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Fw: Allies Diverge On Vision For World
by Daniel
01 August 2002 14:14 UTC
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Nothing very new (been going on since 1776), but substantially more serious 
now, given the
far-reaching implications of this forming rift, and its possible outcomes. 
Comments anyone?


Daniel Pinéu

----- Original Message -----
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Sent: Thursday, August 01, 2002 2:38 PM
Subject: [osint] Allies Diverge On Vision For World

> Chicago Tribune
> July 28, 2002
> Pg. 1
> First of four parts
> Allies Diverge On Vision For World
> U.S. unilateralism helps weaken ties
> By R.C. Longworth, Tribune senior correspondent
> BERLIN -- The Atlantic alliance between the United States and Europe, the 
>most successful
international bonding of all time, is breaking down amid starkly differing 
visions of a changing
world and both sides' proper place in it.
> The alliance, a mesh of military, economic, cultural and historic ties, was 
>born in the ashes of
World War II, the coupling of a young superpower and old nation-states 
devastated by conflict. The
alliance produced the Marshall Plan and NATO, fought and won the Cold War and 
created the most
prosperous and peaceful assembly of democracies in history. Its dramatic 
erosion, which is not a
priority in a Washington fixated on terrorism, has become an obsession in 
> No total rupture is likely, nor are former friends about to become foes. 
>Economic ties, both trade
and investment, will stay strong. NATO, the institutional cornerstone of the 
alliance, probably will
survive, but in a reduced and less military role.
> The alliance's trend is not toward hostility but toward irrelevance, with the 
>United States, by
far its dominant member, dealing with threats beyond Europe and less interested 
in what the
Europeans think and do. The Europeans, for their part, are preoccupied with 
their own continent and
offended by what they see as American unilateralism.
> For both sides, the Atlantic alliance has been the anchor of foreign policy 
>since World War II. So
for both, its fraying means a basic shift in the way they deal with the world.
> "I know Germans and Americans share values and experiences," Robert Zoellick, 
>the chief U.S. trade
negotiator and one of the more multilateral members of the administration, told 
a German Marshall
Fund meeting in Berlin. "Yet the question we must address now is whether we 
have shared interests as
> "Many recent Euro-Atlantic squabbles . . . reflect America's reassessment of 
>its national
interests in a changed world and Europe's conservatism in adjusting," Zoellick 
told the Germans.
"Will there be a basis for a trans-Atlantic unity absent the intense cohesion 
of shared dangers?"
> The 50-year history of the alliance is filled with spats and hard words--over 
>trade, missiles,
Cold War strategy, American saber rattling, European appeasement, Disney movies 
and Big Macs. But
these were fights within the family, between allies who always seemed to kiss 
and make up.
> In a Tribune examination of the state of the alliance, leading European 
>foreign policy and defense
officials, and political analysts from Berlin to Paris to London and Brussels 
agree that what's
happening now is different.
> "It's normal to criticize each other, and normal for Americans to be very 
>tough in defending their
interests," said Gilles Andreani, a French foreign policy scholar. "But this is 
a new attitude, a
contempt toward Europeans that we never saw before.
> "Americans can have their way on this planet without Europe," Andreani said. 
>"For the first time,
you hear Americans saying that we don't want to be in a position where we need 
> The next big flash point, and the most crucial one, is expected to involve 
>any U.S. decision to
invade Iraq to overthrow Saddam Hussein. European leaders, all of whom backed 
the U.S. policy in
Afghanistan, say they will support an attack on Iraq only if Bush makes a solid 
case that it is
aiding terrorism and if the United States first wins UN Security Council 
support. Otherwise,
Europeans may well oppose any attack, which could help hasten the collapse of 
the alliance.
> European officials see the new relationship as the result of three separate 
>but interlocking
> The end of the Cold War. In the Soviet-American struggle, Europe was the 
>front line and the focal
point of U.S. policy. That ended 11 years ago, with the collapse of communism. 
The terrorist attacks
of Sept. 11 only dramatized this shift of American attention from Europe to 
more global threats.
> The unprecedented power of the United States, coupled with the unilateralism 
>of the Bush
administration. American officials are making it clear that European 
consultation and cooperation is
more hindrance than help. A Europe devoted to international law and 
institutions faces a Washington
that rejects any international restraint on its power. A half-century habit of 
conversation has been replaced by an unconcealed scorn in Washington for the 
> The success of the European Union in creating a zone of peace in which war is 
unthinkable. This success has led to sharp cuts in European military spending 
over the last decade
and a relative military weakness. As a result, the United States has stopped 
counting on European
help in battle.
> U.S. contempt alleged
> Some of this, like the fallout from the end of the Cold War, is inevitable. 
>Some, like the
replacement of a war-torn Europe by a continent at peace, is positive and has 
active U.S. support.
> But some seems almost deliberate. Many European officials admit that Europe, 
>in its single-minded
construction of the EU, has turned inward, away from global issues, and has not 
kept up its end of
the military balance. But the same Europeans say that the Bush administration's 
open contempt for
Europeans' positions is widening the gap and is squandering the political 
sympathy that the United
States enjoyed across Europe after Sept. 11.
> NATO, the military alliance that won the Cold War, is not strong enough to 
>bridge this gap.
> "Europe is not willing to be bullied, but the United States is not willing to 
>be restrained," said
Mark Leonard, director of the Foreign Policy Centre, a London think tank with 
ties to the government
of British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
> "The continents are without doubt drifting apart," agreed Hugo Young, a 
>leading British political
columnist, in the Guardian. "They have interests in common, but also interests 
around which America,
as now led, has the power and the hardness to insist on non-negotiable policies 
that we can take or
> American officials fanned out across Europe this summer to spread the word 
>that U.S. priorities
and interests have changed, post Sept. 11. The Europeans are being told that, 
if they want to change
their worldviews, too, then they are welcome to stay in the alliance. If not, 
America will go on
without them.
> The European reaction to this varies from country to country. European 
>officials seem baffled and
confused by the U.S. policy and are wary of alienating Washington, loath to 
criticize the Bush
administration for fear of making matters worse.
> Germany, grateful for U.S. support through the Cold War and anxious to keep 
>the alliance, has been
reluctant to criticize Washington. Blair prides himself on working quietly with 
Bush to influence
U.S. policies: Political sources in London say part of this is "damage 
control," to limit the
extremes of U.S. unilateralism.
> The French, as usual, are more ready to say what the rest of the continent is 
> "Very few European countries are used to saying no to the United States," a 
>French diplomat said.
"France has a long history of debate with America, but other countries aren't 
so used to this."
> Split more apparent
> European officials agree that the U.S.-European split has become more visible 
>and bitter under
Bush. The Clinton administration riled Europeans with its post-Cold War 
triumphalism, rubbed in its
military superiority in Kosovo, and refused to ask Congress to sign the Kyoto 
treaty on global
> But the real shocks to the system have come thick and fast under Bush, 
>including the total
rejection of Kyoto, the breaching of the anti-missile treaty and the pursuit of 
a missile defense
system, the "axis of evil" speech that named Iraq, Iran and North Korea as 
global villains, among
others. But several recent events have hardened Europeans' concerns into a real 
fear of where the
United States is going.
> The first was the American reaction when its NATO allies, immediately after 
>Sept. 11, invoked
NATO's Article 5 for the first time in its history. That article says, in 
effect, that an attack on
one NATO nation is an attack on all of them, and the allies' action was 
intended as an act of
solidarity with Americans and offer of all-out help in the fight against 
terrorism. The United
States never accepted the offer and has made relatively little use of European 
military help since
> The second shock was the war on terrorism itself, or rather the overwhelming 
>U.S. focus on the war
on terrorism and its tendency to see other world problems in the anti-terrorism 
> Then came differences of a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian crisis, with 
>the Europeans
condemning one-sided U.S. support for Israel and the Americans seeing 
anti-Semitism in Europe's more
balanced approach.
> More recently has come the administration's attempt to undermine the new 
>International Criminal
Court, which all European nations see as a first step toward a global rule of 
> Part of the trans-Atlantic problem is a failure on each side to understand 
>the deep emotions that
drive the other.
> Chris Patten, the EU commissioner, has been a leading critic of American 
>unilateralism. But he
admits that Europeans just don't grasp "the consequences of 9/11 for American 
policymaking and the
American psyche. I think that we in Europe have to make a greater effort to 
comprehend the impact of
that atrocity.
> "We in Europe have had to live with instability for most of the last 
>century," from two world wars
to the postwar wave of domestic terrorism in most European nations, Patten 
said. For that reason, he
said, it is too easy for Europeans to see terrorism as part of the landscape, a 
problem like many
others, rather than as an unprecedented assault on a nation that always 
considered itself
> But the Europeans feel that Americans don't understand their devotion to 
>non-military solutions or
their pride over the consensual if bureaucratic way they have built their 
continent. Nor, they feel,
do Americans understand that Europe's support for the ICC, Kyoto and other 
international treaties is
not a spasm of political correctness but a reflection of deep values.
> "There's one fundamental difference, and it's not just Kyoto or the ICC," 
>said Christoph Bertram,
director of the German Institute for International and Security Affairs in 
Berlin. "It's whether
truly international issues should be met with a truly international approach. 
This is a deeply held
view in Europe. On this point, we need to quarrel."
> The European press is full of criticism of Bush as a gun-happy 
>cowboy--cartoons in The Guardian of
London regularly portray him as a monkey wrapped in an American flag--and 
Europeans laugh at him.
But European officials shun these caricatures, aware that some of America's 
most effective leaders
also lacked the kind of polish and sophistication that impresses continentals.
> "This atmosphere doesn't depend on Bush as a person," said Hubert Vedrine, 
>until recently the
French foreign minister. "[Ronald] Reagan and [Harry] Truman weren't 
sophisticated either, but they
were very effective."
> But Europeans also see the triumph of a provincial, conservative, overtly 
>Christian part of
America that is alien from the United States they once knew.
> Europe today is basically a secular society, Andreani said, and has a hard 
>time dealing "with a
government that may be pragmatic but has its values--religion, a certain order 
of society--so
upfront. For our secular society, the idea that a presidential candidate would 
explain how he feels
about Jesus is bizarre."
> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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