This is a guest blog post by Pat Patterson:
Kenneth R. Weinstein, the CEO of the Hudson Institute, wrote a recent article in The Weekly Standard which argues that the divisions within the EU are greater and institutionalized than the more publicized division between the EU and the US.
Many of the policies, most recently instigated by France, have been resisted because they are seen as solely in French national interest and in most cases are the antithesis of the interests of the EU bureaucracy and Germany: "But suspicions linger in Berlin and elsewhere that Sarkozy's true goal in forming the [Mediterranean] Union was to expand France's sphere of influence at Germany's expense."
France, under Sarkozy has, aside from the recent rather spectacularly inept peace process in Georgia, has proposed a number of new policy initiatives that are unilateral as opposed to the multilateral approach so beloved in Brussels. A semi-rapproachment with the US, a stiffening resolve concerning Afghanistan and most notably and irritating to Germany a willingness to be less not more accommodating when dealing with Iran and Russia. Which considering Germany's basic decision to get out of the power business makes them unlikely to rock the boat concerning oil, gas or coal deliveries.
But Weinstein also points out that the US has been slow to notice if not oblivious to these fissures in the EU and tends to treat them as either monolithic or good Euros and bad Euros. The assumption that Weinstein seems to imply is that the US should find its allies initially on a catch as catch can but not to the detriment of the growing unity of the European nations.
Weinstein: "The true measure of European foreign policy unity should be judged on the basis of coherence under pressure. After Georgia, it has once again been found lacking,"
And if anyone is interested there is an interesting article that Weinstein published at the Hudson Institute entitled "A Closer Walk With the EU." He contrasts the difference in political philosophy between Britain and the US and most of Europe. He divides these groups into Lockeans and Rousseans, my phrasing not his, between limited government and self-interest and centralized authority to ensure the general will.