“The metaphor of “the garden” and “the jungle” is not my invention. Some truly dislike it because, among others, it has been used by US neo-conservatives, but I am far from this school of political thought. In fact, the concept has been present in academic and political debates for decades, because it refers to a simple question that we face every day: should the international order be based on principles accepted by all, regardless of the strength of its actors, or should it be based on the will of the strongest, which is commonly called “the law of the jungle”? Regrettably, the world in which we live today looks more and more like a “jungle” and less and less like a “garden”, because in many parts of the world, the law of the strongest is eroding agreed international norms” (Josep Borrell – ‘On metaphors and geo-politics’ 18.10.2022).
The highest diplomat of the European Union was disgraceful lately and in his latest piece, which is made to apologize or to explain the sentiment. He is surely not able to backtrack or sound like his sincere about it. The European Exceptionalism is persistent with this man.
The Spanish seasoned politician and diplomat of the European Union, Josep Borrell has cornered himself and for a reason. He is diminishing and distorting his words. While we know very well why he said it and it doesn’t change the fact.
I don’t care if he evented the idea or not. You don’t need to be the first one to make it wrong. You’re just continuing a legacy of colonialism, European hegemony and the belief of a supreme continent. Because Europe is the “Garden of Eden” where people lived in harmony before God kicked them out for sinning. That’s how you’re sounding like and it’s off no good.
He continues: “Some have misinterpreted the metaphor as “colonial Euro-centrism”. I am sorry if some have felt offended. I believe and have said, for instance to the EU Ambassadors last week, that we are often too Euro-centric and need to be humble and get to know better the rest of the world including the Global South. I have always spoken out against a “Fortress Europe” approach and been strongly engaged in advancing relations with other parts of the world. I also have enough experience to know that neither Europe nor “the West” is perfect and that some countries of “the West” have at times violated international legality” (Borrell, 18.10.2022).
You are the one saying it is and speaking it out. You even started again with the legalities and the modalities of the allegory. The metaphor is clear and for a reason. One is a organized unit and “clean”. The jungle is lawlessness and “dirty”. We can all get the gist of the outrageous attempt of neo-colonialism that was spewed out your mouth recently. It was so easy to see the European Exceptionalism, which you referred too and still does. You even did so in the beginning of this text, which is supposed to be an apology for what you did.
It doesn’t help that you speak out against “Fortress Europe” and says “the West” isn’t perfect. We all know that and see that on the regular too. “The West” and Europe is filled with misgivings and wrongs, which should be called out too. That’s why everything isn’t perfect in Europe either. So, why speak of the fear of “invaders” from the “jungle” in the first place? Isn’t that a sign of what you’re saying the metaphor doesn’t stand for?
Well, you cannot have it both ways. That’s not how this works. You brought up the “heart of darkness” and place of “wild animals”. You even speak of lawlessness, by defining such broad statement about the “global south”. That’s really infuriating, and you are doubling down on it too. How will this fit your mission statement? How is this fitting the standard of operation or how your will coordinate to bring better relations outside of Europe?
As a diplomat and a seasoned politician, you should know better, but clearly that’s too much to ask. He returns and deflects, instead of apologizing for what he did. Showing that somehow, this is who he is and what he believes in. He doesn’t believe in the multilateralism and only in European exceptionalism. That’s proven by now, because he wouldn’t have written an explanation like this, if not… Peace.