The US and the EU are entirely different 7

There is a profound difference between the US and the EU, and one that will never disappear. The US has a single culture, a single language, a single and powerful global brand, and a single government that commands national allegiance. It has a national history, a national myth, a demos that is the foundation of their democracy. The EU has nothing of the kind. In urging us to embed ourselves more deeply in the EU’s federalising structures, the Americans are urging us down a course they would never dream of going themselves. That is because they are a nation conceived in liberty. They sometimes seem to forget that we are quite fond of liberty, too.

Boris Johnson, the buoyant, brilliant, good-humored Mayor of London, who may be and ought to be a future Conservative prime minister, writes at The Telegraph:

I love America. I believe in the American dream. Indeed, I hold that the story of the past 100 years has been very largely about how America rose to global greatness – and how America has helped to preserve and expand democracy around the world. In two global conflicts, and throughout the Cold War, the United States has fought for the founding ideals of the republic: that government of the people, by the people, for the people should not perish from the earth. So it is on the face of it a bit peculiar that US government officials should believe that Britain must remain within the EU – a system in which democracy is increasingly undermined.

Some time in the next couple of months we are told that President Obama himself is going to arrive in this country, like some deus ex machina, to pronounce on the matter. Air Force One will touch down; a lectern with the presidential seal will be erected. The British people will be told to be good to themselves, to do the right thing. We will be informed by our most important ally that it is in our interests to stay in the EU, no matter how flawed we may feel that organisation to be. Never mind the loss of sovereignty; never mind the expense and the bureaucracy and the uncontrolled immigration. The American view is very clear. Whether in code or en clair, the President will tell us all that UK membership of the EU is right for Britain, right for Europe, and right for America. And why? Because that – or so we will be told – is the only way we can have “influence” in the counsels of the nations.

It is an important argument, and deserves to be taken seriously. I also think it is wholly fallacious – and coming from Uncle Sam, it is a piece of outrageous and exorbitant hypocrisy.

Only it is not coming from Uncle Sam. It is coming from Uncle Sam’s enemy, President Barack Hussein Obama.

There is no country in the world that defends its own sovereignty with such hysterical vigilance as the United States of America. This is a nation born from its glorious refusal to accept overseas control. Almost two and a half centuries ago the American colonists rose up and violently asserted the principle that they – and they alone – should determine the government of America, and not George III or his ministers. To this day the Americans refuse to kneel to almost any kind of international jurisdiction. Alone of Western nations, the US declines to accept that its citizens can be subject to the rulings of the International Criminal Court in The Hague. They have not even signed up to the Convention on the Law of the Sea. Can you imagine the Americans submitting their democracy to the kind of regime that we have in the EU?

Under Obama, the US has not been defending its sovereignty. And Obama would love it if America could be totally ruled by a world communist government. But the rest is true.

Think of NAFTA  – the North Atlantic Free Trade Agreement – that links the US with Canada and Mexico. Suppose it were constituted on the lines of the EU, with a commission and a parliament and a court of justice. Would the Americans knuckle under – to a NAFTA commission and parliament generating about half their domestic law? Would they submit to a NAFTA court of justice – supreme over all US institutions – and largely staffed by Mexicans and Canadians whom the people of the US could neither appoint nor remove? No way. The idea is laughable, and completely alien to American traditions. So why is it essential for Britain to comply with a system that the Americans would themselves reject out of hand? Is it not a blatant case of “Do as I say, but not as I do”?

Of course it is. As for this precious “influence”, so dearly bought, I am not sure that it is all it is cracked up to be – or that Britain’s EU membership is really so valuable to Washington. Since the very foundation of the Common Market, the Washington establishment has supported the idea of European integration. The notable state department figure George W Ball worked on drafting the Schuman plan in 1950. He was a pallbearer at the funeral of Jean Monnet, the architect of the European project.

The Americans see the EU as a way of tidying up a continent whose conflicts have claimed huge numbers of American lives; as a bulwark against Russia, and they have always conceived it to be in American interests for the UK – their number one henchperson, their fidus Achates – to be deeply engaged. Symmetrically, it has been a Foreign Office superstition that we are more important to Washington if we can plausibly claim to have “influence” in Brussels. But with every year that passes that influence diminishes.

It is not just that we are being ever more frequently outvoted in the council of ministers, and our officials ever more heavily outnumbered in the Commission. The whole concept of “pooling sovereignty” is a fraud and a cheat. We are not really sharing control with other EU governments: the problem is rather that all governments have lost control to the unelected federal machine. We don’t know who they are, or what language they speak, and we certainly don’t know what we can do to remove them at an election.

When Americans look at the process of European integration, they make a fundamental category error. With a forgivable narcissism, they assume that we Europeans are evolving – rather haltingly – so as to become just like them: a United States of Europe, a single federal polity. That is indeed what the eurozone countries are trying to build; but it is not right for many EU countries, and it certainly isn’t right for Britain.

There is a profound difference between the US and the EU, and one that will never disappear. The US has a single culture, a single language, a single and powerful global brand, and a single government that commands national allegiance. It has a national history, a national myth, a demos that is the foundation of their democracy. The EU has nothing of the kind. In urging us to embed ourselves more deeply in the EU’s federalising structures, the Americans are urging us down a course they would never dream of going themselves. That is because they are a nation conceived in liberty. They sometimes seem to forget that we are quite fond of liberty, too.

That last sentence of Mr. Johnson’s is typical British understatement.

At least three of the most important thinkers of the Enlightenment whose ideas inspired the Founders to ground the United States of America in liberty were British: Hobbes, Locke, and Paine. From the Glorious Revolution of 1688 on, Britain, though in form a constitutional monarchy, was a free democracy, with suffrage spreading eventually to all citizens – until it entered the European Economic Union, which evolved into the European Union. That fatal step took democratic self-government away from the United Kingdom.

There is to be a referendum in June on whether or not a majority of Britons want to stay in the undemocratic EU or leave it. It is time for Britain to reclaim self-determination, and Americans, of all the peoples on earth, could surely be expected to applaud the British for doing so.

Posted under Britain, Europe, United States by Jillian Becker on Tuesday, March 15, 2016

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This post has 7 comments.

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  • I’m not sure about Boris. He was a strong advocate for mass immigration not so long ago, I’m not even sure where he stands on that now. He was pro-EU till not so long ago as well. He is a founder member of the “Conservative Friends of Turkey”, an organisation that wants Turkey in the EU.

    http://www.cfot.org.uk/founder-members/

    On the plus side he did say in 2005 following the London bombings:

    “Islam is the problem, the problem is Islam”.

    But he kind of changed his tune since then:

    http://www.theguardian.com/uk/davehillblog/2009/sep/08/boris-johnson-islam-east-london-mosque

    so, he’s now more or less toeing the “nothing to do with Islam” line.

    As his hero Winston Churchill might have put it, Boris may be the least worst option at the moment. Maybe we should give him the benefit of the doubt, people change their minds.

    • Thank you for this, Chauncey Tinker. I’ admit i’m a bit out of touch. I’m also more than bit disappointed to learn all this about Boris. Well, he’s right about the EU and the need for Britain to come out of it (and for it to cease to exist, he even hints, I think).

      • British politics is in a sorry state. I would have much preferred David Davis to be the Conservative leader. He is a man of true principle and consistency, and is a great defender of freedom. Unfortunately he just didn’t have the political instinct needed to win the leadership and was beaten by Cameron quite comfortably.

        We have our own Bernie Sanders with the latest Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, I see you have mentioned him before. A true loony lefty of the old school, yet right now Labour is neck and neck with the Tories. He advocates printing money and giving it to poor people and a nuclear submarine fleet without nuclear weapons.

        Boris may indeed be the best hope right now. His rival Theresa May the home secretary is trying to turn the UK into a police state. Robert Spencer has written incisively about this. She wants to stay in the EU. George Osborne also for staying in the EU, and his brother has converted to Islam, although that maybe doesn’t reflect on Osborne himself too much its still troubling somehow.

        • Thanks again! All very interesting. Please would you do this from time to time? Give us essential news from poor dear Old Blighty? We’d really like that. Perhaps whenever we post an item about or concerning Britain?

          • I have been planning to write about certain aspects of current affairs in the UK for my blog in any case, I will certainly keep you posted on when I write on that. You are very welcome to re-publish any of it and thanks for any publicity. I will continue to comment on your articles as well. It seems we have a similar viewpoint on a lot of matters.

            A particular concern I have is around the “Counter Extremism Strategy”. Robert Spencer wrote on an aspect of this already I alluded to this above. I intend to write at length on the whole strategy. Its very unfortunate that people in the US seem more aware of how serious an assault on freedom of speech the proposals really are. I anticipate the bill in question will be coming before parliament quite soon. Any publicity you give to this issue will be especially welcome. People used to look to the UK as an example of a fair justice system, this will seriously undermine our reputation.

            • Thank you. I look forward to reading whatever articles of yours you would link us to. And I’d be glad to quote your commentary on the free speech issue.

  • liz

    The EU is another tool conceived by leftists to continue ratcheting Europe leftward.
    Obama is only too happy to promote it, of course. He’s as foreign to the the concept and founding of this country as Castro or Kim Jong Un.