The growth of European unity from a six nation trading block in the 1940s to the 25 nation political, military and economic confederation that exists today has been accompanied by a similar evolution in America’s attitude toward the integration of Europe.
There are as many reasons for the US to view the European Union as a threat as there are to view it as a beneficial force. Economically, the EU exceeds the US in population and therefore has the potential to become an economic rival, if it has not done so already. The extent to which the EU has come to coordinate common defense policies and structures also poses a potential challenge to NATO, the primary vehicle by which the US has been able to project military influence throughout the world. Further, a key factor precipitating European integration has been an anti-Americanism born of Europe’s desire to become independent from US influence and to stand on the same stage in exerting its own geo-political influence.
Ultimately, the official position of the United States has generally been positive toward the European integration project that has taken place over the past several decades. Official American foreign policy has commonly encouraged and praised European efforts to form cooperative economic, political and military institutions to which its constituent nations subscribe. Nevertheless, the challenge that a unified Europe poses for the United States has made unofficial attitudes somewhat less enthusiastic. In the end, whether American attitudes toward European integration are positive or negative will depend largely on whether Europe rises to become a true global challenge to the U.S.
World War II devastated Europe and provided an impetus for the concept of integration as a pragmatic approach to avoiding similar destructive conflicts in the future. Making the countries of Europe economically interdependent, starting with the traditionally fiercest antagonists, France and