June 26, 2008


Sliding toward irrelevance (Robert Kagan, June 26, 2008, IHT)

The Lisbon Treaty was supposed to solve some of these problems. It would have created two potential leaders to represent Europe on the world stage: a president and a foreign minister.

Names being bandied about for the two jobs, from Tony Blair to Sweden's Carl Bildt, made it possible to imagine Europe taking a stronger role in the world, even amid all the doubts.

To Euro-enthusiasts across the Continent, the new constitution was the answer to Europe's malaise and the next step toward global leadership. But what now, since the treaty is dead?

All of this is bad news for the United States. In a world of rising great powers, of which two happen to be autocracies, the United States needs its fellow democracies to be as strong as possible.

A unified, independent, capable Europe is in American interests, even if we may disagree at times. I would much rather see Europe run the 21st century than Vladimir Putin's Russia or Hu Jintao's China.

The danger of this latest blow to European confidence is that America's allies, including Britain, could gradually sink into global irrelevance. Already there are voices in London welcoming it. Gideon Rachman of The Financial Times believes that the majority of Europeans, if not their leaders, prefer irrelevance and are right to do so.

...because they're secular themselves. Europe isn't sliding, it's racing and Russia and China are going with it. The continent had one final chance to save itself, after WWII, by shucking statism and reverting to dependence on society, but we administered the coup de grace -- the Marshall Plan rescue of their Welfare system and the assumption of their defense -- preferring that they die out rather than annoy us any further.

Posted by Orrin Judd at June 26, 2008 9:54 AM

"A unified, independent, capable Europe" imposed on the people by a bunch of well-connected politicians against the will of the people is a step towards Putin's and China's autocracies. In a democracy, voters can vote "against" their own interests, as claimed by those who asked "What is wrong with Kansas?" As a matter of fact, nothing is wrong with Kansas, something was wrong with the "progressives" who believed they could impose their values on the people. Similarly, "a unified, independent, capable" Europe, unified against the people's will, independent of the people's votes is not in American or European interests.

Posted by: ic at June 26, 2008 1:55 PM

We care about the future; they don't.
We win.

Posted by: Mikey at June 26, 2008 9:24 PM
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