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Thread: I see EU Morphing into a New US

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    I see EU Morphing into a New US

    Another thread prompted me to start this conversation.

    I'm no historian or political expert, so I'm asking for expert opinion. Failing that, ya'll will do just fine.

    Regarding acreage and population, the EU is comparable to the USA. If I'm not mistaken, the US was originally organized as a cooperative of 13 independent governments(states in the original definition), each maintaining most of its sovreignty and partnering for defense and trade. Isn't this an acceptable description of the EU, with exception of defense?

    The states lost their sovreignty to the federal government less than 100 years after forming, thanks to a very bloody civil war.

    I see that the EU has added a presidential post to its governing body. I fear for the individual nations' futures. I see a new melting pot warming up.

    Am I wrong? I freely admit my ignorance in this, but you know I grasp stuff pretty quick. *picks nose, looks, flicks *

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    Re: I see EU Morphing into a New US

    Some people do think that this is what will eventually develop from the closer Union of EU states, but I reject that analysis, or at least it is a prospect only for the far future. The basic difference between the EU and the US is that the US became one nation from a collection of British colonies, that no matter how different they were shared one basic cultural heritage. Obviously Europe is made up of many ancient nation states, that although all definably European are also culturally too different to be able to create a united political unit in the same way that the US is one definably polity and economic area.

    An example is the free movement of people, goods, and services. An example where say a family from Kansas can quite easily move to say Oregon to find work or better prospects without a huge deal of adjustment, whereas a Finish person moving to Portugal or visa versa, or a Greek feeling as at home in Scotland as they are in Greece is obviously something much harder to achieve. There is no getting around that, that's just the way Europe is, its is an extremely culturally diverse area with an ancient multi-faceted civilization of many layers, as anyone from outside Europe who has spent any time traveling around the place will tell you. London is a European City, but so is Athens, and Belgrade, and Kiev, and Lisbon, Moscow, Rome, Vienna, Helsinki, they are all recognizably European, but all quite different in many ways.

    Basically Europeans are too different from one another to be able to create a truly unitary state, a loose confederation perhaps, but I think thats about it. Its one of the reasons why the European public get confused when asked to vote on treaty's as its an inherently complicated idea to create a common market and political semi-union of 27 counties with different legal systems, governmental systems, and cultures/languages. Despite these problems, and the reasonable skepticism of people in all European countries in regard to whether this idea can really work in the long term, and some people in Europe who are just hostile to the idea (which is a perfectly valid position) the basic fact is that, so far, the EU has been an extremely successful model in creating a peaceful, economically successful continent out of one that was at war with itself for 1,000 years.

    The model that the EU represents is actually a new one, its never been achieved before that a true democratic federation of self-governing states with a common civilization based on shared values and trade. Its an exciting project, and its difficult, there are many problems with it, particularly in balancing the need to make the EU more directly accountable to its people and less complicated, pooling European sovereignty effectively to make sure that the EU is effective in the wider world, without superseding the basic authority of the nation states themselves, its a difficult task, which is why this is a slow, sometimes infuriatingly complex, long-term political and economic project.
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    Re: I see EU Morphing into a New US

    My concern comes with the unknown future. As well-meaning as the current powers may be, you don't know who may be in charge in the future or what their agenda may be. I just like my policymakers close to home.

    Isn't pooled sovereignty an oxymoron?

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    Re: I see EU Morphing into a New US

    Quote Originally Posted by Accountable View Post
    My concern comes with the unknown future. As well-meaning as the current powers may be, you don't know who may be in charge in the future or what their agenda may be. I just like my policymakers close to home.

    Isn't pooled sovereignty an oxymoron?
    The Future is an undiscovered country accountable, who knows what the 21st century will bring for all of us, I mean Europeans in 1908 would have surveyed the world they had created where they had unparalleled power and riches, and a seeming invincible security and curve of unbroken civilizational progress (a bit like America in 2001). Yet within 10 years the world they knew was gone forever in another European War because of nationalism, and then 20 years after that an even worse second one, that almost destroyed Europe completely and could have plunged it into a dark age of barbarity, we were just lucky. The main lesson of that period was that the 19th century model of competing, highly militarized nation states had become a completely unstable and dangerous one for European (and world) peace.

    I think that in dealing with the present and the medium term future we are well aware over here that we are in a world increasingly being dominated by the US and now China, and if we are to have any ability to set our own agenda for Europe, we need to make Europe a stable and prosperous region based not on conquest but on cooperation, both within Europe, and with the other major regions and powers of this world, prinicpally of course, the U.S.

    I don't see any really workable alternative for the European continent than the EU, and its worked out pretty well over the past 50 years at maintaining stability and prosperity within its member states, so I as a European am happy to continue with the Union.
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    Re: I see EU Morphing into a New US

    Quote Originally Posted by Accountable View Post
    My concern comes with the unknown future. As well-meaning as the current powers may be, you don't know who may be in charge in the future or what their agenda may be. I just like my policymakers close to home.

    Isn't pooled sovereignty an oxymoron?
    Also, the idea of pooling sovereignty is quite workable and it happens all the time. For example, Britain and America pooled their sovereignty in specific campaign theaters, over their armed forces during the Second World War, (once America had joined the war), and quite successfully as well. The federal models of America and Germany are examples where federal structures have allowed states to pool their sovereignty into a collective whole, in America its been so successful that no one really thinks about how difficult and radical it was at the time when the Colonies first gained independence from Britain. There are innumerable examples where countries have pooled sovereignty over certain areas, or issues, or in war. Of course with the EU you have a much more permanent, and in-depth sharing of sovereignty, so its much more complex and difficult, particularly because unlike the example of the original US, Europeans basic identity is with their country, and being a European comes second to that.
    "We are never so happy, never so unhappy, as we imagine"

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    Re: I see EU Morphing into a New US

    Quote Originally Posted by Accountable View Post
    Another thread prompted me to start this conversation.

    I'm no historian or political expert, so I'm asking for expert opinion. Failing that, ya'll will do just fine.

    Regarding acreage and population, the EU is comparable to the USA. If I'm not mistaken, the US was originally organized as a cooperative of 13 independent governments(states in the original definition), each maintaining most of its sovreignty and partnering for defense and trade. Isn't this an acceptable description of the EU, with exception of defense?

    The states lost their sovreignty to the federal government less than 100 years after forming, thanks to a very bloody civil war.

    I see that the EU has added a presidential post to its governing body. I fear for the individual nations' futures. I see a new melting pot warming up.

    Am I wrong? I freely admit my ignorance in this, but you know I grasp stuff pretty quick. *picks nose, looks, flicks *
    I'm no historian or political expert, so I'm asking for expert opinion. Failing that, ya'll will do just fine.
    The thing is in a viable democratic country all opinions are expert. Go in to any bar in europe and you will find an argument about politics going on somewhere.

    Galbally says things more eloquently than I and basically i agree with what he's saying.

    Smaller states in europe-especially those from the former eastern europe are desperate to join. Not because they see themselves becoming oart of an amorphous eu superstate but because they are proud of their new won independence and want to take things forward and see the eu as something that can help them achieve that. the idea that they would give it up their independence is ludicrous. Even under russian rule they kept their separate identity and national pride basically we are too different to be anything more than a confederation.

    On the other hand I can see the ending of nato and the creation of a european defence strategy and a distancing from the US in terms of foreign policy.

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    Re: I see EU Morphing into a New US

    Okay I can see you guys' points. I'm getting wrapped around the axel about giving up independence, but I guess the nations are seeing it more as interdependence, which is a higher order of thought. They do have a far richer and deeper history as individual cultures than the US does even now, never mind at 1776 when the union was formed.

    The EU will make irradicable changes to Europe and the world. I hope it will be as you see it. I have my doubts.

    At least we'll have history.

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    Re: I see EU Morphing into a New US

    With (at least in many major U.S. cities) hospitals having people on staff to interpret as many as 18 foreign languages, ballots in many cities for the forthcoming elections in the U.S. being printed in as many as 6 languages, Russian neighborhood enclave within the Capital of California (Sacramento), with it's own Russian newspapers, shops and stores (25,000 population), caucasians being in the minority in California, up to 1,000 illegals being stopped at the borders daily, 40,000 Hmong people relocated in the state of Minn. over recent years, the U.S. is changing, it's ethnicity, it's culture, it's language and it's politics. I am not saying this is good or bad, just that the U.S. will never be what it once was, it may get better, it may get worse, but it sure will never be the same.

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    Re: I see EU Morphing into a New US

    Quote Originally Posted by Accountable View Post
    Okay I can see you guys' points. I'm getting wrapped around the axel about giving up independence, but I guess the nations are seeing it more as interdependence, which is a higher order of thought. They do have a far richer and deeper history as individual cultures than the US does even now, never mind at 1776 when the union was formed.

    The EU will make irradicable changes to Europe and the world. I hope it will be as you see it. I have my doubts.

    At least we'll have history.
    Why do you have doubts?

    We tend to think we are familiar with US culture because we see it all the time in films, news reports etc. plenty have actually visited Though whether it is accurate is a moot point. Americans I think tend to see europe as like the US except with different languages.

    I also get an impression (reinforced by this forum actually) that many americans feel detached from their government-like they are all standing at a junction waving at a juggernaut and hoping they will get it to go where they want but are powerless to make it do so.

    Europe is different, yes there is an element of the juggernaut but govt can't ignore the people for too long or they get booted out. metaphotrically speaking burst the tyres and force the juggernaut off the road if we have to. The french referendum on the EU constitution treaty was a resounding example. The poles have just voted in a more euro oriented govt and the same is happening in eastern europe. Putin might try and keep a lid on the likes of the Ukraine, might even use economic sanctions but I doubt yo will see Russian troops marching back any time soon. We have thousands of polish and hungarian immigrants where i live, most are young and here to make better life-not the sponging wasters that our more right wing media like to portray. Smaler EU states seem to see the EU as a way of preventing themselves being subsumed by a bigger neighbour. Countries like ireland have done very well out of it, Latvia and Estonia are also booming since joining. The Uk has always done best when it allowed the free flow of ideas in to the place. It works both ways and always has.

    We are also more broadly socialist in outlook in that we expect govt to do things for the people to make things better but because we tell them to not some kind of paternalistic nanny state way which is the way americans seem to view it. Rather it's more a you will do this type of attitude. We WANT socialised medicine for instance it's not something our government gets a choice in.

    Whereas you seem to have a discussion about whether you have a right to tell your govt what it should be doing rather than about what it should be doing.

    At this point I am a bit more optimistic about the future of europe than I am about the US. The world is beginning to pass you by, recent policy decisions mean other countries are taking steps to be less dependant on your economy out of necessity. Telling your allies that they are either with you or against you may impress the home folks but it guarantees a two word response everywhere else. China and Russia are both growing their economies, European companies can more than hold their own in competition with american ones or anyone for that matter and if you go the mercantilist route to deal with your economic woes as some are advocating rather than face up to change than you will lose out.

    Europan history is one of interminable warfare. For the moment we have stopped trying to kill each other. That's an improvement, we've also had seismic social change in the past and survived so it's hard to be pessimistic. The only concern I have is the anti european sentiment amongst some of our politicians. I find it incredibly negative and short sighted.

    So back to the initial question. Why the doubts? I suspect your doubts are due to your pessimism about the US rather than Europe.

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    Re: I see EU Morphing into a New US

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    My pessimism stems from long history of human tendency to abuse power when they are remote, nothing more. So long as Europe keeps the EU in check as you have done with the UK gov't lately, you'll be okay.

    As for your analysis of the US, I really think it will do us a tremendous good, culturally, if other nations would stop allowing us to make them dependent. I'm baffled when I think of strong nations that allow a permanent US military presence, unless we are there as hired guns -- cheaper to spend our blood than their own. I don't like being thought of as mercenary, thug, or bouncer.

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