July 30, 2002

NICK DENTON’S Declaration of European Independence isn’t getting the response he expected. Reid Stott captures the mood well: It’s about time you guys moved out of the house, got your own place, and started taking responsibility for yourselves.

But talk’s cheap. Europe may declare independence, but it won’t take up the responsiblities that implies because it can’t afford to without dismantling large parts of its social welfare apparatus, and bureaucracy in general. Really, the whole “Europe” edifice that has been created over the past several decades is grounded on the assumption that the United States will guarantee stability in the region, while Eurocrats get on with the important work of kvetching and pointing fingers.

I’m not an “American supremacist,” except maybe culturally. I certainly see little appeal in notions of imperialism. My ideal would be something like what the United States enjoyed when the British Empire was at its height: a more-or-less isolationist foreign policy while somebody else who posed no threat did the dirty work of keeping the sea lanes open and the lid on international crises. Kind of like what Europe has now.