Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

The United States and Europe: Drifting Apart?

Robert J. Samuelson has an insightful piece about the worsening relations between the United States and Europe. He notes that Americans hardly paid attention to the fact that on May 1 10 new countries--most of them former members of the Soviet bloc--joined the European Union. There are a number of reasons why this is the case, simple demographics among them. However, for Europeans George W. Bush represents everything they dislike and distrust about America:

The truth is that Europe is too weak to lead and too proud to follow. It doesn’t want to undertake costly new commitments. It’s already got more than it can handle. In some ways, George Bush is a political godsend. His style and language offend so many Europeans—he seems simplistic, trigger-happy, uneducated—that opposition to him camouflages more basic conflicts. I’ve been repeatedly reminded here that Europe and America share too much (common cultures, political systems and economic interests) to drift apart. Maybe. But we’re still drifting.

Discussions - 3 Comments

I understand the variety of reasons for maintaining close ties with Europe. But don’t those same reasons suggest that Europeans should want closer ties to America? European public opinion doesn’t seem to reflect that.

Europe becomes increasingly solipsistic and irrelevant. They are certainly not relevant militarily. If they’re not willing to defend themselves why should we want to defend them? They’re not relevant economically. Only three of our top ten trading partners are European nations. Exclusive of the U. K. our total trade with Europe is less than our trade with Japan, our #4 trading partner. They are relevant culturally only in a historic sense. Today does anyone seriously contend current European contributions to American culture are significant? Would anyone contend that current European contributions to European culture is more significant than American contributions to Europe?

As to values I have two words: centralized planning.

Bush seems simplistic, trigger-happy, uneducated.

That would describe him to a tee.

The truth is that Europe is too weak to lead and too proud to follow

It sounds like we have something in common.


Bush is to stupid to lead and to dumb to know it.

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