Why Europe Still Matters
Over the past decade it has become fashionable to write off Europe and downgrade its importance to American interests. The arguments are familiar. Supposedly, Europe is an economically declining and politically dysfunctional entity of increasing strategic irrelevance in a world where the likes of China, India, and Brazil should be accorded a much higher priority. The implication is that the United States should pay less attention to Europe and reduce the diplomatic and political resources it allocates to our transatlantic relationships, including NATO, even as we look for closer alliances with the new rising states. Europe’s current economic woes have only reinforced this view. The post-1945 vision in which Europe was America’s vital ally—and in which the United States actively encouraged closer European integration—has given way to a mixture of indifference, skepticism, and outright bipartisan condescension toward Europe and its apparent inability to get its act together.
While Europe’s relative global standing is gradually shrinking as the new emerging economies of Asia and Latin America grow, it would be a mistake for the United States to neglect a group of closely connected countries—members of the European Union—whose combined GDP equals that of the United States and whose population numbers close to half a billion people ... read more.
Op-ed posted March 29, 2012, on Chicago Council on Global Affairs website.