At least Republicans aren't ACTUALLY Nazis

There have been a lot of Nazi metaphors thrown around lately. Rumsfeld says that those who don't support the President's foreign policy are morally and intellectually confused, and that the threat from al Qaeda is a "similar challenge" to that of Nazi Germany. Bush says that al Qaeda is the "successor" to Nazism. Keith Olbermann says that Rumsfeld is similar to Neville Chamberlain in his "certainty - and his own confusion." Recently, the Bush administration has also been insisting that Ahmadinejad/Iran are like Hitler/Germany. So confusing - how can there be so many Hitlers at once!? Iran, of course, called Bush Hitler right back. But as power-hungry, cynical, divisive and short-sighted as the Bush administration is, at least they aren't ACTUALLY Nazis, and at least American's don't elect real Nazis into Government. Germany, on the other hand...

In the next couple days, Germany is having regional parliament elections. In 2004, the National Democratic Party (NPD) won a seat in Saxony's parliament. Now NPD is poised to win seats again, in a different parliament, in Mecklenberg-Vorpommern. Both Länder (regions) are in the former DDR, which hasn't integrated well with West Germany. East Germany suffers from high unemployment and all its young people leave and move to West Germany. In Germany neo-Nazis are tied in to a lot of different social groups, including punk rock and soccer hooliganism. Neo-Nazi parties like the NPD consistently brought in around 1 or 2% of the vote the last couple decades, but this is an upward trend in their popularity in eastern Germany.

This is bad (duh). But I think it also might have ramifications for more of the former Communist Europe that is trying to integrate into the West and the EU. In Eastern Germany, Hungary, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia and other eastern European nations, although the Red Army destroyed facism militarily, people's standard of living wasn't any higher under Communism than it was under facism (I'm talking about the survivors of both regimes). Thus, for certain people, facism as a political system might not have been totally discredited (it helps if you're rabidly anti-Semitic, as the NPD is - part of their platform is deportation of foreigners).

If it can happen in Germany, why not Hungary, which was also fascist during the 1930s and 40s? Or Slovakia? Well it is - Hungarians are being singled out in Slovakia, and Hungarian football fans chant "Give us southern Slovakia back"(1). A possible economic meltdown in Eastern Europe could further convince eastern Europeans that liberal democracy is a failure along with Communism. That would result in more real Nazis, not the fake ones that the Bush Administration sees everywhere.

Update: It happened.

(1) Simon Kuper's Football Against the Enemy.

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