Today we are witnessing the most blatant act of military aggression in Europe since World War II. Russia’s dictator Vladimir Putin clearly thinks he can take advantage of Europe and impose his will upon them. And it remains true that Europe is currently not ready to defend itself without American help. But together, Europe can defend itself with ease against the Russian dictatorship to its east – and sanctions are not the answer. Hidden in the current madness Putin has unleashed is an opportunity for future peace, growth and stability that will extend not only to Europe but to the entire democratic world. It is time for the European Union to become a single, united and democratic country instead of a collection of loosely connected independent states.
The EU has a population three times bigger than Russia. The GDP of the combined EU currently rivals the size of China and while Russia’s economy is just larger than Spain and smaller than Italy. As of 2020, the EU has a 15.2 trillion dollar economy to Russia’s 1.4 trillion. The EU also has a much more dynamic and vibrant infrastructure of science and technology than Russia will ever be able to build. United together, Russia is no threat to the EU giant.
Plans for a European military have been proposed since the 1950’s but today’s invasion must be the last straw. The harder task will be to strengthen and democratize the European Parliament so that it is ready to carry the responsibility of controlling such a military force, but the need is dire, even beyond the current crisis in Ukraine. The threats of the future, everything from an emboldened Putin to a warming climate, are too big for any of the 27 EU states to face individually.
A strong EU would also be a force for democratic progress on the international stage. Europe experienced the worst of the 20th century’s conflicts of ideologies and the ferocity of the World Wars yet emerged democratic and peaceful. Since WWII, they have consistently and successfully supported democracy within European countries and could amplify that honorable feat across the world. A working union in Europe would encourage democracy struggles across the world and deter troublemakers like Putin. It is in fact Putin’s worst nightmare.
The vulnerability of Europe is totally political in nature and almost all of the problems it faces, from economic planning to collective defense, are manageable if the continent acts as one. During a time where democratic rights are at threat worldwide, the massive strengths of the EU and the European people make it a potential democratic giant. It is time to finally stop Putin and put a swift end to any further delusions he may have for further expansion through military force.
With no exaggeration, one can say that the European people have an unparalleled opportunity to ensure international stability and to save humanity. In the interest of democratic strength and security, a strong and fiercely democratic nation called Europe should be welcomed with open arms.