I’ve previously written about why I don’t support the Fiscal treaty/compact, and I’ve also written about why I’m overall pessimistic about the future of the Eurozone. Yet, there is one topic I haven’t touched before: The idea of a strong Europe.
What I’ve noticed is that everyone takes for granted that a strong Europe is something positive. What we all debate is not whether a strong Europe is a good idea, but how to accomplish it. Some believe (and they may be right) that the Eurozone will actually weaken European unity in the long run, and that’s a reason for them to oppose it.
However, why do we really want European unity? The short, realistic answer is this: To compete with the US and, ultimately, to take the top spot and become the world’s ultimate superpower. Other idealistic answers include “To prevent a world war III” – but let’s face it, the EU never had anything to do with preventing a possible third world war. A third world war was never going to happen, and if it was going to happen, it was going to be between the US and the soviet union (back when the EU was founded). We already had the UN to prevent that. And a third world war today would not be between the UK and Germany, but rather the US and Russia, China, Iran etc (I’m not saying that’s likely to happen, but the point remains).
My question, and I really hope someone can answer this (no-one’s done it yet), is: Why would we want to overtake the US? What is so good about a strong Europe?
Here below are my top reasons to oppose a strong Europe:
1) The US is a really good superpower.
Unlike the Roman Empire, France, the UK and all the other superpowers of the past, the US doesn’t kill those who disagree with them. They don’t sail around the globe stealing natural resources or taking slaves and they don’t try to impose their culture wherever they go. There has never been a time in history when there hasn’t been at least one superpower, so trying to derail the first really good one does not make any sense.
2) American values – better than European
First, it’s hard to say what European values are, as every country more or less has its own values. None the less, it is safe to say that the American values of entreprenurship, individual liberty and local government easily beats any European values in the world. Why would we want to overtake a country who’s values any conservatives could agree on are great? We don’t have it in us, it’s that simple. Of course, if you’re a socialist you may not agree with me on this – but then, this post is mostly directed to right-winged Europeans who for some reason still want a strong Europe. Even though European conservatism differs from American conservatism, it’s still got to be obvious for us European conservatives who’s got the advantage in the value department.
3) What would we do with our power?
If Europe were to become a superpower, what would we do? What would be the purpose of our “reign”? The US promotes democracy and freedom all over the world – would a United States of Europe do that? And if so – what’s the point of taking over the US? They’re already doing that! Or, is it, as I suspect – that we want power for the sake of power? That would be very European indeed (looking at all the European countries whom historically have sought just that), but hardly desirable.
4) A superpower needs an army
Currently, the US stands for over half the world’s total defense spending. Is Europe willing to compete? Probably not – we have enough trouble paying for our welfare states, we certainly can’t afford to become warfare states as well. Every superpower has to be able to use military force to enforce its will – otherwise, it’s not a superpower. The US can do that, Soviet could do that, China is on the way to becoming able to do that. But Europe? Yes, France intervened in Libya, but no-one seriously believes that the European Union would have ever gone to war against Iraq in a million years, no matter what they had done to us or were planning to do to us.
If we’re not willing to build up a military defense necessary to become a superpower, then what’s the point with trying? No matter how integrated we become, without a big army you can’t be a superpower.
5) A strong Europe makes every European country weaker
This is what I consider to be the strongest argument against a strong Europe. You see, I’m a European, and I love Europe. But a strong Europe just makes each member weaker – the opposite of what is supposed to be the effect of team work (in a well-functioning team, the team is stronger than all of its parts together).
Look at Germany and France: Forced to become southern Europe’s sugar daddies. Germany is often seen as the winner as the one sole winner of the Eurozone, the only country which has benefitted from the common currency. Give it 5-10 years, and I don’t think that will be the case.
Look at Southern Europe and Ireland: Had their economies overheated by the German-controlled European Central Bank in the early 00’s, and now have to battle national debts that are quickly getting out of control. Their whole lifestyles and cultures are threatened by the crisis – one might argue this is their own fault for joining the eurozone and that they should have known where things would end up, but none the less it’s a tragedy.
There are no winners – everyone is weaker.
6) Racism has made a comeback because of the EU
One of the worst thing about the EU project is the way it has inadvertently promoted racism. Racism should be dead by now – especially in Europe. But lo and behold, it’s back in full force. It is now absolutely acceptable to talk about the “lazy greeks”, the “stupid Irish blowing all their money on booze so they can’t afford their mortgages” and the “spanish morons fighting pinatas when they should be working”. And (in the PIIGS countries), it is now common and perfectly acceptable to speak of “German austerity-nazis”, “Vichy-french collaborators” etc.
I don’t think fellow Europeans have hated each others so much since WWII. It’s just a matter of time before someone blames the jews for all this (oh wait, they already are).
It’s not that we normally hate each other – if you’d asked a Swede 30 years ago what he thought of the Spanish he would have said they were a fascinating admirable people. Now, you’re more likely to hear some rant on how they’re a bunch of lazy never-do-well, siesta-addicted nutjobs. Being too close just isn’t healthy. If we’d have just allowed the spanish and the greek and the rest of them to keep their laidback lifestyles with high inflation etc, nothing would have changed. The germans (and the rest of us northern Europeans) would have kept their efficient-minded, hardworking culture and everyone would have been happy. The EU has set us up in an internal culture war where everyone bashes everyone else’s culture and way of life.
The “stronger” Europe becomes, the more of this we will see. Soon I’m convinced we’ll hear about hate crimes against Greek and Spanish immigrants in Germany and France unless something changes.
Every culture has its beauty, but countries with so radically different cultures as Germany and Spain simply can’t be in the same union.
I do not believe in a strong Europe. I believe in a strong Germany, a strong France, a strong Sweden, a strong Ireland and so on. But not a strong Europe. Every country, alone, is stronger than Europe will ever be.
A counterargument is that a strong Europe could better support (for example in the war on terror), not replace, the US. But the problem is that 1) not every country would like to support the US (most wouldn’t as far as I know) and 2) not every country would be able to support the US in the same way. Germany and the UK may be big enough to send troops, but other countries won’t have the capacity to do that. Hence, each country should be able to decide for itself if or how it wants to support the US missions around the world.
So what is my point? In the most simple terms, the European Union (but not the EEA) and with it the Eurozone ought to be dissolved as soon as possible. There. I said it.
Thanks for reading. Please leave a comment and tell me what you think.