The Holy Roman Empire was…

…_______________ (fill in the blank!).

I’ve been meaning to link to a fascinating article in the Economist on the parallels between the Holy Roman Empire and the European Union, but travels, getting ready for school, and other stuff has gotten in the way.

Among the gems:

The empire faced the same problem as today’s EU, only worse. The EU currently has 27 member states. During its final 150 years, the empire had more than 300 territories (the number varied). Should each member get one vote? If so, any hillbilly could block progress. Or should votes be weighted by territory? If so, big princes could bully little ones. Should decisions be taken by simple majority, qualified majority or unanimity? The empire answered these questions as the EU does: with a characteristically decisive it-all-depends.

Do read the whole thing.

My only critique of the article is that it misses a huge piece of the puzzle: the presence of the US military, as a conquering power, on the continent. As long as Uncle Sam is around, Europeans don’t have to worry about descending into yet another war. None of them will ever admit this, though. Europeans would rather spend their time ignoring this point while simultaneously assaulting the very political and economic system that enables the US to provide for Europe’s security.

I’ve written about this before, but due to the inevitable fiscal constraints of empire I think American military policy towards Europe needs to go one of two ways: 1) either withdraw our troops completely or 2) start implementing trade policies that would make living, working, and traveling between the US and Europe much, much easier. Like moving to Louisiana from Languedoc should be as easy as moving from California to Connecticut.

Taking the second route would pay for itself and much, much more. Unfortunately, there are too many isolationists and too many reactionaries (mostly on the Left) on both sides of the pond that would oppose such a policy no matter how much it would benefit themselves and everybody around them. The second route might be the one we need to take. Both, as I mentioned, are going to have to be necessary if the US is going to get its fiscal house in order.

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