THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL
For Europe to take greater
responsibility for its own
defense seems highly desir-
able, even if the consequences
are unpredictable. It could be
that the result will be a more
muscular E.U. “defense union”
that initially parallels NATO,
but then diverges once Europe
has the means to concentrate on its own priorities, notably in
unstable and overpopulated Africa.
The E.U.—Down But Not Out
Where does that leave the European Union? It is assailed
by a lengthening list of challenges. Some are new and oth-
ers have long been unresolved. Ostrich-like, Europe has for
many years refused to face up to its structural weaknesses. As
well as its demographic shrinkage and comparative decline in
terms of the global economy, attitudes within European society
spell serious trouble ahead.
Unlike America’s “melting
pot” culture of absorbing
immigrants, people across
Europe resent and resist
newcomers. Whether speak-
ing of longstanding Turkish
communities in Germany or
North Africans in France and
Belgium, the record on successful integration is poor and the
political signposts suggest worse to come.
None of this means the European Union is going to collapse.
Although the Eurosceptic tide has been running strongly in
recent years, as opportunists heading the new breed of populist
parties have played on widespread resentment of the austerity
policies that followed the last decade’s economic downturn, it’s
far too soon to herald the E.U.’s disintegration.
Brexit is frequently seen as the domino that will topple other
countries into leaving. Instead, the E.U.’s message that Britain
Ostrich-like, Europe has for
many years refused to face up
to its structural weaknesses.