fischer213_Michael JacobsArt in All of UsCorbis via Getty Images_euflag Michael Jacobs/Art in All of Us/Corbis via Getty Images

Europe Is Home Alone

For a long time, the European Union could coast on the success of its single market and common rules. But faced with the imperial threat emanating from Russia and the prospect of Donald Trump returning to the White House, Europe no longer has any choice but to become a military and political power in its own right.

BERLIN – Europe’s situation in 2024 is difficult, even dangerous. In Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war of aggression – an effort to wipe the country off the map and annex its territory – is entering its third year. In the United States, Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee for November’s presidential election, is making wild threats against America’s longstanding allies, even encouraging Putin to attack European countries that do not spend at least 2% of their GDP on defense.

If Trump wins in November, it would probably be the end of NATO and the American security guarantee. Europe would be completely on its own, trapped between an imperial Russian neighbor and an isolationist America on the other side of the Atlantic. Making matters worse, Europeans continue to cling desperately to an inherited grouping of “sovereign” nation-states, even though most are sovereign only on paper, because they are too weak to face current geopolitical realities on their own.

The situation demands greater European unity: namely, a common foreign policy, a joint military capability, a European nuclear umbrella, and everything else that forms the basis of meaningful sovereign power in the twenty-first century. Europeans, however, remain unwilling to accept this fact.