The Eclipse of Europe
For centuries up to and including the 20th, Europe seemed the central pivot of world history.
Then came the Great Civil War of the West, our Thirty Years' War (1914-1945), where all of the great European powers -- Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Russia -- along with almost all of the rest, fought some of history's greatest battles.
Result: Europe's greatest nations were all bloodied. All of Europe's empires fell. The colonial peoples were all largely liberated and began the great migration to the mother countries. And Europe was split between a U.S.-led West and a Moscow-dominated Soviet bloc.
Yet, even during that four-decade Cold War, Europe was viewed as the prize in the struggle.
By the time that Cold War ended in triumph for the Free World, a European Union modeled on the American Union was rising, and almost all of Europe's newly freed nations began to join the NATO alliance.
Yet one senses today that Europe's role in world history is passing, that the American pivot to China and the Indo-Pacific is both historic and permanent, and that as the past belongs to Europe, the future belongs to Asia.
Asia, after all, is home to the world's most populous nations, China and India; to six of the world's nine nuclear powers; and to almost all of its major Muslim nations: Indonesia, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Turkey and Iran, as well as to the world's largest economies outside the USA: China and Japan.
In 2016, Great Britain voted to withdraw from the EU. This summer, the British joined the Australians and the U.S. in an AUXUS pact that trashed a cherished French deal to build a dozen diesel-powered submarines -- and to replace them with British- and U.S.-built nuclear-power subs.
Paris saw this as a "betrayal," a "stab in the back" by allies whom Gen. Charles De Gaulle had disparaged as "les Anglo-Saxons." Yet AUXUS was also an undeniably clear statement as to where the Australians saw their future, and it was not alongside France, but the USA.