"Europe's Good Intentions Have Gone Sour"

Meanwhile, at home, Europeans cited cutthroat competition and unbridled individualism as additional contributory causes of the prior strife and unhappiness.
So in response to the errors of the past, Europeans systematically expanded the welfare state. They welcomed in immigrants. Politicians slashed defense spending, lowered the retirement age and cut the workweek. Voters demanded trade barriers to protect the public from the ravages of globalization. Either to enjoy the good life or to save the planet, couples forswore children.
But instead of utopia, unintended consequences ensued. Unemployment soared. Dismal economic growth, shrinking populations and a scarier world outside their borders followed. Abroad, even the much-heralded "soft power" of a disarmed Europe could only bring attention to, not stop, the killing in Darfur. Meanwhile, China and India are no longer inefficient socialists but breakneck capitalist competitors. Indeed, they have thrown down the gauntlet to the Europeans: "Beware! Workers of the world who labor harder, longer and smarter deserve the greater material rewards!" In this new heartless global arena, apparently few will abide by the niceties of the European Union. RCP