Helga Haftendorn, professor emeritus at the Free University of Berlin and one of the leading experts on transatlantic relations, argues that "a common transatlantic strategy for global challenges is nowhere in sight -- even in the event of a Democratic US administration come 2009."
Europe and America embrace different concepts of world order that are based on diverging values, belief systems, and experiences-and thus they employ different strategies and instruments to shape international affairs.
Yet, Haftendorn argues that "differences in the power relations between Europe and America are more relevant than diverging concepts of world order." This leads her to conclude: "Given the structural asymmetries between Europe and America, it is unlikely they will unite to cope together with new challenges." The flexible structures of a "multilateralism à la carte" are thus the future.
I agree with this analysis. Such a realistic assessment of the future of European-American cooperation is better for transatlantic relations than those typical essays and speeches full of wishful thinking.
The German Council on Foreign Relations presents her article in IP Global Edition. It is just five pages long, which is unfortunately a bit too short for her analysis of the five basic European-American interaction patterns. A longer version "How well can Europe and the United States Cooperate on Non-European Issues?" is to be published later this year by Geir Lundestad and the Norwegian Nobel Institute.