Atlantic Rift

Why the U.S. and Europe can’t be friends forever
From the February 2000 Trumpet Print Edition

“Economic recovery masks deep divisions that must eventually rip asunder the Atlantic alliance.” This statement, published in the September 1983 Plain Truth, marks a prophecy which in recent months has greatly accelerated towards its fulfillment: an inevitable rift between the United States and Europe.

On the surface, America’s economic power may appear unstoppable. But its moral fiber, along with its determination to defend the right, with military means if necessary, has deteriorated drastically since the Second World War. The world has noticed, and America now finds itself in the incongruous position of having great economic power without the corresponding international respect which previously gave its policies political weight.

As was indicated at the beginning, America’s wealth today is masking very deep problems. The Plain Truth also alluded to this in February 1956: “America seems wedded to the idea that it can buy friends and allies around the world with ready American cash. We intend to hold friendly nations to us by generously supplying money and arms. But it isn’t working!”

This was written over 44 years ago, but it applies more today than ever! American money is being pumped into numerous causes internationally, but it is not buying support for American policies—it is not buying respect!

This fact becomes clear when looking at how the International Monetary Fund (imf) has dealt with Russia in the past three years. The Washington Times noted on December 19, 1999, “Russia received an imf loan in March 1996, shortly before presidential elections, and in July 1998, when Russia’s currency devaluation and debt default threatened the global economy. An April 1999 loan, during nato’s military campaign in Kosovo, was also conspicuously timely. In those cases, Russia’s failure to meet economic conditions certainly wasn’t a pressing concern…. In light of genocidal war on Chechnya, the imf-White House policy of appeasement appears to have been dangerously myopic.” The U.S.’s attempt to buy Russian cooperation through billions of dollars in imf loans has not worked. Acting Russian President Vladimir Putin’s recent revision of Russia’s national security doctrine, lowering the threshold for the first use of nuclear weapons, flies in the face of America’s insipid “economic pressure”!

It is an increasing disrespect for American leadership, brought about by repeated foreign policy debacles, most recently through virtually fruitless nato action in Kosovo, which has reduced the effectiveness of American foreign policy! The money is not talking in America’s diplomacy!

Although this has become more obvious in the past decade, this loss of respect for America—and its consequences—was prophesied years ago! The Plain Truth wrote about the G-7 Summit of Industrialized Nations in September 1983, “Viewing the activities of this annual ‘summit of summits’…one thing was evident: just how important confidence in America is to the stability of the entire Western world…. The lack of confidence in American leadership must ultimately lead to a parting of the ways between the United States and Western Europe….”

The fulfillment of this prediction can be easily seen in recent events. The European Union, as it realizes the magnitude of its newfound economic importance (a result of the monetary union of 11 countries), is strengthening its political voice, no longer willing to play second fiddle to the American giant.

Recent trade disputes between the U.S. and the EU have arisen over import regulations for bananas and beef, over EU agricultural policy, and over the “hush-kit ban”—an EU law banning the use of “noise mufflers” on airplanes. Disputes have flared over the (American-led) workings of the World Trade Organization (wto), whose glaringly ineffective meeting in Seattle recently struck another blow to American political leadership, and over future purchases of EU military equipment—these are just a few of the growing number of trade disputes presently straining trans-Atlantic relations. America’s political voice is getting weaker, the EU’s voice is getting stronger, and the gulf between them is widening!

Where is this leading? Read what was published in the Plain Truth over 25 years ago: “European antagonism toward the United States and its policies is now in the open. The next few years will bring forth more misunderstanding, conflicts of interest and, at times, outright hostility between the United States and Europe. Europe—including [then] West Germany—will have to build its own unified armed forces, including nuclear weapons. Religious as well as political forces will play a key role in the future” (March 1974). This is now happening!

A Toronto Star article, November 30, 1999, titled “Europe: One Market, One Currency, One Army” sums it up: “The new reality is that the Europeans have already established their independent European ‘identity’ in military aerospace and the allied defense industry.”

The International Herald Tribune reported on December 13, 1999, “By equipping itself with the ability to send as many as 60,000 troops to a crisis zone such as Bosnia or Kosovo, the 15-nation European Union will finally become a strategic player that the United States will have to reckon with, say French defense officials, who have long chafed under U.S. military and strategic dominance…. ‘If Europe takes on more responsibility by building up its military strength, that will contribute to the long-term equilibrium of the alliance,’ [French Defense Minister Alain Richard] said. ‘Now the European Union is stepping up its responsibilities and over the next few years will become a genuine actor on the world scene, one that didn’t exist before.’”

The EU is growing more independent of the U.S. and is strengthening its position as a world power. This was prophesied in the Plain Truth years ago. It is only a matter of time before the growing rift between the U.S. and the EU tips the power balance decisively in Europe’s favor, allowing the EU bloc to act on the world scene without any regard for American opinion.