(Original post by Dr Pesto)
Do you really believe that Europe is "irrelevant and useless" on the world stage?
Compared to the US, China, and Russia? Yes. Bear in mind that I'm talking in terms of power projection rather than "soft" power.
European militaries are generally very weak, and they can't do much on their own unless they form complex political alliances. The three nations I've mentioned above have the advantage of being able to act unilaterally if necessary. Also, the US and China are the only countries in the tens of millions for GDP. The closest competing EU nation is Germany, and that only has a GDP of three or four million. It's not even a contest. Most other European nations have GDPs of two million or less. Many even have GDPs under one million. Europe has a lot of impossibly small countries like Belgium, Switzerland, and Luxembourg that are weak and would be absorbed by stronger neighbors if not for quirks in ancient treaties and alliances.
I don't think the EU will ever match the US, Russia, or China because its parts are formed of culturally and linguistically disparate countries with a long history of bad blood who would resent being ruled over by another part or a representative of another part too much to allow it continually.
Now, Europe does have quite a bit of soft power in terms of culture and setting global standards. Many people would envy the high standard of living, just laws, education, and socially liberal principles of European society (especially Western and Northern Europe). But that's not the same thing as real power. Real power is land, money, weapons, and men. No European nation still commands a significant proportion of these things globally, although they do have just enough to fend off their nearest neighbors if necessary.
If you were to take the US, China, and Russia off the table... maybe they all have civil wars and get broken up into smaller territories, for instance. Then European countries are quite powerful relative to other states in the world. But you would have to take the big three off the table for European power to amount to anything.
I know I probably sound arrogant, but that's mostly because I'm a citizen of the US and it may sound like I'm taking credit for this. But the truth is, I had nothing to do with it. US power is just a fact, and I only claim that the US is a superpower like China and Russia by the numbers, not that it's stronger than the other two. That's worth bearing in mind, along with the fact that I'm not the most diplomatic person in the world.