Synopses & Reviews
From one of America's best known foreign correspondents, an eye-opening account of the ascendancy of the European Union as a global superpower and rival to the United States.
In May 2004, the European Union will add ten new member states including Poland, the Czech Republic, and Hungary, among others to become a union of twenty-five nations. While this might seem a fairly innocuous and minute shift of political semantics for most Americans, the enlargement will increase the population of the EU to 450 million citizens, making it larger (in population) and richer (in GDP) than the United States not to mention that the EU has more trade than the United States and more votes on the UN Security Council and all other international organizations. This New Europe is determined to flex its political and economic muscle on the world stage. The Continent has moved much further than most Americans realize toward the dream of a "United States of Europe," to borrow Winston Churchill's term.
T. R. Reid's The United States of Europe lays bare the ways in which the EU is positioning itself to be a global counterweight and second superpower, on equal footing with the U.S.A. Reid traces the rise of the EU from the days when Churchill and other visionaries set out in the post-World War II rubble to find a means to end war in Europe. He shows how this remarkably successful effort to "create peace" also created a global economic and political power that is often at odds with the United States. This drive toward unity has been accelerated by the powerful mood of anti-Americanism (or, at least, anti-Bushism) that has swept the Continent since the war in Iraq.
In addition to the political ramifications of the EU, The United States of Europe shows the great impact this alliance is having on the global economic market. The euro, which now has more daily users than the dollar, is fast becoming a reserve currency and a new standard for global finance, a globally recognized replacement for the once-almighty dollar. Unification has spawned a generation of European corporate managers who have led firms like Nokia, Airbus, BP, Vodafone, and Red Bull to catch and surpass their U.S. competitors in global markets.
The European Union, from its beginnings as an experiment in statecraft, has rapidly emerged as a resounding success; yet Americans have so far managed to ignore the geopolitical revolution under way across the Atlantic. Reid's book shows how quietly and not so quietly Europe is developing itself into an economic, political, and cultural powerhouse.
"While 'old Europe' is most often portrayed as more bark than bite in its differences with the current U.S. administration, NPR commentator and former Washington Post European bureau chief Reid finds the E.U. as a whole 'determined to change a world that has been dominated by Americans.' The opening chapters quickly summarize everyday Europeans' love-hate relationship with the States, the legacies of the 20th-century wars, and the creation of the Euro. The center chapters present GE as a case study in transatlantic trade gone wrong ('Welch's Waterloo') as well as other snafus that show Europe attempting to dominate market share of everything from cell phones to pharmaceuticals. A chapter detailing what's left of Europe's welfare states is followed by a relatively bleak assessment of Europe's armies, and the spin that the E.U. is betting on economic 'soft power' for eventual global dominance. The concluding chapters warn that the U.S. ignores Europe's new 25-nation strong union at its economic and political peril, but also draw attention to Europe as a huge, tariff-free market and potential sharer of global burdens. There's little surprising here, but Reid's primer on recent U.S.
European relations genially summarizes an evolving, if often reluctant, partnership." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"[A]n altogether fine piece of reporting. Salutary arguments abound here for those tired of homegrown complainers about high taxes and states' rights." Kirkus Reviews
"[Reid's] stories [are] told with wit and charm....Two appendixes provide a summary description of each member state and of the EU's complex governance structure....[An] informative and accessible study..." Library Journal
Reid lays bare the ways in which the EU is positioning itself to be a global counterweight and second superpower, on equal footing with the U.S.
To Americans accustomed to unilateralism abroad and social belt-tightening at home, few books could be more revelatory—or controversial—than this timely, lucid, and informative portrait of the new European Union.
Now comprising 25 nations and 450 million citizens, the EU has more people, more wealth, and more votes on every international body than the United States. It eschews military force but offers guaranteed health care and free university educations. And the new “United States of Europe” is determined to be a superpower. Tracing the EU’s emergence from the ruins of World War II and its influence everywhere from international courts to supermarket shelves, T. R. Reid explores the challenge it poses to American political and economic supremacy. The United States of Europe is essential reading.
About the Author
T. R. Reid has covered the U.S. Congress, national politics, and four presidential campaigns for the Washington Post. He was the Post's Tokyo bureau chief from 1990 to 1995 and then became head of the paper's London bureau, where he chronicled the stunning rise of the European Union at the dawn of the twenty-first century. Reid is now the Post's Rocky Mountain bureau chief and a popular commentator on National Public Radio. He is the author of three books in Japanese and five in English, including The Chip: How Two Americans Invented the Microchip and Launched a Revolution.
Table of Contents
Prologue: Sleeping Through the Revolution
One: The Atlantic Wars
Two: The Invention of Peace and the Pursuit of Prosperity
Three: The Almighty Undollar
Four: Welch's Waterloo
Five: L'Europe Qui Gagne; or, I Can't Believe It's Not American Butter
Six: The European Social Model
Seven: Showdown at Capability Gap
Eight: Generation E and the Ties That Bind the New Europe
Nine: Waking Up to the Revolution
Appendix 1: The States of Europe
Appendix 2: Inside the Belgeway: The Governing Structure of the European Union
About the Author