Jeremy Rifkin insists that President Bush “must face up to a rising power,” namely the EU. Rifkin is the author of The European Dream: How Europe’s Vision of the Future Is Quietly Eclipsing the American Dream. My take on Rifkin’s Euro-triumphalism appeared here. This piece by Mark Steyn prompts a further thought. If the European dream is quietly eclipsing the American dream, why are the Europeans touting China as the rising power that will eclipse the U.S? Perhaps it has something to do with Europe’s low growth rates, high unemployment rates, low birth rates, and the mass influx of anti-western immigrants, as described here.
Rifkin criticizes Bush for not having said the letters “EU” enough, given the size of European companies and the power of European banks. Bush, he complains, continues to see Europe as a series of nations instead of a burgeoning economic giant. This complaint would have more merit if Bush were a banker or an exporter (“wanna buy some wood?”). But Bush is a president, and in his most salient dealings with the Europeans they have acted like a series of nations, dividing more or less down the middle, for example, on what to do about Saddam Hussein. It’s reasonable for Europeans to expect President Bush to “recognize reality,” as Rifkin puts it. But he’s under no obligation to indulge Rifkin’s fantasies, or Europe’s.
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