The Foreign Service Journal - April 2017
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APRIL 2017


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.