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Sunday, June 12, 2005

Europe And The Future

Kosmoblog-english writes that Europe still matters:
There is a widespread feeling in America, too, that Europe doesn't matter any more—or at least that America doesn't have a dog in Europe's internal fights. The polite version of this sentiment is that Europe is a problem that has been solved. The continent is peaceful, prosperous and civilised. America's vital interests now lie elsewhere—in tackling terrorism and managing the emergence of China. The less polite version is that Europe is a spent force, with slow economic growth, death-spiral demographics, unaffordable welfare states, simmering Muslim populations and little ability to project power abroad.
Indeed Europe does matter, if it cares to matter. My comments are over there, but I will write this here. The US, the UK and Australia can't stand alone. Since Europe bailed out of any real participation in world history, the only chance the US has is to form a coalition of newly democratized states that will be willing to stand together and support new democracies in the developing world. Our ability to make the type of effort we are making now will be pretty much over within 2 decades. If we can gather a critical mass of countries willing to commit to the struggle to guard each other's freedoms within that time (which must include India), then the west may stand. If not, the west must gradually die and the future will be controlled by mildly tyrannical states which regard the entire western concept of human rights as a quaint myth.

Tom Carter writes on the issues that Europe faces, observing that Turkey's membership is one of the stumbling-blocks for the EU. He concludes:
The U.S. supports eventual Turkish membership in the EU. We do it because Turkey is an important strategic partner, and it probably has no negative consequences for the U.S. in the short term. However, a Europe suffering the impact of huge numbers of Turkish Muslims migrating across borders that mean little wouldn't be able to withstand the economic and social disruptions that would surely result. A de-stabilized, radicalized, chaotic Europe would be a serious long-term problem for the U.S. and the world.
Well, actually that is the real state of some chunks of Europe right now. But the European countries can redress the situation by involving its people in the great adventure of Europe. I can easily see why the people of Europe would wish to hold the line; they don't believe that they will be able to say no later. Fair enough, because if Europe is to be governed by a remote group of technocrats, the people of Europe won't be able to say no.

But unless Europe, or its constituent countries, cares to take a true part in international affairs anytime soon it is cutting open its own belly. If China becomes hegemonic, then Russia will become a new Tsarist state in order to protect itself, and India will deal with China to protect its own interests. China can only be kept from becoming a hegemony by a coalition of democratic states that wish to defend each other's interests, and the only way that can occur is if the west really stands for the values it claims in the world as a whole.

In a way, Darfur is the weather-vane. Either the western countries will look at each other and say "this is wrong" and move to address the situation, or the western countries will go on playing diplomatic card games while these people die. We either believe in what we say, or we do not. If we don't, then newer, smaller countries have no reason to believe in our fine words and support the values of the western world, because they will realize that we will never defend them if they are threatened. And when the pressure comes from Asia, as it inevitably will, they will fold and leave the west alone. The west needs India, and it needs new democratic countries to survive. The west needs to hold its ideals out as realities worth fighting for.

Forget Germany - the US needs India to take a veto-wielding seat in the UN Security Council. At present the five members are the US, the UK, France, Russia and China. We need democracies with vetoes.

You are of course right about the need of democracies that are willing to protect each others interests. But there are two parts to the problem although they are related.

It's always money isn't it, it's irrelevant if you don't have the economic engine to support your efforts. Europe needs to get that worked out so they have the economic power to be a player in the world. Until they do that the world stage is going to be dominated by countries with large populations and therefore a large workforce and economy. So far the EU has concentrated on how to protect individual economies in individual countries and that's not going to get it done.

As much fun as it can be to watch France flailing it is better for us if they resolve this successfully for a lot of reasons.
Yes, in part it is about money - but it's also about priorities. And I think neither the money nor the interest is there at this time.
When push comes to shove, Europe, as a single entity, is worthless. We can't help Europe if it doesn't want to help itself. The old English Commonwealth, along with Japan, Poland and a few others are our real allies in my opinion.
TS, but I don't think that's enough. I think Europe has deluded itself about American strength. They expect it to be there always in the background.
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