Continental Drift: The West, Europe, and the USA

Continental Drift: The West, Europe, and the USA. By Victor Davis Hanson.

In terms of population, the contemporary West consists of mainland Europe (circa 500 million — depending on how the borders of Europe are defined), the United States (325 million), the Anglosphere of the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand (130 million), and major Westernized, industrial, and democratic countries in Asia, most notably Taiwan, Japan, and South Korea (200 million), along perhaps with South American nations such as Argentina, Chile, and Brazil (265 million). …

73 years of peace have been hard on Europe, in the sense that the postmodern European cultural ideal is to avoid childbearing, most religion, and national defense. …

The German problem:

Since 1871, Europe has struggled with the “German problem.” Translated, this has meant that since the unification of Germany, Europe’s largest and most populous nation has created wealth and enjoyed political influence far beyond European norms of per capita industriousness — and used that power to attempt to recalibrate European values as German values.

After three disastrous European wars, in 1871, 1914, and 1939, the solution to the perceived dynamism — and ambitions — of Germany was variously to divide it up for a while, to deny it nuclear weapons while arming its ancient rivals France and Britain, to invite in the United States to impose and oversee a pan-European military alliance against a common enemy of Soviet Communism, to transform a common market and free-trade zone into de facto shared European nationhood, and to allow Germany to manipulate the euro to facilitate its own mercantile ambitions.

Despite all those efforts, Germany today dictates European immigration, financial, trade, and military policy, often against the wishes of its neighbors. It runs the world’s largest account surplus, and a huge trade surplus with the U.S., while spending relatively little on its own defense. …

Europe and America continue to rise and fall respectively:

Since the French Revolution and the upheavals of the 19th and 20th centuries, the European state has erred on the side of equality of result rather than of opportunity. One consequence of the American emphasis on liberty, individualism, and less government has been greater annual economic growth and lower unemployment — critical criteria for questions of assimilating immigrants, ensuring military readiness, and avoiding population stagnation and shrinkage.

Europe will remain a friend of the United States. Even after the failure of the Obama administration to fundamentally transform the United States into a European social democracy, and the similar inability of the European Union to create robust economic and demographic growth, political federalism, and military readiness, it is simplistic to say that the two centers of Western civilization will merely drift further apart.

More likely, the power of the United States will grow and the global influence of Europe will continue to wane.

Australia, initially a child of Europe founded because Europe lost America, is leaning ever more in the American direction.