The United States of Europe?

On March 26 the European Parliament issued voted overwhelmingly (503 votes for, 51 against and 10 abstentions) in favor of a resolution “on the state of transatlantic relations in the aftermath of the US elections (2008/2199(INI)).” If you want to understand why Europe as a political power has been unable to play its role in the transition to a new and more balanced state of international affairs (after the era of American unilateralism), you only need to read this text.   

The European MPs think that because “the inauguration of the new US President opens up a new era in the history of the United States,” and it “has been received with great expectations in the world,” it also “has the potential to give the transatlantic partnership a new impetus.”  

From this sentence on, the whole text consists of ideological assertions:  since “according to surveys most Europeans support the idea that the EU should assume a more prominent role on the world stage", the MPs draw the conclusion that “the majority of Europeans and Americans feel that the EU and the US should address international threats in partnership,” — which no opinion poll has ever showed during the last decade.  

The European MPs also speak for themselves when they assume that “in an increasingly global, complex and changing world, it is in the interest of both partners, the EU and the US, to shape the international environment together and to confront in unison common threats and challenges on the basis of international law and multilateral institutions, in particular the UN system, and to invite other partners to cooperate in this effort.” And they reveal very soon what they have in mind: “The transatlantic partnership and NATO are indispensable for collective security.” Anchoring Europe’s defense in NATO has been part of the Maastricht Treaty (1992), of the Amsterdam Treaty (1997) and of the still to be ratificated Lisbon Treaty — and this is one of the reasons why the voter rejected these treaties when they had the opportunity to give their opinion (for instance in France and the Netherlands in 2005).  

But the European Parliament prefers to ignore the real feelings of European citizens — who are longing for a peaceful  future. It then “urges the EU and the US to work together in renewing strategies to promote efforts to strengthen respect for human rights and democracy in the Middle East, based on their economic and soft power in the region.” If you had thought this meant moderating in any way the United States’ war policy and contributing to an authentic peace settlement in the Middle East, then you will be disappointed, since the MPs “underline that the values, security and credibility of the transatlantic community are at stake in Afghanistan”  and then “urge the EU, the US, NATO and the UN to come up with a new joint strategic concept which comprehensively integrates the components of the international engagement, in order to increase security in all regions, strengthen the Afghan governmental and local institutions and aid nation-building and prosperity in close cooperation with neighbouring states.”  

Why should we keep quoting this horrible ideological jargon — an equivalent to the texts issued by the Soviet satellites in Eastern Europe thirty years ago when it came to justifying Soviet presence in Afghanistan?  Because they imply the same blindness toward facts as was the case in the former Communist part of Europe. The United States is on the verge of provoking a huge catastrophe in Pakistan, whose state is left without any legitimacy because of its cooperation with Washington in the “war against terror.” The world could be  confronted soon with an Islamic state in Pakistan. However, rather than condemning firmly the war that the United  States has been leading for almost eight years against innocent people -who had already suffered a ten years long occupation through the Soviet Union and then another decade of civil war — and instead of warning the United States about the dangers of inadvertently seeding and nurturing of an Islamist revolution in Pakistan, the European MPs are supporting the current American course. They prefer to denounce the would-be threat of an Iranian nuclear bomb — that does not exist yet — rather than warn the American government about the real danger of a nuclear power (Pakistan) becoming an Islamist state. The MPs in Brussels are asserting that "the Iranian nuclear programme endangers the non-proliferation system and stability in the region and the world" but nobody among them seems to be ready to remind the world that the United States helped Pakistan acquire the bomb.  

When it comes to Russia, the European Parliament "calls on the EU and US to develop a common strategy concerning the six eastern European countries (Moldova, Ukraine, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Belarus), encompassed by the European Neighborhood Policy, in order to achieve substantial and lasting results in the implementation of the new Eastern Partnership and Black Sea Synergy.” The European representatives should say more honestly that they are supporting Washington’s policy of encircling Russia — and they could quote directly from Zbigniew Brzezinski’s Great Chessboard, which is better written than their resolution.  The European representatives should say plainly, too, that they support American imperialism in Middle and South America, instead of urging " both partners to pay special attention to Latin America and its regional organisations in particular, coordinating efforts to promote the consolidation of democracy, respect for human rights, good governance, the fight against poverty, the strengthening of social cohesion, market economies, the rule of law including the fight against organised crime and drug trafficking, and supporting regional integration as well as cooperation in respect of climate change" (sic!).  

Most of the text tackles the geopolitical issues, but the second part, about  "economic and commercial issues," reflects exactly the same spirit of submission to the American foreign policy. It also communicates (if you read between the lines) their enormous relief that George W. Bush – whose brazen imperialism made American foreign policy undefendable – is out of power. 

The European MPs wish "to achieve a unified transatlantic market by 2015"; they advocate "gradually integrating the financial markets" and favour "improving the integration of EU and US markets so that they compete better with emerging markets.” We may be on the eve of a new phase in the Great Global Crisis because a collapse of the dollar could be imminent (see www.leap2020.eu)  but the European MPs tell us "businesss as usual. Thank God! The United States is a partner — or, better, a leader — again!.”  

Opinion polls show that only 34% of the voters will cast ballots next June to elect a new European Parliament. Since 1979, the first time a European assembly was elected by the citizens of Europe, the turnout  has been regularly decreasing: from 60 to 40% in one generation. Next time there could be only 30%. But is that so astonishing when one is confronted with such texts as the "resolution on Transatlantic relations"? All opinion polls show that Europeans are longing for peace and a real free-market economy; not for the State-subsidized war-orientated current economic system based on fiat money.  

The citizens of Europe are knowledgeable to see the clear difference between the historic ideals represented by the US for most of its history, and their negation over the last two decades – a distinction which evades their current leaders. If they were asked, they would reject the current "resolution on the state of transatlantic relations"      

United Europe was once a great dream. The first generation of European builders, just after WW2, achieved a lot because they made peace on the continent a reality. But now there is a huge gap between the peoples’ wishes ads what is being discussed and voted on in Brussels. The Fathers of Europe (Jean Monnet, Winston Churchill, Robert Schuman, Konrad Adenauer, Alcide De Gasperi) dreamt of the United States of Europe. But what today’s generation of European politicians is now advocating is "the United States in Europe.” General de Gaulle had clearly stated, in the 1960’s, that the only perspective  for Europe was to achieve strategic independence from Washington. Yet European politicians have, paradoxically, increased their submission to Washington since the end of the Cold War than they ever had before – while the European dream of a peaceful transition out of the current asymetric system of global power relations belongs more and more to the realm of utopia.

Read more by Edouard Husson

Author: Edouard Husson

Edouard Husson is a specialist in 20th-century German and European history at the Sorbonne.