Europe’s Belgian Future

If you plan to read only one book on foreign affairs in the next year, you should read Paul Belien’s A Throne in Brussels.  Belien is a lawyer and a journalist, a rare free-market advocate who understands the importance of ethnic identity.  On one level, Belien’s book is a ruthless investigation of the history and misconduct of the ruling class of one small European nation, but the implications for the future of Europe—and North America—are vast.  As Europe becomes more and more like Belgium, a country whose very existence depends on the denial of the idea of the nation, Belgium’s abysmal political morality may well become the international norm.

Much of the book is devoted to the history of the Belgian monarchy, from Leopold of Saxe-Coburg to the reigning Albert II.  The initial chapter, which involves the creation of Belgium, may stand as an allegory of Belgian history.  Leopold I had already enjoyed a long amoral career of lechery and disloyalty—supporting both sides in the Napoleonic wars—before he wooed and wedded Princess Charlotte of Great Britain.  Charlotte’s death destroyed his dream of being prince consort of a reigning queen, and Leopold would have to “rule” Britain by exerting his fascinating influence on his young niece Victoria and indirectly through Albert, his nephew or (since Leopold appears to have bedded his brother’s...

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