Of all the trends in the world today, possibly the most important is the continued waning of American strength, the diminution of U. S. power, the lack of U. S. resolve. The United States today is in a position of retreat around the globe. Its guiding watchwords seem to be "give up," "give it back," "sell it," "retreat," "withdraw," "back down."
Meanwhile, under the guise of being anti-imperialist and anti-colonialist, the Soviet Union is in the process of building the greatest colonial empire the world has ever known — across Africa, in Southeast Asia, and elsewhere around the globe. Soviet power and prestige are on the rise, seemingly in direct proportion to the sorry decline of American power and influence.
With the United States crippled in its ability to cope with the situation, who — if anyone — is going to step into the gap to meet the growing Soviet challenge? The answer may come as a surprise to many: West Germany will; Western Europe will.
Even as Germany lay in the rubble of total collapse immediately following World War II, The Plain Truth magazine and The World Tomorrow broadcast predicted that the German nation would emerge, phoenix like, from the ashes of defeat to become a major economic and military power in the Western world. Many in the late 1940s and early 1950s scoffed at those predictions as they remembered the newsreels and newspaper photos of the unbelievable destruction of city after city throughout defeated Germany.
But Germany has risen and today stands as one of the major powers on the face of the earth — the most powerful nation in Europe. At the head of the nine-nation European Economic Community, it is a clear economic rival to the United States.
But — as many European leaders have repeatedly told me over the years — Western Europe, though an economic, industrial and trading giant, remains a political dwarf. When it comes to the really big topics of global import — the SALT talks, for example — it seems that Europe's voice is seldom heard.
But now, with the political stakes ever greater in the world, and with U.S. power waning everywhere while Soviet power continues to rise, many leaders on the Continent are beginning to realize that Europe can no longer afford to remain on the sidelines. Moreover, they realize that only through an effective pooling of its joint resources will the dwarf ever become the giant it needs to be.
Recently the European community held another of its periodic summit meetings in Copenhagen, Denmark. As it was in progress, an important article appeared in the London Daily Telegraph with the title "Europe in Need of a Pilot." It was authored by Julian Critchley, a Conservative Member of Britain's Parliament and a vice-chairman of the party's defense committee.
Critchley noted that there are three routes that would lead toward completing the process of a United Europe: 1) unity through conquest, which has been tried time and time again without permanent success; 2) unity through economic integration, the present route which has had only limited success in certain areas; or 3) unity in the face of a common enemy.
Today, that common enemy is increasingly present in the form of the enormous Soviet military threat all along free Europe's eastern flank. "Fear," asserts Critchley, "could be the cement" for European unity.
Critchley also addresses the question of leadership. "Is there a modern Bismarck in Europe?" he asks. Is there a leader who could orchestrate the unity of all of Europe in much the same way that Germany's "Iron Chancellor" brought about German unity in the nineteenth century? Critchley suggests that this "modern Bismarck," like his namesake, "may well be German, for it is the Federal Republic [of Germany] which has become the most powerful nation within the Community.... If the Common Market is ever to become a super-state and not just a super-market, "he predicts," it will be the result of German leadership."
The Soviet threat to Europe is growing, and Europeans are finding it hard to ignore. And now, with uncertainty over U. S. resolve and even America's reliability as an ally in time of war, Europeans are being forced to take a hard look at their own defense. "Could Europe," Critchley speculates, "by assuming a greater share in its own defense, recommence its journey on the path to unity?"
For over four decades, The Plain Truth has predicted the eventual emergence of a superpower "United States of Europe," led by Germany. That day appears to be drawing closer.