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Meadia in Omnia
The U.S. Must Pivot to Europe

Has the United States undermined its own best foreign policy arguments by ignoring Europe? Writing in the Sunday Times (of London), Walter Russell Mead argues that America has to re-engage with “The Continent”:

[T]he US has not made the health and direction of the European Union a serious focus of its foreign policy. It was partly good manners: one doesn’t interfere in one’s neighbour’s affairs. But it was also a failure to comprehend the immense amount of trouble that was brewing in Europe and the cost of European failure for America’s vital interests worldwide. We have taken Europe for granted as its problems grew worse, and if British diplomacy has been ineffective in Europe, the Americans have been MIA.

This needs to change. The time has come for Americans to re-engage with Europe in a sustained and serious way. The gradual deterioration of the political and economic situation in Europe is a serious threat to the health of Nato and to the transatlantic economy, but even more is at stake.

The European Union, for all its flaws, remains the greatest triumph of American foreign policy. A continent of squabbling empires and nation states found peace and prosperity after the Second World War working within the liberal capitalist system that Americans want to see triumph worldwide.

That, WRM argues, is exactly what we would like to see from the rest of the world. Should we let it fail, however, our best example and inducement to other regions would disappear.

WRM also examines the failure of British coalition-building diplomacy in the European Union over the past generation, and how it has put our best ally on her back foot in Europe: “The staunchly Protestant Britain of William III was able to bring the Pope himself into its grand alliance against Louis XIV; today Britain has a cause just as good and as important, but it appears to lack the wisdom to lead the reform movement that Europe urgently needs. ” The two issues, he suggests, are related—and would mutually benefit from a Continental reengagement by both Anglophone powers.

We highly recommend you read the whole thing.

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  • Jacksonian_Libertarian

    Europe is NOT the greatest example of the Liberal Capitalist System that we want to promote around the world, that would be America. Europe is instead a collection of Socialist Welfare States whose Government Monopoly burden is so heavy that Europe’s share of world GDP has been shrinking for 30 years, despite the fact that they have not been spending much on defense but instead have been freeloading off the Americans. What is needed with Europe isn’t American engagement but rather the tough love of US withdrawal from NATO and the repudiation of all defense treaties. Many of the NATO countries are not our friends and have stabbed America in the back on numerous occasions, like Turkey, Greece, or France.

    • FriendlyGoat

      You’d feel better, but the result of your suggestion would be Europe divided into allegiances with Putin, with China and with Islam, our three big adversaries. If you just walk away and throw something valuable up for grabs, it will be grabbed—maybe in pieces—-but all grabbed.

    • Corlyss

      “Europe is NOT the greatest example of the Liberal Capitalist System that we want to promote around the world, that would be America.

      *Sigh* If only ’twere true. We have ceased to be what you think we are since T. Roosevelt decided to throw the weight of the federal government into the fight against monopolies. It’s gotten worse since then.

  • Fat_Man

    Why should we care more about Europe than Europe cares about itself.

    Just How Little Do Europeans Spend on Defense?

    • Corlyss

      I think most of us don’t. But I’ll always be happy to fight our mutual enemy on someone else’s soil.

      • Fat_Man

        Who is the mutual enemy?

        • Loader2000


          • Fat_Man


        • Corlyss

          How soon they forget . . . Germany and Japan in WW2, Russia in the post WW2 era, dangerous instability in the Balkans in the post Soviet era, potentially nuclear rogue states in the middle east, Islamofascists.

          • Fat_Man

            Maybe I am dense, but that is the history. The question is who is the mutual enemy of the US and who else, now?

    • Pete

      Mead offers no solution of how we’re suppose to save Europe from itself. I guess it’s the usual –U.S. blood and treasure.

      Forget it. That dog won’t hunt anymore.

  • Corlyss

    “Has the United States undermined its own best foreign policy arguments by ignoring Europe?”

    Why should this issue be any different from all the others the current administration has failed at? I’m stumped for a reason.

  • S.C. Schwarz

    Europe? Stagnant economies, collapsing demographics, impotent militaries and a near complete failure of political will. Would it be nice to have Europe as a partner again? Of course it would. Is there anything we can do? Dream on.

  • qet

    I don’t think anyone except professional theorizers and analysts think Europe today has any connection with US foreign policy. 70 years ago? Sure. Europe should be required to lie in the bed it has made. If and when Europe re-arms and the Germans send a carrier group into the North Sea, then we can think about a pivot.

    I do worry about Poland and the Baltic states, though. I’d hate to leave them to the mercy of the Russians (again).

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