EU Threat to American Supremacy?
With the advent of a true European Community, the question must be asked as to how much an integrated Europe will challenge America for political dominance in the world. America is still far and away the world’s only superpower, and it will remain so for the next ten years, at least. However, the European’s new political and economic entity will play an increasing role in partnership and perhaps at times as counterbalance to American policy. The EU will in the future become a hub of diplomatic activity for those who view American policy and supremacy as being counterproductive to their own interests. Hence, in areas of the world where America’s interests may collide with those of the Europeans, anti-American sentiment may find a sympathetic ear in European capitals. This may hold true for the intractable Middle East situation as well as questions dealing with Libya, and Iraq, where American and European interests have not always been on an even keel.
The above mentioned shift will not occur overnight, nor are they 100 years off. The Europeans will, barring a significant political or economic disaster, continue their drive towards closer integration and be largely successful. This will pose several problems for American policy makers. Indeed the draft proposal signed by several key European countries to construct a European force which would operate outside of the normal NATO spheres of operation is a sign of a growing desire for independence from US policy aims. While the practicality of such an arrangement has been questioned by some, The real purpose of such politico-military restlessness is the perceived need by some, to reduce European subservience to American policy.
The EU will pose another perhaps more important challenge, that is a long-term threat to American economic predominance. This is not an immediate threat and as long as the US can maintain the current stock market bubble and maintain the illusion of prosperity, the US will remain the unquestioned economic leader of the world. However, should the US stock market stumble badly, large-scale economic disruptions in the US would be inevitable, barring a large federal bailout. In this scenario, the dollar would inevitably suffer, and could be reasonably challenged as the world’s reserve currency. Enter the Euro. This scenario may seen somewhat far-fetched to some of wall streets more bullish investors.
Nevertheless, the inflated nature of the US market has been the subject of debate in and out of the public arena, the US Federal Reserve Chairman’s recent statements certainly underscore his belief in a dangerously inflated stock market, and the inherent dangers that accompany it. While in the minds of more strategically placed, well compensated analysts in New York may differ, the warnings have nonetheless, gone forth.
While Europe may wish to fill in any potential void, or place itself in a more politically influential position, the demise of US economic predominance is not in the something that is likely to transpire, nor would Europe find such an event welcome. While the USA and Europe may have its differences, the two will always have far more in common than some of the more superficial differences, which are sometimes exploited by some lesser-known demagogues. Europe and America will remain allies well into the 21st century, yet the nature of the alliance will almost certainly change as the EU matures, and America’s fascination with the stock market ‘lotto’ subsides. But how will that alliance change, will it pose a real threat to American predominance? Most say no. However, many analysts, on both sides of the pond are not so sure. Speaking of military alliances and Europe’s new search for military independence. However behind the new found drive for independence is also on of the two main driving forces of EU integration, France. This has some pentagon officials worried, "Fiery rhetoric and anti-American tirades by some senior leaders in Europe complicate this situation immensely, and are difficult to ignore on our side of the Atlantic," says one Pentagon official. While the initial pronouncements of a modest force of 60,000 men has been proposed, these troops could also potentially be used in future concurrent NATO operation. This does not sit well the America. An could limit America’s ability to project its military might, should Europe decide its troops are needed elsewhere. This gives the Europeans a little more leverage against American policy with which the EU may disagree.
If American policy makers can allow another big player on the scene, America could find itself with a strengthened ally. If however less rational and reactionary elements should get a hold of the foreign policy apparatus, then a period of tension and perhaps even a degree of animosity could ensue, though not for long.
While further European integration is almost certain, the road will not be easy. Indeed fears about a resurgent Germany have been expressed in many European capitals. While integration continues, not everyone has completely forgotten Germany’s expansionism during WWII. These fears aside, Germany will certainly play a central role in future efforts towards political and economic integration. The Future status of Britain must also be resolved. Baring recent statements from London about being a bridge between Europe and the America’s, Britain cannot long remain as a special entity within the EU in but not in out but not out. Sooner or later more concrete steps towards European integration will be made by a future British government.
Further EU Integration should not be feared by the US, but should be watched carefully, while many calls for similar type integration in North America are being sounded, serious barriers to integration are being raised by individuals who are suspicious of the trend towards regionalism and gobalization,. These voices are no longer only being heard in the fringes of American society. Rising Anti-American sentiment in Europe would be a very serious concern for policy makers in Washington, which could cause some serious defense related review and perhaps reorganization.Copyright © 2000 Mark S. Watson
Radio Free Europe
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