Conventional wisdom is that America is the world’s only superpower. Many analysts see China becoming its only rival, and Russia lurking in the background. It is easy to write off Europe as a divided, economically depressed continent that is being overrun by migrants. To do that is to miss a vital point: The European Union is already a superpower.
“Europe today is a genuine superpower and will likely remain one for decades to come,” wrote Foreign Policy’s Andrew Moravcsik. “By most objective measures, it either rivals or surpasses the United States and China in its ability to project a full spectrum of global military, economic and soft power. Europe consistently deploys military troops within and beyond its immediate neighborhood. It manipulates economic power with a skill and success unmatched by any other country or region. And its ability to employ ‘soft power’ to persuade other countries to change their behavior is unique.
“If a superpower is a political entity that can consistently project military, economic and soft power transcontinentally with a reasonable chance of success, Europe surely qualifies. Its power, moreover, is likely to remain entrenched for at least another generation, regardless of the outcome of current European crises. In sum, Europe is the ‘invisible superpower’ in contemporary world politics” (April 13).
Most European nations are too small to have a massive global reach. United politically, militarily and economically, however, they would exceed the power of America, Russia and China.
That is exactly what Herbert W. Armstrong predicted for more than half a century, beginning in 1934!
Economically, America and China are the world’s two juggernauts, and China is hailed as America’s rival. However, in truth the world’s second-largest economy is the EU. And if Europe could achieve further economic unity, it could rival the two powers. It is already the center of world trade—the world’s top trader of goods and services. It is the leader in foreign investment, with money flowing in from developing countries. Europe also dominates international economic regulation, forcing other nations to adopt its standards of trade.
Europe is still plagued by economic instability, but the center of gravity holding the entire eurozone together is Germany. Without German capital, the entire Union would collapse. While most European countries are battling debt and inflation, Germany continues to run surpluses on its annual budgets.
Mr. Armstrong also prophesied of Germany’s central role in the coming European superpower. He wrote in the June 1952 Plain Truth: “The United States is determined, now, to let nothing stand in the way of building up a re-armed, independent Germany. This will be the heart and core of the united Europe that will revive the Roman Empire.”
Now, European militaries act independently; each nation decides military spending separately. However, Europe is a top arms exporter, and it has vast amounts of military production at hand. The leader in all these statistics—military spending and production—is Germany. As a consolidated military bloc, Europe is the world’s second-largest military spender, accounting for around 15 percent of the total. (China spends 13 percent; Russia, 4 percent.) United, Europe is second only to the U.S. in military might.
Moravcsik summed up Europe’s advantages over the other powers: “The underlying determinants of global influence—military capabilities, nominal and per capita income, trade and investment competitiveness, the intrinsic attractiveness of symbolic ideas and institutions—are changing far more slowly than headlines suggest. Europe today is the world’s invisible superpower—rivaling and, in many cases, surpassing the United States and China. It has the resources to retain this status for decades and generations to come.”
Why then is Europe an invisible superpower? It simply lacks a confidence-inspiring leader.
The great key to European unity, and the greatest requirement to propel forward a fully federalized Europe, is a strong leader who can bridge the valleys of differences in Europe. Bible prophecies point toward a European superpower—and a strong leader at the helm. No current European leader fulfills that role.
In the broad sweep of European history, in each instance of European unity, an oppressive empire springs forth. Otto the Great, the Habsburg dynasty, Louis xiv, Napoleon Bonaparte, Kaiser Wilhelm ii and Adolf Hitler are the strongmen who have marched across the pages of European history. Some of them are among the worst tyrants in history, but each united the European peoples through leadership, common faith or by the sword.
These men are remembered in the shadow of the first European king: Charlemagne. Europeans still revere his memory.
Today, the invisible superpower is waiting for a new Charlemagne. The circumstances are ripe for a 21st-century empire. Once again, it will center upon Germany as the core. Europe is already an unrealized superpower—all it needs is a leader to emerge and forge European unity with an iron hand. This new Charlemagne will lead Europe down the familiar road of all European empires: war and conquest. The superpower is ready; it is just waiting to be led.