challenge these same powers – knowing that the Help of Allah (swt) is always near to the believers. Likewise, today, when we look at the position of the dominant world powers and the current political reality, we should appreciate their strength but also appreciate the divisions between them and not draw the wrong conclusion that we are somehow unable to establish an alternative Islamic political order in the Muslim world because they are somehow all powerful!