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Politics Foreign Affairs Culture Fellows Program

‘The World of Tomorrow Is a World of Empires’

State of the Union: Strategic autonomy should work both ways. Look out, Europe.
French,President,Emmanuel,Macron,Awaits,Arrival,Of,President,Of,Finland

French President Emmanuel Macron isn’t the only one, it appears. In what one might assume is surely pure coincidence, the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, echoed the Jupiterian Frenchman to the same outlet. 

“On the issue of the relationship with the United States, it's clear that there can be nuances and sensitivities around the table of the European Council. Some European leaders wouldn't say things the same way that Emmanuel Macron did ... I think quite a few really think like Emmanuel Macron,” Michel told Politico. “There is indeed a great attachment that remains present—and Emmanuel Macron has said nothing else—for this alliance with the United States. But if this alliance with the United States would suppose that we blindly, systematically follow the position of the United States on all issues, no.”

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Something must be said: Thank you, Joe Biden. Who would have thought that the man who came to power promising a new Atlanticist beginning would do so, much toward the cause of conservative realism, by breaking western Europe away from America? Evidently, Western Europeans are not happy with Biden’s stupefying “democracy versus autocracy” worldview, nor are they interested in a century-long crusade against China. 

And who can blame them? Geography is destiny; and given a choice between nuclear war with China over an island miles from the Chinese coastal missile batteries, and working toward establishing semiconductor factories in Belgium, any prudent man would choose the latter. 

The big talk about global values are just that—big talk, globaloney. No one understands that better than the leaders of the supposed union of values. As Guy Verhofstadt once blurted out, the world of tomorrow is the world of empires

Interestingly, though, the “European empire of values” is contingent on American might and always has been, as I have written in these pages. So, let’s test this hypothesis of “strategic autonomy” and equality within the Atlantic alliance. If the world of tomorrow is indeed a world of empires, then what’s the harm in acting truly imperial? What are we to lose anyway?

Consider that Western Europe was opposed (rightly) to the Iraq war, and then Western Europe (wrongly) dragged us into Libya after their fuel and ammunition supplies ran out in weeks, and now Western Europe (rightly) wants to stay out of Taiwan, while (smartly) free-riding on American muscle to balance Russia. Western Europe wants strategic autonomy. I say let’s give it to them, good and hard: Reduce our European strategic position to a naval presence and nuclear umbrella, and remove all American infantry, logistics and armor from anywhere east of Thames. Let’s see how the European Union tears itself apart. 

Strategic autonomy works both ways. That includes theater prioritization. If Europe wants to look after European interests, America should too. If European states can choose their wars, and security alignment, so should America. If Europe is disinclined to take part in foolish American hegemonic wars of choice, America should certainly at least stop funding European wars in Europe’s backyard. 

If Western Europe wants to have an equal say in foreign policy, they should re-arm and not free-ride on American taxpayers. But let us not continue the same tedious rhetoric about an alliance of equals. Tomorrow is a world of empires, and if one refuses to be a vassal, a noble aim in and of itself, then one should stop relying on an imperial benefactor.