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January 2013

Paper Series
The End of the Journey
by Simon Serfaty
Introduction In January 1958, six countries in Europe launched a modest Common Market as a timid first step toward the “ever closer Europe” they had pledged to pursue nine months earlier in Rome. These countries did not hold a common vision of the future — the vision, that is, of a “union” in which the nation-state might be buried at last. More pointedly, after two suicidal wars from which none of them had emerged truly victorious, they shared a common vision of their failed past. How far such memories would take the process they were launching was unclear. “I have never doubted,” wrote Jean Monnet at the close of his life, “that one day this process will lead us to the United States of Europe, but,” he pointedly added, “I see no point in trying to imagine today what form it will take…. No one can say.”1 So it was at the creation for the many who insisted on declaring Europe still born, and so it remains now for the many more who continue to declare it dead. What has been achieved over the intervening 55 years is nothing short of remarkable. Since history was put on hold with the Franco-German Treaty of Friendship signed in January 1963 by two aging statesmen, Presi1 Jean Monnet, Memoirs, (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1978), p. 157.

Summary: This essay explores the future of the EU in light of the eurocrisis, and the resulting implications for the transatlantic relationship. Over the past 55 years, the European process unfolded as a tale of treaties that showed a quasi-seasonal rhythm: deepen in order to widen — from six to many more; widen in order to deepen — from a small Common Market to ever more; and reform in order to do both. Along the way, this development was steadily endorsed by a preponderant United States that welcomed the resurgence of its ally of choice with repeated calls for enlarging its role in the world. Of late, however, “Europe” has become a contentious political issue, within and among most of its members. In recent years, the single currency has been the most visible source of such increasing Euro-resentment. Yet for all the talk about the imminent demise of the EU, its members have continued to show the same capacity for adaptation as Europe has displayed over time. This is not the end of the journey for Europe, nor is it the end of its affair with the United States.

dent Charles de Gaulle and Chancellor Konrad Adenauer, this small European Economic Community has grown in size and in depth into a European Union (EU) of 27 states that, in an increasing number of significant areas, now matters less than the institution to which they belong. Along the way, states that might have left, like France in the 1960s, and states that had hoped to stay out, like Great Britain in the 1970s, joined. Historians who knew all too well about the nation-state’s inherited resistance to losing its sovereignty warned against a process they viewed as an aberration; and realist theorists who wrote about the state’s relentless urge for hegemonic power warned against a drive they dismissed as unsustainable. Yet, for over five decades, the process unfolded as a tale of treaties that showed a quasiseasonal rhythm: deepen in order to widen — from six to many more; widen in order to deepen — from a small Common Market to ever more; and reform in order to do both — and thus submit the sovereign “I” to the intrusive discipline of a collective “we.” To be sure, an institutional storm often marked the passing of a season. “Of all the international bodies I have known,” once thundered Belgium’s Paul-Henri Spaak, “I have never found

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any more timorous and more impotent.”2 But no such storm ever proved to be fatal. On the contrary, each crisis usually emerged as the catalyst for further institutional advances with heads of state and government agreeing, top down, that their union had become indispensable and even irreversible, while their constituencies acknowledged, bottom up, that more union was desirable and even inevitable: if not with each other with whom, and if not together as a Union how?

Each crisis usually emerged as the catalyst for further institutional advances.
Answers to these questions have become less convincing of late. Now, asking whether the EU has a future is no longer the exclusive privilege of professional euro-skeptics. Even for a diminishing number of true believers still willing to voice their convictions, Europe’s recent performance as a producer of affluence, security, and stability has not been encouraging, and raising doubts about the future of the EU is very much in fashion.3 Is this the end of the journey, then, or merely another time-consuming detour; and what is to become of the equally challenged transatlantic relationship that developed in the meantime to defeat war in Europe while winning a cold war or two along the way? Taking Europe Seriously The 20th century was first about the collapse of Europe, and next about the rise of U.S. power. The latter would not have been as complete as it proved to be had it not been for the former, as confirmed by the U.S. resistance to taking the baton of Western leadership in a post-European world in 1919.4 But having accepted an “invitation” to lead after World War II, the United States insisted on a recasting of Europe à l’américaine, meaning, as a union.
2 Quoted in Richard Mayne, The Recovery of Europe (New York: Harper & Row, 1970), p. 169. 3 For example, Robert J. Samuelson, “Grim Choices for Europe,” Washington Post, June 4, 2012 and Robert C. Altman, “Europe on the brink,” Washington Post, June 5, 2012; Charles A. Kupchan, “Why Rescuing the euro could ruin the E.U.,” Washington Post, June 1, 2012. 4 The theme is developed at greater length in the author’s A World Recast: An American Moment in the Post-Western World (Lanham, Md.: Rowman & Littlefield, 2012).

Admittedly, selling the idea of a united Europe was no easy chore, and acting on it was no easy leap of faith either. Too much history stood in the way, and too many skeptics, too — each new step was said to be leading to a dead end, and every setback was predicted to be fatal. Throughout, however, the case for taking Europe seriously remained compelling. From within, the immediate and evenly shared gains of economic integration and political rehabilitation built a permissive public consensus that enabled the emerging European institutions to manage an ever-expanding acquis communautaire and extend it to an ever larger number of states.5 From without, the making of a united Europe also benefited the economic and security interests of the United States, which remained steadily supportive of the project even when a rising European voice insisted on speaking without the appropriate U.S. accent that confirmed its transatlantic vocation. In other words, whatever ambivalence there might be, in and among the states of Europe, as well as in and with the United States, was muted by the increasingly obvious fact that Europe did in fact work. Twenty-five years apart, neither France’s President Charles de Gaulle nor Britain’s equally forceful Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher did what they had publicly said they would — limit or leave a European community that threatened its members’ sovereignty. Indeed, it is under their watch that the process appeared to become irreversible, past the two world wars that had inspired its birth, during the Cold War that motivated its growth, and after the Cold War ended with new calls for a whole and free Europe. Thus, as the century was about to close with Germany reunited but tamed and Russia reborn but shrunk, Europe was back: a proud power again, but one that had lost its Hobbesian belligerence and had come to peace with itself and others as a centrist civilian power — a “quiet superpower” and the “only other region … besides the United States to exert global influence.” Growing numbers of citizens in the EU countries now seemed to take the European institutions more seriously than their national governments, and they anticipated even more Europe in their future, including a constitution and many other attributes that might make of the Union started with the Maastricht
5 During the period 1961-1972, the average annual growth for the six EEC countries ranged between 4.39 percent (Germany) and 5.40 percent (France). A.J. Marques Mendes, “The Contribution of the European Community in Economic Growth,” Journal of Common Market Studies (June 1986): 266-69. See Simon Serfaty, Taking Europe Seriously (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1992).

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Treaty in 1991 a virtual state by 2020.6 These views were increasingly shared by not only a preponderant United States that welcomed the resurgence of its ally of choice with renewed calls for enlarging its role in the world, but also by the surging non-Western “rest” that projected Europe as a leading alternative to U.S. dominance, as well as an example of a region that could tame its past and restore its future.7 A Fragmenting Core Conditions have changed. Leaving a short but painful century of nationalist wars and institutional redemption, “Europe” has become a contentious political issue, within and among most of its members. Too many European citizens, bottom up, feel abused by, and increasingly hostile to, the EU because they disagree over what it is, question what it does, neglect what it has achieved, and differ over what they want out of it next. As a so-called region-state, Europe, it is argued, produces too much policy for the member-states and pays too little attention to the politics of the nation-states — a self-defeating lack of institutional accountability that feeds a populist mood of anti-EU sentiment.8 In recent years, the single currency, admittedly announced and launched carelessly, has become the most visible source of such Euro-resentment, aimed at economic conditions that vary excessively among the 27 EU countries.9 But more than at any time in the past, the current EU crisis transcends any single issue or national leader. It is a complete crisis, and whether a public willingness to proceed can be rekindled in coming years will demand not only a credible understanding of what “Europe” does and
6 Andrew Moravcsik, “Europe: Rising Superpower in a Bipolar World,” in Alan Alexandroff and Andrew Cooper, eds., Rising states, Rising Institutions, Challenges for Global Governance (Washington, DC: Brookings Institution, 2010), p. 152. Also by Moravcsik, see “Europe’s Integration at Century’s End,” in A. Moravcsik, ed., Centralization or Fragmentation: Europe Facing the Challenges of Deepening, Diversity, and Democracy (New York: Council on Foreign Relations, 1998), pp. 4-5. Interestingly, expectations that the EU will be governed on the basis of a constitution remained high in France and in Holland a year after a constitutional draft was rejected in referendums held in both countries. EU 2020 — the View of the Europeans, Berteslmann Stiftung (September 20, 2006). 7 The U.S. desire for strong EU leadership in world affairs peaked at 79-80 percent in 2002-2004, but it has been falling since 2009 (from 72 percent to a decade low 63 percent in 2012). The German Marshall Fund, Transatlantic Trends, 2012, p. 8. Bertelsmann Stiftung, Who Rules the World? (Brussels, 2005) 8 Vivien Schmidt argues this point often and convincingly. For example, “Re-envisioning the European Union,” Journal of Common Market Studies (annual review, 2009): 17-42. 9 By the fall of 2012, according to Eurobarometer (December 20, 2012), 75 percent of the people in Germany and Sweden believed that economic conditions were good, versus less than 10 percent in 10 member states, including 9 percent in France and 7 percent in Italy, and under 2 percent in Spain and Greece.

Too many European citizens feel abused by, and increasingly hostile to, the EU.
with whom, but also specific evidence of what it can do and how, as well as a convincing vision of what Europe is to become and when.10 France and Germany have driven Europe for the past four decades; they form the core of the hard core. Now, however, Europe’s “locomotive” is running out of steam as both of its conductors are seemingly running out of time: a weaker France, which is growing unhappy with the EU and suffers from renewed concerns over a neighbor it is no longer able to lead but not yet willing to follow; and a stronger Germany, still on the whole prepared to acknowledge the benefits of EU membership, but increasingly weary of its mercurial French partner while unable to escape, and unwilling to assert, its own leadership. The questions raised by these two countries are hardly new — about their bilateral relations, as well as about their expectations for the EU. At first, periods of intimacy — between de Gaulle and German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer, and between their successors Valéry Giscard d’Estaing and Helmut Schmidt — were interrupted by moments of discord — between de Gaulle and Ludwig Erhard, and between Georges Pompidou and Willy Brandt. Early in the 1980s, François Mitterrand and Helmut Kohl grew especially close, and yet late in the decade, the French president shared Margaret Thatcher’s concern about Germany’s reunification, as well as her doubts about the commitment of “a new generation of Germans” to Europe.11 Their ambivalence seemed vindicated when Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, who had been barely one year old when the war ended, sought to end his country’s subservience to France and the other leading countries of the Grand Alliance by making of Germany,

10 Bruce Stokes, “What Europeans Think About the Eurocrisis: Doubts and Waning Faith in the European Project,” The EuroFuture Project, Paper Series, The German Marshall Fund of the United States, January 2012. 11 Margaret Thatcher, The Downing Street Years (New York: Harper Collins, 1993), p. 338.

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at last, a partner without restrictions.12 After September 11, however, the sharp conflict with the United States over the war in Iraq created new bonds between Schroeder and French President Jacques Chirac — both eager to shield Europe again from the perceived excesses of U.S. power. But with both leaders gone, and the transatlantic quarrel over Iraq set aside, an unprecedented financial crisis confirmed Germany’s ascendancy, which the French are now challenging, as well as the EU’s dependence on Germany’s generosity, to which the Germans are now objecting.13 Yes, therefore, France could seek distance from, and alternatives to, a domineering German chancellor, and current French President François Hollande, unlike his mentor, François Mitterrand, might want to protect his socialist projet de société with less Europe: more open, equal, and compassionate — an odd regional reformulation of the revolutionary call for liberté, égalité, fraternité. Yes, an emotionally recovered Germany could grow tired of the EU countries’ eagerness to share its wealth while unwilling to share their sovereignty, and pivot toward a post-imperial Russia and a surging China as the new partners of choice for a smaller and less demanding Europe: a post- modern version of a Lebensraum without boots. To be sure, fears of disintegration have been felt before, and calls for flexible integration have been heard before too. European leaders never seem able to prevent a crisis made “inevitable, sooner or later” by “certain basic errors or ambiguities” written into each agreement they reach or treaty they signed, as de Gaulle once said during one of the many crises to which he contributed as well.14 But these leaders, including de Gaulle but also Thatcher, at least knew how to defuse every such crisis with a new agreement or a new treaty that confirmed an unwritten assumption that all members would ultimately share every aspect of EU life, even if some of them did not or could not adopt at once all of the acquis and every new EU initiative. Moving at different speeds, Europe’s emerging union often seemed to evolve into partial communities of self-appointed pioneering states willing to “stop the clock” and keep some “empty chairs” at their expanding communal table: now,
12 See, by the author, Architects of Delusion: Europe, America, and the Iraq War (Philadelphia: The University of Pennsylvania Press, 2008), pp. 96-99. 13 Eurobarometer polls show that backing for the EU in Germany fell from 65 percent in 2007 to 54 percent in 2011; the same polls show a comparable drop in France, from 60 to 46 percent. Stokes, op. cit. 14 President de Gaulle’s Twelfth Press Conference, September 9, 1965. André Passeron, De Gaulle Parle, 1962-1966 (Paris: Fayard, 1966), p. 310.

however, this gradual approach to membership may no longer apply and define instead a fragmentation of the Union in which states would choose to do less or at least no more while others would insist on doing more or at least no less in some or all areas. In short, the risks of institutional roll back and even rupture are real. However hard to imagine and concede, the future may really point to less Europe after all as, increasingly, smaller is thought to be smarter, lesser is claimed to be better, and weaker is argued to be wiser. Fear for Europe is warranted, therefore, but there is more to such fears than a changed choreography

However hard to imagine and concede, the future may really point to less Europe after all as, increasingly, smaller is thought to be smarter.
to the pas de deux between France and Germany. What is even more troubling is an outright withdrawal of Britain, long announced but never enforced.15 The Anti-EU Fantasy As could be anticipated from the psychodrama of Britain’s relations with Europe, calls for more integration are answered most sharply by Britain. So it was after the war, so it remained during the Cold War, and so it has been since. Are the renewed announcements of Britain’s impending exit from the EU, then, just another inconclusive moment in a persistent debate during which Britain has struggled to control an institutional folly which it cannot disown? “The federalists are the true isolationists,” Thatcher used to argue. “I am not a British isolationist,” echoed David Cameron in early 2013 while rejecting renewed calls for political union.16 Having first called for and then questioned EU enlargement to the East, before
15 Niall Ferguson, “Fear for the European Union, not the Euro,” Washington Post, November 18, 2011. 16 Thatcher, op. cit., p. 728. David Cameron EU speech at Bloomberg, January 23, 2013.

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next worrying over and then laughing at the constitutional debate that followed, Britain’s Euro-skeptics can now rely on the travails of the single currency to rally a majority of citizens to a smaller and lesser Europe envisioned as a modest free trade are sheltered by a privileged partnership with the United States.17 For the most part, however, Britain’s challenge to Europe has been less over membership than about its modalities. “We have come to terms with our role in the world,” then-Prime Minister Harold Wilson told the House of Commons after an initial British bid for membership had been turned down, and that means a “fundamental turn in [Britain’s] outlook and interest in Europe.”18 What followed were several more years of tedious negotiations followed by four decades of never-ending renegotiations. “Don’t hold out for better terms,” Margaret Thatcher advised an exasperated Prime Minister Felipe Gonzalez, when he was negotiating Spain’s membership; “better to argue the case from within.”19 In other words, accept the EU conditions and renegotiate them next. Thus, in 1975, a referendum on Britain’s membership in the then-small European Community was handily won after the British government could claim some additional concessions from its partners. In the mid-1980s, Thatcher “agreed” to a reform of the Rome Treaties — the 1987 Single European Act — in return for a yearly multi-billion dollar rebate that continues to define the British approach to budget negotiations every seven years. Late in the 1990s, only Prime Minister Tony Blair, openly critical of his predecessors, seemed willing to settle the issue at last with a referendum on the euro — in or out — when the war in Iraq derailed his plan and caused a dramatic split within the EU. For Blair, to think of an exit had always been, and remained, a fantasy, but asserting Britain’s leadership in Europe always was, and remained, a missed opportunity.20 Now, however, Europe’s growing impatience with Britain makes its exit look like more of a reality while prospects of its leadership become more of a fantasy. Now, unlike
17 A late October 2011 survey found 49 percent of the British people in favor of withdrawal, with only 41 percent willing to stay in. Two years earlier, in September 2007, a similar survey had shown 51 percent for and only 39 percent against. Stokes, op. cit. 18 Quoted in Henry Brandon, Special Relationships: A Foreign Correspondent’s Memoirs From Roosevelt to Reagan (New York: Atheneum, 1988), pp. 216-217. 19 Thatcher, op. cit., p. 546. 20 See, for example, Tony Blair’s Speech to the Polish Stock exchange, Warsaw, Poland, October 6, 2000.

Europe’s growing impatience with Britain makes its exit look like more of a reality while prospects of its leadership become more of a fantasy.
then, neither Germany nor France are turning to Britain to balance the other: the EU has become large enough to offer alternatives, east and south. Now, unlike then, the United States need not turn away from France to ensure Europe’s followership around Britain or Germany. If anything, there is more ambivalence about transatlantic cooperation in Britain (57 percent) than in France and in Germany (77 and 75 percent respectively).21 Now, more than then, there is less or little EU money to give away, and too many treaties have been signed by three times more members than when Britain joined 40 years ago, to give way on budget negotiations and related rebates, or agree to new opt outs of EU social, farming, and fisheries policies to which London has already agreed.22 To think of an exit is a fantasy, but it is a fantasy whose time has come. In or out — why not settle the issue at last with a referendum long threatened but always avoided? That is what current Prime Minister David Cameron now pledges to do after he negotiates “a new treaty” for “a different body” that would give Britain “a better deal,” which the British people could then assess with an in-or-out referendum in late 2017. Britain’s resistance to Europe has often been a point of contention with the United States. Late in the 1940s, the Truman administration already voiced its displeasure with Britain, whose opposition to European unity, a major dimension of the United States’ strategic vision, forced the United States to cultivate a weak and seemingly unreliable French government. A few years later, the Eisenhower administration ended its threat of an “agonizing reappraisal” only after the states of Europe recommitted to a
21 German Marshall Fund, Transatlantic Trends, 2012, p. 9. 22 “Britain’s future: Goodbye Europe,” The Economist, December 8, 2012. The Cameron government has said it wanted to opt out of an estimated 133 areas of EU police and judicial cooperation to which it had previously agreed. Stephen Castle, “European Union Exit? Concerns Grow for Britain,” New York Times, October 27, 2012.

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European idea compromised by France’s failure to embrace the European Defense Community proposed by the French government a few years earlier. But it openly stated its dislike for the British idea of a limited European Free Trade Area (EFTA) which had lesser economic and political potential than the Common Market and might encourage the proliferation of regional trade areas world-wide. Pressure was accordingly exerted on the British government to compose its quarrels with its European neighbors. In an “hour of maximum danger,” these pressures were maintained by U.S. President John F. Kennedy who “repeated how anxious the Americans were for [the British] to get into the Six.” After de Gaulle’s veto of Britain’s membership in January 1963, Kennedy’s influence on Prime Minister Harold Macmillan was aimed at reassuring the British government that membership in Europe would in no way devalue the special partnership with the United States. Who knows what might have happened had Kennedy not had a “soft spot” for Macmillan and that instinctive feeling for Britain, where, by his own admission, he always felt “at home.” After Kennedy, President Lyndon Baines Johnson, too, insisted with now-Prime Minister Harold Wilson that there was “no alternative [for Britain] but to go into the Common Market,” notwithstanding Johnson’s exasperation with the French and his misgivings about the Germans.23 And it is not by coincidence that Henry Kissinger, who had shown more empathy with de Gaulle than with his British interlocutors, announced a new start for the Atlantic Alliance, dubbed “the Year of Europe” within weeks of Britain’s membership. There are many precedents of a U.S. dimension in the British debate over Europe, all telling, and many related questions, too, all daunting, but few hints of a predictable outcome about the current debate as yet, although all likely to be consequential. Whether Britain would be damaged by an exit from the EU is a question that the British must address, but whether such a withdrawal might damage the EU and the U.S. interest in Europe — and, arguably, the rest of the world too — is also a legitimate concern for the United States to voice.
23 Desmond Dinan, Europe Recast: A History of the European Union, (Boulder, Colorado: Lynne Rienner, 2004), pp. 91-93; Harold Macmillan, Pointing the Way, 1959-1961 (New York: Harper & Row, 1972), pp. 59 and 350; Theodore C. Sorensen, Kennedy (New York: Harper & Row, 1965), p. 566. Johnson boasted of knowing the Germans — rather strangely: “There’s only one way to deal with [them],” he once said after a meeting with Ludwig Erhard. ‘You keep patting them on the head and then every once in a while you kick them in the balls.” Quoted in Robert Dallek, Flawed Giant: Lyndon Johnson and His Time, 1961-1973 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1998), p. 87.

Whether Britain would be damaged by an exit from the EU is a question that the British must address, but whether such a withdrawal might damage the EU and the U.S. interest in Europe is also a legitimate concern for the United States to voice.
A Fading Alliance? In a recast world that features dozens of emerging powers and new influentials, the United States needs more than passive allies that speak softly and in italics, as it used to be said of postwar Britain, and merely act in quotation marks if what the United States does, and how well, mostly determines what the allies will do, and where. Rather, the United States needs allies that are not only willing and compatible but also capable and relevant. The AngloFrench-inspired intervention in Libya in late 2011 and the French-led intervention in Mali in early 2013 are cases in point. Even for current President Barack Obama who, by his own admission, is distant from Europe (by birth) and remains somewhat uncomfortable with European leaders (by temperament), the transatlantic partnership is a vital dimension of the U.S. role in the world. But for such a partnership to hold the right of first refusal which it claims on grounds of capabilities, and to which it is entitled on grounds of commonalities, Europe must speak and be heard, and must decide and act as a Union. Without it, the European countries would be too small and too divided to even follow, let alone lead — and with Europe thus going nowhere the United States would be left with no other choice than going elsewhere. Déjà vu all over again: the United States was not meant to be a European power. On the contrary, it was designed to become a “more perfect union” apart and in isolation

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from the Continent. In 1945, after a half century of total wars that started in Europe, the U.S. willingness to be born again as a power in Europe combined compassion and self interest: compassion for look-alike relatives across the Atlantic who had not aged well and were terminally ill, and self-interest for attending to a continent that twice before had proved unable to take care of itself. Nothing permanent was intended on either side but Europe has now become really too important to be left to Britain’s abusive belief in its extra-European identity, or to France’s exaggerated tale of self-importance, or even to Germany’s belated crisis of hegemonic adolescence.24 Remember: in the 20th century, the United States’ main and costliest problems across the Atlantic grew out of ideas and projects that the Europeans proposed and started but could not pursue and complete — whether a war or a revolution earlier on, or a union and a single currency more recently. Now, skepticism about the EU should not be put in the way of Euro-Atlantic realism. That is the new U.S. message to Britain on behalf of its European partners, but also to Europe in the name of U.S. interests: “We have a growing relationship with the EU as an institution,” said U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Philip Gordon in January 2013, “and we welcome an outward looking EU with Britain in it…. That is an American interest.” What Gordon did not make explicit, though, is that for Britain to say “No” to Europe another time would not end or even reduce the U.S. interest in the EU; instead, it might leave Britain more isolated than at any time since it stopped pretending to live in three overlapping circles with the United States across the Atlantic, Europe across the Channel, and the Commonwealth around the world. Euro-Atlantic realism does not mean that what is good for one side of the Atlantic is necessarily good for the other, but it surely suggests that what is bad on one side is likely to be bad on the other too, equally or worse. After 1945, the facts of the United States’ superiority were not questioned, least of all by an exhausted and defeated Europe — weeping with shame over what it had done, and shrieking with fear over what else might be coming, like a blind person seeking its way without its cane. But the states of Europe were expected to regain their ability to do more — with NATO and as a Union — while the United States maintained its commitment to not doing less — with the EU and in NATO. That is the essence of the United States’ and
24 Thomas Kleine-Brockhoff and Hanns W. Maull, “The Limits of German Power,” The EuroFuture Project, January 2012.

In the 20th century, the United States’ main and costliest problems across the Atlantic grew out of ideas and projects that the Europeans proposed and started but could not pursue.
Europe’s case-against-the-case-against-each other. John F. Kennedy made that case eloquently in July 1962, when he called for an “Atlantic Community” of equals shortly after the launch of the Common Market. It was repeated forcefully in 1973, which Kissinger, speaking on behalf of President Richard Nixon shortly after Britain’s late entry in the European Community, wanted to be “the” Year of Europe. And it was revived passingly by President George H. W. Bush, who sought to enlist Germany as a co-partner in a post-Soviet Europe, which Bush envisioned as whole and free.25 “There have been times where America has shown arrogance and been dismissive, even derisive,” noted President Obama in Strasbourg in April 2009, and “there have been times where Europeans choose to blame America for much of what’s bad.” But now, in a pivotal moment of geopolitical mutation, this is neither the time to end the West as a defense and political community nor the time to walk away from Europe as an ever closer and larger union. In August 2014, the 100th anniversary of World War I, coming a few months after the 65th anniversary year of the Washington Treaty, will offer an historic opportunity to reassert this commitment, which will gain further credibility if it can rely on a Euro-Atlantic global strategy for the shared priorities of the entire Euro-Atlantic area of 34 states.26
25 Simon Serfaty, “The West in a World Recast,” Survival (December 2012-January 2013): 29-40. 26 This area includes 21 European states that belong to both the EU and NATO, plus 11 other European states, including Turkey, which belong to either institution but should join the other. See Frank Kramer and Simon Serfaty, “Recasting the Euro-Atlantic Partnership,” in A Recast Partnership? Institutional Dimensions of Transatlantic Relations, S. Serfaty ed. (Washington, DC: The CSIS Press, 2008), pp. 191-213. Also, Simon Serfaty (with Sven Biscop), “A Shared Security Strategy for a Euro-Atlantic Partnership of Equals,” in Daniel Hamilton ed., Shoulder to Shoulder: Forging a Strategic US-EU Partnership (Brookings Institution, 2010).

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For all the talk about the imminent demise of the European Union, its members have continued to show the same infinite capacity for adaptation as Europe has displayed over time — from city-states to nation-states within a so-called European state system, and from nation-states to memberstates within a so-called region-state. Admittedly, for the partnership with the United States to endure, Europe will need to put its house — meaning its Union — in order, with Great Britain preferably but without it if needed. But that there have been many other such crossroads before serves as a reminder that it is best to think about Europe’s future retroactively — what it has become relative to what it used to be, on its own and relative to others. The point here is do not sell Europe short. Over the past few years, who has done more than Europe to manage its financial crisis? Certainly not the United States, now precariously set at the edge of a fiscal cliff of its own making. Since the Cold War, who has done more than Europe to adapt with a single currency for its single market, and with twice as many members for its deepening Union? Certainly not a shrinking Japan, formerly viewed as the savior of the West but clearly the main loser of the past 21 years? Over the past 65 years, who has done more than Europe to re-write the history books away from their tales of foreign wars and domestic violence? Certainly not China, whose remarkable return to prominence may be running out of demographic breath at home and security space abroad. In short, this is not the end of the journey for Europe, nor is it the end of its affair with the United States. At this pivotal moment, there is much to do — and little if anything will be done as effectively separately as together, Europe as a Union of necessity, and the United States with Europe as an alliance of choice.

About the Author
Simon Serfaty is a Senior Fellow at the German Marshall Fund of the United States. A Professor of U.S. foreign policy, and Eminent Scholar, at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Va., he is also the Zbigniew Brzezinski Chair (Emeritus) in Global Security and Geopolitics at the Center for Strategic & International Studies. His most recent book is A World Recast: The American Moment in a Post-Western World (Rowman & Littlefield, 2012).

About The EuroFuture Project
The German Marshall Fund of the United States understands the twin crisis in Europe and the United States to be a defining moment that will shape the transatlantic partnership and its interactions with the wider world for the long term. GMF’s EuroFuture Project therefore aims to understand and explore the economic, governance and geostrategic dimensions of the EuroCrisis from a transatlantic perspective. The Project addresses the impact, implications, and ripple effects of the crisis — in Europe, for the United States and the world. GMF does this through a combination of initiatives on both sides of the Atlantic, including large and small convening, regional seminars, study tours, paper series, polling, briefings, and media interviews. The Project also integrates its work on the EuroCrisis into several of GMF’s existing programs. The Project is led by Thomas KleineBrockhoff, Senior Transatlantic Fellow and Senior Director for Strategy. The group of GMF experts involved in the project consists of several Transatlantic Fellows as well as program staff on both sides of the Atlantic.

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