Tuesday, September 6, 2011

European Union

An interesting post by Walter Mead on the European Union reaching a moment of decision.  Mead writes the common currency was always intended to bring about a closer political union, that once its benefits became apparent political integration would follow.  Instead, the currency has proven to be an albatross for economies that aren't aligned.

But again, contrary to plan, this failure may still lead to the desired closer union.  European officials are now supposedly looking at America's experience and the failed Articles of Confederation leading to the Constitutional Convention as an analogous situation.  You have to admire their resourcefulnesss.

The question is whether the Europeans constitute a people.  The Americans could declare that "we hold these truths to be self-evident."  Arguably the one fundamental where there wasn't general agreement was race, and that led to a civil war.  If the American states didn't have a history of working together, they at least didn't have centuries of war, of distinct political and cultural history working against them.

As Mead points out, it is hard to see how far the American experience goes in looking at Europe:

"From the US it looks as if Europe’s political and economic cultures are too dissimilar to coexist under a common government.  The cultural differences between Italy’s north and south have ensured that the Italian national government is something of a hollow shell that is almost never able to act; a united Europe would likely end up looking much more like a super-sized and super-dysfunctional Italy than a new United States."

The full post is here: http://blogs.the-american-interest.com/wrm/2011/09/06/a-european-climax-draws-near/

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