tv Discussion on the Future of the European Union CSPAN April 11, 2016 12:00am-2:00am EDT
about the new recommendations for doctors regarding opioid prescriptions in the latest on the air when epidemic and the center's work to prevent violence on and off the field. be sure to watch washington journal beginning on monday morning. join the discussion at 7:00 a.m. britishr: the parliament is on recess of the prime minister's questions will not be seen. now a discussion on the european union. a group of analysts debate the pro and it euro-skeptic positions. the potential for european cultural integration, and the prospects for the uk's withdrawal from the eu. the two-hour event was hosted by the hudson institute. from the nation partnership. from the hudson institute, this is two hours.
>> what is the future of the european union? that's what we will be talking about today. what does it mean to say european union as a democracy deficit? supernatural governance, is it combatable with self-government? will the british leave the eu in june? if so, what does this mean for the european project? will germany the indispensable motor, pull back from the dream of a european political union? will the cultural, political and security challenge of radical islam, both within europe and abroad, strengthen or weaken the eu. what affect does putin's russia have on the politics of the eu? what does the refugee crisis mean for european political integration and the concept of an ever closer union? what is the future of the eu mean for the united states? and the transatlantic alliance. we will be trying to answer some of the questions this morning.
we have an outstanding panel of experts with differing viewing on these ishz adiffering views e and the european union. i'm interested in the democracy question. european union represents a new form of governance. beyond the nation state in general and beyond the democratic nation state in particular. so before we get started, i'm going to quote three european leaders from the left, right and center, who in the very early days, right after world war ii, were concerned about -- this is before charles degall and margaret thatcher voiced their reservations, these three were concerned about the future of democracy in interegrated europ. from the left in 1950, british labor prime minister declared that britain, quote, would not accept that the most student
economic forces in our country should be handed over to an authority that is utterly undemocratic and responsible to nobody. from the right, and at the same time in france, the leader of the national assembly opposed, quote, delegating our powers to experts. several years late r in 1957, i opposition to the founding document of the eec, which was the forrunner of the union, the founding treaty of rome document, former french premiere stated, a democrat may abdicate by giving in to internal dictatorship, but also by dell delegating his powers to an external authority. that was opposition to the treaty of rome. our first speaker is todd
huizinga. he is the author of a new book. it's here and outside. it's -- it's entitled that we will discuss today "the new totalitarian temptation, global governan governance." i urge everyone to get a copy. it's in my view as i have written my review, best book written to date on the european union. mr. high zinger was an american diplomat for 20 years. he served as a political consular, the european union and as deputy chief of mission and american embassies and consulates in munich and frankfurt and co-ta rica and mexico. he served on the european union desk of the state department in washington, d.c. he knows the european union as few scholars and statesmen do. i will leave it to mr. huizinga
next. >> thank you, john. thank you, everyone, for coming. i appreciate your interest. things don't look too good right now in europe. before the summer is out, britain might decide to leave the eu. greece is de facto little more than a protector of the international monetary fund. the european commission and the european central bank. the system of travel across borders within the eu is in danger of being abolished. devastating terrorist attacks have occurred regularly in europe since the 2004 madrid train bombings. as brussels and paris recently show us, the threat of jihadist terrorism remains palpable throughout europe. so how did this all come about?
in my book, i contend that the european union commitment overriding the powers of its member states is eroding democracy in europe, threatening human rights and putting the eu in principal on a collision course with the united states. there are five major arguments in the book. first, the eu is transforming europe from a continent of democratically accountable nation states into a post-democratic order in which voters have little say in how they are governed. second, the euro zone crisis, the migrant crisis increased risk of terrorism are all connected with the eu's pursuit of its globalist super national dream. third, because of the different views on national sovereignty and democratic accountability,
the united states and the european union are in principal on a collision course. forth, the fact that europe is largely post-christian while the u.s. system of government is based on a jew day yo world view accounting for this. fifth, many of the new human rights promoted by the eu are actually harmful to human rights because they contradict tradition, human nature and the fact that human beings are not just individuals but are also embedded in family, religion and community. i would like to concentrate on two things as the basis for discussion. first i would like to give you an overview of what i believe makes the eu tick and makes some comments on how it ticks. second, i would like to examine the clash of visions between the united states and the european union. first an overview of the eu.
what is the eu in its essence? that is the question. it's very hard to say what the eu is. anyone who attempts it is taking a big risk. i guess i'm taking a big risk. there's so many different values, interests, goals, languages and peoples that coexist within the eu. also, the eu is unprecedented. nothing like it has ever existed. certainly, the european union is unlike any other international arrangement or organization that otherwise exists. for example, some people think of the eu as a free trade block or a customs union. but the eu is much more than that. the eu is much more than say the u.s., canada and mexico under a nafta. neither is the eu like any other organization that might seem xapable. take the organization of american states, the oas. both the eu and oas are regional
organizations. just as the oas is pan-american, including all of the states of the western hemisphere, so the eu is close to being pan-european. but there the similarities between the oas and the eu end. the 28 eu member states with their constant coordination on every possible policy issue and their powerful common institutions in brussels and luxembourg are much more closely integrate than the member states of the oas or any other international organization. so the eu is much more than a garden variety international organization. neither is the eu anything like a federal state. the eu is not a united states of europe. the eu member states continue to exist as independent nations. so what is the eu? when all is said and done, my belief is that what it comes down to is that the eu is a super nationalist project.
the eu member states in the interest of realizing an unprecedented degree of peace, stability and prosperity, are pooling and thus relinquishing significant elements of their national sovereignty. they are ceding large aspects to the super national institutions of the eu that are distinct from the eu member states and that function independently above the national level. the essence of the european project. not just the nuts and bolts of how the eu works but the hope behind the european dream, the heart and soul and mind of the eu is precisely this super nationalism. the process of european integration arose out of the ashes of world war ii. and the determination of european leaders that war should never again arise from european soil. that violent conflicts among
european nation states, especially between france and germany, should never happen again. this was a noble vision. above all, this was an understandable vision given the devastation by world war ii and by world war i. despite all the problems that it has caused, this remains a powerful vision today. the vision of a harmonious and peaceful europe united in the european union with fins and ger m germans and french and everyone working together for a better europe and a better world. but the european union is not just about europe. this vision of the eu, this super nationalist approach as a model for a new way to -- is a model for a new way to order the world. the eu's super nationalism is all about global governance. putting the eu's form of super national governance into
practice on a global scale in order to realize world peace by overcoming the unlimited sovereignty of nations which the eu believes is the root of war among nations. and here as a model for global governance, the eu has real credibility. after all, the eu is the only functioning model of how such global governance might work. so what is global governance? most definitions that you will find -- that you will easily find are very technocratic. they don't get to the heart of the matter. here is how i would define it following john fonte's work on this topic. it's the attempt to introduce a global rule of law in the interest of achieving an unprecedeunpres unprecedented degree of prosperity. rather by the development of an ever more comprehensive network
of international institutions that administer a greater body of international law to which nation states are subject. that binds nation states not only in their foreign policy but also in substantial areas of their domestic policy. the key to global governance is the development of a global rule of law whereby no one knows exactly what this global rule of law will look like in the end, if an end is even meant to be achieved. the key thing about the global governance and the eu is process. constant process. constant becoming. never necessarily ending reaching an end state. so back to the european level for a moment. how does the eu, this attempt to build a super national, this
model for govern he weance work? >> it is distinct from the member state governments. i would like to summarize the characteristics that are ill s illustrative and important to keep in mind. the european commission. the executive arm. it enforces eu regulations through the eu. it has an important legislative function with rare exceptions, it is the only institution in the eu that has the power to propose eu legislation. this power is the right of initiative. the right of initiative means that the eu -- means two things. that eu legislation starts with unelected technocrats working in the european commission. and two, that the eu executive arm has perhaps the most important legislative power.
thus violating the separation of powers in a way that damages democratic accountability. second institution i would like to talk about the council of ministers. the council of ministers is the institution within which representatives of the member state governments work together to coordinate almost all policies in their domains. domestic and foreign, political and economic. the council of ministers, important thing to know, is the single entity but meets in ten different areas. there's the foreign affairs council where the foreign affairs ministers meet. environmental council where the environmental afarz ministers meet. the economic and finance ministers meet. so another typical thing about the eu that kind of muddies the waters, it's one institution. there are ten basically completely separate formations. another important thing about the council is that the council of ministers is and both/and
institution. the members of the council both represent their governments but they also act as members of a super national institution, a super national eu institution. that is distinct from their governments and to which they belong in a much closer way than they would belong to committees in any other international organization. so this brings a lot of lack of clarity to the council of ministers. lack of clarity again, it's typical of the eu. it further muddies the waters of democratic accountability. then we have the european parliament. it's not really a parliament. it doesn't do much things that most national parliaments do. it doesn't have the power to levee taxes, for example. most importantly, the european parliament does not draft legislation. the european commission does that. it's approval is necessary for legislation together with that
of the council of ministers. but the legislation is drafted by the commission. i note here that the european parliament and the council of ministers can both amend legislation as drafted by the commission. they can amend it. here is another twist that many people forget really about the european parliament that renders it completely unparliamentary in the traditional sense. there's no majority party or coalition in the european parliament representing the government party. and there's no minority party or coalition representing the opposition as in other parliaments. because there is no government in the eu and no opposition. rather, everyone governs together in a hybrid system of super national governance. a final example from my experience in the state department, although foreign
policy supposedly, according to the eu treaties, a domain of the eu member states and not of the eu, the eu itself has become a huge foreign policy player. first the eu member state foreign ministers meet monthly to coordinate their foreign policies as closely as possible in the foreign affairs council that i mentioned a minute ago. second, the eu has created its own de facto foreign minister with the title of high representative of the european union for foreign affairs and security policy. she chairs the monthly foreign affairs ministers meetings and sets the agenda for the meetings. she also travels as the foreign policy representative of the eu. she was john kerry's principal european partner in the nuclear negotiation with iran. serving the high representative, the eu has created its own de facto foreign ministry, the
european external action service. day to day, i would say from my personal experience, the eu is as important a foreign policy partner for the united states as germany, france or great britain. it is usually certainly in terms of day to day interaction of high level u.s. diplomats more important than the mid-sized or smaller eu member states. this is an amazing thing. one of the u.s.'s most important foreign policy partners is not a country with a government that's not a government, a foreign minister is not a foreign minister, a diplomatic corps that is not a diplomatic corps, with all of this making and implementing foreign policy on behalf of an organization, that no one, including europeans themselves, has ever been able to define in a way that everyone can agree on. that was my overview of the eu. the eu is completely different
from anything that has ever existed before in the world. what's at the root of all this? how did this strange new thing called the eu come about? that brings us to the second of the topics i would like to cover. this is a complex topic, of course. in principal, americans must understand is that the eu and the u.s. have fundamentally different visions of the world. the u.s. vision of the world and of international affairs is that of a world of sovereign nations. the u.s. hopes to achieve a peaceful and prosperous world by promoting democracy and the rule of law so the world system is distinguished by democratically accountable governments of nation states accountable to citizens that cooperate peacefully with each other. the eu's vision on the other hand is of a post-nation state world in which war and conflicts between nation states are overcome because the full
sovereignty of nation states has been relinquished to a system of global governance based on a growing web of international organization s administering international law. even though the western and central european countries remain the united states most important allies -- i want to emphasize that. europe remains our most important allies. this difference, this clash of vision, putsed s the eu and the. on a collision course. for one thing, anti-americanism is an inevitable outgrowth of the european idea if one thinks it logically. as the world's most powerful nation state and one that jealously guards its national sovereign tish sovereignty, the united states is the big gore ill la that stands in the way of the eu vision of a world that has evolved beyond the nation state. there are many factors that have
led to this difference between the u.s. and the eu. not just the european experience of world war ii and the desire to do away with conflicts between european nations. i would like to mention a central factor in this different, one that i delved deeply into in my book. this is the religious difference between the u.s. and the eu. the u.s. is the most christian of the modern developed societies of the world. the eu comis largely secular. the u.s. government is based on a sober, very christian view of human nature and thus of government. this is the whole reason for the separation of power and checks and balances in the u.s. constitution. it's striking to me how deeply indebted to yi ed ted to christ implicit in the federalist papers is. regardless whether they were believing or not. hamilton, madison and jay
accepted that human beings while capable of great good were also flaw and limited. sinful as christians would put it. therefore, the power of human government will to be limited and separated into multiple centers so that the flawed human beings who hold governmental power could not impose atyranny on everyone else. regardless of whether most americans are believing christians or not. culturally in this sense, america is still more christian than not. the eu's super nationalism on the other hand, a secular social democratic view of human nature. the idea that social justice can be achieved through government action and through government planning. this is not just a can, can be
achieved. this is a must. must be achieved. for most people in post-christian europe, certainly for the governing elite, this world is all there is. out of that flows the conviction animating this that the highest justice must be determined by human beings and pursued via politics and government. so this is a radical clash of vision between the u.s. and the eu. the clash between democratic sovereignty based in nation state and global governance rooted in the clash between the religiously informed world view in the u.s. and a non-religious world view in the eu. i would like to give you one example how this difference plays out. i had three but for the purpose of time i will give one. how this clash of visions plays out, how the ideology of global governance though unrealistic has real world consequences.
my example for this, for the real world consequences is the war on terror. whatever you want to call it, i know that the phrase war on terror has been subject to much disagreement. this has been the number one foreign policy priority of the united states since september 11, 2001. in many ways, the eu has been our most important ally in this struggle. but at the same time, the eu has often and repeatedly been our worst antagonist. why? because the advocates of the global governance want to subject the u.s. struggle to the war on terrorism to a potentially crippling regime of international law. i will name one of many examples of this. the war in iraq. the popular mythology is that the controversy over the war centered on the question of whether there were actually weapons of mass destruction hidden in iraq. before the invasion, almost
everyone, including the french, the germans and for good measure the russians, believed that hussein did possess weapons of mass destruction. the realventative attack was justified under international law and whether war could be legitimate with the approval of the u.n. security council. in other words, whether the u.s. could do what it rightly or wrongly thought necessary to protect the lives of its citizens without the explicit approval of the other four permanent members of the u.n. security council. this was truly a battle of world views centered on the question of the legitimacy and authority of super national governance. the advocates of global governance believed that the u.s. did not have the right to protect its citizens without a permission slip from russia and a permission slip from china. to put it bluntly. to say nothing of a permission slip from france.
honest people of good will disagree on iraq. on much of what the united states has done to combat terrorism since 9/11. there's been little precedent to fall back on. the information on which to base policy decision severely limited. we are dealing with all shades of gray in the war or terror. we may never know whether what we did was the right thing to do. the global governances don't want to deal with the real world of uncertainty and complexity. their blinders are firmly set in place. they want to realize their globalist vision based on a care couture of reality and that has hindered the prosecution of the war on terror. what is the eu? most people don't know. i'm going to be -- i'm going to
go out on a limb here and i'm going to say most europeans don't know. most europeans that i have talked to don't know. i have lived in europe for much of my life. most educated, intelligent politically astud europeans who do not live in brussels do not know what the european union is. but its beating heart, what motivates the supporters, is the idea of achieving peace through super national governance. the idea of achieving peace through global governance. as john mentioned in his introduction, the question of democracy is at the core of all this. the eu has never squared the circle to fit super national governance with democracy. it has never figured out how its super national governance can be made democratically accountable to an adequate degree. the problem i believe is that the circle can't be squared. so where are we now and what is
the future of the european union? let me finish with a few brief summary remarks on the destabilization of domestic politics, the phenomenon of cultural exhaustion in the eu and the continuing power of the european dream. the heart of the question is the british people's right to govern themselves. the issues one hears about such as british concern about the cost of social benefits for non-british eu citizens living in the uk or protection of the city of london from euro zone overregulation are important but they are not the main point. the main question is whether the british people have the right to govern themselves and whether self-government is more important to the british people than the perceived benefits of being in the eu. the destabilization of domestic
politics in the eu, for a long time and accelerating since the may 2014 european elections, pro-eu establishment parties throughout the eu have been hemorrhaging support and anti-eu protest parties have been gaining ground virtually everywhere. some but not all of these protest parties are on the far right and far left fringes. i think that's important to note. they are not all on the far right and far left fringes. unfortunately, few among the established eed elite in the ee drawn the right congress collusion. after 65 years, the eu has conclusively shown itself to be inherently undemocratic, unaccountable and unresponsive to voters. the voters want political power transferred back to the national governments, the ones they vote in and vote out and thus the ones that are or at least should be accountable to them, the people they claim to serve.
the first final straw that fuelled this ongoing political upheaval was the euro zone crisis and the severe economic hardship to establish a common currency. the second final straw was and is the ongoing immigration crisis and all the disruption it is causing. the latest final straw is the te te terrifyi ining vulnerability of open boards. how many more final straws can the eu take? cultural exhaustion. the migrant crisis throws into sharp relief the impression -- impression of a self-hating dieing civilization that is jettison the beliefs that burst it and is no longer having children throwing open the gates to young, committed representatives of a world view
that might prove itself fully capable of shoveling a politically correct europe aside and establishing something completely different atop the ruins of the european dream. finally, the european dream itself and the persistence of the european dream. the european dream is not dead. lost in their focus on hard facts and their focus on european versions of it's the economy stupid, the pragmatists in the eu have been too complacent. if the pragmatists in europe dismissing closer union and such things as unrealistic aspirations that will never come to pass and thus can safely be ignored, if they have proven anything over the past 60 years, they have proven that they seef seriously underestimate dreams and world views.
however much the euro zone fiasco and migrant crisis have exposed its inherent folly. the economic arguments of the pro-eu side in britain, for example, evidence that many british elites still refuse to accept that the eu has never been about economics. they real once again that many economic elites have bought into the idea that super national integration should trump patriotism and democratic sovereignty because they believe integration brings markets and buyers closer to them. also sizable majority of the european political class remains in favor of european integration. the continued indifference and acquiescence of the majority of the european voters may prove too strong to roll the eu back.
and crises have proven to be blessings to the cause of european integration. the jury is still out on whether that includes the most recent crises. so far, eu elites have taken advantage of the euro zone crisis to transfer unprecedented powers to the eu level. they are trying to do the same with the migrant crisis and it is certainly not certain that they will -- that they will fail in that. they may well succeed in that. thank you very much for your interest. i look forward to the discussion. [ applause ] >> are we on? okay. next speaker will be dalibor rohac. he studies europe and and
economic trends. he is working on the european union and the euro zone and the post communist transition. >> do you want me to -- >> either way. you can go up to the podium if you like. >> thank you. i should probably begin by stating that i have a conflict of interest of sorts at this event. i have my own book about the european union coming out next month. insofar as most people probably are going to limit their purchases of eu-related books to just a few pieces a year, it's in my very direct material interest to dissuade you as strongly as possible from purchasing his book and encourage you to buy my book. it's out may 11th. both in hard cover and
paperback, reasonably priced. if you are keen on doing your christmas shopping early, i think this would make for a wonderful gift. on a more serious note, john invited me here. i said i would find a lot to disagree with in the book. he was right. there's a lot in the book that i do disagree with. but i thought at the same time that this was an interesting, thoughtful, readable. it was often correct in its diagnosis of what has gone wrong during the euro zone crisis and the handling of the refugees into europe and quite correctly often times in diagnosing various dysfunctions of the eu such as the democratic deficit. the one thing that struck me once i picked up the copy was the title. new totalitarian temptation. i'm the only one born and
brought up in a ooh tal tearian regime. it was yugoslavia. people were shot at the border without warning. i think there's some merit in reserving the term for those forms of government that do require complete and total sub ser serviance. obviously, the title isn't there to provoke. the title does relate to the main argument of the book as we heard, which is that the european integration is a deliberate attempt driven by ideological considerations which aims to replace democratic decision making in nation states by a far less accountable forment of governance at the super national level. i suppose such ideology exists. i suppose people that would adhere to that, there would be a time and place to direct a
argument at them. but i don't think that you are going to get a lot of mileage from this argument in trying to describe and understand what the eu is, how it has come about, what are its problems and potential solution s to the problems. superficial observation that one gets after the skimming few first couple of pages of the book is that the slippery slope argument that there's an problem that runs in the face of the fact that the 70 years of european integration has also been 70 years that have by historical standards coincides with a flourishing of democracy in europe. i know that there are issues with the project, democratic deficit, overreach. but compared to what europe had known before, you know, we are living in the best of all possible times, i would say.
also, quite superficially if you look at the events of the past couple of years, numerous crisis that europe has found itself in, it's very difficult to argue that these were accompanied as having accompanied by some unprecedented transfer of power to brussels. euro zone crisis has not led and it's unlike lig ekely to lead t. european institution have not acquired taxing power. the refugee crisis is national level politics on a grand scale. even on matters of foreign policy, it was european leaders negotiating. i think these are just sort of superficial observations. i think there are deeper problems running through the argument, which to me suggests that this might not be the best way to frame the discussion.
once you start equating sovereign nation states with democracy and global governance with erosion of limited government or if not this, you run into this which is largely unexplained. how is it possible that so many pro-limited government pro-market voices are -- have been consistently in favor of restraining national sovereignty in one way or another? here is one example. in 1939 before the second world war, the free market founder wrote the little essay called on economic transitions. he argues the main problem in 19th century was that it didn't take into account the problems that arise with the lack of a common interstate structure of international security.
so you can't really realize how many interest between citizens of different states n s nlsz ys have a common framework. he is very unambiguous. he says that under that government, certain defined powers are transferred to the international authority. in his view, have no conflict within this idea and that of limited government and free enterprise. he says that the two are mutually reinforcing that in fact open markets are a necessary prerequisite for successful federation and vice versa. i quote, national receisovereigs liberal program. he was not an extremist. he wasn't on the fringe. you find same claims, same argument in works of others.
they argue that swiss federalism should be scaled up to the european level. to provide a common framework of governance. no less a limited government, actually consulted for the pan-european union and argued that the alternative to a european federation was not unrestricted sovereignty but i quote, ultimate subjugation. i hope nile doesn't take it as aggression, but when lady thatcher campaigned in favor of uk's membership in 1975, she did so with the understanding it meant placing limits on national sovereignty. she compares european communities to nato and she says, look, we are sovereignty, ability to make decisions is restricted by nato membership.
here is a quote from a speech she gave in north london in 1975 before the referendum. britain has fothought of hersel as different in kind. it is this anti-europe campaign play often when they promise independence. that ignores the fact that almost every major nation has been obliged to pull sovereignty as to create more effective political units. that's lady thatcher. i think that as long as you are going to claim that you are part of the same intellectual tradition, yet depart from these people on a point of substantive important, you have to do some explain that i didn't really find in the book. there's a subsidiary argument this this claim about -- actually european governance replacing national level democracy. that claim has to do with
religion. because european idea represents a utopian commitment, it cannot be reconciled with christianity. there's no place for christianity in the project. to substantiate that claim, the book walks us through eu's various legal documents. it's compared to the u.s. constitution, the polish constitution, the federalist papers, some reference to religion and christianity. my immediate reaction was that didn't really pass the smell test. we know for a fact that european society is far less religious than poland on average. european society is far less religious than the united states. that's reflected in the documents.
to me, that's a more compelling, far simpler explanation than the one that invokes the european ideology. if you are going to claim -- if you are going to claim that european integration has been instrumental in the erosion of christian beliefs in europe, then you have to grapple with the fact that the founding fathers of this ideology, of integrated europe, also the leading figures of european christian right, these were all practices catholics who were very serious about their religion. in 1951, before the beginning of negotiations of treaty of paris, they met for a day of meditation and prayer. he says only christians guarantee individuals through democracy.
a view of human dignity and use it as the directive. in 1954, the prime minister of belgium, the founding father, building is named after him in brussels, asked the following question. do you need me to remind you that if you sometimes think differently, you are pray in the same way? it's the same gestures that welcome to you life, same words which console you, calm you as the reach death. we are hem members of the same civilization. these are the founding fathers of post-christian eu, if you will. the pope came in support of the european project repeatedly in many speeches. pope john in 1961 discusses some level of detail. its content in a different context is repeated almost v verbatim in the treaty. if you are going to make the
case for both christian nature of the european project, you have to explain what it is that you see about the project that these people didn't see. by the way, i was surprised to see how much space the book dedicates to this issue which is interesting but to me is not really at heart of the political, economic and social troubles making europe. four or five chapters dedicated to issues of abortion, lgbt and discrimination compared to two chapters about the euro zone. it made 15 mentions of the euro and 19 mentions of lgbt rights. i understand where he is coming from. i respect it. i didn't understand why he is making this a centerpiece. that's about the eu. by any account, these issues -- it's not the case that the eu is
imposing same-sex marriage. ireland held a referendum. look at any opinion polls there has been this massive shift in public opinion. actu which is an democratic to the western world. 61% say they are in favor of same-sex marriage. compared to 91% of the dutch, 87% of danes. eu institutions, it's extremely limited in this area. are trailing far behind all this controversy in member states. i'm going to stop now. i want to stress that there are merits to the book. i enjoyed reading it. i learned a lot reflecting on it. i'm afraid to say i think it's a missed opportunity to ask some important questions about european integration. i don't think todd was a
fundamentalist in the exposure of his skepticism. doesn't want the eu to go away. he doesn't say it fills no useful role and it should go away. he says that he wants to transform it into a platform for sovereign nation states. the book doesn't really tell us what is meant by that in practical terms. the reason why it doesn't tell us is because i think the intellectual framework, the sort of choice between sovereign nation state level democracy and global governance doesn't give you much mileage in getting at the answers. roughly two pages at the end dedicated to the question of european reform. it's not a coincidence. the question isn't binary. it isn't whether we want sovereign nation states. the question is how the economist calls globalization trilema.
it states that at some fundamental level, national sovereignty, democracy and deep economic integration are mutually combatable. you incompatible. at any point you can have two out of the three, but you can never have all three simultaneously and in full. once you adopt that alternative mindset which by the way is how most economists think about european issues, you don't see a battle of good and evil. you will see trade-offs and do we want deeper economic ties, do we want more democracy. maybe that's not the right framework. i'm not making the case for it. but if you are going to present the alternative i think you have to engage in some way with the literature on the subject. you have to explain why your alternative discussion leads to a richer presentation of what the problems and solutions are. i don't quite see that done in
this book, unfortunately, but maybe i'm just sort of em bittered and i'm saying that out of my own immediate material interest. remember, it's out on may 11. thank you. >> next we will have nile gardiner, director of the marring thet thatcher center for freedom at the heritage foundation in washington, d.c. he's worked with the heart of washington policy for over a decade and before joining heritage, dr. gardiner served as an aide to former british prime minister margaret thatcher, advised her on her final book, state craft strategies for a changing world. >> thanks very much. great to be here at the hudson institute and fantastic new building here, and i would like to start by saying todd's book is really terrific. it's i think one of the finest
books written so far on dare i say the evils of the european project and it's a book that my former boss, margaret thatcher, would have loved reading. she would have devoured it. i think she would have enjoyed it thoroughly and it's a very very insightful look into the current state of affairs with regard to the european union and it's certainly not a pretty state of affairs by any stretch of the imagination. in fact, the word disaster i think could be easily applied to the current state of affairs with regard to the eu. i would like to talk this morning about the debate in britain, how that is moving forward, what the issues are and where that's going to end up. also, i would like to address the refugee crisis, the national security threat in europe and also i would like to talk about what the next u.s. president, the next u.s. administration should be doing with regard to
europe and i would like the advocate a complete reversal of traditional u.s. support for the european project. i would like to begin, though, by placing you into the heart of what is really at stake in europe with regard to national sovereignty and i would like you all to imagine now if the united states was part of a pan-american project, the equivalent of the european project but one stretching from argentina up to canada. imagine if there was a shengen style agreement eliminating border controls between almost every country in south america and north america with complete freedom of movement between these countries across a pan-american european project style institution. imagine if there was a
pan-american commission in mexico city shaping potentially two-thirds of u.s. laws. imagine a pan-american court in buenos aries reigning over the u.s. supreme court. imagine if there was a drive to create a pan-american army as a competitor to the nato alliance drawing in crucial u.s. military resources under the command perhaps of venezuelan or brazilian generals. imagine if the united states sent members of parliament to a pan-american parliament in a south american city. with those members of parliament lecturing the american people on how they should be living their own lives. this is really the reality on the ground in europe today with
regard to the european project and the european union is nothing less than a huge surrender of national sovereignty within europe. of course, britain is not part of the agreement, which covers 22 members of the european union and 26 european countries in total, but britain like every other member of the european union, is part and parcel of the european project. and the brits referendum which will be held on june 23rd which will decide britain's future in europe is all about whether or not the british people are going to reject the european project, whether or not the british people will reassert self-determination and national sovereignty, and this is about britain really being once again a truly sovereign and independent nation.
if two-thirds of your laws originate in brussels, you're not a free country. if your courts are subject to the rulings of the court in luxembourg you are not a free country. i don't think the american people would ever subject themselves to the nationalism of something like the european union and i don't think that the american people should accept the idea that the british people should have their sovereignty submerged within a european project that exemplifies a sort of big government mindset at the heart of europe. and when you ask a lot of british people what they think of the european union, what does the european union actually mean to them, many brits will tell you that the european union
means bureaucrats, european courts telling the british people what to do. the european union also has become a symbol of big government corruption, inefficiency, lack of democratic accountability. european union is also about the absence of border controls and the ability to be able to control who comes into your own country. these are all huge issues for the british people. the latest opinion polls show that the campaigns are basically almost neck and neck but if you look at polls which focus upon voter turnout and voter enthusiasm, some of those polls show a significant lead for the breksit side. one poll showed an 8% lead for that campaign over the other. i think the debate is shaping up as a battle between in large
part the grassroots, particularly the grassroots of the old conservative party and the political elites and political establishment, david cameron, the british government is officially supporting britain staying inside the european union. there are five cabinet rebels who are campaigning for it. douglas smith recently resigned from the cabinet. also the mayor of london recently joined the campaign. and about half of conservative mps are backing breksit and 70% of conservative party members but this has become i think a tremendous battle between largely grassroots conservatives combined with sizeable chunk as well of the labor party as well who are in support of britain leaving the european union. battle between the grassroots and also the political elites in britain and the business elites as well.
and there's been a great deal of controversy this week with regard to david cameron's government spending nine million pounds on a leaflet campaign aimed at every one of the 27 million households across britain using government money and a printing company that's actually owned by a german firm that receives a large number of eu subsidies and handouts. so the irony there is not lost on the british people. but i do think that the british people being offered an opportunity to jump on a lifeboat that's being thrown off the side of the titanic, that's how the european union really is today, i think the eu in its current form won't last and it won't survive, and nor should it in its current form, actually. i think that for millions of british people, this is an issue, a fundamental issue of self-determination and sovereignty and the ability to
control their own borders. president obama will be traveling over to london in a couple weeks' time, reportedly to tell the british people how to vote in their own referendum. needless to say, there's been a furious backlash already in the british press over this, and i don't think it's the role of the u.s. president to be telling the british people how to vote in their own referendum. needless to say as well, i think president obama is completely wrong with regard to the european union as a whole, and this administration, the obama administration, has been a steadfast supporter of euro federalism. it has to be said that many previous u.s. administrations have also backed the idea of a federal europe. but perhaps this might be the last u.s. administration to do so. i will talk a little bit more about that a bit later. but the emphatic message i think
from the british people should be to president obama that he needs to mind his own business with regard to the issue of the british referendum. and it's not his role to be telling the british people what they should be thinking on a fundamental matter of british national interest. it's also been suggested by president obama and a number of leaders in europe, many across the world, that britain would actually struggle to survive outside of the european union. and that britain would be a weaker partner on the international stage. i have to say that's really nonsense, frankly. great britain today is the world's fifth largest economy. i will overtake germany probably by 2030 as the largest economy in europe. it is a nuclear power, member of the u.n. security council, great trading nation, a country with
one of the most powerful militaries on the face of tert and the idea britain couldn't survive outside the european union i think just beggars belief and it's part of what has been dubbed in britain project fear. the idea that a nation that once held sway over a third of the world's surface cannot survive outside of this european club. and i think the whole argument of the remain side based upon real fear-mongering and scare-mongering isn't being bought by a majority of the british public. and if indeed the british people decide to leave the european union, i would hope that the united states will do all it can to ensure that the anglo-american special relationship remains strong, is greatly strengthened further, that the united states signs a free trade agreement with the united kingdom, and i think that
breksit will offer tremendous opportunities for u.s./uk cooperation. a britain freed from the shackles of the european union will be a far stronger ally for the united states on the international stage. there's also been a suggestion that british exit from the european union would weaken the nato alliance or weaken national security for great britain, weaken national security in europe. again, i fundamentally disagree with that. i hardly think that vladimir putin loses sleep at night over the european union standing up to his aggression in ukraine, for example. the eu really is a paper tiger. he understands the nato alliance and the strength of the anglo-united states relationship but the european union as far as the russians are concerned has become a feckless weak-kneed
force on the international stage. i'm in no doubt that a british exit from the european use nion would strengthen the union rather than weaken it. it would give britain more leeway to stand up to russia and i think there are significant national security advantages for great britain not least the ability to be able to decide who comes into the country. and the eu border agency submitted actually earlier this week that europe's borders are now so porous that 1.8 illegal border crossings are made last year, six times the previous record set in 2014. they also declared that a staggering number of eu citizens traveled to syria to fight with isis. many of those have returned and under the agreement, are given the freedom to move within much
of the european union and i think that the agreement has become one of the biggest facilitators of the world of islamist terrorism, allowing islamist terrorisms to be able to slip through the net easily to travel from one country to the next. the paris attacks and the brussels attacks would not have been possible if we did not have this style of agreement. and the refugee crisis in europe is vast, it's immense, it really does threaten the fabric of european, some european societies in the future. germany alone has taken in over a million refugees or migrants in the past year. 200,000 migrants entered germany in february and march this year. this is costing germany 20 to 30 billion euros a year according to german mps.
there are over 200,000 refugees in bavaria alone. angela merkel did all this without the consultation, without any consultation with the german people and then she then went on the european stage urging other european countries to take on large numbers of refugees and migrants and the vast majority of those countries refused to do so. we have seen the limits of german power in europe and germany isn't really the very heart of the european project. but i think we will witness in the next two decades a period of significant german decline. and i believe that if britain leaves the european union, you will see britain significantly overtaking germany as an economic force in europe. and let's remember that the
refugees coming into countries like germany today, once they become german citizens, for a period of five years, they will have the right to move over to the united kingdom and other european countries so the refugee issue in germany which is largely a self-made crisis, i think, on the part of angela merkel, those refugees will have the right then to move to the united kingdom. that's going to be a big factor as well in this referendum. just to conclude, i'm out of time here, but with regard to the future of u.s. policy towards europe, i would hope that the next u.s. president will embark on a fundamental review of america's traditional backing for the european project. we need a new u.s. approach to europe based upon support for national sovereignty and nation states. and america has no interest in backing the creation of a european super state.
i don't believe such a super state is in the interest of european countries themselves. and the next u.s. president i think has to reinforce the importance of the trans-atlantic alliance which president obama has not done, rebuild u.s. military power in europe, sending a clear message to the russians that their aggression will be halted, and the united states needs to stand up for the principles of self-determination, economic freedom, national sovereignty in europe, the same principles that the american people themselves believe in. what is good for america as a sovereign nation is good for europe as well. i would hope the next u.s. president embarks upon a policy that is fit for the 21st century and not one that is tied to the 1950s and 1960s and the origins of the european project. thank you.
>> jeremy rad kin is professor of law at the antonin scalia school of law. for two decades he was a professor of government at cornell university. he serves, he is on the board of directors at u.s. institute of peace appointed by president bush but reappointed i guess by president obama, confirmed by the senate in 2011. author of another great book on sovereignty, law without nations. >> thank you. i particularly will not thank john for establishing my credential as somebody who has written a book about sovereignty. i'm for it. but i was a little done by nile
gardiner saying mrs. thatcher would have loved todd's book on the eu, because i mean, i like it but i think my remarks are the kind of thing that mrs. thatcher would have called wet. sorry. being the antonin scalia school of law does not impose a doctrinal outlook on any of the professors. you can say anything. so i just want to briefly discuss three things that make me a little bit uneasy about the way todd presents this challenge from the eu, and the first is i think he's putting a lot of weight on the form of government. i mean, i know this is an old argument going back to aristotle, how important the regime is, but really, i think the eu is not able to be the
decisive force in modern life that it sometimes appears to be in this book. just obvious example worth thinking about, norway. it's not in the eu. but if you ask how does norway compare to denmark or sweden or finland on the things which this book talks about, declining religion, declining family life, declining fertility rate, growth of utopian fantasies, growth of social spending, i think norway is not at all different from the countries that are in the eu and if you just step back and take in a larger view and ask what about canada? it looks like eu countries and
the truth is if you look at the united states, it looks like eu countries, just a few decades further back but you can see that we are on the same trajectory. we of course have a declining birth rate and to insist that america's in a totally different place from where europe is, it's not a totally different place. it's just a little bit healthier, little bit better off but there are many trends which seem to be trends of the modern world for better or worse and i share the sense that most of them are for worse, but there's a lot going on in the modern world which is not the fault of the eu or particularly caused by the eu. it was mentioned previously by mr. rohac, i think. yeah. it was the u.s. supreme court that imposed same sex marriage. it wasn't the european court of justice.
there are trends across the modern world that i don't think really map on to the eu way of looking at the world and the u.s. way of looking at the world. so that's the first thing i want to say. the second thing is the subtitle of this book is the new totalitarian temptation. again, i have to say i agree with mr. rohac, i don't like the eu. i think it's creepy. i think the net effect on europe is probably, if you net it all out, if you could net it all out, they are probably a little worse off. they are sure not a whole lot better off. but totalitarian i think is not a word that fits the people in brussels who are spitting out all these regulations. it seems to me the central problem of the eu is not that it's sinister but that it's silly, that they have this fantasy that all these countries can be yoked together and can have a common policy and of course, they can't be yoked
together and they don't have a common policy, so the characteristic problem is not that it's overbearing, but that it's weak. and you see this in the way the eu has dealt with challenges. it's supposed to deal with crises on the border in ukraine and it doesn't know what to do, so effectively it didn't do anything. suddenly this flow of refugees or migrants, this is a big challenge. well, they don't know what to do and they are not really doing anything effective. terrorism, they don't know what to do, they're not doing anything effective. it's really telling if you want to talk about totalitarianism to say at least in the capital of the eu, in brussels, what are they doing to protect at least the eu ministries from terror attacks. and the answer is, i don't know, they're issuing documents and they are not in a position to be totalitarian. i don't think -- that doesn't quite fit. even i think it's an opportunity lost.
because what makes the eu utopian is not that it imagines that it can control everything. it's that it imagines that it can control everything without very much force. a lot -- a number of people have said this and i think rightly. there's a way in which it's post-modern but post-modern means that it's somehow forgotten the lessons of the modern world so it's in a certain way as some people have said neo-medieval. it wants to have authorities that don't have troops. it wants to have authorities that don't have police. it wants to have authorities that don't have to actually win secure popular support. there's something about it that's just fantastical and i think in the end, this is not a successful experiment but i don't think the way to characterize this as it's totalitarian. and so just a last thing i wanted to talk about is if you
sum this up as clash of visions, america sees the world this way, the eu sees the world that way, the suggestion is we would have better partners if the eu basically disappeared or was reduced to an extent that it didn't have much influence so we could partner with individual european countries. i'm kind of skeptical of that. i want to just briefly articulate the other way of looking at this. most of those countries are small. if they are not part of some larger project, i think their tendency may be to say our grand strategy is to duck. let me give you an example of the netherlands. it's today's papers have stories about the referendum they had yesterday, should the netherlands go along with this
treaty with ukraine. this was not a treaty promising to send troops. it was not a military alliance. it was just ukraine, let's have trade and let's have a partnership and we like you and we want to encourage you. it was not something that should have been very controversial. why was it so controversial the people insisted on a referendum, very unusual to have a referendum about a treaty like that. then in the referendum to have it voted down and just from reading about it and corresponding with somebody who was involved in this, a lot of people in the netherlands think this eu sponsored understanding with ukraine is a provocation to putin. why would we want to provoke putin? we should try to get along with putin. we should try to lay low and not have problems. and if you think gee, that doesn't really make sense, why should -- this is where the netherlands was in 1939. it's where they were in 1940
until they were invaded. the first three months. this is where they were, you know, through the 19th century. we are a small country and if we just kind of scrunch down a little we won't have any problems. we can just be neutral. this was very appealing to many countries in europe, including belgium. including denmark. including norway. including for practical purposes, spain and portugal in the 20th century and let's not get drawn into big power politics. so if you can imagine a world in which the eu just falls to pieces and so you have 28 independent states that are largely independent states there, would this be better for the united states. i mean, would we then have real partners and we could rely on. let me just say i'm skeptical. i don't think it follows that we should be campaigning to tell the brits they should stay in the eu. i'm not saying that. but i think we should perhaps be
a little bit cautious about being able to project what kind of world would serve our interests or the world's interests. there's a reason why small countries want to be in some larger entity and i think it's important both as a matter of intellectual clarity and as a matter of kind of national self-respect for people to have awareness of sovereignty as something that matters, that you want to hold on to. maybe we should be a little bit cautious about telling countries in europe this is exactly what you want to do and then you too will be a superpower which they will not believe in the netherlands or belgium and it won't be true. but i do want to say that todd's book is a very good read. i mean, it's fun. there's a lot of interesting anecdotes. there were a lot of things that were new to me. and we really do need to think about this. it is an important challenge in
the world. and it's a very clear articulation of a certain perspective on this that makes it a valuable book. so thank you. >> we will have a little discussion here before we open it up to questions. i will give todd a chance to respond first to the various comments. take it away. >> thank you, john. i had a little -- i had a couple of acoustical problems hearing back here so i will use that as an excuse for not answering everything. maybe i would like to start out just with jeremy's comments about canada and norway and so forth with an anecdote. i was at a cocktail parties, we diplomats always go to cocktail parties and have fun, taxpayers pay for it. in brussels. and i was talking to the head of
the north america office and the european commission, and what at the time was called the directorate general of external relations so kind of the protoforeign ministry of the eu, head of the north america office, and this was during the bush years, and he was saying to me you know, canada is so easy to work with. why can't you guys be more like canada? i said so gunther, when is canada going to join the eu anyway? that would be my answer to that. i thought it was funny. yeah. you are absolutely right, jeremy, the eu is characterized in many ways much more by its weakness than by its strength. but -- and there are all kinds of trends that are going on that i talk about in the book that are not necessarily connected directly to the governance but
part of the thesis of the book is that global governance is one, a manifestation of a new kind of post-christian, post-modern development in the formerly christian west and that it's important to recognize that as such if one is a thinking person, is thinking about what's happening in the west as a whole, and how can we understand it and thus how can we try to deal with it, one. two, as john points out in his work, on global governance, global governance may seem to be weak. i'm reminded a little bit of stalin saying where were the pope's armies, where are the european union's armies, but you know, if you're concentrated on
the power of world views, about what people believe, about what they are committed to, the eu's ideology of global governance es a very very attractive and powerful ideology. it exerts a huge amount of power over the elites in the european union. it exerts a huge amount of power over those who are involved with other international organizations like the united nations. and it exerts a huge amount of power over the left in the united states because it's all part of this kind of post-christian, post-modern attempt to remake the world in its own image, and therefore, the eu is not significant for everything, but it's very significant as a very important and attractive manifestation that is dangerous to democratic accountability, that is dangerous to self-government, of the post-modern, post-christian
world view. of course, another thing about the book is you know, it says i noticed in the program, it said it was 280 pages. i want to assure you that 50 pages of that are notes. in a little bit more than 200 pages, you have to generalize and i think one of the problems very often with dealing with political issues that are bigger than just single political issues, is the fear of generalization. you have to have a general understanding of what's generally going on in order to understand the thing and its larger significance. my comment on dalibor's remarks, i could hear you less, unfortunately, than i could hear
others, but i just want to say that from what i did understand of it, it was quite typical of many of the pro-eu people that i met in brussels and elsewhere in europe. you know, kind of this pragmatic view. well, you know, part of which is well, it's not really working so what you're saying is not valid. for example, you said something about how the euro zone crisis is not going to lead to a fiscal union. well, the fiscal compact made between all the member states except at the time the czech republic and the uk was a big, huge step in the direction of fiscal union, but even so, it seems to me strange to defend the eu, this happens so often, part of what you were saying, too, jeremy, defend the eu in a
certain sense, saying it's really not working so what are you talking about? let's see. and i want to say something, too, about the whole section on the euro zone and then the section on human rights and so forth that was larger than the section on the euro zone. first of all, there's someone in the audience who really, really helped me with the euro zone chapters. i want to thank that person. you know who you are. appreciate that very much. but second, part of what i'm trying to say in the book is the eu is not about economics. it is not about economics. it's not about the euro zone. the euro zone is a symptom of a far larger thing, and for me, with my way of looking at the world, what's happening to the idea of human rights, what's happening to the idea of self-government, what's happening to the idea of
democratic accountability, and the developments against all of those things that are approaching with little cat feet in the eu, is much more important than whether the eu is economically a good thing or a bad thing. i think it's basically a bad thing. but you know, the economic part is part, but if you want to understand the eu, you need to understand that it is not about economics. >> nile, why don't you pick up, jeremy was saying well, these 28 countries, it's better to have the eu around as a partner for the united states that have 20 separate countries. it didn't mention nato, of course. but you may want to pick up with that point. >> yes. and just firstly, as todd was saying, the european union, the idea of the euro zone single
currency as you say, it's not really about economics. it's about politics. the european project is a political project. it's about the centralization of political power. and as margaret thatcher said, the idea of creating european super state is perhaps the greatest folly of the modern era. and i think that you know, a central part of margaret thatcher's arguments against the european union in more recent times, you know, were based on the idea that the euro zone is really a political project more than anything else. but with regard to jeremy's remarks, does it make a big difference between whether the united states is dealing with a collection of nation states or a
political entity formed by the european union. i would argue that america's far better off actually dealing with a collection of nation states than it is dealing with an entity such as the european union, because increasingly, i think that european governments are falling out their foreign policy to brussels. that's a very dangerous thing. the last thing you want on earth i think is to have bureaucrats in brussels shaping your foreign policy and your national security strategy. and you know, these bureaucrats in brussels can't even defend brussels, let alone the rest of europe. i think that europe would be far better off actually if national governments had complete full control over their own national security, foreign policy and all aspects of government. i think that the european union is really a collection of -- well, it's really all about the lowest common denominator and doing the least amount possible,
actually, to deal with a particular crisis. and then i think that america would be in a far better position, for example, if it could deal directly with say germany on the refugee issue, or poland with regard to the rising menace posed by russia and what unites of course both sides of the atlantic is really the nato alliance. and i think that we would be far better off actually without a national entity in europe today and instead dealing with european capitals and working together through the nato partnership. >> dalibor, you have some comments? >> i want to clarify what i said in my opening remarks about the lack of evidence for the eu evolving towards some kind of
actual super state. i think i stand by that idea to the extent of which first of all, there is no credible intellectual case being made for a european super state by anybody, not even the most ardent promoters, not even mr. barrasso or any of the bureaucrats or intellectuals who are making that case. the problem with the eu is in my opinion that it's both overreaching, overextending itself, trying to do too much and it's also fairly weak. that's the fundamental mismatch between its ambitions and between what it can actually do and to solve that, i don't think we can easily go back to nation states. what we can do reasonably is to try and apply some way of thinking that was used by actually many people in the free market limited government
conservative intellectual tradition which is to go back to the idea of federalism. i'm not talking about federalism in the conventional european sense as a sort of catch-all phrase for more integration. i'm talking about federalism in the sense of many columnists who argue there are public goods that should be provided at different levels of government, there are europe-wide public goods, national public goods, local public goods and we need a system of government where none of these layers has some sort of absolute sovereignty and being able to match these levels of governance to the sort of public goods we need. i think that applies nicely to many of the european problems except there are very few people who are making that case today. with regard to the fiscal fact, i wasn't making a defense of the eu in my opening statement. i was making just a sort of
descriptive observation that if you see the eu on a slippery slope towards a super state, last developments don't really lend much credence to that belief. the fiscal pact is nothing but an extension of the previously agreed on stability and growth pact which was the master treaty but absolutely lacked teeth, was not respected by some of the leading member states and is partly why the euro zone got into its present mess. so i will stop here. i have more to say but i don't want to hijack the discussion. >> you have a book. >> i have a book. >> okay. we will take questions. benjamin? >> thank you. thank you, john. i'm a fellow here at the hudson institute. i have a couple remarks and questions, actually.
three areas. the first one is on foreign policy. you said the eu states are on a collision course and that basically, eu is at the heart of this sort of anti-american project. first you said also that the eu had huge power in foreign policy. i don't think you will find a single person in europe that believes that, but anyway, at the same time the united states supported european construction for the last 60 years. it's been a bipartisan project actually in the united states to support european construction. european construction enlargement has usually gone hand in hand with nato enlargement if you look at countries after the fall of the soviet union. you took the example of the iraq war. i think you made a very disingenuous case when it comes to the iraq war. had nothing to do with the european union. some european countries supported the united states and
sent troops to iraq, the uk, poland, spain, italy, portugal, other countries such as france and germany opposed the war and opposed the arguments in favor of the war. i don't think it had much to do with going to the security council. going to the security council was a decision u.s. diplomacy who decided to present a resolution and the second resolution was not supported by some members of the security council on the basis of justification for the war. i don't think you will find a lot of french and germans who regret not going to iraq today. but at the same time, four years before, there was an intervention in kosovo led by nato outside the security council supported by european countries with the united states. just a couple years ago, francois hollande and david cameron wanted to intervene in syria outside the security council and it was the u.s. that backed down on the intervention after the use of chemical weapons. so i think this example of the iraq war, i don't really
understand where it fits in this. my first question i guess is have every american president from john kennedy to ronald reagan to bill clinton to george w. bush been delusional in promoting european integration and european enlargement? my second question relates to when you talk about the lack of democracy and you often refer to voters, a majority of voters. voters are against the project. but i don't understand where you find this majority of voters. i'm a french citizen, for example. if i want my country to get out of the european union, i can vote for [ inaudible ]. she is running on this. she is constantly in the media. she never gathered more than 18% in a presidential election, like her father. she will probably get more and i do agree there's a political momentum in the european union among public discourse and the electorate. brits have the opportunity to say whether they want to stay in the european union or not in a
couple months. but i don't see any majority in any country of the european union so far in favor of dismantling the european union, getting out of the european union. so that it is your perspective on this, i understand, but i don't see where you find constantly this majority of voters you are referring to. i think -- i don't think that's real. my third point because you haven't addressed this, both dalibor and jeremy rabkin addressed the question of totalitarianism. words matter. i don't think it's a detail bus it's the title of your book. i will probably be more blunt than our two speakers on this. usually, totalitarianism is a word that's used to define two political projects of the 20th century, nazi germany and the soviet union. very straightforward, do you believe the european union is the heir to hitler and joseph
stalin? >> you have quite a bit to chew on. >> yeah. first of all, the iraq war. well, first of all, actually, we could just make assertions against each other, keep doing assertions all day but i just want to tell you that no one who understands how the eu actually works foreign policy-wise can possibly say that the eu high representative even before there was officially a high representative under the lisbon treaty, does not have power. javier solana before the lisbon treaty had a tremendous amount of power and influence. katherine ashton and fredericka molini, it's simply a fact. the iraq war, i wasn't saying that the eu, i wasn't focusing on the eu there. i was focusing on the ideology
of global governance and how the ideology of global governance has hindered the war on terrorism. and referring there, arguing by saying the big conflict was about the idea of whether preventive war is legal and whether u.n. skourt council approval is required for the united states to invade iraq legitimately. and the global governance, many of them in the eu, many of them europeans who believe in this project of global governance were the ones that were arguing that we needed security council approval, otherwise it was not legitimate. so you know, as i say in the book, and as i said here, the eu is filled with all kinds of different currents, interests, beliefs, ideas, peoples, et cetera. it was very very hard to pin
down, you could always find a counter example. my argument is that the heart and soul of the eu project is the belief in developing super-natural governance. that has become post-cold war especially the belief in developing a system of global governance. that's what i was talking about with iraq. what was the second? >> hitler and stalin. >> that was the third. what was your second? oh, majority of voters. >> oh, yeah. >> majority of voters. >> i want to apologize if i ever used the phrase majority of voters. i don't think i did. if i did, please excuse me. what i'm saying is not that the majority of voters in the european union have spoken against the eu or spoken against super-natural governance. what i'm saying is that voters have had very little say and very little understanding of what's going on at the eu level
and how it is undermining their national sovereignty and the sovereignty of the government ths that they do elect. the fact that someone like lapan has gotten up to 18% is a true testament to what's happening that people in the eu are realizing what's happening and they are even voting for people like lapan and others like her, because they are sick and tired of it. whether that's the majority is a completely different question. then i note to amend the u.s. sf constitution you need several types of supra er majorities. that's the way it should be. governments should have no right to completely change the system of governance without consulting the voters. in the u.s. you need double super majorities to amend the constitution. that's not the way it is in the u.s. that's the way it should be.
what i'm talking about is transferring national sovereignty. >> i don't know what you're referring to precisely but for example, the treaty which led to the euro was ratified by referendum in many european countries including france. the eu constitution was rejected by referendum, so we don't have an eu constitution. so it is not as formal as a change of constitution in the united states, that's true, but i don't think it was done without validation of voters. >> yes. but my argument would be it should be -- it shouldn't be a 50.1%. it should be super majorities for such fundamental changes as is occurring steadily and surely in the eu. >> the other two questions he had, one was the american position involving the american presidents since kennedy. >> oh, yes. yes. you know, that's an incredibly
good point. you used the word delusional. absolutely not. i would not say that ronald reagan and george h.w. bush and bill clinton and george w. bush, et cetera, were delusional. i would just say that in foreign policy very often, what happens is you kind of get into a habit that made a lot of sense at the beginning, let's say right after world war ii, the united states was central to the launching the project of european integration because we, too, were tired of young men dying in european battlefields. but unfortunately, when you have had a very busy foreign policy establishment, and you have got a very busy president, you know, certain things become basic myths that everybody takes for granted, basic foundations, and unfortunately, that's kind of what happened with the whole
europe holding free idea. supported by the fact that the european nations that are members of the eu are still our best allies and we want the instinctive thing that a president wants to do is support our allies in what he thinks they want to do. so it's mistaken but not delusional by any means. new totalitarian temptation, in the book i make the case that communism and fascism were of course much, much, much worse than the ideology of global governance in the european union. i refer to them as hard utopias a couple times in the book. the eu is a soft utopia. it's a do-gooders utopia, kind of a mushy feel-good utopia. but in essence, it is similar in the sense that it seeks to improve the world and change human beings in a way that
really can't be done via a political project. so i say new totalitarian temptation. i don't say new totalitarianism. >> the lady over here had a question. need a microphone. >> i am a polish diplomat married with american. we live actually in poland. i just came here because tomorrow, i will be lecturing about diplomacy at the institute of world politics because i was charge d'affairs at the holy see. it's very difficult to discuss about the book. i did not read. i hope i will buy it later, when i'm here, we can discuss, but the results from the discussion, i would like to have two questions. one for mr. gardiner and another for mr. rabkin. although i could be considered
as a rightist, not a leftist, i say from the beginning that it's very difficult for me to agree with mr. gardiner about saying that great britain without the eu would be a stronger ally, and that's why i would like to ask you a question. if you think so, so what about for example the u.n.? u.n. is weak too and nobody says about dissolving u.n. of course we could do it but what about the reform which is about to be made from 60 years ago for which reason it is not done, so in my opinion, it's better to have something which is maybe weak, but trying to do something than not to have it, yes? otherwise what would be next? in poland, there's a very big discussion about being in eu, not being in eu, about the problem of illegal immigrants. as you know, we are one of the countries which we did not want to accept immigrants because
after our elections in poland, the -- piece which is not a very good opinion in the u.s. as i have been told because i just came a few days ago and i think on the wrong reason, because as far as i'm concerned, the people vote for it and they are right and they can do what they are now doing because they entitled to do and the whole conflict -- but anyhow, this is one question about the eu and u.n. i think that for example, poland which is a big ally of the u.s. and faithful ally forever, we have problems with eu, but whether we eu or don't eu, i think that we would be a very good ally for the united states. but to professor jeremy rabkin, i would like to tell you that maybe i agree with you that this idea is a little bit utopian,
but because you are also the director of the institute for the study of religion, don't you think so that if the eu would be based on the common christian values as pope john paul ii wanted and as poland supported the first draft of the constitution which was of course rejected by french under the direction, so do you think maybe this would be the idea that this institution would be stronger but not economically but about -- >> thank you. i think we got the basis. actually, it's a question for you. nile first, then todd. >> yeah. thank you for your question. interesting point about the united nations. clearly, the u.n. needs a great deal of reform and some would argue the un. is a basket case. and i think that you know, you
raise important questions about the future of the united nations. there's no discussion in britain at the moment about leaving the u.n. i don't know if that's on the cards. the u.n. has less day to day control over what happens in the united kingdom. so you don't have two-thirds of british laws being you know, crafted in the halls of the united nations. so it's a different kind of -- different kind of debate. and i think to go back to your question, i do think britain can thrive very well outside of european union. britain has always been a truly global power with global trading ties and aspirations and i think the outlook of the british people is quite different to that of many other european countries. and i can see why some, you know, some nations within the eu, you have a higher percentage of those who strongly support
the european project. in the case of britain, if you look at those who strongly support the european project itself, it's about a quarter eu itself, it's about a quarter, a low level of confidence. and no doubt i think that britain will tloif outside of the european union. and brexit could open the flood gates. and if the eu are so confident of the future of the european project, so confident that the european project is backed on the populations of the european countries, they should support referendum in every european union state. i would suspect that that vote would be extremely close in some countries, even in a country like france, for example. even in germany there's a deep seated debate over the currency, the afd party won near a quarter
are of the vote in recent regional elections on an anti-euro platform. i would say there's a great deal of overconfidence in the project expressed by many elites and put to the vote and put to the test i think you'll find very close contest actually in many, in many european countries. but you raise an interesting and important issue about the united nations. that as an ongoing debate. >> i think we're going to wrap up probably. i think you can answer the question. that was actually a question , the polish diplomat had a question for you. >> a short interjection. >> go ahead and we'll wrap up. >> on brexit, i'm not in a position to lecture the british people how they should vote and i am certainly not disputing the idea that the uk can prosper outside of the eu.
in many ways the eu was designed to solve problems that are not plaguing the uk. in that sense i'm very confident that british democracy will prosper and i'm not part of the frojt fear. however i think there's a great deal of value in having the uk as a part of the european project. the british have been the benign influence on the eu starting what 1980. it was under margaret thatcher's leadership that the act was passed that the director general for competition was empowered to actually police the single market, that they have been forcible to good economic and geopolitically as well. maybe mr. putin isn't losing any sleep over what the eu does or opportunity. but he is certainly doing a very fine job trying to fund your yo skeptic parties across europe,
spread misinformation and propagan propaganda, undermine the european unity, erode the commitment of europe. not just to the eu but more importantly to democracy. that's the big threat europe is faced with today and i don't see how brexit would make the threat go away. i see it mag nigh fieing or opening the flood gate as you said to something much much worse. >> do you have a quick comment? >> just a quick response, two points. first, margaret thatcher point. as you say, originally many, many decades ago i was in the european economic country. her views on europe were transformed in the 1980s. and you know, from my own conversations with margaret thatcher in her final years, she was very clear on her position
on britain leaving the european union. >> she never made it public, though. >> well she 100% wanted britain to leave the eu. she felt the european project was a complete disaster. that's born out of -- if you look at charles moore's official biography of margaret thatcher. he makes the point. robert harris, the chef political adviser makes this point. just to set the record straight on where margaret thatcher stood. secondly with regard to putin's backing for various parties in europe, well it's a pro-russian party. a lot of complex issues going on with the nationals relationship with putin. but if you look at those who are supporting brexit in britain, you look at the figures like liam fox, these are the strongest critics of the russian regime. and the brexit side is being led
by those who want tougher action against putin. it's important to bear in mind in the uk debate, those supporting brexit are anti-putin. and i think, you know, cow do have to make that fundamental distinction. and with regard to the national in france, that's not a conservative party. that's a party that believes in big government and state intervention. and i don't see that as a conservative party in any, in any way actually. so fundamentally different organization to those who are campaigning for brexit in the united kingdom. >> i think todd, if you can remember sort of the jest of the question. >> let me answer it this way. >> and then that will be the end. >> and i hope i'm answering your question. there were many elements and it was a while ago.
but, you know, poland being a friend of the united states, being a special partner of the united states, whether it's in the eu or not, i agree with completely. and i, at the same time agree with what nile was saying that it would be wiser and better for the united states to support a europe of sovereign democratically economical nations. whether the rks iu can be rolled back to be an organization that still does the good things that it does, namely foster cooperation between european nations but fully respect the sovereignty of the european nations, that's an open question. i would hope that it can. i don't know that it can because the substance of the eu is so dedicated to super nationality. certainly the polls are good friend of ours whether they're eu members or not. the fact that there's a very strong debate in poland about eu
membership and what it means is a reflection of one of the big reasons poland is a friend of the united states, namely there is a vibrant democratic culture in poland. and there's a vibrant debate between people who disagree with each other. th and that's -- those are the types of countries that have much more of an affinity for the united states and be better partners for nus the world because that's what we believe is the best system of government. democrat, democracy, vibrant debate and accountability of the government to the voters. i would hope that that would not be watered down in poland through its eu membership with time. >> thank you. thank the panel and thank you for coming. [ applause ]