Could a United States of Europe Rival the United States of America?

Today’s podcast features a December 2002 lecture by historian, author, and IHS Board member Timothy Garton Ash entitled “Could a United States of Europe Rival the United States of America.”

Responding to Timothy Garton Ash is Michael Ignatieff, who was, at the time of this lecture, Director of the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.

In his lecture, Garton Ash asks three questions:

One, Could a US of Europe rival the US?

Two, Do Europeans want a US of Europe to rival the US (and do Americans worry about it)?

And three, Will there be a US of Europe?

To first two question, he says, yes, absolutely – Europe has bigger population, a strong economy, more favorable trade balance, etc., but to the third question, will there be a US of Europe, he says, “most definitely not,” and he goes on to list ten reasons. Garton Ash was speaking to an American audience and he cautioned, lest anyone find his conclusions reassuring, that a weak Europe is in fact cause for worry – the challenges we face require a strong partnership.

Even though this lecture took place five years ago, during a time of heightened tensions between the United States and Europe, when commentators on right and left were predicting “the End of the West,” and before the 2004 expansion of the European Union, Timothy Garton Ash’s concerns are still relevant, one, because we don’t know just how the European Union will evolve in the coming years, what sort of political entity it will be, and two, because, as Dominique Moisi points out in out a more recent assessment of US-European relations, the outlook for the transatlantic alliance is uncertain.

This lecture aired on WBUR, New England’s largest public radio station on December 29, 2002. We are grateful to WBUR for making the recording available to EU for YOU.

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