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Who Are the Major Players in Transatlantic Relations?

TIME Magazine has just published its annual list of the world's most influential people. Some strange results.

I think we should come up with our own list. Therefore I am asking at atlantic-community.org: Who are the biggest movers and shakers in transatlantic relations? Who is setting the transatlantic agenda right now? Who are the most influential leaders and thinkers? I would appreciate your suggestions.

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David on :

In terms of thinkers I would suggest Tony Judt of the Remarque Institute at New York University. His book "Postwar" is the standard on European history after 1945. He is a passionate defender of social democracy. You can read an excerpt from his latest book - "Ill Fares the Land" - [url=http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/17/books/excerpt-ill-fares-the-land.html?pagewanted=1&ref=review]here[/url]. Tragically, he is dying now from ALS.

Joe Noory on :

While Judt is an observer, and is very interesting, I think he's been thinking a little too far outside the box for [url=http://www.signandsight.com/features/2024.html]humanism[/url], lately: [i]He has just published a new book "Ill Fares the Land", an impassioned appeal for social democracy in western societies, and he also working on a study of the modern railway. Here he explains why he does not believe in democracy without state control: "The question is, what do we do now, in a world where, in the absence of liberal aristocracies, in the absence of social democratic elites whose authority people accept, you have people who genuinely believe, in the majority, that their interest consists of maximizing self-interest at someone else's expense? The answer is, either you re-educate them in some form of public conversation or we will move toward what the ancient Greeks understood very well, which is that the closest system to democracy is popular authoritarianism. And that's the risk we run. Not a risk of a sort of ultra-individualism in a disaggregated society but of a kind of de facto authoritarianism."[/i] That's a rather low view of man, and an evel lower view of the citizen-participant in public life, not that the idea wouldn't appeal to the editors of [i]The Nation[/i]

Zyme on :

I know somebody who might have a decisive influence on Transatlantic Relations: Nick Clegg! I find it fascinating that a politician with his views is able to shake up the British two-party-landscape. Hopefully he fares well in the coming elections :)

Joe Noory on :

By transatlantic, it requires that it involve someone across the Atlantic. Clegg has no influence in international affairs. In fact, his party is so internally focussed on social policy, that it is likely that he will have a very naive and awkward view of external affairs - peppered with obsessions of things he wanted to see banned from import because of one activist movement or another. He's basically just another leftist. In fact the number of statesmanlike, geopolitical thinkers in Europe seems to be dwindling, if you look at it in historical terms. Basically there are a handful of academics, and some people who popularly follow them with the idea that the transnational non-nation that is the EU is making the rest of humanity (what with all of their voting, separation of powers, and the like) "obselete" - in favor of the top-down superstate with a active PR machine.

Zyme on :

I beg to differ: He may be just another leftist measured in continental standards, but not given Britain's unique political landscape. A guy demanding the UK to loosen its ties with the United States and openly proclaiming closer EU integration? A Brit who says Britain does have a more proplematic history than Germany? Come on, this is not just another guy. And should none of the established parties gain full majority after the general elections tomorrow, his party's support may be the crucial for whoever will govern in the future. The British press already looks to the continent when it comes to coalition building, as this is not common yet in Britain. So they asked Clegg whether he would rule out becoming foreign minister (which is the rule among European junior partners in government) - of course he didn't rule that out. It is this totally possible outcome of him becoming the foreign minister of the (now) most pro-American country in Europe which makes me believe he could become a decisive player in the transatlantic relations :)

Joe Noory on :

It's electioneering, just as it was when no. 10 made a "declaration" that the special relationship was over came 3 weeks ago. To boot, it means nothing, other than an observation of the meaning of those ties at this point. Zum [url=http://www.channel4.com/news/articles/vote_2010/lib+dem+foreign+policies+++cleggampaposs+achilles+heel/3622587]beispiel[/url]: [i]"We first need to acknowledge the fact that we still too readily put ourselves in a position of unthinking subservience to American interests", Clegg has said, lambasting what he calls a "lopsided asymmetrical relationship". Clegg will insist that he is not anti-American, merely repositioning that relationship. But his attack does open him up to a potential counter-attack from Gordon Brown. A senior intelligence source recently told me that the US gives the UK four times the amount of intelligence that we give them. If Brown made more of the advantages of this intelligence-sharing in the battle against terrorism, then the accompanying scandals of torture and "extraordinary rendition" might lose some of their sting from Clegg tonight. Ironically for Clegg, the "special relationship" has already cooled, though this has happened at Washington's end. George Bush was an Anglophile, while Barack Obama does not seem to be.[/i] This is NOT the sign of a sophisticate ready to take on the world's problems, he's just a UK analog for the media-and-instiutionally-generated Obama effect. In fact neither of them, themselves, seem to show any natural capacity to be anything other than isolationists forced to hand an unusually large amount of tending to international relations thrust to appointees. While they both seem like intelligent men, a grip on what the dealings of the world are really like isn't a strength with either of them. It is not a matter as it would be at home of showing up in a city and trying to be convivial, and then disappearing as though it was an election campaign or a llegislative-agenda-tour. Clegg's foreign policy statements have been limited to issues sounding like little more than protester style angry sloganeering about the past. Face it: the guy is just another local politician with a campaign manager, (not a policy nerd) for every sectored voter issue.

David on :

[i]This is NOT the sign of a sophisticate ready to take on the world's problems, he's just a UK analog for the media-and-instiutionally-generated Obama effect. In fact neither of them, themselves, seem to show any natural capacity to be anything other than isolationists forced to hand an unusually large amount of tending to international relations thrust to appointees.[/i] What an ignorant comment. In a little more than one year President Obama has restored a positive image of America in the world that was ruined under George Bush (EVERY global poll shows this). That is not the achievement of an isolationist.

Joe Noory on :

Irrelevant. You want props for your guy, and are ignoring his wooden policy history with popularity with average consumers of media. You're talking about a public opinion poll. HOW is that to translate into anything other than OTHER public opinion polls reflecting equally showy figures? In any event, even if you believe that personal popularity results in, say, Putin actually listening to the State Department, what results from it 6 years from now? Zilch. Bupcus. [i]THAT[/i] is ignorant, and even worse, self-deluding. You'll also note from the item you're employing for [url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/shared/bsp/hi/pdfs/160410bbcwspoll.pdf]domestic political purposes[/url], entirely unrelated to understanding America's foreign policy standing, that the nations who say Bush in a positive light were not polled in at all, and those most likely to have the social infrastructure that promotes "banging pots in the street for world peace" are. Also providing pointless conclusions if, as you say, you want to use it to understand THE NATION's standing in the world, as opposed to THE PRESIDENT's popularity with people who neither have any policy influence, nor vote. It's a specious poll, and will translate in no way to a benefit to the US, but merely to the President himself, if I'm to take your comment at face value - which seems to be all you care about. You'll recall that after his election day, the German press was given to calling him things like "Daddy Cool". Take a trip in the wayback machine, and tell me how useful the president's popularity in a society that cranks out that kind of sputum does for the nation. As far as responses from shopkeepers, high school students, etal, has the foreign policy relevance of asking people what flavor of gelato they would prefer on a sunny summer day.

Joe Noory on :

YOu might find their [url=http://issuu.com/libdems/docs/manifesto]manifesto[/url] interesting. The "your world" section, which is the only thing resembling an international policy position I can find starts on page 56. It starts with "climate change" and rattles on about buying people double glazing and such, as if the savings borne on the homeowner to do this themselves as they've always had didn't exists, it goes on try to get the army-navy vote by talking about military pay and equipment, then there is the usual bumper-sticker pap about funding international aid, funding global "climate change initiatives", "resolution in the Israel-Palestine conflict", etc. - and then it says very little about foreign policy, that isn't actually about what will become national/EU policy, assuming that the EU will integrate: "put Britain at the center of europe" - basically graduating international affairs initatives to them. That's something that one would woudl stand behind if one resigned oneself to being utterly incapable of engaging in international statesmanship yourself: outsource it. He's your guy if you want the taxpayer to pay for a chunk of your new hot water heater, but as far as the rest of the world is concerned, he's not the man for the job - unless you think that getting mad about past wars is sufficient. I'd love to hear his thoughts on Teheran's nukes.

Zyme on :

" I'd love to hear his thoughts on Teheran's nukes." I can't find it anymore, but I recall that he is in favor of continued talks and diplomatic efforts, until the regime has its nukes. But then again that is also Labour's stance in government right now. "That's something that one would woudl stand behind if one resigned oneself to being utterly incapable of engaging in international statesmanship yourself: outsource it." While I wouldn't agree to your negative assessment, I think that exactly this is one of the points that make him unique in Britain. And even more surprising I find is that he has success this way.

Pat Patterson on :

Clegg, Judt, etc., obviously it's easy to forget that the biggest mover and shaker on transatlantic and transpacific relations is still Alfred Thayer Mahan. He expanded on the ideas of initial, post American Revolution, British overseas colonial empire and led American strategists to contemplate then construct an overseas presence that is not quite an empire. But has the blue water assets and naval and support bases to accomplish the same thing without having to actually run the countries it relies on. And as long as the US and its martime allies, Britain, Japan, India and to a somewhat lesser extent Brazil, ascribe to a forward projection of offensive power, touted as defensive, Thayer's effect on the world will remain over a hundred years since his death. It should be noted that not only is Mahan still on the syllabus at Annapolis but is also studied in the British, Indian and Japanese naval military academies.

Marie Claude on :

As usual Joe Nourry is manisfesting his "Intolerance" talent 2 persons have the favor of benefitting from his ressentment, David and I

Marie Claude on :

Back to the topic, I would say Putin is still the major factor, Obama has but only contempt for the european elite, he show it many times. now, the personalities that count the most on the planet are those that can decide the fate of nations, and it ain't anymore the european elite, nor the American's but Chinese's, Indian's, Brazilian's "The key decisions were made elsewhere -- without the Europeans. The Indians had reserved a room one floor down, where Prime Minister Singh met with his counterparts, Brazilian President Lula da Silva and South Africa President Jacob Zuma. Wen Jiabao was also there." http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,692861-3,00.html

Pat Patterson on :

Putin? I might agree that he is angling to return Russia to some form of influence in continental Europe but the mere act of sending one missile cruiser to Venezuela demanded a constant screen of air cover which they couldn't maintain and four ocean going tugs in case of another breakdown.

Marie Claude on :

"I might agree that he is angling to return Russia to some form of influence in continental Europe" the contrary would have astonishing from your point of view. Now Putin is the only one leader of (large) Europe with whom Obama feels like talking Uh, Venezuela ain't of of influence sphere, but Poland is... any former eastern EU republics are ! So if Putin is stepping on your lawn, it's the response for you stepping in his lawns in caucasian and eurasian republics. This is not our main worry ! our main worry is still the attacks on eurozone, and me thinks that that is rejoicing the good ol popole of America.

Pat Patterson on :

Since when is Eastern Europe part of the transatlantic dialog which was the subject of the initial question? Yeah, Americans are rejoicing so much at the ineptness of the Eurozone response to looming defaults that they decided to devalue assets by 10% in one week.

Marie Claude on :

"Since when is Eastern Europe part of the transatlantic dialog which was the subject of the initial question" since you care so much of them ! but see, you administration cares for Russia http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Central_Asia/LE08Ag01.html

Marie Claude on :

"devalue assets" ? how comes, the euro at $1,25 is worring you ? the thing is the lower the euro gets, it's still a good new for us !

Pat Patterson on :

But neither comment addresses the question. What does Putin have to do with transatlantic relations or thoughts or the possible default in Greece and others in the Eurozone has had a negative affect on assets in the US? Not everyone is hedging against the Euro. I offered Mahan as still being one of those thinkers that affects to this day transatlantic relations and MC offered tangents.

Marie Claude on :

Paterson, why are you keeping on challenging me if you are so convinced of your rightful thoughts ? Besides you're twisting my purpose hoping that I would follow your path Mahan ? uh, that's why Gate is worshipping carriers as an alternative for future conflicts

Pat Patterson on :

This is why sometimes I respond even though I know that you will not answer any question, polite or otherwise. When Gates spoke recently to the Navy League he cautioned the attendees that his vision of the future navy relied more on subs and smaller stealth craft. Not to be, as you obviously didn't realize or care to find out that he doesn't want the future USN, overly reliant on air craft carrier groups. He is arguing that the US essentially take a purely defensive posture and not project force anywhere in the world. The anti-Mahan so to speak. But then you might have to read the speech rather than making simply assuming such a weird misrepresentation of his thoughts. Now you may not have confidence in your arguments so that every response is seen as a challenge while I was simply curious to discover how a continental power with a litoral navy is viewed by some as part of the transatlantic activity. And the comparison between our supposed hegemonic concern over Russian penetration into South America as equal to I think your comfort level with Russia acted with carte blanche in regards to its former holdings misses the point. The US is not concerned with one missile cruiser with tugs in the Caribbean while it is concerned with a trumped up invasion and then non-withdrawal of Russian forces from Georgia.

Marie Claude on :

right, I just saw the title for Gates, and didn't look further, cuz this isn't my today cup of tea. but: To be sure, the need to project power across the oceans will never go away, he said. But, consider the massive over-match the U.S. already enjoys. Consider, too, the growing anti-ship capabilities of adversaries. Do we really need eleven carrier strike groups for another 30 years when no other country has more than one? Any future plans must address these realities. "The aircraft carrier may be the ultimate symbol of American military power. But with the right missile aimed at it, a carrier can go from fearsome to fearful sitting duck in a hurry." "And thats overkill when it comes to many kinds of maritime threats the Navy now faces. In particular, the Navy will need numbers, speed, and the ability to operate in shallow water, especially as the nature of war in the 21st century pushes us toward smaller, more diffuse weapons and units that increasingly rely on a series of networks to wage war, he said. As we learned last year, you dont necessarily need a billion-dollar guided missile destroyer to chase down and deal with a bunch of teenage pirates wielding AK-47s and RPGs. uh, look like that one is aware of the money crisis, and of the new priorities. So I'd say he is the influent American of the 21th century http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2010/05/gates-takes-aim-at-navy-questions-carrier-fleet/#ixzz0nLCWiPQI though you put Mahan on the tray, and I cared to know who he was ! a 19th ending century man, that had expensionism (Americanism) obsessions. "Mahan's emphasis of sea power as the crucial fact behind Britain's ascension neglected the well-documented roles of diplomacy and armies; Mahan's theories could not explain the success of terrestrial empires, such as Bismarckian Germany. However, as the Royal Navy's blockade of the German Empire was a critical direct and indirect factor in the eventual German collapse, Mahan's theories were vindicated by the First World War" Mr Professor, I'm not going to be one of your admirative students just because you want to play the guru part for Americanism above all ! now I'll give you one more bone http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/cornwall/8656110.stm looks like one isn't ready to acknowledge a blunder, especially during a spying mission

Pat Patterson on :

Of course Mahan didn't address Germany as a continental power but he does talk about Germany's overseas possessions. Which could only be held by forward projections of naval power. The fact that they lost all their possessions quickly during the First World War that they couldn't reinforce them. And learning about Mahan involves more than just cut and paste from Wikipedia because a short bio can't do justice to his theories. You've completely misread Mahan so I think it wise not to continue that argument as you simply don't know enough about him to really form a cogent opinion. Plus you also were completely wrong in the description of Gates as a proponent of carrier groups and are really repeating my argument, so thanks!

Marie Claude on :

don't play your "Joe Nourry"

Pat Patterson on :

That sinking, of unknown origins, was during a NATO exercise so I can only surmise that the English and French were also spying on the fishing fleet of Brittany. And since the US has acknowledged collisions at sea many times in the past isn't it just possible that the USN has admitted nothing because they were not responsible.

Marie Claude on :

"And since the US has acknowledged collisions at sea many times in the past isn't it just possible that the USN has admitted nothing because they were not responsible" how long after the events ?

Pat Patterson on :

Just last year there was a collision between a Chinese submarine and an USN destroyer where the incident, attributed to the USN, was mentioned within 24 hours of the event in 2009. But the one thing the Navy would not discuss was the exact location the accident occurred nor the disposition of the destroyer or any other nearby US ship. A policy that is standard with all the world's navies. http://rokdrop.com/2009/06/17/update-on-chinese-submarine-collision-with-us-navy-sonar-array/ And as usual MC is completely off topic.

Marie Claude on :

But China isn't France ! hadn't the US navy not "apologized, Chiese retaliations would have ocured ! off topic ? you're are the one that directed the "off" and you're whining as usual !

Pat Patterson on :

What apology are you referring to as there is none mentioned in either the link or any where else?

Marie Claude on :

"We do not discuss detailed operational capabilities or locations of our ships, 7th Fleet spokesman Cmdr. Jeff Davis said." it wasn't a US submarine, but a Chinese's, and the US destroyer didn't sink ! for the "Bugaled-Breizh" accident, you can't expect that the US would acknoldege that there was a secret mission of spying (or surveyance) going on in the accident aeras ! more details here http://bugaled-breizh.skyrock.com/

Pat Patterson on :

Are you admitting that there was no apology? A collision does not always result in a sinking and as I commented earlier the US acknowledged the accident immediately while it has refused to accept any blame or even admit there was a collsion with the Breton fishing boat. It was a NATO exercise not a spying mission as noted in the link you provided but seem not have read.

Marie Claude on :

uh, a NATO exercise between Europeans though ! I repeat the submarine was Chinese, and apparently shouldn't have been there, though the mistake is well shared, and didn't imply official apologies ! why do you still nitpick on words ?

Pat Patterson on :

Probably because of whoppers like this that imply that the US did apologize because of a fear of Chinese retaliation. "But China isn't France ! hadn't the US navy not "apologized, Chiese retaliations would have ocured !"

Marie Claude on :

uh not at all, but rather becuz you are so bored ! that's why I was givin you some corn to chew ! "donner du son un ne"

Pat Patterson on :

So your idea of a debate is to misrepresent the facts because your donkey told you so?

Marie Claude on :

"So your idea of a debate is to misrepresent the facts" didn't remarck that you were debating, but rather that you were playing the donkey

Joe Noory on :

Actually, you are trying very hard to misrepresent the fact that there was no US sub in the area of the Bugaled Breizh sinking. There were French, UK, Dutch, and German ones in the area. With waters that thick with vessels, there is little chance that a US sub would have been hanging around close enough to have a collision. The idea that there was some secret US mission to spy on fellow NATO subs, when the USN can hear and locate them from the coastal US is ridiculous. It's as ridiculous as your claim that the FBI didn't let you into the United States. For one thing, you don't need a visa to enter the US on a French EU passport, and for another, if you were somehow "turned back" at a US airport, it would have been by Customs and Immigration.

Marie Claude on :

yeah, Joe Noory, make it personal, when I only report papers "It's as ridiculous as your claim that the FBI didn't let you into the United States. For one thing, you don't need a visa to enter the US on a French EU passport, and for another, if you were somehow "turned back" at a US airport, it would have been by Customs and Immigration" Repeat the professeur half truths, I never said so, for I didn't apply for a US visa since the seventies plus the professor was quoting my comment on a ME blog, where I was joking, my reesponse was to an American that threatened to report on me in 2006 when our catfights were at the hottest ! Now this american is a net friend of mine ! you like to spread rumors ! One thing is sure your blatent dishonesty will never make you one of my net relation But I will fight your lies whenever I can, of course if I'm not deleted

Joe Noory on :

Oh! So it wasn't a lie because you were just joking! Okay, sure. All too necessary on a near eastern blog to claim some lie about abusive treatment by Americans.... After all, they're NEVER cruel to people in most of the near east. The FBI wasn't in the business of ejecting people from airports in the 1970s either, by the way.

Marie Claude on :

how comes you're interested by my comment on a ME blog and was obviously addressed to an American that obviously the clever professor couldn't understand the context, but only the person to whom I made the remarck, and some persons on this ME blog who assisted to our dialogue ! are you also becoming the gossips of the net ?

Marie Claude on :

Context: The ME blogger was telling the difficulties he had for getting his visa for the US, Some usual commenters told their experience and or their opinion my intervention: "I know that I will never get a visa, cuz someone reported after me to the FBI :lol: dont care Im goin to Russia ! the american response: "Frenchies need a visa to visit the US? Wow, things sure are changing! I guess we finally figured out who the real enemies are " :lol: my further response: "C. dya remember ? you reported me some times ago :lol: got to think that you wanted to kill me if you could ! C. reply: "I reported you for making a credible death threat against me, MC. Maybe its considered OK in France to tell people youre going to hire somebody to kill them, but I didnt find it all funny" my further reply: "uh C., I think that you misinterpreted my broken english Cant be sure that you really reported me, since I never heard of it, and that, apparently, I can go anywhere on the net without being stalked" So where is the lie that that you pretend there is ? the whole thing passed above your head !

Pat Patterson on :

Where's the link? When I noted your remark it was all by itself. And since when is the Sudan in the Middle East?

Marie Claude on :

you have it since you commented on the same topic definitly you're palying the donkey's part ! Sudan isn't in ME, but all the people that interven on this Sudaner blogger's place were also intervening on a very ME blog, that you probably knew too since its owner was among your facebook friends

Pat Patterson on :

Did you even check if you could get a visa or simply blather on with some anti-American digression. Craig reported you for making what he felt was a credible death threat. Saying you'll hire someone is hardly likely to make him a friend which he denies. http://www.sudanesethinker.com/2010/04/08/two-months-and-still-no-us-visa/comment-page-1/#comment-55539 BTW, what other sites were you referring to rather than rely on a feeble memory?

Pat Patterson on :

After rereading that thread again only one person mentioned the ME and that was in reference to a Fulbright Scholar from Iraq having difficulties getting her visa. That's it no one else!

Marie Claude on :

Paterson, you're trying to win a windy argument, by childish means, I think you have a psycho problem, and you can prance as much you can, to look soooooooooooo intelligent, you're just a windy wimp

Pat Patterson on :

I think that any dispassionate reading of this thread might just surprise as to who has attempted both to remain civil and provide verifiable sources.

Marie Claude on :

what a smart guy you are ! LMAO

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