Alms for Americans

Alms for Americans
: I couldn’t resist this headline in the Independent:

Now America is history:

This is the European century

This could be the moment when the balance of advantage tipped back across the Atlantic

Using the end of the steel tarrif as her jumping off point, Mary Dejevsky says (if you want to read it all, you have to pay; a few choice excerpts):

This could well be the moment when the balance of moral, political and material advantage tipped back across the Atlantic, from the new world to the old; the moment, in fact, when the global ascendancy of the United States started to wane, and the European Century began….

The day when America is no longer “top dog”, however, may be closer than Washington imagines. On steel, the US was held to account by an international body, the WTO, that it had been instrumental in creating. But it was the strength of the EU that made the agreement stick. And the strength of the euro – at record levels against the dollar – is evidence of more international confidence in Europe than Europeans themselves appreciate….

Economic strength and multilateralism are not Europe’s only strengths. Health systems whose first principle is that all should be treated, regardless of income; social security nets that – mostly – prevent the abject poverty and social division that are so near the surface in the US; working hours and holidays that try to allow a life outside work.

Europe may not live up to all its aspirations. But it is these co-operative and social principles, not the imperatives of competition and domination, that increasingly have global appeal. Welcome to the century of Europe.

Dream on, lady, dream on. Europe is, in fact, making a last gasp effort to matter. That’s what the EU is: a gross admission of weakness and hasbeenedness.

Our economy is stronger. Our work ethic is stronger (Germany and France are suffering under the weight of all their vacations and spa days and giveways). Political strength? I don’t see you doing anything to fix the Middle East, Europe. Moral strength? Odd from a continent that brags so much about not going to church.

But this isn’t even the debate. Europe is not the future, it is the past. We’re not the future, either. The real question is whether China and Asia will be able to consolidate their size as strength, economic and political. And if we succeed in Iraq and build a beachhead for democracy and modernity, if the Middle East decides to join the millenium, then I predict that could become a center of more action than Europe.

The European century? Dream on, lady, dream on.