It’s time for Europe to defend the world order that made it prosperous. 


A few weeks ago, French President Emmanuel Macron visited China, receiving an overly-warm welcome from Xi Jinping. In an interview on the flight back to France, he said that Europe should pursue “strategic autonomy” from both the United State and China. 

My response is simple: sit down, be humble.

Macron is trying to have his cake and eat it too.

As much as Macron and many other Europeans would like to bury their heads in the sand and pretend that Europe can choose their own path between the U.S. and China, the reality is that failing to fight Chinese influence implicitly endorses China’s effort to tear down the world order that allowed Europe to become so prosperous in the first place.

At the end of World War II, the United States GDP was half of the global GDP, and how did we use that influence? We rebuilt Europe from the rubble. The United States has spent the past eight decades building a rules-based world order that has ushered in unfathomable amounts of prosperity globally. Louis Vuitton, Hermès, Chanel, Dior and dozens of other prominent French brands have gained access to a global market as a result of the United States. If Europe wishes to turn their back on the United States, then they should not be surprised if the U.S. choses to stop supporting Europe.

This is why it is so two-faced for Macron to complain on 60 Minutes about the Inflation Reduction Act, which made significant investments in green energy in the U.S. This caused the Europeans to get upset because they fear that the U.S. investing in its own ability to produce green technology will hurt its ability to do the same.

To sum it up, Europe wants to set its own path separate from the U.S., but gets furious when the U.S. does anything for itself that may mildly hurt Europe’s economy.

See the problem?

The idea that the U.S. will protect and support countries that oppose it on the most important foreign policy issue of the 21st century is ridiculous.

So far I have ignored the military aspect of the relationship between the U.S. and Europe, but it remains highly important. It is a common talking point among politicians on the left to point out that the U.S. spends more on its military than the next ten countries combined, but they leave out any context. It may not be clear to the casual observer, but the U.S. defends Europe on its behalf. Whether that is a good or bad thing I will not take a position on in this column, but it remains true.

Guess how many tanks the Baltic countries have? 200? 100? 50? If you said any number other than zero, you are wrong. That’s right, the three most vulnerable countries to Russia on the eastern flank of NATO have zero heavy ground attack vehicles. They couldn’t hold back Russian ground forces even if they peddled across the border on bikes. They, and all of Europe, have the defense policy of “don’t worry, America will save us.”

They are not wrong either, but it makes them have even less standing in trying to back away from pushing back on China.

Most European countries have negligible navies, tiny armies, and air forces equipped with aircraft that are 20 years old.

The reality is that if Russia invades NATO, the battles will be won with USAF F-15, F-22, and F-35’s controlling the skies, Virginia-Class submarines patrolling the seas, and M1 Abrams tanks pushing back Russian forces.

Given the utter decimation of the Russian forces in Ukraine, that will not happen any time soon, but it is much more likely that China will continue to become more aggressive towards Taiwan and in the South China Sea.

This is the moment when European liberal democracies should be united against authoritarians, and to do that, they must work with the United States to counter Russia, China, Iran, North Korea, and other nations that actively threaten our way of life.