three-and-half-stars
Bookmarks Issue: 
15-Mar-Apr-2005
By: 
T.R. Reid
user_rating: 
0

The New Superpower and the End of American Supremacy

A-UnitedStatesEuropeAmerica, take note: there’s a new kid in town. This up-and-coming contender, who’s been growing up quietly since shortly after World War II, is suddenly set to outpace the United States in every way except militarily. Meet the European Union, a 25-nation powerhouse with its own currency, constitution, and court system. As the author, a former London bureau chief for The Washington Post, sees it, Americans can no longer ignore this unified upstart: "To put it simply, the United States of America has to show respect for the United States of Europe."
Penguin. 305 pages. $25.95. ISBN: 1594200335

Denver Post 4 of 5 Stars
"A first-rate journalist, Reid provides impressive evidence to support his hypothesis. Furthermore, although the book is by design didactic, the preaching goes down easy because the examples are presented breezily, with technical terms always clearly explained."
Steve Weinberg

Sacramento Bee 3.5 of 5 Stars
"Reid takes us on an intriguing and entertaining journey through this comparatively new and powerful entity … using a wry wit and a journalist’s eye to capture what amounts to, in his words, ‘a geopolitical revolution of historic dimensions.’" William Endicott

Seattle Times 3.5 of 5 Stars
"Reid is unflinching in his central premise: If Americans intend to stay diplomatically and relevant and want to cash in on the world’s largest trade market, they must wake up to the ‘geopolitical earthquake’ emanating from Brussels, the EU’s capital."
Jake Batsell

National Review 3 of 5 Stars
"On his intended thesis—that ‘the planet has a second superpower now’—Reid fails to convince. Nevertheless, his book offers a valuable portrait of a continental political class obsessed with ‘counterweighing’ the United States of America." Carlos Ramos-Mrosovsky

American Prospect 2.5 of 5 Stars
"Reid misses perhaps the most important aspect of Europe today—namely, the remarkable persistence of its many national policies, institutions and cultures. Contrary to Reid’s thesis, Europeans have no intention of moving all the way to a United States of Europe." Andrew Moravcsik

New York Times 2.5 of 5 Stars
"The chronic failings of the [EU] are glossed over. High unemployment, slow growth, often acute internal divisions (as over the war in Iraq) and the lack of the sort of military power needed to make diplomatic initiatives are issues on which Mr. Reid chooses not to dwell." Roger Cohen

Critical Summary

Anyone who even glances at international headlines already knows there’s a powerful new presence emerging in what used to be known as "the Old World." Reid provides a strong introduction to the EU’s unprecedented exercise in international cooperation. While some reviewers take issue with what they view as overstatement, oversimplification, or selective inclusion of facts, most, if not all, agree with Reid’s underlying message: Americans need to pay far more attention to the activity across the Atlantic. We’ve been duly warned.