Undependable Europe

Article excerpt


The execution of convicted murderer "Tookie" Williams sparked "outrage" across the European Union, where capital punishment is no longer used. Tookie, a founder of the brutal Crips street gang, was found guilty of killing four people during armed robberies. As usual, much more concern was shown for the welfare of the murderer than for the memory of his victims.

There has also been "outrage" among European chattering classes about whether the CIA held terrorists in secret prisons in Poland, Romania or elsewhere on the continent. When the story first broke in The Washington Post, there were threats of EU sanctions against current and pending member states if they had cooperated with the CIA. There has been a steady drumbeat in "antiwar" Europe about prisoner abuse scandals in Iraq and Guantanamo Bay. As in the Tookie case, "progressive" opinion has shown sympathy and concern for the worst, most violent enemies of civilization in the name of the enlightened values of civilization. The practical effect of this form of decadence is an erosion of society's survival instincts.

The EU is often promoted as having a greater capacity for world leadership than the United States. Washington Post reporter T.R. Reid made this explicit in his 2004 book "The United States of Europe: The New Superpower and the End of American Supremacy." He wrote of a "geopolitical revolution of historic dimensions" that would create a new order based on the utopian aspirations of 19th century liberalism: economic integration, disarmament and world government, with a hefty dose of democratic socialism in domestic policy.

In aggregate size, the EU has a larger population and economy that the U.S., but per capita income is lower and the gap is widening due to anemic growth. Europe has had to rely heavily on exports to tap into more vibrant markets. It is questionable how long Europe can maintain its competitiveness, given the "pervasive technophobia" that even Mr. Reid could not ignore. British Prime Minister Tony Blair told him that "there's been a loss of faith in science, without any doubt, in Europe." A Dec. 9 report by the European Commission showed that American and Asian firms are spending more on research and development than are European companies. The Eurostat agency has reported that total R&D spending is falling in the EU.

The EU suffers from what historian John Brewer defined for the 18th century as "the Dutch disease, a malady that prevented a nation enjoying unequaled individual prosperity and extraordinary commercial sophistication from remaining a state of great influence and power."

The EU social model eschews the use of force. International law, embodied in multilateral organizations like the United Nations, is the progressive way to conduct politics. …