We should firmly rebut such criticism. To federate the European democracies is the only way to prevent their becoming protectorates and instruments of an imperialist American policy, to prevent the development and consolidation of an American imperial, colonizing policy in Europe. The many Americans who are in favour of federal development in Europe are not imperialists but are those who fear an imperialist future for their country and wish for the creation of a situation in Europe that will avert this possibility.
A European federation, even if only a partial one, will be independent of America in a way that is impossible for the states of Western Europe in isolation. Hence such a federation can resist and eventually overcome the disastrous policy of spheres of influence. The original federation must remain open to all other European countries: it must gradually and peacefully restore the values and institutions of democratic civilization to countries where they have been lost and can only be revived within a Europe purged of baneful influences and based on laws of justice and peace. In other words the federalist solution is unquestionably opposed to Soviet imperialism, since it would be the task of a federal Europe to check and finally abolish the whole imperialist system of zones of influence, controls, iron curtains and so forth; but it is opposed to Soviet imperialism on the same grounds as to the American variety.
If today it is possible to envisage the first steps towards federalism being taken in countries under American influence but not elsewhere, this is simply because in the former, as in America itself, there are possibilities of anti-imperialist and anti-totalitarian action that no longer exist in Eastern Europe, though we hope they will be revived there.
The opportunities to set about constructing a federal democratic Europe will probably exist for a few years longer. The role of the great world empires is no doubt an obstacle, but in so far as their intervention is not complete it gives an urgency to the problem of European union which may be salutary in its effect.
Having defined the concrete possibilities of bringing about a European union, we must recognize that nothing has yet been done in this direction, and that grave responsibility for this fact rests on leading political classes in the democratic countries. New men and new forces have come on the political scene. It might have been hoped that recent sufferings would have convinced them of the absurdity of simply restoring the old national sovereignties. They ought to have understood that the totalitarian poison was not a sad monopoly of Germany, Italy and one or two other countries, but is at work more or less secretly in all European countries, perhaps without exception; and that the war itself, anti-Fascist though it was, has reinforced the totalitarian and anti-democratic elements that exist everywhere.
However, these facts were ignored and an attempt has been made to restore democracy on an exclusively national basis. The result is that some superficial democratization has been achieved but that it has no solid basis. Absurdity has been piled on absurdity, and none of the gravest problems of the hour have been seriously grappled with. Economic autarky and national planning have been revived; national armies have been re-created, national hatred, rancour and suspicion have been fostered. Today every European nation is poverty-stricken and diseased, withdrawn into itself, uncertain of the future, unable to raise itself, obliged to depend more and more on political and economic structures that are profoundly anti-democratic.
There is no future on this basis for democratic civilization. If it is to be once more secured the whole plan of political action must be modified. The time-honoured political divisions that are met with in every country no longer have any profound or genuine essentially anti-democratic all groups which see it as meaning. Whatever the external label, we must regard as their main task to re-establish and conserve the national sovereign state. Even if they do not realize it they are the grave-diggers of civil liberty and well-being, servants of the modern Leviathan, the all-powerful, totalitarian sovereign state.