Why Europe Is Warning of Pax Americana’s End … Last year, the global security establishment was mildly worried about a growing U.S. disengagement overseas. This year, the worry has given way to a realization that the “liberal world order” — another name for Pax Americana — may be finished, and that new security arrangements are needed. That’s the conclusion that can be drawn from this year’s edition of the Munich Security Report, an agenda-setting document put out annually by the organizers of the Munich Security Conference, the world’s most prestigious geopolitical gathering. – The Economist
The Munich Security Conference is meeting later this week. High on its list will be the lack of clarity over the US military vision.
The 2017 conference will grapple with this lack of vision, understanding that Donald Trump and members of his team are unpredictable. Their statements mean nothing because one contradicts the other.
If the U.S. does retreat, vacuums will be filled by other actors. Key institutions will be weakened, spoilers will be emboldened. And some U.S. allies may see no alternative than to start hedging by seeking out new partners. Others will try to convince the new administration that the U.S.-led alliances continue to be a good deal for Washington — and that there is inherent value in long-term commitments.
After all, successful deals are based on trust, which requires some predictability and is often strongest between countries sharing common values — not between opportunistic leaders. A unilateralist Trump administration may find that it has a different hand than it currently thinks. And once cards are on the table, you cannot pretend you never played them.
The US lack of predictability means that it is not projecting itself abroad the way it used to. Neither in Syria nor in Korean is it taking the strong action that it might have taken in the past. Such actions may lead to “escalation for which it has no stomach.”
In 2017, the U.S. is no longer “the whale” on which the world reposes but as “source of uncertainty and tension.”
For this reason, the new Munich paper has taken the unusual tact of discussing the EU as the “potential new superpower.” While the article admits this is “wishful thinking” so far, it also makes the point that the EU may be forced to move in this direction
Right now the EU needs more integration as if uses too many kinds of weapons and planes. And even despite Europe’s “long, and not entirely forgotten, history of military confrontation,” Europe will have to take action to draw together if the US draws inwards as it seems to be doing.
Europe will have no choice if the US continues to erode from an offensive and defensive point of view. But is this really true? Once more, The Economist is creating a problem where none may exist.
Exactly who is going to attack Europe. Russia? This is a country that cannot even restrain the Ukraine though it would like too. The only other country that could conceivably attack the EU is China, which likely hasn’t launched an offensive war in several thousand years.
Europe in fact does not need an army no matter what The Economist says. No one is going to attack the EU from what we can tell, and an army will only make the EU more impervious to measures that might make it less monolithic.
There is a good chance that the EU will split up – and sooner rather than later. An army only makes the procedure more difficult.
Of course this is what those in Brussels want. They will try to keep the EU together no matter what. But several countries are thinking of leaving in addition to England and trying to keep the EU together by building an army is an unsavory, and ultimately unworkable, proposition.
Conclusion: Let people do as they please. The EU was supposed to be a trading facility not an empire. It should return to those modest goals, or less, as soon as possible.