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The United States of Europe: The New Superpower and the End of American Supremacy


Edited by Ann Godoff

New York Times Bestseller

From one of America’s best known foreign correspondents, an eye-opening account of the ascendancy of the European Union as a global superpower and rival to the United States.

In May 2004, the European Union will add ten new member states-including Poland, the Czech Republic, and Hungary, among others-to become a union of twenty-five nations. While this might seem a fairly innocuous and minute shift of political semantics for most Americans, the enlargement will increase the population of the EU to 450 million citizens, making it larger (in population) and richer (in GDP) than the United States—not to mention that the EU has more trade than the United States and more votes on the UN Security Council and all other international organizations. This New Europe is determined to flex its political and economic muscle on the world state. This Continent has moved much further than most Americans realized toward the dream of a “United States of Europe,” to borrow Winston Churchill’s term.

T.R. Reid’s The United States of Europe lays bare the ways in which the EU is positioning itself to be a global counterweight and second superpower, on equal footing with the U.S.A. Reid traces the rise of the EU from the days when Churchill and other visionaries set out in the post-World-War II rubble to find a means to end the war in Europe. He shows how this remarkably successful effort to “create peace” also created a global and economic and political power that is often at odds with the United Sates. This drive toward unity has been accelerated by the powerful mood of anti-Americanism (or, at least, anti-Bushism) that swept the Continent since the war in Iraq.

In addition to the political ramification for the EU, The United States of Europe shows the great impact this alliance is having on the global economic market. The euro, which now has more daily users than the dollar, is fast becoming a reserve currency and a new standard for global finance, a globally recognized replacement for the once-almighty dollar. Unification has spawned a generation of European corporate managers who have led firms like Nokia, Airbus, BP, Vodafone and Red Bull to catch and surpass their U.S. competitors in global markets.

The European Union, from its beginnings as an experiment in statecraft, has rapidly emerged as a resounding success; yet Americans have so far managed to ignore the geopolitical revolution under way across the Atlantic. Reid’s book shows how quietly—and not so quietly—Europe is developing itself into an economic, political, and cultural powerhouse.

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Praise

“A lively, thought-provoking book.” The Seattle Times

“T. R. Reid is like that great teacher you once had who makes a potentially dull and ponderous subject entertaining.” The Miami Herald

“A first-rate journalist, Reid provides impressive evidence to support his hypothesis.” The Denver Post

“On the heels of another similarly themed and provocatively titled selection, Jeremy Rifkin’s The European Dream, this book argues that Americans—particularly those subscribing to Robert Kagan’s ‘let Old Europe eat crepes; we’re going it alone’ foreign policy—miss the fact that the European Union, not the U.S., is emerging as the true superpower of the twenty-first century. But whereas Rifkin’s book points toward increasingly divergent moral values, Reid’s emphasizes economics: the solidity of the euro, the long reach of European corporations, and the unignorable power of Europe’s enormous marketplace, which, as Reid shows us, former General Electric CEO Jack Welch learned the hard way. It’s essentially an argument about ‘soft power,’ bolstered by some eye-opening statistics (did you know that, after this spring’s expansion, Europe’s GDP is greater than America’s?) as well as a perceptive discussion of the catalytic forces of anti-Americanism and the pan-European Generation E. Reid does not duck the Kaganites’ predictable criticism—that such success is possible because the U.S. is busy keeping the wolves at bay—but rather offers that, for whatever reason its success, the EU is simply not to be dismissed. For that matter, nor is this prescient book.” Brendan Driscoll, Booklist (starred)

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