This is a brilliant essay, but I think you underestimate slightly what a victory for Britain the 2004 expansion of the EU was.
Incidentally, similar thinking may be found in the ever classic (and ever-relevant) Yes MInister:
Very interesting – but how will we cut down on our diet of US toads? Washington will take the benefits of increased British influence in Europe for granted, just as they are able to take British support across the board for granted now.
Did not the Brussels-bureaucrats ban the eating of toads by each EU member state on a rotating basis?
Great Britain would regain more Great Power influence if they focussed on leading the Commonwealth of Nations to a position of global influence, with India joining Canada and Australia at the core of leadership.
Let Germany and France sort out the EU.
As William Pitt the Younger would say”:
“Roll up that map; it will not be wanted these ten years.”
Half kidding due to my Euro view; thanks for another thought-provoking essay, Mr. Mead!
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Soon the EU will have no choice but to completely Federalize the countries of the Eurozone into a true political union. They will have a single Parliament, a single military, a Federal treasury and IRS, a Federal secret police, and a single executive leader in command of the whole empire. Whether that leader is called President, Furher, Il-Duce, or Caesar is irrelevant, since he is guaranteed not to be British. Then Britain will have to decide whether they are in or out — for good. If the decision is out, the UK can stop eating European toads, but will have no choice but to eat a few US toads. If the decision is in, then the British will swallow an entire wheelbarrow of slimy French and German toads, and they will have to learn to like it.
The French will bust up the EU before they will eat any toads.
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MB left a comment above…
“…how will we cut down on our diet of US toads? Washington will take the benefits of increased British influence in Europe for granted, just as they are able to take British support across the board for granted now.”
Most Americans view Great Britain with a fair amount of affection. We think that our two countries share many common values, which results in similar foreign policy goals.
But we also have the opinion that the UK doesn’t make a fair share of sacrifices in pursuit of those goals, even though our brethren in Old Blighty enjoy the benefits.
An example would be the war in Iraq. The US suffered more than 3,500 live fire casualties, while total casualties for Great Britain for all causes is 180 or so. Considering that the UK has 22% of the US population, this just shows that we pay the cost while even our closest allies sit back and watch us work.
So why do we put up with this disparity of sacrifice? Mainly because we try very hard to be the good guys, so we let it slide.
If the general public in the US understood the miserly, mercenary, scheming calculation that Great Britain conducts as a way to get paid for doing what we think they should be doing anyway, there most certainly wouldn’t be any “special relationship” for the UK government to use as a bargaining chip when dealing with Europe.
My advice to MB is: Shut up before you ruin it for your side!
Mr Rummel, my comment was a response to the article rather than a criiticism of the US. Mr Mead described toad eating and then a solution. You seem to be discussing the problem of free riding which is another issue, probably without solution – after all, Britain was unable to stop the US free riding prior to the Second World War. I also don’t think the US is the sucker that you are describing – yes, it would like more support but not if that means compromising on its freedom of action. Would the US have waited another year before going into Iraq if it had been offered French and Turkish support?
“You seem to be discussing the problem of free riding which is another issue, probably without solution – after all, Britain was unable to stop the US free riding prior to the Second World War.”
Good point, and well taken.
“Would the US have waited another year before going into Iraq if it had been offered French and Turkish support?
Most assuredly not! But a large portion of the reason is due to that fact that we would not have trusted the French or the Turks to hold up their end of the bargain, and for good reason.
If Great Britain asked us for some extra time, we at least would have listened.
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