February 26, 2012


The Emperor of Vanished Kingdoms: Europe's pre-eminent historian says all nations eventually end--even the United Kingdom, and perhaps America. (RAYMOND ZHONG, 2/25/12, WSJ)

After World War II, Europeans set about forming a union along three axes: politics, defense and economics. Britain quickly rejected political union, however, and soon enough NATO came along to become the only defense union Western Europe needed. An economic union--the European Economic Community, established in 1957--was the only remaining pillar of integration left to pursue.

But the early, unexpected success of the single market made policy makers cocky, Mr. Davies says. They forgot to answer important questions about EU governance--that little matter of whether Europe would need a more integrated political union before it could have a currency union, for instance.

And as the Cold War ended, the EU's plate filled up further. The reunification of Germany and the wars in the Balkans dominated policy attention during the 1990s, as did the eastward expansion of the EU and NATO. That process finished in 2004, a few years into the euro era, with the accession of 10 nations to the EU, most of them former Soviet republics or satellite states.

Then the financial crisis hit, in 2008. By that score, Europe has had only four years since the war when it didn't have its hands full--not much time to make a functioning union for 500 million people.

Instead, Mr. Davies says, the EU has become a vehicle by which the stronger countries promote their interests--led, for the moment, by the tag team of German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy. "So although all the member states have to be democracies--this is one of the conditions for entry--they're not required to act democratically once they're in."

The problem is clear enough: this anti-democratic European project runs headlong into the Anglospheric project, which has been beating it like a drum since the French Revolution triggered the Long War.

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Posted by at February 26, 2012 7:28 AM

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