Europe: Welmacht or Laughingstock

On December 1, 2009, the Lisbon Treaty took effect.  Within a year the 27-member European Union was fractured politically and besieged economically.  “Euroskepticism” was on the rise.  The plan to turn Europe into a Weltmacht capable of matching the United States and China looked almost comical.  Europe remained a geographic aggregation, not a geopolitical unit.  While the Eurocrats—a gaggle of politicians, bureaucrats, businessmen, journalists, and other elites—were pressing even harder for more political consolidation, most Europeans were moving in the opposite direction.

The European Project began as an antidote to war.  If the victorious allies could not bring themselves to dismantle Germany as Treasury Secretary Henry Morgenthau desired, then the Europeans had to submerge German nationalism.  The process started in 1951 with the European Coal and Steel Community, which eventually turned into the Common Market and then the European Union.

These organizations helped knit formerly warring nations together while promoting prosperity through an expanded market.  But the Eurocrats wanted more.  French President Nicolas Sarkozy insisted, “Europe cannot be a dwarf in terms of defense and a giant in economic [matters].”  Charles Grant, director of the Centre for European Reform, complained: “Talk to Russian, Chinese or Indian policy-makers about the...

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