“What doth it profit a man if he gain control of the whole world
and lose control of his country?”
My first encounter with the new, post-national ruling class came in the early 1980’s. I was a young broadcaster with the BBC Yugoslav Service (as it was called then), and my work took me to Brussels seven or eight times in my first two years to cover various events related to the European Community and NATO headquarters, both located in the capital of Belgium.
I do not think that the founders of those two entities deliberately chose the least charming Western European capital or the most nondescript European country to be the location for those two vast bureaucratic machines; their choice, however, turned out to be strangely appropriate. They duly took over Brussels, and the name of that city came to denote an outlook and a way of life. It would not have been possible for 20,000 or so international bureaucrats to convert Paris, London, Rome, or even Amsterdam into a faithful reflection of their collective self. In Brussels, however, they succeeded. Their essence was expressed in the heart of it all, Berlaymont, a steel-and-concrete monstrosity that apparently sought the Third Way between Corbusier and Speer. Yes, “Europe” was to mean “Brussels,” and Berlaymont was it.
When I first arrived,...