PanAm747: We are still an economic superpower, a military superpower, and all the other superpowers. I believe this is generally understood by the world.
Check your facts, please! The military area is basically the only one where the USA are still #1.
Economically, even the Euro-Zone is bigger than the USA. And that doesn´t include Britain, not to speak of the new candidate countries.
Politically, the USA have more or less completely abandoned any leadership. It´s all about the military now; Political influence and credibility are decreasing as we speak.
Politically, Europe has worked consistently on building mutual relationships all over the world. Most people just prefer to deal with others on a level playing field, for some reason.
The european union - troubled as it still may be - is another asset: Formerly bitter enemies have demonstrated that it´s possible to come to a true peace through pragmatic cooperation. Building stable and mutually satisfying relationships between partners of very different kinds and sizes isn´t easy, but we managed to do it. Europe can be a model for peaceful and constructive solutions in many regions of the world.
The modern USA have a rather troubled record when it comes to foreign relations. Often well intentioned on the surface, but even more frequently driven by an urge to dominate
rather than cooperate
. As a consequence, most nations still want to have positive relations with the USA, but there´s not really a lot of trust. Trust
is something between friends
are kept in line by fear
Breaking treaties left and right whenever it seems profitable won´t promote trust in the US government, either.
Democracy? The latest presidential election has cast a pretty unflattering light on the US system. "Buying influence" á la Enron won´t help much, either. Certainly not everything is "better" over here, but I´d still prefer our german system by far. (Which is quite similar to most other european countries.)
Human rights? Death penalty
, discussion about re-introduction of torture
; Large influence of religious bigotry; Breaking of international treaties, consistently supporting dictators and oppressive regimes as long as they are "useful" - the list goes on!
No, the USA definitely aren´t "evil"; And I´m confident that they´re strong enough to overcome many of their problems. And even willing
to do so on many counts...
The USA have often been a positive and stabilizing influence; It would be good to see more of that
in the future.
Is Europe trouble-free, on the other hand? Not a chance! We just learned to cope with difficulties realistically
, even if often the hard way. Slowly growing out of the near-complete military dependency on the USA (which had been quite comfortable for both sides
, by the way
) will take time. But when it comes to self-defense and the implementation of peace initiatives, stronger participation will be necessary.
Europe and the USA will still (and should
!) stand together in the world. Neither side has the right to disregard the other.
I think the main difference between Europe and the USA is not so much in the basic values or in some kind of absolute "quality" (whatever that might be); It´s more in the sense of reality
, looking at others and at oneself with the emphasis on learning
instead of vain self-congratulation.
And I don´t think that even the mightiest military force can supply a substitute for that