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You know something’s gone terribly wrong in pundit-land when the legendary Instapundit suggests — perfectly seriously — that Turkey ought to be in the NAFTA orbit. There’s really a failure of perspective there, and it’s a very telling one. When you’re a nation that sits between Europe and the Middle East, EU trade is going to be more important to you than the “orbit” of a trade agreement on the other side of the world. Turkey would be insane to snub the EU in exchange for NAFTA involvement.

The entire blurb is interesting, actually, when you think about it. He quotes James Bennett, who says “If Europe is really to become the rival hegemon and power bloc its enthusiasts predict, it makes sense for America to blunt this rivalry by making a generous alternative offer to compatible nations such as Britain and Ireland.”

It does? I mean, sure; it does if your goal is a world in which the United States is a single dominant world power. It would also make sense if the EU appeared to be a power bloc which is inherently opposed to the principles on which the United States was founded. (Democracy, free speech, all that stuff.)

As is, however, I really don’t see it. There’s an inherent, fundamental value to diversity of viewpoints among entities of equal power. It is insurance against one entity developing pathological social behavior and acting poorly. Optimally, you don’t want the entities to be enemies — see also the Cold War — but I don’t think there’s a Cold War brewing between the US and the EU.

If I were purely concerned with the United States, I might not care. “Who cares if the US gets weird, as long as we have good lives?” Then again, I might care, because a very weird US might do unpleasant things to my freedom. (More unpleasant things.) It’s an outside change, but an EU that rivals the power of the US isn’t a very big drawback. Basic risk management analysis.

I’d rather see Britain as a partner than as a servant.

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