Europe, the birthplace of two industrial revolutions and the location of two world wars, is also still the main battlefield for U.S.-Soviet Cold War tensions. To integrate Europe, it was France and Germany, etc., that set the European coal and steel community in motion after the Cold War, and soon after, it showed joint progress, both economically and politically, and even militarily.
But for a long, long time, Europe has been unable to extricate itself from America, the self-proclaimed integral cog in the wheel of global strategy. The U.S. has had Europe tied up in wars since then, not allowing it to leave its established strategic path. After the end of the Cold War, NATO was unrivaled, and yet America still continued to strengthen NATO's "new strategic concepts," and as NATO absorbed former Warsaw Pact countries and three Baltic countries, Russia's strategic space was squeezed substantially. America persisted in deploying guided missile defense systems to Europe — to defend against the threat of a missile attack from Iran, it was said — but it was in fact to act as a defense against Russia, to keep Russia in check, and to weaken Russia's position. Euro-Russian relations became ever more tense, affording America the ability to maintain a large military presence in Europe. The nucleus of strained U.S.-Russian relations still lies in Europe. America unceasingly incites disharmony and damage within Euro-Russian relations, and due to this tension, Europe has no choice but to draw closer to America. For example, Europe followed America in imposing sanctions upon Russia, the result of which meant that both sides suffered; Europe suffered substantial losses.
The American attitude is deep-rooted. Americans fear that their position of power will be challenged or weakened; they have watched Europe come together to work hard for collective self-improvement with a cool eye, and cannot stand to see the euro challenging the American dollar's hegemonic status. America's tactic has been to allow Europe to strengthen itself, and to "loosen the reins," only to allow it to gain a better hold of Europe later on. After the Cold War, there was a rapid push for NATO to expand to the east, encouraging Europe's population to grow rapidly. The "eastern expansion" was a killing of two birds with one stone for America: Its troops were kept stationed in Europe, while Europe itself was weakened. As central and eastern European countries joined the union, the collective strength of the European economy fell by 40 percent; "Polish plumbers" (a term used as a symbol of cheap labor coming from Eastern Europe) caused unemployment in Western Europe to rise. American presidents have all made great efforts to affect Turkey's admission into Europe. Europe views many populous Muslim countries as difficult to support, and relations between Turkey and Europe continue to be tense due to Turkey being prevented from joining Europe. The U.S. company, Goldman Sachs, helped Greece to cook the books during its debt and budget deficit crisis in order for Greece to deceptively join the eurozone, then, due to the five PIIGS — Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece and Spain — the sovereign debt crisis erupted, and this placed a great burden and hidden dangers on the eurozone.
America and other countries' cruel interference in the situations in the Middle East and North Africa have caused a turn in the security situations in these regions. Terrorism and the problem of the refugee crisis have not only left Europe shrouded in a terrible haze but have created setbacks in establishing European integration. Europe, for example, was once proud of the now-castigated Schengen Agreement, whereas now all countries are now re-establishing borders that were discarded years ago, and are now also implementing stricter immigration policies. There are European countries that are making it known that they wish to leave Europe, some countries even wish to leave the eurozone; the United Kingdom, for example, will hold a referendum on whether or not to stay in the European Union.
Europe is currently suffering the most severe series of crises since World War II, the worst of these being security and economic issues — big problems that are difficult to deal with. The power of xenophobia has grown rapidly, conflicts between immigrants and the local populations who oppose immigration are causing all kinds of problems, and this is gradually intensifying. This has all meant that Euro-skepticism is on the rise, European cohesion has fallen to a historic low-point and there is now an unprecedented crisis of confidence. Even if some European countries are slowly recognizing that America is weakening Europe, reconsidering the past 10 years' worth of gains and losses brought about by going along with America, it is hard to take any substantial steps away from U.S. control. Before it can escape from its current predicament, Europe might have to go through a long difficult period.