What factors make Europe an economic giant and at the same time a political dwarf, and how can the EU get out of this dilemma?
In order to determine to what extent Europe is able to get out of the custody of the United States and become an independent player, first of all it is necessary to clarify that we are talking about the EU in its current configuration plus Britain, which recently left the EU, but affects the value of European commodity exports.
Europe has always been the centre of world politics and the most powerful region in terms of its potential, however its historical fragmentation prevented it from using this potential. As for the core of Europe, consisting of six countries (Germany, the Netherlands, France, Italy, Britain, Belgium), it is possible to say that not only Germany, but each of them to varying degrees is an economic giant and a political dwarf. This characteristic also applies to the EU, to which its founders transferred their combined economic strength and individual political weakness.
In fact, the potential of Europe, even in the face of the EU, is large enough to get out of the shadow of the United States. Despite the crisis, the EU’s foreign trade balance comes down to a positive balance. Export-import indicators are the highest in comparison with global results.
The EU controls 1/3 of all international trade in goods, and in comparison with the North American Free Trade Association (NAFTA) shows superiority: 33.4% and 32.6% share of the EU in world commodity exports and imports against 13.7% and 18.3% according to similar indicators in NAFTA, where the trade balance has long been reduced to a negative balance, and the leader of the US bloc has a chronic deficit of foreign trade.
That is, the EU has better indicators for the development of foreign trade relations than the United States. This is one of the reasons for the US interest in dragging the EU into a sanctions policy against Russia and China – the desire to slow down the pace of economic development of its potential competitor. With the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, its total exports will decrease by 7.5-8.5% and amount to 31%, but even without the UK, the EU will retain its leading position in commodity exports.
EU exports in 2019-2020 as percentages looked like this: USA – 22%, UK – 13%, China – 10.5% and 11%, Switzerland – 7.44%, Russia – 4.09%, Turkey – 3.65%, Japan – 2.76%, Norway – 2.5%, South Korea – 2.34%, Canada – 1.73%. That is, the US remains the main market for the EU, which really has no alternative at the moment. EU exports to the US amount to $400 billion, and to China – $230 billion. This is the economic reason for Europe’s dependence on the United States.
The economic potential of the EU creates a high purchasing capacity of the European market. The EU’s GDP in 2018, according to the IMF, was $18.4 trillion (the US has $19.4 trillion). But according to the calculation of PPP (purchasing power parity), the gross domestic GDP of the EU is $21.1 trillion or 26.6% of global GDP, and the US -$19.5 trillion or 15.3%. The population of the EU is more than 512.6 million people, which is 1.6 times more than the US’. Although in terms of GDP per capita, the EU is slightly inferior to the United States: $41,100 versus $59,600.
Thus, comparing the economic and demographic potentials of Europe and the United States, we can say that if Europe was politically consolidated, it could well get out of the custody of the United States and become an independent centre of global power, which it could project into any region of interest to it.
But a politically divided Europe, due to the lack of its own global financial institutions, elite consolidation mechanisms and military dependence on the United States, is not able to get rid of Washington’s dictate in the foreseeable future. For such consolidation, Europe first of all needs to achieve Britain’s political isolation, while its involvement in the European economy makes this impossible.
Without the solution of the British question, the sovereignty of Europe is impossible.
The history of Europe is the enmity of the national elites of its states. The impossibility of a united European project does not allow the German-Franco-Italian bloc to arise and isolate Britain on its island. After Napoleon, Hitler was the only one who came close to solving the issue of isolating England and consolidating Europe under the auspices of Germany.
However, the Global Germany project did not have a financial component, it relied on the dollar (German military loans from the United States, which allowed to stabilise the German mark, stop hyperinflation and start an upswing in the economy), as well as on the connections of the German and Anglo-American financial and industrial elite with the participation of Holland and Switzerland.
The United States played a leading role here, and therefore the absence of a sovereign German financial project did not allow it to be realised after the occupation of Europe. Hitler intended to move on to solving the financial issue after Germany’s military victory, but it did not happen, since the colonies from where it was possible to draw resources for a protracted war belonged to England, France and the United States. Romania’s oil fields and Czech factories were not enough. Germany was economically weak for global supremacy, and this weakness was not compensated by military means.
History has shown that it is impossible to consolidate Europe by relying on the strength of one of the European countries, since Britain relies on the power of a non-continental power – the United States. Without the defeat of England and its separation from the United States, the emergence of a European integration centre is unrealistic. Any European integrator will find themselves at war on two or three fronts. And Russia will support this, because the situation where one state dominates in Europe (no matter whether it is England, Germany or France), without checks and balances, is unacceptable for Russia.
As a result, the integration of Europe happened with the support of the United States. The financial power of the euro is dependent on the American dollar and its international institutions, and all world trade, which makes Europe an economic giant, is carried out by sea and controlled by the United States. This is what precisely turns Europe into a political dwarf.
A land-based alternative for Europe is possible only after China and the United States exhaust their confrontational potential, and when it will become clear to what extent an alternative to the American market and the military umbrella is emerging for Europe. Until recently, Europe avoided the growth of military expenditures, shifting them to the United States.
China and Russia are geopolitical opponents of the EU and the United States, it’s what pushes the EU towards an alliance with the United States. Confrontation with the United States weakens the EU more than it strengthens it, since the EU is not yet able to fill the vacuum of American power due to the lack of unified political and military institutions. The political elites of Europe were formed by the United States following the Second World War, and any anti-Americanism in Europe will be marginalised.
Thus, despite the potential readiness of Europe to withdraw from US custody, this will not happen without the collapse of the Anglo-American bloc in Europe and the ability of European businesses to find an alternative to the American market. The gas projects of Russia and Germany bring this opportunity closer, but even Germany is not able to isolate the pro-American lobby within itself. And without this, any Europe’s hopes for subjectivity are unrealisable.
While Europe is preparing for battles with Russia (albeit with the hands of the United States in the form of NATO), it will not achieve sovereignty. If subjectivity is possible in the EU, then only Germany will lead such a movement. And this means that its main enemies should not be Russia and China, but England and France.
In the East, it will be Poland, the Baltic states, the Czech Republic and Ukraine – that is, all the current Anglo-American vassals, whose elite perceives the collapse of the lords as their own collapse.
While Germany is solving Hitler’s problem: who is its main enemy – Russia or England, leaning towards an alliance with England against Russia – Europe will not be sovereign and consolidated without the United States. The bogey of the Russian threat is the only means of subjugating Europe to the United States.
Fragmented Europe needs US arbitration, as it is not able to consolidate on its own. In order for Russia not to use it, Europe gave its sovereignty to the United States. Europe’s current ambivalent position is the source of its political weakness. To remain multi-vector in the era of the division of the world into opposing camps is impossible, and Europe chooses the US camp. It will rise with it and it is with it that it will perish. An attempt to sit between the American and Chinese chairs with the help of Russian gas pipelines can cost Europe very dearly.