Europe in the Balance

By Casey, Lee A.; Rivkin Jr., David B. | Policy Review, June 2001 | Go to article overview

Europe in the Balance


Casey, Lee A., Rivkin Jr., David B., Policy Review


The Alarmingly Undemocratic Drift Of the European Union

EVER SINCE THE COLD WAR ended 10 years ago, the nations of Western and Central Europe have rapidly moved to transform the European Economic Community, the "Common Market," into a genuine political union. One after the other, major areas of policymaking responsibility, including important aspects of economic, monetary, social, and legal policies, have been transferred from the nation-states of Europe to the institutions of the European Union (EU). The goal and purpose of this new Europe's leaders are no secret. In a November 2000 speech in Germany, Romano Prodi, president of the European Commission, the EU'S principal executive and legislative body, stated that the objective of this "European Project" is not just to create "a superstate but a superpower" -- a superpower that will work to spread its values and concepts of governance on the international level.

During this critical period, the United States has continued to endorse European integration, as it has done for the past 50 years. The political traditions of the EU-member states, which include principles of popular sovereignty, the fact that European integration has been accomplished through peaceful means, and decades worth of Cold War era support by Washington for a stronger, more unified, Europe better able to stand up to Moscow, have led American policymakers to continue viewing the European Project as democratic and, by and large, beneficial. This is true even of those U.S. officials and commentators who are otherwise uncomfortable with the prospect of an emerging European power capable of challenging U.S. "leadership" in global affairs, and who oppose many of the EU's policy positions.

However, the assumption that the new Europe, or at least the new Europe planned by the EU's current leadership, will continue to share the democratic values of the United States is badly in need of reexamination. Although only time will reveal the truth, there are a number of very troubling indicators suggesting that Europe is not moving towards a unified, democratic state on the American model, a "United States of Europe," but rather retreating to a model of governance characteristic of the Continent before the period of Reformation, Enlightenment, and Revolution that spawned the United States. In this regard, at the heart of the European Project lies the notion of a supernational or "universal" authority, spread across the whole of Europe, very similar to the universalist ideas of the Middle Ages. Moreover, this goal has manifested itself in institutions and assumptions about the role of the citizenry in government that are more characteristic of the Age of Absolutism than of American-style republicanism.

If, in the long run, the political ideas of the Reformation and Enlightenment prove to be exceptions to a more permanent and ancient European rule, departures rather than transformations, this will create unique and serious problems for the United States. The American republic has no place, intellectually or politically, in the pre-Enlightenment European world, and while Francis Fukuyama's "end of history" thesis is partially correct -- communism, at least outside of the halls of academe, does not offer a viable ideological threat to democracy -- what model of nontotalitarian governance will ultimately triumph globally is still very much in doubt. Few Americans would disagree with the proposition that popular legitimacy, accountability, limited government, and the existence of a large sphere of private activities free from government involvement are essential attributes of democracy, necessary for both domestic tranquility and international stability. It appears that few of the EU's leaders would agree, judg ing by its institutions and their goals. At the same time, Europe has rarely been content, for long, to manage its own affairs without seeking to export its vision of the proper order of things. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Europe in the Balance
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.