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Europa, Europa

A pocket guide to understanding U.S.-European relations in the new world order.

12:00 AM, Jun 25, 2003 • By LEE BOCKHORN
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HAVING GROUNDED OURSELVES in a sober appraisal of the intellectual foundations of today's anti-Americanism, we must next turn our gaze toward the future of Europe and its relations to America. Of particular concern is the current rush toward European integration into a common state, with Eurocrats meeting this month in Brussels to draft a constitution for what some hope will be a "United States of Europe."

What will happen when the anti-Americanism Ceaser describes becomes armed with real political and economic (if not military) clout in an increasingly unified Europe? The best assessment I've read thus far of the challenges such a European super-state could pose to American interests is Andrew Sullivan's essay The Euro Menace from the June 16 New Republic.

The situation as Sullivan paints it (accurately, I think) is bleak. The squabbling over Iraq was only a foretaste of the dangers to come. Take economics: If the ever-strengthening euro comes to rival the dollar as the de facto global currency, it could constrain American economic flexibility. In foreign policy, the diplomatic power of a "USE," speaking with one voice, would further limit America's freedom to act in its security interests with the help of European allies such as Britain or Poland. As Sullivan notes, "If the EU foreign minister declares European opposition to a future war by America, the political costs of siding with the United States could be huge for a British prime minister."

Sullivan rightly declares that Americans need to "wake up and understand" the nature of the threat posed by the new Europe. Obviously, it won't be a military threat, "but it can be an enormous deadweight on U.S. power, as we saw earlier this year. And its anti-American timbre is unmistakable. . . . The major power that will benefit from this will be France, and France's intentions, as we now know from bitter experience, are essentially hostile to the United States, culturally, economically, diplomatically."

Solving our European problem will take more than just a boycott of French wine, as emotionally satisfying as that might be. Ceaser and Sullivan's contributions are good places for the serious-minded to start.

Lee Bockhorn is associate editor at The Weekly Standard.