The alternative to more German-funded rescues could be the collapse of the Eurozone. A majority of Germans would like to restore the D-Mark. Options include creating a two-tier euro, separating stronger and weaker economies. Or the weaker links could leave (or be expelled). Such a process would be economically painful and likely kill further political consolidation.
However, the EU has less political credibility today than before the Lisbon Treaty. The body remains fractured, with three “presidents” and an ineffective “foreign minister.” The organization also fails to field a military, and member states, including Great Britain and France, are shrinking their armed services. The E.U.’s objective of becoming the globe’s third Weltmacht, alongside America and China, looks ever more like a fantasy.
That was never a realistic objective, however. Europe is not a nation. No matter how much the Eurocrats huff and puff, the European Project no longer is the Europeans’ project.
Europe still matters because the Europeans matter. But the E.U. likely will remain a “dwarf power,” in State Department parlance, with more pretension than reality. Europe finally has a phone number–but no one in Washington has much reason to call.
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