The United States of Europe: The New Superpower and the End of American Supremacy

The United States of Europe: The New Superpower and the End of American Supremacy

4.2 12
by T. R. Reid
     
 

"At the dawn of the new century, a geopolitical revolution of historic force is under way across the Atlantic: the unification of Europe. This new "United States of Europe" (to use Winston Churchill's term) has more people, more trade, more wealth, and more votes on every international body than does the United States of America. And the European Union is determined… See more details below

Overview

"At the dawn of the new century, a geopolitical revolution of historic force is under way across the Atlantic: the unification of Europe. This new "United States of Europe" (to use Winston Churchill's term) has more people, more trade, more wealth, and more votes on every international body than does the United States of America. And the European Union is determined to be a superpower, whether America likes it or not." There's no better guide to the New Europe than T. R. Reid. With his trademark combination of information, analysis, and wit, Reid reviews the noble (and the not-so-noble) reasons why Europe has come together. He examines the pan-continental pastime of America-bashing. He offers a look at the emerging "Generation E" and its Euroculture, with its common cuisine, language, pop music, sport, intoxicant, fears, and faith (or lack of it), and a shared commitment to a comfortable but expensive welfare state. The New Europe is a place where college education is free, doctors still make house calls (with no bill to pay), and corporate "downsizing" is against the law. As Reid demonstrates, Europe can afford all that because Americans are paying the EU's military bills.

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Editorial Reviews

Roger Cohen
… it is indisputable that the ideal of European unity has assumed a kind of global resonance - one that inspires democratic reformers in Ukraine today - and done so in contradistinction to American power. The importance of Mr. Reid's book lies in its evocative framing of this shift.
— The New York Times
Foreign Affairs
Reid, a former head of The Washington Post's London bureau, writes not for specialists but for a general American audience that is either uninformed about the European Union or skeptical about its importance in world affairs. He highlights the progress of economic unification, the rise of European anti-Americanism, and European opposition to the death penalty, and his book is useful for its account of the transformation from the original six-nation "little Europe" to today's continental enterprise. But his book is unbalanced by a double dose of omission: he pays insufficient attention to the demographic and economic factors that threaten to undermine the European social model he praises, and to the tension between the imperative of global competitiveness and a strong attachment to a way of life that is largely a reaction against the economic rat race. He also says too little about the problems of expansion and the difficulties that an almost 30-member EU will face in trying to define a common foreign policy capable of influencing or challenging U.S. supremacy. Further integration is likely to create a domestic backlash that goes beyond mere "Euro-skepticism"; the portrait painted by Reid, however, has no shadows.
Library Journal
Earlier this year the European Union increased its membership from 15 to 25 states. As a result, it now boasts both a larger population and a larger gross domestic product than the United States. Social and cultural differences between the two powers include a European preference for supporting a welfare benefit system rather than a large military and opposition to both the death penalty and genetically modified foods. These differences, combined with Europe's economic clout, have forced U.S. businesses to conduct themselves in ways that conform to European standards. Reid, until recently head of the Washington Post's London bureau, experienced this situation firsthand. His stories, told with wit and charm, highlight the differences for a nonspecialist reader and point out how they already affect our everyday lives. The tone is more cheerful than that of John Redwood's Stars and Strife. Two appendixes provide a summary description of each member state and of the EU's complex governance structure. This informative and accessible study is recommended primarily for public libraries. Marcia L. Sprules, Council on Foreign Relations Lib., New York Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Winston Churchill's dream is fulfilled: a former "coal-and-steel trading arrangement" has grown from common market into globally powerful international community. By many measures, writes Washington Post Rocky Mountain bureau chief Reid (Confucius Lives Next Door, 1999, etc.), the 25 states of the European Union outstrip the United States of America: they have more people, more money, more trade, more class. They have better food and wine; they have better health care, better social welfare, better public housing, better architecture. About the only thing they don't have better is a military, which suits them just fine as long as the US picks on Arabs and Afghanis and picks up the tab of empire. Most of those nations used to like us pretty well, writes Reid, until George W. Bush came along; whereas in 1998, he writes, "78 percent of Germans had a favorable view of the United States . . . in the wake of the war in Iraq, only 38 percent had a positive feeling," a trend echoed by public-opinion surveys in France, Italy, and even England. Though Europeans like us for our pop culture, Reid writes, they despise us for our lack of worldliness, our bluster, our devotion to capital punishment (which they esteem a particular barbarism). With the rise of Eurovision and its shiny blond pop singers (or its latest phenomenon, a Russian "techno lezpop duo"), they may not even need our pop culture much longer. In any event, Reid ably demonstrates, Europeans are charting their own course and are making impressive economic progress in the bargain: his case studies of the rise of Airbus, Nokia, and other firms make must-reading for business analysts, and his account of how the euro came to be universallyaccepted overnight (and, incidentally, how the euro symbol came into being) is an altogether fine piece of reporting. Salutary arguments abound here for those tired of homegrown complainers about high taxes and states' rights. A sturdy companion to Will Hutton's Declaration of Interdependence (2003), written with an eye to an American audience. Agent: Gail Ross/Gail Ross Literary Agency
From the Publisher
"A first-rate journalist, Reid provides impressive evidence to support his hypothesis." —The Denver Post

"A lively, thought-provoking book." —The Seattle Times

"T. R. Reid is like that great teacher you once had who makes a potentially dull and ponderous subject entertaining." —The Miami Herald

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781587249549
Publisher:
Cengage Gale
Publication date:
04/20/2005
Edition description:
Large Print
Pages:
466
Product dimensions:
5.70(w) x 8.50(h) x 1.10(d)

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"A first-rate journalist, Reid provides impressive evidence to support his hypothesis." —The Denver Post

"A lively, thought-provoking book." —The Seattle Times

"T. R. Reid is like that great teacher you once had who makes a potentially dull and ponderous subject entertaining." —The Miami Herald

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