The Union Formerly Known as Europe

Dr. Munr Kazmir
3 min readMay 28, 2019

What we think of as “Europe” doesn’t really exist at the level of world politics in 2019. Is the European Union a failed experiment?

What a difference a year makes. President Donald Trump poses for a photo with then European Union leaders, President Jean-Claude Juncker and European Council President Donald Tusk, Thursday, May 25, 2017, at the European Union Headquarters in Brussels, prior to the start of their bilateral meeting. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

“Not only is American primacy far less durable than it appears, but it is already beginning to diminish. And the rising challenger is not China or the Islamic world but the European Union, an emerging polity that is in the process of marshaling the impressive resources and historical ambitions of Europe’s separate nation-states.” — “The End of the West”, The Atlantic. November 2002.

Hindsight really is 20/20.

Hard as it is to believe, especially in light of the spate of recent election upsets that have raged across Europe and beyond, the 2002 Atlantic article predicting the decline of the U.S. and the rise of the European Union only gets more wrong the longer you read.

At one point, it actually predicts that a military clash between the two world powers of the United States and the European Union might prove inevitable.

“The next clash of civilizations will not be between the West and the rest but between the United States and Europe — and Americans remain largely oblivious.” — “The End of the West”, The Atlantic. November 2002.

That these recent election upsets in Europe have each signaled another step closer to the end of the European Union, and a return to the separate nations of yesteryear, is only part of the story.

The rest of the story may be the post-mortem of a failed experiment.

Far from growing to challenge the U.S. economy in terms of world politics, data published by the World Bank shows that the Eurozone still has not even recovered from the 2008–2009 financial crisis.

Even by the most rosy interpretation of the data, that of the European Central Bank showing the average growth rate from 2009–2017 across the EU was only 0.6% per year, the economic news is not good.

Nor do those numbers represent the whole picture.

The Italian economy, for instance, has been shrinking at about 0.5% per year. That, combined with the decision by the EU to enforce the Dublin Agreement requiring migrants seeking asylum to do so in the first country they enter- usually Italy- almost…