Arnold Schwarzenegger, President of Europe?
To be honest, His Grace has no idea if this report is true or not (it started here, and has spread here and here), but it is certainly an intriguing (and highly entertaining) prospect. Having served two terms as Governor of California, and barred from following his fellow thespian Ronald Reagan in running for The White House, Arnold Schwarzenegger does appear to have hit something of a political brick wall.
Being Austrian-born prohibits him from becoming President of the United States (Article II, Section 1, Clause 5 of the US Constitution). But it is just the ticket he needs to succeed Herman Van Rompuy. If this were an EU-wide plebiscite, the outcome would be foregone. Although both men are Roman Catholic and 63 years old, Van Rompuy is obscure and unknown, while Schwarzenegger is a global brand. It is interesting that his former chief of staff, Terry Tamminen, talks of the need for a higher-profile man – a Washington or Jefferson of a new unified Europe. It’s certainly true, as he says, that ‘the French do not want a German, and Germans do not want an Italian’: that’s why we’ve got a Belgian.
The prospect of President Schwarzenegger brought to mind a certain quotation by a certain previous president of the Council of Europe, Paul-Henri Spaak:
‘We do not want another committee. We have too many already. What we want is a man of sufficient stature to hold the allegiance of all people, and to lift us out of the economic morass in which we are sinking. Send us such a man and, be he god or the devil, we will receive him.’The problem with Van Rompuy is that he exudes committee: indeed, he is a one-man committee. Schwarzenegger has stature in abundance and would hold the allegiance of the people (certainly on Facebook). Judging by his performance (political) in California, he might even lift us out of the economic morass into which (thanks to PIIGS), we are all sinking. An Austrian leading Europe? With an Austrian pope at his side?
It will certainly cause the futurist premillennialists a little bother. Many in the US are persuaded that Obama is the Anti-Christ. For those who believe he will arise from a European 10-nation confederacy, Schwarzenegger is rather more plausible than Van Rompuy. After all, it’s easy to envision the Apocalypse of the Last Days and Armageddon with a Terminator than a bank manager.