Internationalism is the root of all discord

“I don’t feel anymore. Ever since… you know. No sadness, no happiness. Nothing. I’m empty. I wake up and when I look into the mirror I don’t see me. I see… I see regret.”

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Photo by PeterBe

“I don’t feel anymore. Ever since… you know. No sadness, no happiness. Nothing.  I’m empty. I wake up and when I look into the mirror I don’t see me. I see… I see regret.”

“Germany,” Switzerland said, “you need to get your shit together.”

Germany sat up and ran a hand through his hair. “I know.”

It wasn’t always that the two of them sat like that, Switzerland in the chair and Germany on the couch in some mock therapy session. But other times, like the times when the EU was about to implode, it was necessary.

The doorbell rang and low, powerful barking followed. Germany shouted a quick command and his Schäferhunds retreated from the foyer.

“She’s here,” Switzerland said, low and ominous.

Right on cue, Belgium threw open the door and the first words to leave her mouth were, “Boys, we are fucked!”

Switzerland looked back. “You’re late.”

Belgium pulled her sunglasses off and nested them in her hair. “Good to see you too, Suisse.” She made a bee-line for the kitchen, which was separated from the living room by only a bar counter. “You got beer?” Then she snorted. “Right. Of course you do.”

“The glasses are under in the bar now,” Germany said tiredly. He knew she never drank directly from the bottle. Call it a quirk.

“You want one too, buddy? You look like you need one.”

“Sure.”

“I should go, right?” Switzerland asked. “Considering how I’m not part of this shitshow.”

“No, no,” Belgium said to the other room as she rummaged through the fridge. “The EU’s just your biggest trading partner and the thing you happened to have signed tons of treaties with.”

“I don’t have to go down with this ship,” Switzerland said. “Unlike you two.”

Belgium made her way to the bar. “Hey, we’re not sinking yet. We might be on fire, but we’re not sinking. And what’s fire to something surrounded by water?”

Switzerland stood. “I appreciate the effort on that metaphor, or whatever it was. If you need me, I’ll be outside watching Austria berate Hungary for sucking at chess.”

Belgium watched him go. “He’s as charming as always.” Then she plopped down on the recliner and tossed Germany a beer. “What are we gonna do, man?”

Germany popped the lid off his beverage and shook his head. “I was hoping you’d know.”

“It’s not so much that the UK left. It’s that now everyone else wants to leave.” She took a swig, shrugging her shoulders. “Poland’s on our side. She wants to see this get fixed just as much as we do. Bulgaria’s on board, Romania’s on board. Honestly, I think the only ones we really have to worry about are–let’s see, let’s see–France, Denmark, Sweden…”

“Netherlands,” Germany said. He added with a sigh, “Greece too.”

“You think they’ll really try?”

“I don’t know. At this point, it might just be that everyone is still so hyped up from the referendum. Riding the anti-EU fervor, so to speak. It’ll die out.”

“We can recover from this financially,” Belgium said. “The economic fallout sucks, but it’s not what scares me most. It’s the Euroscepticism that screws us over. How do we restore faith in the EU after this? If we can’t even get people to believe in this…” Her shoulders dropped and she slouched in the chair. “Hell, maybe France and Sweden and the others really will have a reason to leave.”

“Don’t give up just yet.”

“I’m not, I’m not,” Belgium said, idly butting the bottom of her empty glass against the leather seat a few times. “I’m just thinking. We have some real problems. I’m not saying they’re bad enough to justify what the UK did, but problems are problems, right?”

“Yeah.”

After that, they both sat there quietly to ruminate thoughts and concerns. Maybe it was the alcohol, but Belgium soon realized she wasn’t in the mood for the kind of silence that lets one examine their political and moral dilemmas.

She spoke up, grinning. “Have you seen Ukraine’s Facebook recently? He is mad.”

“He’s ma–? Oh. Thinks everyone is taking the EU for granted, yeah?”

“‘I’ve tried so hard these past two-and-a-half years to get into the EU and all of you are are threatening to leave like it’s nothing! What’s wrong with you?’ Something like that.”

“Why don’t we let him in, then?” Germany suggested wryly. “We have a vacancy.”

“Sure, sure. Let’s let Turkey in too while we’re at it.”

They heard a shriek from the backyard.

Moments later, Switzerland popped his head in. “Austria lost.”


Notes

I know. You’re tired of hearing about Brexit. Which is why this isn’t about Britain.

Suisse is “Switzerland” in French, a common language spoken in both Switzerland and Belgium.

Euroscepticism is a distrust of/disillusionment in the EU. You can read more about its background, and current relevance in Europe, here.

Ukraine has several reasons to be upset with the EU Referendum other than what Belgium mentioned in the story. One of them is the fact that now Ukraine’s push for visa liberalization will be put on the back burner in the wake of the Brexit fallout. Furthermore, it seems that some are worried all Ukrainian issues will be pushed to the back of the line. For a country that feels constantly threatened by its neighbor, this is not a good thing.

Author: Allison Black

Allison is an author, nerd, and international relations major who does not get paid to make bad political jokes--yet. When she's not writing or gushing about global affairs, she's playing video games. One day she will have a Ph.D., speak Korean fluently, and command an army of chihuahuas.

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