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Is the EU falling behind?


DP Veteran
Jul 19, 2005
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Bile and grandstanding

This Europe manipulated from above has failed to keep pace with the mushrooming achievements of less heavily bridled American and Asian competitors. The continent's ruling class is thus in a foul humor. In a June column, Bret Stephens of the Wall Street Journal perfectly captured the angry condescension now often directed by European authorities at American representatives. He describes being ambushed at a Sunday brunch by a German diplomat:

“Apropos of nothing, he said he had recently made a study of U.S. tax laws and concluded that practices here were inferior to those in Germany. Given recent rates of German economic growth, I found this comment odd. But I offered no rejoinder... Bad as U.S. economic policy was, it was as nothing next to our human-rights record... The gulag was better than Guantanamo, since at least the Stalinist system offered its victims a trial of sorts... Civil rights in the U.S., he said, were on a par with those of North Korea and rather behind what they had been in Europe in the Middle Ages... My wife and I made abortive attempts at ordinary conversation. We were met with non sequiturs: ‘The only people who appreciate American foreign policy are poodles.’”

(See the BIRD’S EYE essay opening TAE’s December 2002 issue for my own account of a similar experience at a German-American conference held in Warsaw.)

This kind of bilious grandstanding now dominates European diplomacy. Indeed, Europe no longer even attempts a serious and constructive foreign policy in many important areas. Quick: Name one thing the old continental European powers have done to help stabilize Iraq. O.K., France has detailed one officer (literally) to help train the Iraqi police. But when Iraqi prime minister Ayad Allawi wanted to meet with France’s president last year, he was refused. Instead of offering practical guidance to the new leader of one of the globe’s hotspots, Jacques Chirac rushed off to the deathbed of Yasser Arafat, whom he fawned over and called “a hero.”

An irresponsible preference for moral dudgeon over useful solutions is now a hallmark of European foreign affairs, argues Charles Krauthammer:

“A leftist judge in Spain orders the arrest of a pathetic, near-senile General Augusto Pinochet eight years after he’s left office, and becomes a human rights hero... Yet for the victims of contemporary monsters still actively killing and oppressing—Khomeini and his successors, the Assads of Syria, and until yesterday Hussein and his sons— nothing. No sympathy. No action. Indeed, virulent hostility to America’s courageous and dangerous attempt at rescue.”

Krauthammer's conclusion is that the European Left's "concern for human rights turns out to be nothing more than a useful weapon for its anti-Americanism."

The pattern stretches back to Korea

For evidence that obstruction of the U.S. is more important to many European elites than making progress in the world’s most dangerous flashpoints, look no farther than Afghanistan. The Afghan war was not controversial in Old Europe. It was universally agreed that the Taliban was a blight on central Asia, and that the al-Qaeda cells incubating in Afghanistan were a menace to the entire globe. Europeans accepted the urgent necessity of rooting out both entities militarily, and then rebuilding the Afghan government and civil society.

But once U.S. forces had done the dirty work of eliminating Afghanistan’s fanatical ruling cliques, did our European allies live up to their promises to help update that nation’s infrastructure, train its police, build up its courts, revive its social sector and economy? Scandalously, no.

As we’ve been pointing out for two years (see TAE’s January/February 2004 issue, SCAN), the Europeans immediately fell way behind on their financial pledges. Their troop commitments were not met. The German promise to train the Afghan police became a joke. European offers to reconstruct the justice system went nowhere. In all of these areas, America had to step into the breach to help suffering Afghans, and stave off disorder and a re-emergence of terror cells.

Truth be told, continental Europeans have been making themselves scarce during times of crisis for more than two generations. Their current claim is that lack of a U.N. mandate is what has prevented Europe from standing shoulder to shoulder with the U.S. since the 9/11 attacks. But the Old World’s failure to make any proportionate contribution to the war on terror is actually part of a long historical pattern. Consider their response the last time a large U.N.-commanded force went to war—in Korea.

After North Korea invaded South Korea in 1950, the U.N. responded militarily. Of the 340,000 troops sent under U.N. control, how many of these do you suppose were European? About 5 percent. In the crunch, only Britain provided meaningful help, sending 14,198 soldiers at the Korean War’s peak. The next biggest European contribution? Greece, with 1,263. Francefollowed, providing all of 1,119 troops.

The U.S., meanwhile, provided more than 300,000 fighters. Do the math and you’ll see something interesting: The Korean War alliance included 16 nations, and America supplied 88 percent of the military manpower. The Iraq War coalition included 32 nations, and 85 percent of the G.I.s were Americans. (Poland, Holland, and the Ukraine each contributed more soldiers to the Iraq War coalition than the French did to the Korean War.) See a pattern?

An economic divide

Some considerable part of today’s European hostility toward the U.S. is born of frustration over their own failures, and jealousy of American success. This is especially clear in the realm of economics, where Europe has been drooping for two decades now. Europe’s economic malaise is producing many bad social effects quite apart from increased resentment toward the U.S.— so we would like to see it become a central plank of American foreign policy to encourage reforms that could pull the continent out of its financial funk.

Europe’s economic trauma can be seen most clearly in Germany, which has performed miserably since edging away from the American free-market model and toward the French socialized-market alternative. Unemployment in Germany has reached the potentially destabilizing level of 12 percent. More shockingly, about a third of those unemployed have been jobless for more than a year. This is not some recessionary blip; over the last decade and a half, economic growth in Germany has averaged only a little over 1 percent. This miserable performance has allowed the people of other nations to pass the Germans in standard of living.

As Europe’s locomotive runs out of fuel, the whole train slows. French unemployment rates are nearly as high as in Germany. Across the 15 nations of the European Union, the proportion of the jobless who have been unemployed for more than a year now exceeds 40 percent.

In his article that begins on page 28, Joel Kotkin notes that Europe has created just 4 million net new jobs since the 1970s. And most of those were in government, not the private sector. During that same period, the U.S. created 57 million new jobs—which is why it has become the magnet for the globe’s most economically ambitious people.

Shrinking economic opportunity has particularly harsh effects on newcomers like immigrants and the young. In France, Italy, Germany, and Belgium, approximately a quarter of all workers under 25 are currently unemployed. Many young Euros now begin their productive years with a stint on the dole. This is a formula not just for economic mediocrity, but for personal heartache and social unrest.

And the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development estimates that economic growth will slacken even further in the countries employing the Euro as currency. From an anemic growth rate of 1.3 percent per year between 2010 and 2020, OECD economists forecast a decline to under 1 percent annual growth during the decade following. Those little gray numbers are more than marks on paper—over time they will translate into notably pinched lives. Already, higher U.S. growth over the last generation has given average Americans a standard of living about 40 percent richer than average continental Europeans. Continue that a few more decades and we will no longer be peers, but two very different cultures.

Better dead than economically red?

And it’s not just Americans whom Europeans are falling behind. The people who invented industrialism are now also being outstripped by residents of Asian and Latin American countries that have embraced globalization. Kotkin reports that Europe’s share of world Gross Domestic Product (which inevitably corresponds to international influence) shrank from 34 percent to 20 percent over the latest lifetime.

more at: http://www.taemag.com/issues/articleid.18718/article_detail.asp

My opinion stands with the article to a certain extent, even though it seems a bit biased to america in ways that are misleading.

That is all I'll say for now.
The entire 1st world is falling behind, America too. Countries like S. Africa, Brazil, Iran, India, Indonesia, and China are all catching up VERY fast. That is in terms of production and capitalist standards of development. I see economic development as less poor, homeless, starving. But in Capitalism people will start demanding better wages&stuff, which leads to higher labor costs and less profits for companies.

But many of these countries wouldn't give a **** about their workers. Most countries don't. Including the American government. The politicians only really want to line their pockets with cash.
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who is worse off though?

the US who is making all the trade agreements with these countrys, and trying its best (and could try so much harder) to adpoted free trade policys with them,

or the EU

which hasn't done too much to stimulate growth outside their contitent....to my knowledge.
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