At the end of an article on New Europe, James Joyner adds some optimism on US relations with "Old Europe." He thinks they "will return to what they have been for the postwar period: a mature engagement between peers that will ebb and flow as the situation warrants."
I don't think Western Europe and the United States were peers during the Cold War. And we are still not peers, which is the cause for many current frictions. Europeans, especially Germans, very much want the US to consider them as peers, but government and public opinion are not yet ready to share the burden in foreign and defense policy. And the US might not be prepared to treat Europeans as equals either.
German Prof Gunter Hellmann just published an excellent short essay on the history of the federal republic's desire for "equal status" at AICGS: "A Status-Conscious Germany between Adolescence and Retirement"
James finishes with "Such a relationship can withstand sharp disagreements, angry words, and hurt feelings. Resentments and rifts will occasionally arise but they will be temporary. Our shared values and interests, however, are permanent." What do you think?