America’s domestic debates over immigration, and Democrats’ hysteria over Trump’s tweets, obfuscates the larger crisis unfolding in the West. Trump’s traditional nationalism is pitted against the technocratic elites of the New York-D.C. corridor, but this is only one theater of a political and philosophical struggle taking place across the West. Americans should be aware of the growing turmoil Europe, not only because of our previous interventions there but also because it serves as a warning of what can happen to America if Trump fails at implementing his reforms.
Fortunately once again for Europe, the United States has a chance to liberate it from supranational authoritarianism.
Incrementally weakening the European Union in favor of national determination can and should be a hallmark of American foreign policy in the region. Through strategic diplomacy and economic statecraft, the United States can offer European states opportunities to exit the European Union safely.
The EU’s anti-American intentions came into focus in 2018, and include the creation of a pan-European military. French President Emmanuel Macron in November declared the need for an EU army to defend against perceived threats such as China, Russia . . . and the United States. German Chancellor Angela Merkel echoed Macron’s call, with the two heads of state effectively declaring the need for a supranational military power under Franco-German guidance. These sentiments from French and German Eurocrats came into even sharper relief with calls from Germany for Paris to relinquish its seat at the U.N. Security Council so that it could be replaced by a “European” one. The Europe of today may not yet be expansionist as were the great powers that dominated it in the past, but like its predecessors, it does not respect national self-determination or sovereignty. In fact, the Europe of today does everything in its power to subordinate the wills of its member-states to a geopolitical agenda that is both anti-democratic and anti-sovereignty.
The sovereign state emerged as a solution to the religious conflict of the Thirty Years War. The Protestant Reformation that began in the early 16th century unleashed over a century of European wars around disputes over religious interpretation and dynastic succession. The problem of religious assertion is its universality. The global assertions of religious claims that ripped Europe apart in the early 17th century finally ended with the 1648 Treaty of Westphalia and the agreement to recognize national sovereignty and territorial states.
In his idealistic and Kantian naiveté, Emmanuel Macron decried nationalism as a “betrayal of patriotism.” Macron, Merkel, and other proponents of the EU are part of a distinct intellectual tradition that holds traditional Western notions of popular national sovereignty in utter contempt and is animated by the guiding principles of EU supranationalism. The spirit of the EU is perhaps best summarized in a quote displayed in front of the European Parliament by the late British diplomat Philip Kerr. Kerr, who pressured Churchill to appease Hitler, declared, “National sovereignty is the root cause of the most crying evils of our times . . . The only final remedy for this evil is the federal union of the peoples.”
From the global perspective of EU boosters, the sovereignty of its member states, and other states with strong national assertion such as the United States, Israel, Russia, or the post-Brexit United Kingdom, is an anathema. According to EU thinking, citizens of member states who are disenchanted with unrestricted migration, high taxes with no perceived benefit, and a lack of monetary and economic autonomy, are simply evil nationalists. The universal religious aims of Europe long ago were replaced with philosophical proxies such as socialism, neoliberalism, and globalism. Each idea is hostile towards national territorial sovereignty.
America can, and should set a foreign policy that undermines this European supranationalism.
Redefining NATO’s Role
In military affairs the idea of an angry Europe determined to challenge the United States may be anachronistic, but now constitutes a potential threat to American security in the distant future. An EU military parallel to NATO would force European states to prefer one over the other.
Similarly, if the United States simply withdrew from NATO, its European members essentially would become a de-facto EU military. Instead, U.S. foreign policy should focus on redefining NATO by approaching those European states now skeptical of the EU and committed to national sovereignty. A post-NATO replacement could even look beyond Europe to include powers such as India, Israel, Australia, Japan, and even Brazil in a new coalition of democratic states who are committed to national self-determination.
To counter China in the long term, combat terrorism, and re-subordinate global entities such as the EU and other organizations, the United States need to move away from its role as “global policeman” to one of a classic great power. Contrary to neoconservative thinking and the socialism that dominates most of America’s foreign policy intelligentsia, nationalism is not the same as isolationism. Instead, nationalism is skeptical of pursuing the political mirage of utopia and is committed to the wellbeing of its citizens.
Keeping King Dollar
In the inter-national economy, the United States cannot cede ground as the issuer of the premier currency of international business. At the moment of this writing, the U.S. national debt is more than $21 trillion, with each taxpayer on the hook for just over $178,000 of it. The fact that dollars are in such high demand around the globe, and can, in fact, be used in locales ranging from Wall Street to Timbuktu is the single largest macroeconomic factor protecting the currency from inflation. If businesses and countries sold their dollars for Chinese renminbi or euros, the value of U.S. tax revenue and retirement savings would inflate away. Even if U.S. troops withdrew from every overseas base and station, the United States must remain the top monetary power if it wants to prevent financial Armageddon from befalling its citizens. Dismantling European supranational monetary order would help.
The Eurozone, or those countries sharing the euro, replaced the monetary autonomy and sovereignty of all of its members. Separate from the EU, the Eurozone’s members have no ability to control the inflation rates of their countries. Having slightly inflated currencies allowed for countries such as Greece, Spain, Italy, and others to manufacture products for export. Unfortunately for Eurozone members aside from Germany, the euro is based on the legacy of the highly valuable German Deutschemark. Germany’s allergy to inflation of any amount comes from its experience with it during the Weimar era. Normally detrimental to a country’s exports, Germany could afford an expensive currency by selling incredibly expensive exports. Unlike Germany, Greece, Portugal, and other Eurozone countries, unfortunately, do not export BMWs. Now part of the Eurozone, no one can afford to manufacture exports in these countries.
Using monetary diplomacy, the United States can approach countries skeptical of the Eurozone, and offer them the chance to resurrect their old national currencies through dollarization. In this hypothetical scenario, Greece, Italy, or other Eurozone states can reintroduce their national currencies and inspire confidence in the new currency by pegging it to the dollar. Once investors gained confidence in the new national currency, the reemerging state could decouple from the dollar and have its monetary independence once again. American businesses and tourists would have to exchange currencies more often as a result, but this hassle is a small price to pay in re-establishing national self-determination. Additionally, once monetary independence is recovered from a distant and burdensome European bureaucracy, European states could compete for business on their own terms.
Debunking the Globalist Myth
Globalization has been a factor of politics since Mesopotamian city-states established trade routes with ancient Egypt and India; however, globalization in its 21st-century form does not work. Open borders harm national populations through lowering wages, allowing unrestricted flows of illicit substances and crime, and rendering national identities meaningless. This kind of globalization is not only unnatural, but it is divorced from historical experience. At present, European states are some of globalization’s biggest victims. Nebulous values such as “diversity” mean nothing when they bring suicide bombings and poverty along with them. In the balance of competing values, national sovereignty is simply too valuable to turn in for an alternative.
America’s foreign policy can serve its national interest without succumbing to the globalist myth of a borderless utopia, and it can do so without an equally mindless isolationism. The United States, however, must pursue an anti-globalist agenda that values national self-determination on the part of other states. The West created a phantasmagoria of “global” and “universal” institutions during the Cold War to counter the universal alternative offered by the Soviet Union.
Now, these institutions have become the West’s Frankenstein monster. It’s a monster threatens us politically, economically, and culturally. To begin taming the beast and save the West, America must seek to free European states from the monster the EU has become.