America's spiral into social and political dysfunction is riveting but shouldn't be dismissed by Europeans as a mere spectacle to be observed. American progressives are coming for us all, writes Donald Forbes.

If democracy fails in the United States, it will drag us down too. American democracy is the lynchpin of the West. A world without it would be dominated by China's Xi, Vladimir Putin and Turkey's Erdogan – both of whom have one foot in Germany – and the Iranian mullahs with their new bomb.

These are people with no time for the hair-splitting and sometimes self-abnegating hesitations of Europeans in their fragile and disputatious union of too many disparate peoples. They are actors, we are spectators because the US does our heavy lifting for us.

Despite its putative international ambitions, Europe under Brussels' management has constantly shown an inability to compete with the two superpowers, one in danger of internal collapse and the other inexorably rising. Its weakness forces it to favour one or the other. It's still the US but EU leaders, with their unerring instinct to do the wrong thing, are hedging their bets with China. This is a huge mistake.

Joe Biden, elected because he was the antithesis of Donald Trump, has been a dangerous flop at home and abroad. Although a majority of Americans don't want Trump back, they still like his policies which they want the next Republican president to follow. Message to progressives: mature democracies do not want rapid transformation; the root cause of the fight has been left and right in the US.

To a large extent, Trumps holds the short-term future of the country in his palm. If he runs again, he risks being defeated by almost any Democrat who is not as flawed as Biden; if he is content to be kingmaker and backs a candidate like Trumpy Florida governor Ron De Santis, Republicans could be back in the White House in three years. If Democrats win again, progressives will continue to push the institutions leftwards against the instincts of the silent majority.

America, no matter how divided its people are, can survive on its own. Lethargic, reactive Europe, beset by its spineless commitment to bureaucratic utopianism and the liberal grail of soft power in its dealings with the outside world, will always be vulnerable.

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America is the child of Europe. We share the kinship of cousins who have grown apart but retain a lot in common if we could accept the truth of that.

It's fashionable among Europeans, right as well as left, to hold the US in contempt, Trump or no. The more it is roiled by upheaval, the greater the disdain we feel and not just our elites. A strong seam of anti-Americanism co-exists in the minds of ordinary Europeans with their avid consumption of American culture.

What happens in America soon makes its way to Europe as we have seen firstly with aggressive feminism and subsequently with wokeness and the obsession with race. America today is us tomorrow. The old liberalism is dead and the future presages either the intolerance of the left or the authoritarianism of the right. The left's awareness of this is why it constantly invokes an inexistent (as yet) fascism.

The European agenda is stuck whether the issue is political and economic union the euro and the foundation of a European army as a path to federalism. The EU is riven by its north-south and east-west dissensions, which are cultural as well as economic. It cannot even let go of Brexit which in a rational world should be history. The fight between the Commission and the East Europeans over immigration and sovereignty explodes the myth that Europe is the natural sum of its parts. It is a constant battle to make the 27 very different parts cohere.

Russia is the main military power in Europe and will remain so whether the European army – dominated by nuclear France – is created or not. Without the US military umbrella, we are defenceless. Were the mullahs, for example, to blackmail us with the nuclear missiles they will soon possess, there is little the Europeans could do about it even if their addiction to soft power allowed them to summon the will.

We certainly want to beware of China which is communist and an ally of convenience with our closer opponents like Russia and Iran; communists will eventually do what communists always do, as we know from bitter experience.

We need to start judging the United States more carefully in the light of our own interest and side with the right which is resisting the destructiveness of progressivism. There are signs of a reaction to progressive overreach and we should hope they succeed. The American left are not true liberals.

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