Friday, September 28, 2018

The Austro-Hungarian Empire is the Model?

I don't understand at all why this author thinks that the collapse of the Austria-Hungary Empire is a warning sign against undermining the European Union.

The weakness of the Austro-Hungarian Empire's internal cohesion was one source of World War I. How is that good? He may backtrack on his comparison of modern Europe to Austria Hungary at the end, but then why make it in the first place to frame the arguments for the EU in a stronger form?

And how do you ignore that using that example from European history rather bolsters the argument that the EU actually is a proto-empire trying to shed that prefix?

But what am I to make of the heart of his arguments in favor of the EU?

All of this is bad news for the U.S., which benefits greatly in the international system from a Europe pulling together. A unified continent has the largest economy in the world, a highly capable military with the second-largest defense budget after our own, and a shared sense of the values that truly make nations great — democracy, liberty, personal freedoms, gender and racial equality. Americans will never have a better pool of partners.

So ... which one of these efforts to pull Europe together would have greatly benefited America? But the EU would be completely different? The EU wouldn't suppress the states that are willing to work with America in varying degrees?

Isn't NATO the body pulling Europe together militarily? What evidence is there that a combined European super state under the EU would more effectively spend defense money and spend it in a manner that would help America?

Isn't Europe already the largest economy in the world, when composed of separate nations? How does a strong bureaucratic EU make that better? Could Europe really make their national per capita GDPs better than American states if it became an empire governed from the center? And if possible, what would the price be?

Indeed, I do value our shared values that the initial author wants to protect. But will a European Union imperial state continue to share many of those values that America imposed on Europe after World War II (as I note in the update to this post)?

It is easy to forget--and this was a useful reminder to me--that Europe with its autocracies and monarchies was not fully part of a free West (although obviously part of the Western tradition) until we rebuilt Western Europe in that template after World War II. And NATO expansion after defeating the Soviet Union was more explicit in demanding democracy and rule of law for new members.

Seriously, how good was Europe as a whole on those values before America led Europe to embrace them? Will the Europeans really continue to embrace them if American influence is reduced?

I simply don't buy the author's reporting that the Europeans are eager for American leadership but without pressure or lectures. Oh sure, they say that. If only America led us the right way we'd respond with enthusiasm! But alas ... In reality, Europeans are searching for an American foreign policy just right that also doesn't ask them to do much.

We can't make them happy. We'll always be doing too much or too little or too different.

And the author is dead wrong that NATO will be the heart of a more unified Europe under the EU. NATO is a competitor, and the EU will kill NATO if it can.

He asks what America can do to help the EU form! But America should absolutely oppose the European Union. Europe may become an empire for the sake of its imperial class that wants ever closer union no matter what the problem of the moment is, but we should never help that along.

Let's hope the European Union is the next failed proto-empire and that we don't have to witness it become an actual empire before failing at a high human cost to Europeans and America.