Europeans Meet (Soviet-Style) to Choose First-Ever EU President

Leaders of the 27 member states of the European Union are meeting in Brussels on November 19 to choose the first-ever European president and European foreign minister. European political elites say these two new jobs are needed so that the notoriously divided EU can begin speak with one voice on the global stage. Once that happens, they contend, the EU will assume its rightful role as a world superpower and act as a counter-balance to the United States.

Geo-strategists are debating whether Europe’s superpower moment is or is not just around the corner. But if the nomination process for the individual who will represent 500 million Europeans has demonstrated anything at all, it is that Europe is inexorably moving in a direction that has far more in common with Soviet totalitarianism than with Western liberal democracy.

In what has been described as a “slow-moving coup d’état,” Europe over the past several decades has experienced a gradual but significant shift in political power away from individual nation states towards an unelected and unaccountable bureaucracy based in Brussels.

Today, these so-called Eurocrats oversee more than 100,000 pages of EU legislation, much of which has primacy over national legislation and parliaments. Indeed, unelected bureaucrats in Brussels now exercise so much power that they dictate what elected leaders can or cannot do in more than 30 policy areas.

In 2004, European federalists moved to consolidate their power by means of the “European Constitution,” which, among many other things, called for abolishing the national veto in more than 50 additional policy areas. But the ratification process ran into a roadblock in May and June 2005, when French and Dutch voters rejected the document.

Predictably, the authors of the European Constitution were unwilling to let democracy get in the way of their federal ambitions. Instead, they essentially shuffled some of the words, sentences and paragraphs of the document and reissued it in December 2007 as the Lisbon Treaty, in order “to avoid having referendums.”

The Lisbon Treaty, which obligates EU nations to surrender their sovereignty in many areas to centralized decision-making, was supposed to have been quietly rubber-stamped by the parliaments of all member states by the end of 2008. But once again, democracy got in the way, this time thanks to Ireland, where the constitution mandated a popular referendum.

Indeed, Ireland, which accounts for 1 percent of the European Union’s 500 million population, was the only EU member state to put the Lisbon Treaty to a referendum. And sure enough, in June 2008, Irish voters soundly rejected the document.

Unsurprisingly, the Brussels elite were outraged at the audacity of the Irish insubordination and demanded that Ireland hold a second referendum, one that would produce the “correct” answer. EU Thought Police were dispatched to warn the “extremely arrogant” Irish voters of the dire consequences they would face in the event of another ‘no’ vote. In October 2009, Irish voters succumbed to the pressure and produced the desired result.

The Lisbon Treaty is now set to take effect on December 1, 2009. But far from ushering in an era of promised transparency and unity, European elites are now squabbling over who will sit on top of the European edifice.

The main justification for the Lisbon Treaty has always been that it is needed to strengthen the role of Europe as an international actor. With this aim in mind, the treaty not only creates the two jobs of EU president and foreign minister, but it also establishes a European diplomatic corps complete with European embassies, as well as a European army.

For a long time, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair was seen by many as the one candidate possessing the charisma and international clout necessary to make the EU presidency get noticed abroad. In the words of one of Blair’s supporters: “God knows what the Americans would do if we got [a] Belgian as European president. They already can’t be bothered with us most of the time.”

But European big shots like French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel are having second thoughts about Blair. Evidently, they are afraid that Blair might overshadow them on the global stage.

In the absence of a consensus candidate, the contest has degenerated into a race to the bottom. In secretive backroom horse-trading, the center-right, which controls the European Parliament, has staked its claim to the presidency; the center-left will get the foreign policy job. There are now half a dozen or more contenders for both jobs. And the one thing all the candidates have in common is that they are virtually unknown outside of Europe.

The leading hopeful for the presidency is Belgian Prime Minister Herman Van Rompuy, whose biggest claim to fame is writing haiku poetry in his native Dutch. According to the London-based Economist magazine, Van Rompuy’s main foreign policy experience stems from his involvement in a Belgo-Dutch row over the dredging of the River Scheldt.

Fuelling suspicions among some euroskeptics that a vast federalist conspiracy is afoot, Van Rompuy recently was vetted by the secretive Bilderberg group of top politicians, bankers and businessmen. At a private gathering at the Castle of Hertoginnedal (the Valley of the Duchess) near Brussels, Van Rompuy made the astonishing admission that he wants to empower the EU with tax-raising powers in order to fund the rising cost of the EU bureaucracy and the welfare state. (Up until now, tax collection has been the exclusive domain of EU member states, which provide the funding for Brussels, and not the other way around.)

As far as the foreign policy post is concerned, the current frontrunner appears to be Massimo D’Alema, a former Italian communist who does not speak fluent English, the lingua franca of international diplomacy. His main qualification appears to be his disdain for the United States and Israel.

To be sure, the opaque process of choosing the EU’s new leaders has infuriated many Europeans, including Vaira Vike-Freiberga, a Latvian candidate for the presidency. She says the job search is being conducted with Soviet-style secrecy and contempt for the public. The EU, she says, should “stop working like the former Soviet Union ... in darkness and behind closed doors”.

The London-based Telegraph newspaper quotes another Eastern European official as complaining: “Trying to work out who is going to be President of the EU Council is not dissimilar to decoding who was in or out in the Kremlin in the 1970s. It seems strange to many of us that 20 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall we have to dust off our Kremlinology skills here in Brussels.”

In the words of Denis MacShane, a British Labour politician: “This is not Europe’s finest hour.


Soeren Kern is Senior Fellow for Transatlantic Relations at the Madrid-based Grupo de Estudios Estratégicos / Strategic Studies Group


To KO RE: Traditional Society

Despite the association of the latter with oligarchic collectivism, both liberalism and egalitarianism are derived from social contract theory.  Unfortunately, human beings were never atomized individuals who united and contracted to achieve social order.  It is the family that is the source of liberty, order, progress and equality or equity.  Leaders really are extensions of fathers and governance of parenting.  Within this context, it is worthy to note that psychologists identify four major styles of parenting: authoritarian, authoritative, indulgent and neglectful.  Of these, authoritative is recommended, as the others result in adverse and in fact very similar outcomes.  Applying this framework to Western systems of government, one might conclude that governments have largely transitioned from authoritarian to a combination of indulgent and neglectful.  Critics want to retain the freedoms gained during and after this transition, but to also include many authoritative features. 


Addressing your comments, I gather that you are a proponent of a minimal state and greater self-governance.  However, I do not understand how the resulting culture would necessarily be conservative or how it could be made so in the absence of the state.  Indeed, Christianity owes much of its position in Europe to its institutionalization first by Rome and subsequently by the Empire’s successor states.  Marxists were unable to instill egalitarianism from either the top or the bottom, and I believe that your idea of “traditional society” will be likewise unworkable. 


To KA re: Traditional Society

I am a proponent of a minimal state and greater self-governance, as you surmise, but only where the people who wield political power are equipped to do so. You can't have voters who just want to transfer one group's wealth to another group, or who want to exercise their resentment by sticking it to other groups and destroying what they have built. In the U.S.A., the Democrats promote such grasping and resentful attitudes among women and minority voters to the extent one begins to question whether they should have the vote at all. Democrats' penchant for ballot fraud and for proposals to expand the franchise to include illegals, felons, and children provides little comfort to those who view elections as a means of choosing the best possible government.

With my lack of imagination, tied to the American experience, all I can suggest for maintaining a minimal state and maximal self-governance is to adopt organizational documents that restrict the activities of governments and seek to guarantee the rights of individuals, institutions, and political subdivisions. Early Iceland as depicted in the sagas presents a truly minimal state -- none -- and government by custom and by armed, apparently clan-based factions. I naturally prefer colonial America, where there were regular assemblies to make laws and courts to adjudicate disputes. That was a Christian, conservative society. It represents "traditional society" to some Americans. If you have read Paul Johnson's History of the American People, you have seen a warmly sympathetic depiction of that era.

Since the Revolution, we have been subject to more or less constant change characterized by expansion of territory and population, mass immigration, growth of a strong central government, and the "nationalization" of economy and culture. I agree that the "traditional" American society is unworkable in this "new world," but there are features of it we would like to reinstate to enjoy what benefits from them we can. Groups like the Heritage Foundation understand, as the Founding Fathers did, that without the necessary virtue in the people, the people cannot sustain self-government.

The poet and critic Frederick Turner (a naturalized American) wrote an epic poem called The New World (1985) about the "Euess" in the 23rd century, by which time the U.S.A. has broken up into self-governing counties and anarchic cities, known as "riots." Nowadays, conservative dissatisfaction with the Obama administration's anti-American leftism and its seemingly willful wrecking of the economy leads conservatives to contemplate the doomsday scenarios of the past and to imagine new ones. Ayn Rand's imagery of leftist "looters" sacking the American economy has become more timely than ever. We look forward to next November.

To KO RE: Conservatism

Dear KO,


I apologize for the lack of clarity; however, I was referring to traditional conservatism in my last sentence.  Traditional conservatism evolved from the Leviathan–esque hegemonic state (itself comprising the institutions of the monarchy, aristrocracy and Church), irrespective of the state’s internal power dynamics.  Rather than being overthrown by a liberal revolution, as was attempted in various instances, the traditional state was gradually eroded.  Whilst liberal intentions were moral, the chaotic process of industrialization turned the new working classes against the capitalist nouveau riche, resulting in nostalgia for the agrarian bliss of serfdom and tenant farming.  Indeed, the industrialists tended to be far more austere than the landed nobles, who after centuries of being at the pinnacle of society generally regarded public service and charity as obligatory.  The British civil service has declined greatly since the era when it was staffed by noble scions.


Neo–conservatism bears little resemblance to its predecessor: its economic policies are decidedly liberal, and its social values are comparatively diluted.  Unfortunately, neo–conservatives have yet to realize that a degree of egalitarianism on the basis of nationality is necessary if the nation in question is to be cohesive.  The increasing reliance on mercenaries is part and parcel of the consequences of leaving everything to the “invisible hand”.  How soon until armies merely march upon their stomachs?  Yet the Taliban will continue to fight Pakistani and Western forces, until each and every one is dead or victory is achieved.  Can the same be said of the West’s professional volunteers, who develop PTSD despite their unprecedented battle–space superiority?  The Taliban’s idea of “R&R” is martyrdom.  You may recall Marlon Brando’s conversations with Martin Sheen in Apocalypse Now.


Nor is social security an invention of the left.  Socialists have in fact decried welfare statism as an apparent conspiracy by conservatives and liberals to placate the working classes, who were in no hurry to dispense with their new social and political freedoms.


Perhaps I have digressed too far.  It may be a bridge too far, given the criticism I am likely to incur.

@KA re Conservatism

No apology needed. No doubt we will continue to bump elbows, hopefully without malice. I think I see what you are getting at, the interventionist state as an expression of the traditionalist sense of responsibility for the welfare of society as a whole. If that is your view, I can't accept it, because such a state--which is indeed Leviathanesque--interposes itself between people and mediates/disrupts traditional relationships. The result is "within the state, everything, outside the state, nothing," or liberal fascism. You are probably familiar with Voegelin's reading of Hobbes as a modernist revolutionary who sees the omnipotent state as the only cure for the war of all against all unleashed by the destruction of a traditionalist order that seeks "attunement to the divine." Leviathan is thus not the fruit or type of the traditional order, but its antithesis. In fact it represents the beginning of liberalism in that the problem it seeks to solve is the atomization of society into individual wills, which is the world that liberalism celebrates (or pretends to celebrate--in reality, liberty that tears down traditional society is celebrated, while liberty that obstructs Leviathan is abhorred).

I don't take exception to your other points. Neoconservatism has little to do with conservatism, but is rather what Lawrence Auster (View from the Right) calls "right liberalism." Like all liberalisms, including libertarianism, it fails to comprehend the necessary cultural and psychological infrastructure of ordered liberty. Mutatis mutandis, Towards a Genealogy of Morals is probably a more adequate glimpse at what it takes to create responsible, self-governing citizens than anything in the liberal's educational theory--though who needs Nietzsche when we have the Book of Proverbs. The impossibility of making people without the necessary "genealogy" into responsible, self-governing citizens in classical liberal society--whether in Afghanistan or the U.S.A.--is what I was referring to as the Procrustean character of liberalism, including classical liberalism if it is untethered from a sense of what kind of human capital is needed for a classical liberal system to operate. (marcfrans: I'm not saying you are untethered.)

I don't put much stock in socialists' complaints about gradualism. Advocated by Marx, the welfare state has trained generations to believe the state owns them and their property. No conservative is without his "inner liberal" that justifies the absolute power of the liberal Leviathan.

Happy Thanksgiving!

WELL worthy to be magnified are they
Who, with sad hearts, of friends and country took
A last farewell, their loved abodes forsook,
And hallowed ground in which their fathers lay;
Then to the new-found World explored their way,
That so a Church, unforced, uncalled to brook
Ritual restraints, within some sheltering nook
Her Lord might worship and his word obey
In freedom. Men they were who could not bend;
Blest Pilgrims, surely, as they took for guide
A will by sovereign Conscience sanctified;
Blest while their Spirits from the woods ascend
Along a Galaxy that knows no end,
But in His glory who for Sinners died.

--William Wordsworth, "The Pilgrim Fathers," from Ecclesiastical Sonnets

And thanks to you too KO

It's indeed necessary to step back from time to time and contemplate what others had to say.
Very often we realize then how much time we lost by ignoring older and wiser men.

KA To Pale Rider and KO

Pale Rider


Germanic culture does not exactly correlate with Germanic genetics.  In terms of the latter, only the Danes, Norwegians and Swedes are Germanic.  Beyond Scandinavia, Germanic peoples are either Celtic-Germanic, as is the case in England, Flanders, the Netherlands and West Germany, or Alpine-Germanic, as with the Austrians, Deutschschweizer, and Southern Germans.  Northeastern Germany is an interesting case, as it features – in addition to the Sorb minority – substantial West Slavic admixture from Germanized pagan tribes such as the Polabians.   However, both culture and genetics can only be approximated or generalized.


Nations are unique and distinct as much as they are part of larger groups.  European civilization can be reduced into sub-civilizations of which Germanic is but one.  Moreover, the Germanic sub-civilization can be further divided without reaching the level of the nation-state.  As regards Italy, there is a cultural and genetic gulf between the north and the south.  Much of Northern Italy should probably be incorporated into Italian Switzerland, rather than bound to Sicily; the country has never been a cohesive nation-state.


Religion in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth was never the same as religion in the Holy Roman Empire.  The Commonwealth was tolerant of Protestantism – and indeed of Judaism and Islam – during a period of hideous sectarian violence and political ambition in the rest of Europe.  Neither the House of Habsburg nor the House of Vasa could command the temporal or spiritual allegiance of the German states.  The House of Stuart was wise to keep its distance from the cauldron across the Channel; however, it did not escape unscathed.




Classical liberalism is not Procrustean in the least.  However, on the topic of conservatism, I trust you are referring to its traditional form i.e. center-right values with center-left intervention/spending. 




Kapitein Andre

RE: KA To Pale Rider and KO

Thanks for elaborating on what you meant by 'Germanic' culture. That was an interesting read, as is the conversation that has been going on between you and KO. Having read your post, I would have to agree with KO when he says that our views are not mutually exclusive.

I must admit that I do not know all that much about the Holy Roman Empire. In fact, it is something of a mystery to me and its complexity is rather daunting. When it comes to Western history, I am more focused on North Western Europe myself, particularly the British Isles and France, and - to a lesser degree - Italy, the Iberian peninsula and the Americas.

I have recently become quite fascinated with Hungary though. In due course I would also like to learn much more about the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and the Holy Roman Empire, which you are undoubtedly very familiar with. Unfortunately my time is rather limited, which is why I am focusing on the regions or countries that are the most relevant ones to myself.

I guess we're all a bunch of history buffs here, aren't we? ;)


Thanks for your reply. I do not entirely agree that classical liberalism includes center-left intervention/spending; at most, it tolerates them as means to protect the freedoms that classical liberalism seeks to secure. Cf. American conservatives' uneasy relationship to the Fed.

I would say that classical liberalism becomes Procrustean when people are given political power in a classical liberal system which they do not have the cultural values and intellectual background to exercise. Such people will vote to get rid of classical liberalism, and the classical liberals who agreed to give them the vote will do nothing because they believe the ballot box rules all. (I.e., we lop off people's tribalism, resentment, ignorance, incapacity, etc., to squeeze them into the bed of self-government.)

We need to remember that the ballot box is just a device for resolving differences between people who are in sufficient agreement with each other on basic principles to subject themselves to each other's wills on certain questions. To the extent such agreement disappears, or to the extent that what is submitted to the ballot exceeds the bounds of what was originally agreed could be submitted, the ballot box no longer provides a valid resolution.

To PR RE: North vs. South of the Alps


I once subscribed to Weber’s notion of the “Protestant work ethic”, especially given the role of Calvinism and various Puritan Anabaptists in creating the social conditions necessary for freer markets and capitalism.  However, you will note that the Slavs (and Balts) are mainly Eastern Orthodox and Catholic, with various Protestant minorities.  Yet Polish Catholicism is far removed from French or Latin American Catholicism, much as Russian Orthodoxy is from its Greek source. 


I have found that religion tends to conform to culture, which is derived from a people’s “character”.  No people adopts all of the foreign cultural norms it is exposed to.  Indeed, the Poles have always been Western–oriented and accepted neither Protestantism via the German states nor Orthodoxy from the Russian principalities. 


The French in France, Quebec and in the Swiss Cantons seem to share similar economic values that are more in keeping with those of the Mediterranean than those of Northern Europe.  If one is travelling by train from Amsterdam to Barcelona, one notices the increasing inefficiency as one crosses through Belgium into France and then Spain. Italian infrastructure is a disaster compared to that of Switzerland, and I can confidently state that Swiss organization is not a contribution from its French or Italian minorities. 


It is disturbing to see Northern European industriousness harnessed by the South, of which the Flemish–Walloon schism is but a microcosm.  Just as Brazil will always be “the nation of the future”, so too will a Europe united by the EU. 

RE: North vs South of the Alps

If infrastructure is what you had in mind, I would tend to agree. However, this does not lead me to have a higher regard for the Germanic nations. I was having intellect in mind. The English have been said to be more Germanic ethnically than the Germans themselves. I am sure you'll agree that the Germans, the English, the Dutch, Danes (etc) each have their own cultures irrespective of the fact that all are descended of Germanic tribes. That is why I tend to look at nations as a distinct group of people without any regard for their ethnic roots. The Dutch look at the Flemish as a 'Roman' people, and even I as a Reformed Protestant have to admit that I am much more 'Southern' in my culture than 'Northern'. I look at myself as Flemish rather than merely Germanic; that is only part of who I am. The French thank their name to the Franks, a Germanic people. Is their perceived inefficiency a result of Gallo-Roman admixture? Italian infrastructure today may be disastrous, but from what I have heard there are differences in mentality across Italy. Is their perceived inefficiency due to their Roman and Italic ancestors or due to the Celtic and Germanic invasions of the country? That is not to even mention modern Greece. I hope you see my point.

On a sidenote, the Reformation did reach Poland and Lithuania. Calvinism gained a foothold in Poland, including among members of the aristocracy, as it did in Hungary and Transylvania, where it gained a lot of popularity. In the latter two countries/regions, Calvinism is still relatively alive and well despite the success of the Counter Reformation, supported by the House of Hapsburg.

Best regards.

National character

@PR and KA: Thanks for your interesting discussion. It demonstrates the truth that the most important questions are not susceptible of logical proof but instead appeal to intuitive judgment. You both have facts and intuition on your side, and it appears your positions are not mutually exclusive. Identity is layered and complex. That is why conservatism, which acknowledges diversity and complexity, is a sounder political philosophy than liberalism, which cuts everyone to the Procrustean bed of its uniform model of humanity. That is why government is only successful to the extent it is conservative and is based on the subtlety and complexity of reality, including national character. To the extent it is based on delusions, it must constantly increase the energy it invests in transforming people until it breaks down and brings destruction to the people it controls.


The Anglo-Saxon world is very connected to the Germanic one esp. the commonalities of efficiency, political stability (not Germany), work ethic, liberty, and yes even equality. 

RE: @ PR

Kapitein, I honestly find your remarks on the Germanic nations to be rather confusing. I consider all of the countries or regions I mentioned to be 'Germanic' in that they speak Germanic languages and have Germanic roots, but the truth is that even Wallonia is overwhelmingly Germanic in its ethnic background despite the prevalence of Latin and Romance languages in that region. I don't believe there is really such a thing as a Germanic culture. Anglo-Saxon England, Germany and Holland may be Germanic, but, to my mind, their apparent similarities have more to do with the significant influence of the Reformation in these countries than with their having Germanic roots. Which is not to say that I deny the significance and strengths of the Germanic peoples, of course.

But how do French-speaking Switzerland, Québec, Wallonia and France compare? These are all French-speaking nations or peoples but each have their own histories and backgrounds so I really disagree with your lumping together of the Walloons with the French. I think your assertion that French-speakers have no sense of organisation while Germanic peoples supposedly have, is unfounded, especially in view of the mess that the so-called Germanic nations have created in their own countries in recent times. I mean no offense but I think your view is based more on prejudice than reality as far is this is concerned.

I fully agree with you, however, that "Europe has no need of a unified military or foreign policy, much less a single leader." I think few readers of the Brussels Journal would disagree with that statement.

I apologise for getting rather off-topic since this thread is about the EU presidency above all else.

Best regards.

@ Kapitein

Kapitein, you say the French cannot be trusted to organise anything. Although I might agree this applies to Wallonia, the French are not Walloons regardless of the fact that both are French-speakers. Also, may I ask exactly how Germanic superiority has benefited the Anglo-Saxon World, Holland, Germany and Scandinavia in recent decades, in view of the fiscally unsound, statist, multiculturalist, overly feministic, morally relativistic and self-defeating policies that appear to have overtaken virtually all of these countries, please? [rhetorical question]

The Pitfalls of Unity

European "success" over several centuries was premised upon the impossibility of centralizing power in Europe, a lesson learned by Kings, Emperors and Popes alike.  Europe has no need of a unified military or foreign policy, much less a single leader.  I cannot call the President of the European Council a representative, as he or she would be an appointed bureaucrat.  The EU's advantage lay in its common market.  However, French ambition, the German need for multilateralism, and dawning realization in the UK that the Empire is gone and there is strength in numbers, have completely corrupted an initially sound idea.  The French (incl. Walloons) cannot be trusted to organize anything, and the Germanic peoples from Scandinavia to Switzerland are still reeling from the pathology of multiculturalism and political correctness incurred during the Second World War.

"Counter- balance"

There can be little doubt that most contemporary European politicians want the EU to "counter balance" the United States on the world scene.  The question is whether that is a sensible goal, or not?

In 1941, in Life Magazine, Henry Luce called the 20th century "the American Century".  He coined this expression at a time when the superiority of the US and of the American way of life was definitely problematic.  Nazi-Germany's armies occupied much of Europe (from Bordeaux to the heartland of Russia), Imperial Japan occupied much of East Asia (from Manchuria to Indo-China) and, at that time, the USA itself was barely exiting from a decade-long Great Depression. Despite the regular re-appearance in subsequent decades of fanciful predictions of 'American declinism' in leftist Western media, by the end of the century, however, it was clear that Luce had been prescient.

Today, after the 9/11 outrage, the frustrations of Iraq and Afghanistan, and the Great Recession of 2008-09, there is again a lot of declinist muttering about the US among Western elites (including EU politicians), just like there was in Luce's days. They imagine that China's ascent over the past decade paralleled an American descent, and some of them even correctly recognise that the US is presently ruled by an anti-American President (its first presumed Post-American President) and a wimpish Congressional leadership. However, temporary politicians matter less than underlying economic and cultural forces.

Every century has its own distinctive features and creates a new context within which great powers exercise leadership. It is too early to know with certainty whether the United States can reinvent and renovate the economic pillars (and their military applications) that made it prominent in the 20th century (particularly its leadership in aerospace, computers and telecommunications). Technological superiority in the 21st century will be determined by leadership in 'new' economic sectors of the future, such as, perhaps: sustainable energy, biotechnology and medicine/health.

There are a number of great powers today, and some of them are seeking clear dominance in particular regions. Among them, China and India are rapidly rising, while the European Union and Japan are declining. Others, like Russia, Iran and Brazil, are clearly 'unstable'. For the United States to be an effective and constructive leader in the world, it must be able to obtain significant cooperation from at least some of these powers on issues of world importance, such as threats from transnational terrorist networks, nuclear proliferation, the global economy and epidemics. In this 'game' among great powers, the United States will have choices to make. For example, it could lead smaller countries (e.g. Georgia, Ukraine, Taiwan, etc...) in their opposition to aspiring regional powers, or it could allow regional dominance in order to gain cooperation on issues of 'world importance'.

The Europeans too will have choices to make. For instance, they could sensibly 'co-operate' with the Great Satan, or they could pridefully and stupidly "counter-balance" him. It is largely their choice, and they will live with the consequences of their choice.

Sold out

Good summary.  Self-governing Europeans have been sold out by their pols.  At some point massive civil disobedience will be in order.