Kommentar

Flere har observert at entusiasmen rundt EU er dalende og at medlemslandene tenker mer på seg selv enn unionen. Også amerikanerne legger merke til at de ikke har en partner som ekspanderer og blir mer beslutningsdyktig. Europa vender seg igjen mot nasjonen som den sentrale enhet.

Charlie Cupchan er et navn å regne med. Han mener EUs betydning er synkende og at trenden vil fortsette. USA har allerede registrert omslaget.

The European Union is dying — not a dramatic or sudden death, but one so slow and steady that we may look across the Atlantic one day soon and realize that the project of European integration that we’ve taken for granted over the past half-century is no more.

Europe’s decline is partly economic. The financial crisis has taken a painful toll on many E.U. members, and high national debts and the uncertain health of the continent’s banks may mean more trouble ahead. But these woes pale in comparison with a more serious malady: From London to Berlin to Warsaw, Europe is experiencing a renationalization of political life, with countries clawing back the sovereignty they once willingly sacrificed in pursuit of a collective ideal.

For many Europeans, that greater good no longer seems to matter. They wonder what the union is delivering for them, and they ask whether it is worth the trouble. If these trends continue, they could compromise one of the most significant and unlikely accomplishments of the 20th century: an integrated Europe, at peace with itself, seeking to project power as a cohesive whole. The result would be individual nations consigned to geopolitical irrelevance — and a United States bereft of a partner willing or able to shoulder global burdens.

USA ser allerede på hvilke land de kan vente militær støtte fra. Europeiske land befinner seg langt ned på listen. De vil ikke slåss, de har snart ikke evnen. Hvilke konsekvenser vil det få for den transatlantiske forbindelsen?

Buying time may be the best the E.U. can do for now, but its slide is poised to continue, with costs even for those outside Europe. The Obama administration has already expressed frustration with an E.U. whose geopolitical profile is waning. As Defense Secretary Robert Gates complained in February to a gathering of NATO officials, «The demilitarization of Europe — where large swaths of the general public and political class are averse to military force and the risks that go with it — has gone from a blessing in the 20th century to an impediment to achieving real security and lasting peace in the 21st.» As the United States tries to dig itself out of debt and give its armed forces a breather, it will increasingly judge its allies by what they bring to the table. In Europe’s case, the offering is small and shrinking.

Europe is hardly headed back to war; its nations have lost their taste for armed rivalries. Instead, less dramatically but no less definitively, European politics will become less European and more national, until the E.U. becomes a union in name only. This may seem no great loss to some, but in a world that sorely needs the E.U.’s aggregate will, wealth and muscle, a fragmented and introverted Europe would constitute a historical setback.

Six decades ago, Jean Monnet, Robert Schuman and Konrad Adenauer were Europe’s founding fathers. Today, the E.U. needs a new generation of leaders who can breathe life into a project that is perilously close to expiring. For now, they are nowhere to be found.

ckupchan@cfr.org

Charles Kupchan is a professor of international affairs at Georgetown University and a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. He is the author of «How Enemies Become Friends: The Sources of Stable Peace.»

As nationalism rises, will the European Union fall?