The Law Pundit has launched the new EU Pundit blog on the European Union to cover our future Europe-related postings. This is a significant event in terms of the conclusions upon which this new launch is based.
The LawPundit is written by a US expatriate who has lived and worked in Europe for many years and who has a greater familiarity with European events than most expatriate bloggers, many of whom are often in Europe only for (relatively) short(er) periods of time.
The Law Pundit sees Europe as slowly but surely headed in the direction of a process of reformation with respect to its previously strong ties to America. We take no political sides on this issue, by the way, but merely record the obvious. There are many reasons for this development, some of course having to do with foreign policy differences between American and European political leaders and constituencies, especially as regards the Iraq War. However, the roots of the separation are deeper than serendipity current events alone. The problems with Iraq will pass, but what else is to come?
Understandably - from an objective non-partisan point of view - is the recognition that Europe is now in the process of trying to shake off the American domination which has necessarily marked European affairs ever since the end of World War II.
To understand American dominance fully, one really should read Arthur M. Schlesinger, Sr., editor, The Dynamics of World Power: A Documentary History of United States Foreign Policy 1945-1973, a five-volume compendium later reprinted in paperback in 10 volumes and available through AbeBooks. This compendium contains many documents about World War II and its aftermath, the knowledge of which is essential to anyone wishing to make any informed pronouncements about American politics in those or subsequent years.
For example, one of the plans discussed in the United States in the aftermath of WWII was the idea of reducing Germany to a simple agrarian state in which industry would be prohibited. This idea was rejected by the stronger faction of opinion in American political leadership which held that Germany occupied a central position in Europe and that the resurrection of its war-torn economy was crucial to the reconstruction of the European nations. This sentiment ultimately led to the adoption of the Marshall Plan, whose still remaining 12-billion-dollar fund the current incompetent German administration, under a hapless Chancellor Schroeder, recently considered appropriating for its own partisan political purposes.
For the last sixty years, Europe has generally welcomed and accepted American world leadership as a given. Indeed, it had little choice. Europe was a shattered shell in 1946 and only America had the requisite economic, military, and political means to lead the free world.
From the standpoint of Europe, America has done so brilliantly, bringing a peace to Europe otherwise never experienced in the Old World in the years of history when they were captains of their own fate.
In the last fifteen years the European relationship to America has substantially changed. Surely this is accounted for to some degree by Gorbachov's Glasnost and Perestroika, the subsequent political collapse of the Soviet Union and by the fall of Berlin Wall. However, just as that wall has crumbled, so also has the lowering of borders in all of Europe led to a different European situation. When borders fall, new allegiances are inevitable to reflect the resultant shifts of power. America still leads the world and is by far the world's strongest nation militarily, but in view of a world of 6 billion people, it is not a position that it will easily hold in coming years.
It is thus not surprising that this American leadership position is now being brought into question, even by its allies, not simply because there may be disagreements concerning the correct political direction of their joint efforts, but also because the Europeans are asserting what they see as their own vested interests. These interests, logically, do not always mesh with those of Uncle Sam, although these interests have a schizophrenic component, which is Europe's reliance on NATO for its military protection.
Part of this process of reformation of European attitudes toward the USA is instigated by and is an integral part of the emerging European Union, which is slowly trying to create politically something which has never been accomplished militarily - and that something is the creation of a United States of Europe (the term comes from a 1946 speech given in Zürich by Winston Churchill) - i.e. an all-encompassing European Union (the EU) which could easily rival the United States in political, military and economic power down the road.
Another part of the process of reformation is Europe's real sense of economic and political strength. After all, the EU, with the accession of the 10 new member states, has a population of 450 million, which thus greatly exceeds the USA (ca. 300 million) in population.
Still another - negative - part of the process of reformation is the ever-present nationalism which often erupts as negatively charged sentiment toward the Big Brother over the ocean.
EU Pundit will be devoted to an examination of these processes.
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