The possible break up of Europe? What would the USA be like if it had split up?

As we surge towards a conclusion to this unnecessary referendum on Brexit or Bremain I cannot help ponder some of the other unknowables.

I have grown up in a world with two superpowers – America and Russia – who took us to the brink of annihilation. I lived for decades with a series of nuclear warheads pointing at me – still do. America dominates the world economic stage and pulls all the shots. It controls the markets.

America is made up of fifty States all of which are really autonomous countries. They are vastly different in culture, geography, size, population, climate, racial mix, resources and wealth.

If they had operated as separate countries would any of them have been a major world player?

If those 50 States all secede from the Union what would happen to America’s power?

29 thoughts on “The possible break up of Europe? What would the USA be like if it had split up?

  1. How can you make this comparison? Whoever wins or loses the arguments will go on, we still have to live. Perhaps all of us who want OUT should sell up and get out of Europe altogether.

    1. I think the comparison is very apt.
      From my perspective in the past, up into the seventies, Britain was made wealthy by the huge Empire and then, to a lesser extent, the Commonwealth. Our prosperity was built on that. But we no longer have an empire and the Commonwealth is increasingly there in name only.
      I think if we stay in or go out we will continue to live and life will go on. But there will, in my view be potentially enormous repercussions. They may or may not happen. But the way I see it we are no longer producing a lot. We are the seventh biggest economy based on banking and insurance. Places like Berlin are extremely jealous of our banking hub. If they entice them away, or even a proportion of them away, to be at the heart of Europe then we are in trouble. Money will pour out of London, house prices drop and the GDP will be greatly reduced with knock on effects. Where would the money come from?
      The trouble is that nobody knows. It could be alright. It could go horribly pear-shaped. All the right-wing Tories are interested in is sovereignty and power. They would be prepared to take a big hit on the economy. It wouldn’t affect them that much. It’s the public services and poor who would take the blows. I’m not at all bothered by sovereignty, Queen, establishment or country.

      1. For a start I do not believe all the right wing tories are that stupid. I have no time for the Royal Family, when the Queen dies that should be the end of them. To have that questionable charlie boy on the throne, then we do have problems. The people will decide In or Out. As I stated previously I want the Borders closed, we are overrun now.

      2. I don’t think they are stupid at all. I think they want power and will do and say anything to get it.
        In my opinion leaving Europe will not secure our borders.

  2. I think the differences between the European countries are much, much larger than the differences between the 50 states of the USA. Therefore, I think the comparison is not valid. Besides, the American states are not sovereign countries.

    1. I would disagree with you there. Having travelled extensively through the States and lived in Boston, Baton Rouge and Los Angeles I think the differences are immense. Talking to people in Mississippi and Massachusetts is a huge culture shift. Hawaii and Alaska? Every State has a distinct identity. Even the languages and racial mixes are different. Spanish was the main language spoken in my school in Los Angeles. Whites and Blacks were a minority.
      The States could easily have been sovereign States. I think some were. The point I make is that it is their unity into one power and one voice that made America a global power. If it had existed as fifty sovereign countries it would not have exerted the same influence or wielded the same power. That is my premise.
      The analogy to Europe is valid.
      China, Russia and India are other examples. They are conglomerates of ‘countries’ into powerful blocs creating economic and political power. If Soth America had operated that way it would have been more powerful.
      Food for thought.

      1. I haven’t been to the USA, so you got an edge on me there. However, I dare bet that the differences are rather smaller than between European countries. First of all, the USA is a contingent mass (except for Alaska and Hawaii), whether Europe is a bunch of rather isolated peninsula’s loosely jointed together. Secondly, everywhere in the USA people speak and understand the same language, unlike most of Europe, where people speak sometimes exclusively the local tongue. In economical terms, sure, there are differences between the states. But they have had a common currency and a united financial system for many years, and their economies are run on similar principles. In Europe, its all the way between Moldova and Liechtenstein, there are dozens of currencies, and economies are ranging from dictatorial Belarus to liberal UK. Some states were (briefly) independent in the past. But the prospect of the 50 states becoming independent countries is pure imagination. European countries, on the other hand, have centuries of independent history.

        As to China and Russia – these have always been highly centralized empires. Even India has, for most of its history, been ruled by a central government controlling most of its modern area. They are not a “block” of countries, they are a single, unified country, with one dominant language, one currency, one government, one army and so on. Comparing them to Europe in anything but economic terms is a big, big stretch. Not that they perform so well, anyway – Russia is in shambles, China has demographic trouble, India is overpopulated and undereducated, and all three have massive problems with corruption and the environment. I wouldn’t write Europe off so easily.

      2. Cheers Michael – I appreciate that. Well that is not quite true that Americans speak the same language. The Hispanics are making up an increasing percentage. Then you have the Inuits, Native Americans and Hawaiians. But yes, in general I take your point. Language and currency are big factors. But there are many States pressing to secede from the union. The difference in culture between States is profound. Attitudes are as different as between European countries. Living in the States certainly made me feel European.
        China is playing a canny game with major investment around the world – Africa and South America – even Australia.
        I think that if the West splits up they are poised.

      3. With all the respect for the language diversity in the USA, its two languages at best – English and Spanish – that are visibly present. Hawaiian, Inuit, and the various other native languages are as meaningful as Basque or Ruthanian to the European language landscape. As in – not of any significant importance. If you must go that far to find linguistic diversity, you might as well add Cockney as a distinct language. The USA is one country, united by many more factors than the EU will probably ever be. As to States preceding to leave the Union – last time around it led to a bloody civil war and no state left. The States are not independent and have no prospect of becoming independent.

      4. That is quite probable. I am pointing out that the possibility exists and there are forces at work. Who knows? There appears to be a global move towards fragmentation.
        I still contend that the cultural differences between states are bigger than you suggest. The similarities in Europe are greater than you suggest. It is exaggerated by language barriers.
        I do not like this move towards breaking up into small units. I want a more global perspective.
        Cockney is a distinct language. My dad was one.

      5. Hi Michael,
        Thank you for that. I would be glad to do that. I’ve just returned from a week of touring – will get back to you in a day or two. Cheers – Opher

  3. Your opinion Opher, leave the EU would not secure our Borders, well we won’t know until we try it. We should follow the idea of Australia. Borders should be closed, we have enough now – come to this Town, have you got them where you live, of course not.

    1. Of course we have a lot of immigrants here. We have lots of Polish and Eastern Europeans come to work in the fields all around here. There are polish and Eastern European shops, communities and all sorts. We have a sizeable Kurdish community too. I’ve been involved with some of them through a number of the musical events.
      Australia has huge Asian migration. I think Sydney has more Asians than others. They let in lots and have big problems with illegals boating in. When I was there three years ago there were big debates about it. It’s not as portrayed.
      But I agree – we have far too many immigrants. We have to stop it. The question is how. I do not put my faith in Gove and Boris.

  4. Just read an interesting and serious academic on the rise of nationalism in Italy, France and Austria. All suggest that their country will be better off on their own. 100 years ago there was the Great War !

      1. I agree, an unholy mess and a lot more bureaucracy with visas. A new civil service or private contract will be needed. And the British public will be to blame this time and whichever way we vote. Should never have gone ahead. The campaign has raise so much division.

  5. Geez… Interesting questions. I never thought of the states as their own countries. But there certainly are a lot of them clamoring for autonomy right now and threatening to pull out.

    1. We may be witnessing the end of the Western power base. Europe and the USA have dominated the world stage for hundreds of years. It is now fragmenting into little insular pieces and breaking apart – making way for China to take over world dominance? Or will India emerge?
      Looks like self-inflicted wounds to me.

  6. “Alwight me old china”. – You said your Father was a Cockney, was he born “within the sounds of Bow Bells”, and did he speak with an East End accent. I was actually born “within the sounds of Bow Bells”, The East End Maternity Hospital, not sure if it is still there, but raised in Essex, and I do not have an East End accent. Many, many famous people were born “within the sounds of Bow Bells”.

    1. Haha Anna – I liked that. Yes he was born within the sound of Bow Bells and his Dad was a Cockney to boot. His Mum was Irish though. The strange thing was that every one of his brothers and sisters spoke differently. One brother was a lorry driver and spoke very cockney, one was a joiner and spoke with a London accent but not as broad, and my Dad worked in newspapers and had the least cockney accent of all. His only sister was a teacher and she has a London accent but not broad cockney. Strange isn’t it? Such a range from within one family. I’ll have to look up where he was born again.

      1. I was born in the old East End Maternity Home, on the Commercial Road, Stepney. which qualifies me as a Cockney. Saying that, my voice has no resemblance to a Cockney. My late Husband was born on The Isle of Dogs, yet he had the most wonderful speaking voice, unlike some members of his family at that time. A lot of people think being born in the East End qualifies them as a Cockney but you have to be born “Within the Sound of Bow Bells”.

      2. Yes. It’s not something that is as important as it once was. The culture has changed. I think TV and population mobility has done that. Regional dialects are all changing. We are exposed to a standard English a lot more. They are not so strong or pronounced as they were a while back. I like a range of dialects. It’ll be a shame to lose them.

  7. I used to be ashamed and embarrassed to admit to being a Cockney until David some years back printed off for me the history of being a Cockney and it was fascinating, along with that he told me I should feel proud of the fact that I was born “Within the Sound of Bow Bells” and I am now.

    1. Nobody should ever be ashamed of their heritage! I was born in Merton Surrey so I don’t qualify as a Cockney. Not sure what I am.

      1. I was no rich kid. My parents were poor. Some of the tales my mum told me about her friends not affording shoes and having rags tied round their feet in winter and being sewn into their clothes. I suppose my parents were examples of working class bettering themselves. They wanted better for me and my sisters than they’d had. They moved to an estate that they could not really afford. But we got by.
        There’s nothing wrong with Irish Catholic. My neighbour was Irish Catholic. She was brilliant.

  8. Reblogged this on Opher's World and commented:

    I think we are better together. Partnership prevents conflict. I’d like to see greater partnership around the world.
    I’m just reading Noam Chomsky who claims that the USA has a finger in it. They do not like Europe developing as a strong Bloc that would threaten US supremacy.

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