The rise of a united and free Europe has been a key objective of US foreign policy over the better part of the last century. This was driven in part by a desire to avoid bloody interventions such as World War I and even more so World War II. And in part this goal was a result of a geopolitical calculation that American security was best served by a friendly and strong European rimland, standing as a defensive bulwark against potential Eurasian hegemons. The success of this goal is at risk. Regardless of when and how the EU exits from the current crisis, the outcome is a weaker and divided Europe. The weakness is fiscal, political, and military, stemming from a fundamental mistake at the origin of the EU project: the belief that economic unity will lead to political unity. The expectation was that a growing economic integration, culminating in the establishment of a common currency, would create a common European identity. A common market, in brief, would create Europeans. Not only has this not occurred, but Europeans are growing more divided as a result of the current crisis. For Americans, there is little rejoicing in the EU woes. The failure of Europe represents a serious strategic setback for US foreign policy.
Jakub Grygiel is the George H.W. Bush Associate Professor of International Relations at Johns Hopkins University. His areas of expertise include Eastern Europe; Russia and the former Soviet Union, as well as American Foreign Policy, International Relations, and Strategic and Security Issues. He is an International Affairs columnist for Giornale del Popolo in Switzerland and Il Mondo in Italy, where he has written on the end of communism, the revival of Russian nationalism and other topics related to the history, economics and politics of Central and Eastern Europe. He was editor of the Journal of Public and International Affairs, and served as a consultant to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in Paris and to the World Bank. Dr. Grygiel received his Ph.D. in politics from Princeton University, and speaks French, Italian, and Polish. His publications include Great Powers and Geopolitical Change (2006) and “Imperial Allies” in Orbis (2006), as well as numerous other journal articles, papers and reviews.
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