Don't Lead Europe By Triggering Its Fears
For a long time, Europe's strategic chattering class has been wondering what would happen if you took the US out of Europe's security architecture. Optimists assumed that the absence of the great protector would lead to increased European cooperation and a strengthened sense of strategic togetherness. Pessimists reckoned that the opposite would happen: take the external stabilizer out of the notoriously unstable European political market and what you get is a return to Europe's normal: a place of distrust, unsustainable national ambition, counterbalancing, and fear.
Europe's normal is what you know from history books: roughly 2,000 years of more or less failed attempts by the Europeans to stabilize their own continent. Methods to stabilize Europe have ranged from hegemony to terror to balance of power to peaceful integration. Few of these attempts were successful for longer than a few years. By far the most stable, peaceful and economically prosperous period the continent has ever had was the time after 1945, when the Western part of Europe enjoyed democratic peace, only to be joined by the liberated eastern parts of Europe after 1989/90.