For centuries up to and including the 20th century, Europe seemed to be the pivotal point in the history of the world.
Then came the Great Civil War in the West, our Thirty Years’ War (1914-1945), where all the great European powers – Great Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Russia – along with almost all the others, fought some of the greatest battles in history.
The result: the greatest nations of Europe were all bloodied. All European empires have fallen. The colonial peoples were all largely liberated and began the great migration to the metropolises. And Europe was divided between a West led by the United States and a Soviet bloc dominated by Moscow.
Yet even during this cold war of four decades, Europe was seen as the price of the struggle.
By the time the Cold War ended with the triumph of the free world, a European Union modeled on the American Union was being formed and nearly all of the newly liberated nations of Europe began to join the alliance of NATO.
However, today we feel that the role of Europe in the history of the world is passing, that the American pivot towards China and the Indo-Pacific is both historical and permanent, and that the past belongs to the world. ‘Europe, the future belongs to Asia.
Asia, after all, is home to the world’s most populous nations, China and India; to six of the nine nuclear powers in the world; and almost all of its major Muslim nations: Indonesia, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Turkey, and Iran, as well as the world’s largest economies outside of the United States: China and Japan.
In 2016, Great Britain voted to withdraw from the EU. This summer, the British joined the Australians and the United States in an AUXUS pact that canceled a valuable French deal to build a dozen diesel-powered submarines – and to replace them with nuclear submarines built by the US. British and United States.
Paris saw in it a “betrayal”, a “stab in the back” on the part of allies that General Charles De Gaulle had decried as “the Anglo-Saxons”. Yet AUXUS was also an undeniably clear statement as to where Australians saw their future, and it was not alongside France, but the United States.
Yet it was the worst American affront to our French ally since President Dwight Eisenhower ordered the British and French to leave Suez.
But, at least then, Ike could tell in 1956 that he had not been alerted to the Franco-British invasion of Egypt and that our NATO partners had acted without his knowledge or consent.
To protest against the treatment of France in the submarine agreement, President Emmanuel Macron recalled his ambassador to the United States, which had never been done since France recognized the American colonies and came to their aid during our war of independence.
Indeed, the submarine deal forced the cancellation of a big party at the French Embassy in Washington, DC, to celebrate the 240th anniversary of the Battle of the Caps.
It was the critical Franco-British naval battle at the mouth of the Chesapeake in 1781, where a French fleet prevailed, allowing it to provide cover for General George Washington’s army as it surrounded, bombarded and forced the surrender of General Lord Cornwallis’ army at Yorktown.
But if the British are out of the EU, and the French are distant from their NATO allies, Germany yesterday organized an election, where, for the first time in its history, the Christian Democratic Union of Konrad Adenauer, Helmut Kohl and Angela Merkel were reduced to a quarter of the national votes.
The new leader of Germany, after months of negotiations, could be the leader of the Social Democrats, together with the Greens. But even this government may not be concocted by Christmas.
Neither candidate for chancellor of the Christian Democratic Union or the Social Democratic Party has the stature of Merkel, who has been both leader of Germany for the past decade and a half, but also de facto leader of Europe.
And consider the current state of NATO, once celebrated as the most successful alliance in history for deterring any Soviet invasion of Europe from NATO throughout the Cold War.
In 2001, citing Article V that an attack on one was an attack on all, NATO joined the Americans in their dive into Afghanistan to deal with the perpetrators of 9/11.
In August, 20 years later, all of our NATO allies withdrew as the Afghan army collapsed and disappeared and the Afghan regime collapsed. Our NATO allies have thus shared the ignominy of the American retreat and defeat.
Not only is the political center of gravity shifting from Europe to Asia, European unity seems to be a thing of the past.
While Britain has left the EU, Scotland is considering secession from England. Catalonia is still thinking about secession from Spain. Sardinia is considering secession from Italy. Poland and Hungary disagree with the EU on internal political reforms that would conflict with the demands of bureaucrats in Brussels.
As for the southern EU and NATO countries Spain, Italy and Greece, their main concern is less an invasion by Russia than the ongoing invasion across the Mediterranean. from Africa and the Middle East.
Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of “Nixon’s White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever”.
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