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America and Europe Drifting Apart

"A lot of people hope that the ugly rifts between Europe and the U.S. will close when George W. Bush leaves office. Don't bet on it." writes J.F.O. McAllister in Time Magazin:
Ron Asmus, an American who heads the Marshall Fund's Transatlantic Center in Brussels, says: "Europe has made up its mind on George Bush. But in 2008, the page will be turned. Europeans will take a new look at America, and that's when it gets interesting." Well, maybe. But I have been writing about U.S. foreign policy for 30 years and living in Europe for the last seven, and while I hope Asmus is right, I fear there are bigger centrifugal trends at work than a single President and his unpopular war. In historical perspective, that's almost inevitable. The overarching Soviet threat of the cold war was extraordinary; so was the cooperation, from the Marshall Plan to Nato to Fulbright scholarships, it inspired. "The closeness we grew used to of shared perspectives between 1950 and 1990 was the exception rather than the rule," says Tony Judt, a British-born professor of European history at New York University. "Before World War II, no one spoke about 'the West' as a shared cultural area. Americans, mostly of recent European descent, saw themselves as getting away from Europe.
Conclusions:
Some Americans dismiss Europe entirely. Kenneth Feltman of Radnor Inc., who surveys high-level "decision makers" for corporations and political candidates, says his U.S. decision makers have little sense of connection with Europe. One word always gets them nodding about Europe: "Whiney." Says Feltman: "Americans say, 'We used to worry about what Europe wants, but we can't figure it out. So we stopped worrying.'" (...)
So how could Europeans be persuaded to stop turning away from the U.S. and engage again? A first step would be for the U.S. not to demand submission from Europeans or lecture them all the time, but to argue and persuade: not on the basis that the "war on terror" justifies all, but showing respect for the international legal norms on which Europe now grounds its own peace and security.

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Verheugen said "I have my reasons for being undiplomatic" Drug-resistant strains of tuberculosis in Eastern Europe and central Asia are putting EU states at risk of a deadly outbreak, health officials have warned. America and Europe Drifting Apart says Atlantic...

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More on the great American-European divide, this time from Time magazine's Jeff McAllister. Some key points: ...I have been writing about U.S. foreign policy for 30 years and living in Europe for the last seven... I fear there are bigger

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Don on :

A perceptive piece. My only criticism of it is that it's a little too respecting of the conventional wisdom, which I would describe as 'The US has estranged it's former allies". A more accurate understanding would be a statement that 'Europe and the US have failed to achieve mutual understanding and to work together and tidal forces are now visibly pulling the old alliance apart.' Many in the EU see the US as a superpower acting imperially. I increasingly see the EU in a similar light. The means and goals differ but the imperialism and imperiouslness are there if one observes what is going on at the UN and other multilateral organisations. A decade ago one would have to observe closely to see it - but now it's absolutely obvious for those who aren't into denial. A tiny but very overt example is the IOC, which has an executive committee comprised of 15 members. The current executive committee is comprised of a Japanese, a Chinese, a South African, someone from the US territory of Puerto Rico, a Mexican, and someone from Singapore. The remainder of the executive committee (9 out of 15) are European. Two Italians. There is an executive of 5 - 4 Europeans and the Japanese. At rhe UN it's more subtle but still obvious by the way it works. The UN is dominated by the EU except for the Security Council - which is a vetoing body primarily. The imperialism, the arrogance, and the animosity run in two directions.

Fuchur on :

Itīs the age-old question: Should you grant one vote to each state, or should you weigh the votes proportional to the population of the states. You have the same problem in the Federal Republic of Germany, in the USA, in the EU, and so on. Always there has to be a compromise between the interests of the small states, and the big ones. It is not a matter of European arrogance, itīs simply a problem inherent to any union of states. Anyway, itīs news to me that this would be a particular point of criticism of the UN from the US. The usual thing I hear is "scratch the UN". You wonīt please these kind of critics with any kind of reform - so why bother? And I donīt think that you would be exactly pleased with the results of proportional votes. Granted, it would reduce European influence - but on the other hand, it would make China and Russia an even bigger pain in the a** than they already are. Donīt let your anti-European animosity deceive you: There are meaner buddies in the playground. Btw.: As a reminder, [url=http://www.pwhce.org/willing.html#maps]here[/url] is again the Coalition of the Willing - it certainly wasnīt Europeīs fault that the US didnīt get their resolution against Iraq through (rather: didnīt dare putting it to the vote).

Don on :

Fuchur, the mechanics of how UN voting works don;t concern me as much as the results; over the past 10-15 years there has been a strong growth in sentiment within Eurpe to view the US as evil and to cast the malefactors out - and so it has happened. I don;t advocate the US leave the UN, but we need to see it clearly for what it is. Which is primarily a way for European nations to project power. If you don't agree with that then tell me who else holds the power in the UN? Obviously not the US. China? Russia? Nah. Even less so Japan, Brazil, South Africa, which all are deserving of sitting on the Security Council. But as we saw last year - reform will only come if yet another European country is elevated. Germany. The reas0on Germany nmust be elevated is to preserve European hegenomy in the UN....

JW-Atlantic Review on :

@ Don "the mechanics of how UN voting works don;t concern me as much as the results" The result is that the US has used the veto more often than France and the UK, i.e. it is primarily the US rather than the European states who prevent UN action. If you look at all the UN treaties, projects etc. I think it is clear that the US was often pretty alone in the UN. Not only European states opposed you, but many African, Asian and Latin American states disagreed with you. Most UN member states want to pass this or that treaty, resolution or project and the US often opposed them. In many cases the US might be right, but the fact is, I think, that the US stops the UN more often than the other way around. Though I don't have sources to substantiate that. And as I said: In many cases it was good that the US vetoed or used other means to stop the UN. [quote="International Herald Tribune, March 2003"]The Soviet Union was responsible for nearly half of all vetoes ever cast. (...) [b]The United States has invoked its veto power 76 times[/b], usually to ward off actions against Israel. (...) For all its criticism of France in the current situation, the [b]United States is the only permanent member of the Security Council to have used its veto power frequently in recent years[/b]. Most recently, it vetoed an otherwise unanimous Security Council resolution in December that criticized the Israeli government for a series of attacks by its occupation forces against UN workers and facilities in the Palestinian territories. (...) Apart from the permanent five, the council also includes 10 members elected by the General Assembly for two-year periods. Nine votes are required to pass any resolution put before the council.[/quote] Since Europe does not have nine representatives in the Security Council, Europeans does not dominate the UN. [quote="International Herald Tribune, March 2003"][b]Beijing has cast a veto only four times[/b] since it took China's Security Council seat in 1972, invariably to enforce its view that it and not Taiwan is the legitimate government of the country. [b]France also has used its veto power only 18 times, usually in collaboration with the United States and Britain[/b], and only twice on its own, to defend its interests in Indochina and in the Indian Ocean. The last time that France has been involved in such a dramatic face-off with the United States in the Security Council dates back to the Suez Canal crisis of [b]1956[/b]. Using their veto powers for the first time, France and Britain blocked a resolution calling for the withdrawal by Israel from Egyptian territory it had seized in cooperation with the British and French.[/quote] [url]http://www.iht.com/articles/2003/03/03/veto_ed3_.php[/url] Don, you wrote "The UN is dominated by the EU except for the Security Council - which is a vetoing body primarily." Then how does the EU dominate the UN?

Don on :

"The result is that the US has used the veto more often than France and the UK, i.e. it is primarily the US rather than the European states who prevent UN action." Joerg, think again. Is this fact contrary to my thesis - or confirmation? The US vetos are a strategy in dealing with a body which is dominated by another power bloc. The EU. Or European countries, anyway. When such a power bloc acts with increasingly obvious animosity you use your veto where you can....

Anonymous on :

"Then how does the EU dominate the UN?" By their fruitd you shall know them: http://hrw.org/english/docs/2001/05/03/sudan135.htm "The United States was also voted off the U.N. human rights commission today, for the first time in the commission's history." That one had 'Made in Europe' stamped all over it. Gee, thanks, buddies.

JW-Atlantic Review on :

Call me stupid, but I still don't get it. The UN has about 190 members. Everybody has one vote in the General Assembly. The European Union has 25 members. How does the EU dominate the UN? Why is the EU responsible for the US losing the seat in the Human Rights Commission? I don't know anything about that vote. Perhaps you are right, but I just can't imagine why the EU is responsible for it. Could you present some voting records? Which EU states voted in favor of Sudan and against the US? Otherwise I tend to agree with Fuchur, who wrote in another comment above: "Donīt let your anti-European animosity deceive you: There are meaner buddies in the playground." Likewise, Europeans should not let their anti-American animosity deceive themselves. There are meaner buddies in the playground. At the end of the day we need each other. Did you see David's comment further down: "Germany is also a vital hub for CIA rendition flights"

Don on :

Joerg, in may 2001 Europe delivered a 'Welcome to the UN' shot to the jaw to the incoming Bush administration. I linked to the main story but it was far from the only instance as about 5 thingd happened. It may have been about Kyoto etc - but it was also driven by the US 'failure' to install King Al as President. Gerhard & co wanted their soulmate to be elected - didn't happen. So they had their petty vengeance instead - and showed us all where the real power lies. Sic Semper Tyrranus and all that. The iron fist came out of the velvet glove. Very well. But don't try to pretend it isn't there - I saw it plainily.

Don on :

"So how could Europeans be persuaded to stop turning away from the U.S. and engage again? " I don;t think they can be persuaded. One little thing stuck in my mind, the young Dutch couple who said that the US was percieved as fascist. I have to agree - that is precisely how the US is percieved. As Joerg and others have pointed out this is utter nonsense - but it is a very widely held view nonetheless. Who wishes to be allied with a fascist state? Conversely, who wishes to be allied with people who regard one as utterly evil? What can change these attitudes? Nothing that I can see short of war - but why would we fight? Whom would we fight? I look ahead and cannot see how NATO can hold another decade - much less another generation.

VinceTN on :

International legal norms on which Europe now grounds its own peace and security? America is the ground for Europe's peace and security. Without the US a million UN resolutions would do nothing to protect Europe from outsiders or even themselves. League of Nations anyone? Denial is an ugly vice. How about a test run? Lets pull out all troops and release ourselves from all commitments to Europe right now and see just how valuable "international law" really is and what it can achieve without the US to give actual validity and meaning.

Don on :

Vince, they don't see it that way. Europe is throwing away 50 years of cross-atlantic goodwill. They will lament it (and blame Bush as ever) when it't gone.....

JW-Atlantic Review on :

@ VinceTN "Lets pull out all troops" Fine. I don't understand why you and so many others think that US troops in Germany are vital for our security these days. Do you think Russia is launching an attack if the US pulls out? Ever since the disagreements about Iraq, there was talk to close US bases in Germany and move them to New Europe. What happened to those plans? I don't know. One of the things that happened was that the 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment moved to Germany: [url]http://atlanticreview.org/archives/411-Stryker-Cavalry-Regiment-Moved-to-Germany.html[/url] US troops are in Germany because it is good for NATO and it is good for the America's own interests. Germany is a vital hub for most military transports to Iraq. Soldiers wounded in Iraq are being treated in US military hospitals in Germany. etc etc.

David on :

"Germany is a vital hub for most military transports to Iraq." Germany is also a vital hub for CIA rendition flights - another irritant in the US-Germany relationship. Are US Air Force bases in Germany also being used as CIA "Black Sites"? The UK human rights organization Reprieve thinks so. www.reprieve.org.uk

Assistant Village Idiot on :

I responded to the same section that Vince did, though a little differently. "A first step would be for the U.S. not to demand submission from Europeans or lecture them all the time, but to argue and persuade: not on the basis that the "war on terror" justifies all, but showing respect for the international legal norms on which Europe now grounds its own peace and security." "Showing respect for the international legal norms" - what does that mean, exactly? It strikes me as a repeat of the complaint that without the UN's permission, America should not move forward. That seems to be an assumption on the part of many Europeans, part of the foundation, as it were, rather than the questionable proposition many Americans view it as. There is no special moral legitimacy owned and conferred by the UN. Germans might choose to assign that stature to the UN on the basis of hope or despair, but that is their own affair. Americans declaring themselves independent of that is not a ripping away of a rogue nation from its rightful masters, but only our way of declining to put ourselves under a progressively unreliable and immoral yoke. The status quo is not a world ruled by the UN - A world ruled by the UN is a possible future state that some would like to impose on everyone now, under the guise of the supposed moral superiority of transnationalism. I consider transnationalism to be prone to the same ills as nationalism, but on a larger scale. Whew. Wish I could have made that simpler. Or if the international norms means Kyoto, and Durban, and Rio, then I would suggest that disagreement with the Americans whether these should be signed (an act that we would take seriously and many others not) is an irrelevant factor in whether a country should go to war for its own safety. We argue from the war on terror as a primary factor because it is a fact and not a theory. Finally, if you mean Geneva, then I would suggest people attempt something as difficult before passing judgement. Capture 10,000 radical Islamists and bear responsibility for what information is gotten from them that will keep others safe. While you are doing that, perhaps we can compare notes how to do that most kindly and fairly. The Coalition conduct in the prosecution of this war, as regards concern for civilians and prisoners, is unprecedented in the history of warfare. To have it regarded as "not good enough" by those who have not made the attempt themselves is rather hard.

Don on :

"Germany is a vital hub for most military transports to Iraq." Is for now. But will be in 10 years? Who knows? Those bases consist of airfields and aging buildings perched upon some of the most expensive real estate around. In 2002 the Schroeder government floated the possibility that the US could be denied the full use of those airbases in an Iraq war. They backed off - but it was said. This is now a very real possibility in any future conflict of opinion between the German government and the US. I think that if you study the matter you will find a US pullback from the German bases. They cannot be relied upon any longer so when the US can do so we're pulling operations back to the US mainland. "Fine. I don't understand why you and so many others think that US troops in Germany are vital for our security these days. Do you think Russia is launching an attack if the US pulls out?" Nope and nope. But that is one of the realsons for the widening split to happen. Not an argument against.Many Germans want to be like Pontius Pilate and wash their hands of the entire thing. And right now there is no compelling reason not to do so - for Germany. Poland may feel otherwise - but who listend to the Poles?

Don on :

"A first step would be for the U.S. not to demand submission from Europeans or lecture them all the time, but to argue and persuade: not on the basis that the "war on terror" justifies all, but showing respect for the international legal norms on which Europe now grounds its own peace and security." A first step would be for the Europeans not to demand submission from the US or lecture them all the time about their nonexistent 'facism', but to argue and persuade: not on the basis that the the US is automatically wrong and Europe automatically right, but showing respect for the difficulty of the position the superpower finds itself in fulfulling the missions on which Europe currently grounds its own peace and security. Else? Europe may have to shift for itself on 'peace and security - if you make it impossible. Europe has been....

ROA on :

If Europe and the US are drifting apart, and I agree that they are, isn't this what several European leaders were trying to accomplish after the collapse of the Soviet Union? How else do you explain the treaties that were negotiated in the 1990's? If Europe was really serious about global warming why did they write a treaty whose basic principles had absolutely no support in the US Senate, and therefore no hope of being ratified. Since Kyoto wasn't really about global warming it is not unreasonable to assume that its purpose was to try and embarrass the US. To show the world what selfish, greedy people the American's really are, as opposed to our enlightened European neighbors. The same is true about the ICC. I am sure Europeans never imagined they would ever have as many troops in the field as they do now so they didn't care if the provisions of the ICC were realistic or not. Their only purpose was to put a straight jacket on the US.

Don S on :

Life Imitates 'Team America' Hans Blix: "I'm sorry, but the U.N. must be firm with you. Let me see your whole palace, or else." Kim Jong Il: "Or else what?" Blix: "Or else we will be very, very angry with you, and we will write you a letter, telling you how angry we are."--dialogue from "Team America: World Police" (2004)

Zyme on :

Maybe it would be a refreshing perspective to look at the development from a different point of view: History creates changes. It is a major mistake to expect that everything will remain as is was. This never occured and one should be conscious of that. Alliances between nations remain as long as there are common interests. Until 1990, there were plenty between america and western europe. And since 1990, they have almost completely gone. Each continent wants the best future for itself. When it comes to raw materials, key technologies and influence on foreign governments, there is no sharing. Especially in germany we discovered that our interests rather complement with countries like russia: They have the raw materials we need in huge amounts, and provide an excellent market for our products. Furthermore there is a historical consensus that when germany and russia become strategic partners, most political obstacles in the entire eastern european region vanish. You may expect both countries to take advantage of this more and more in the foreseeable future. While the americans have a traditional opposition to china in asia, it is our policy to remain as neutral as possible there - so that our economical ties can keep growing safely in the region. In africa and south america many nations are fighting for influence. It is a stage for rivalries, not for any kind of cooperation. Last but not least I expect the creation of multinational european corps to be the final blow to the relevance of the NATO. In my point of view, a complete withdrawal of american troops from europe is the logical consequence. As is said, history has always created change - there is no need to feel extremely sad or happy about it.

Don on :

"Furthermore there is a historical consensus that when germany and russia become strategic partners, most political obstacles in the entire eastern european region vanish." Indeed. These little difficulties do disappear - quite literally! There are two examples of this phenomena of Russia and Germany/Prussia arriving at such a concordat in the fairly recent past (links below). The 'difficulties' I write of are of course the nations of Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia (which literally disappeared) and to a lesser degree Finland and Romania (which were truncated but did not completely disappear). My honest opinion is that this will cause a few diplomatic problems for Germany if essayed - or even proposed. And not only with Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia I fear. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Partitions_of_Poland http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Molotov-Ribbentrop_Pact

ROA on :

Russia may be a better ally than the US, but don't forget that it has increased its military procurement budget by over seven times during the last few years; attempted to blackmail the Ukraine last winter by shutting off natural gas supplies; had two prominent reformers - Anna Politkovskaya and Andrei Koslov – killed recently; warned Poland against hosting a US or NATO missile-defense site; and increased support for Iran and Hezbollah. All the traits you want in an ally.

Assistant Village Idiot on :

Hey, I agree with Zyme! I'm not sure the Poles and Lithuanians share your historical assessment, though. I'll be gone for two weeks and unlikely to comment. I apologise. This one looked like fun.

Elzbth on :

It is also true that "Former Allies have Estranged the U.S." Actually, the U.S. never really viewed Europe as Europeans prefer to remember, nor did the general American population. I detect in your article misty morning memories of days that never were when it comes to describing the trans-Atlantic relationship. It has always been a series of ups and downs, highs and lows, agreements and disagreements, and mutual complaints. I also noticed that you offered a typical European solutiuon to the current "estrangement": the U.S. do all the work by catering to European expectations and demands for attention. But why should we? The Cold War is over, and I can't say that 90's, particularly the second half of the nineties, gave Americans any particular reason to value this relationship above all others. Rather, I would say we were given several reasons not to do so, even before the turn of the century. Also, Europeans continue to rely heavily on U.S. military equipment in the Balkans, and American tax-payers continue to bear a disproportionate share of the financial responsibility as a result. This has practical benefits for Europe, no matter how much you endlessly whine and complain because the U.S. is not a European country and because it is not up to you to determine the responsibilities, obligations, and risks accepted by the U.S. I don't see the practical benefits for us, however. How is the transatlantic relationship that beneficial in the present world? How is it more beneficial to the U.S. than any of our other alliances? What does Europe offer that cannot be offered elsewhere? That includes air bases, by the way. And do the benefits of this current relationship outweigh the costs? Also, what on earth makes you think Americans cared about not having a seat on the Human Rights Council? It is true that westner Europe wished that this was the impact, however, it was not. Do you never listen? Back in the land of reality, the majority of Americans had paid little or no attention to this council porior to being voted off. When that happened, Americans noted the make-up of the council, and the countries that were voted in. Their response was not a positive assessmebnt of the Human Rights council, and it became clear that the overwhelming majority of Americans could not have cared less. And the U.S. recently refused a seat on the Human Rights Council as a result of their "refurbishing", which has only made that council even more of a joke. Instead of Europeans constantly telling Europeans what Americans think, perhaps you should follow your own advice and listen.

JW-Atlantic Review on :

On what kind of military equipment do we rely on so heavily in the Balkans? > How is the transatlantic relationship that beneficial in the > present world? How is it more beneficial to the U.S. than any > of our other alliances? Have Japan, South Korea, Australia, Mexico, India, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Israel, Mongolia, and your many other dear allies contributed any troops to Afghanistan? About 40% of the troops in Afghanistan are European. Would you like to shoulder Afghanistan without them? You already have trouble with Iraq. Need more trouble? > Also, what on earth makes you think Americans cared about not > having a seat on the Human Rights Council? This is one of Don's favorite subjects, so I will leave that to him.

VinceTN on :

With the exception of Japan and Korea, what has America sacrificed for India or Saudi Arabia. Compare that to what we've given Europe and I think it a shame that 80% of the forces in Afghanistan aren't European at minimum.

Anonymous on :

Re Saudi Arabia: Apparently you have not been in the military during the first Gulf War in 1991.

VinceTN on :

We were a true shield back then but the effort was little about a bond and all about geopolitical issues. Not that our efforts in Europe weren't as well, but the emotional ties to "saving" Europe were very real. No one really likes Saudi Arabia. It does not match the national sacrifice our efforts in Europe demanded.

Anonymous on :

"emotional ties to "saving" Europe were very real." Hitler came to power in 1933. Appeasement started in 1936. Chechoslawkia was sacrificed. Jews were murdered. WWII started in 1939. The United States only joined the war in 1943, after you were attacked yourself. Your government was pursuing their own interests in Europe. You did not want the axis or the Soviets to win. Not many "emotional ties" at all. Only individual Americans had emotional ties and volunteered to fight with the Brits. Roosevelt wanted to join the war earlier, but the American public did not want to. Yet so many Americans boast about their sacrifices to save Europe. Yes, you saved Western Europe and we should be grateful, but you did not do so for altruistic reasons, but for your own political interests.

VinceTN on :

Take as dark a view as you want. You can't dampen all that America has done for Europe. It has never been done before in history and it will likely never be done at that level again. I say all this with pride, not spite towards you. I speak of WWI, WWII, Marshall Plan, Nato, support for Germany's reunification during the Cold War and during its actual realization, to the present day. No people have benefited so well for so little asked in return relatively as Europeans. You have truly been blessed this past century.

Don on :

The US went to war with Japan on December 8th, 1941 and Germany declared war on the US on December 11th 1941. Was it altruisim? It depends on how you look at it. I'd be tempted to write that Roosevelt didn't have an altruistic bone in his body - except that clearly is wrong in other contexts. He was a very interesting psychological mix - a New York patrician who nonetheless was the political champion of the working class and the downtrodden in the US. Had to be at least a little altruism in there - though possibly not toward some Europeans or the Japanese too much. There certainly was quite a lot of altruism in the makeup of Roosevelt's most influential advisor. Hopkins was the most successful social worker in US history & the architect of the New Deal. During the war he moved into a diplomatic role and plyed a large role in the 'Lend-Lease' agreement and in extending the use of the Navy in protecting convoys to the UK across the Atlantic - even before the US went to war. Hopkins later successfully argued for the 'Germany First' policy under which the US fought the war, devoting more than 2/3rds of warmaking resources to Europe. There were pragmatic reasons to do so (Germany was a greater threat than Japan), but there were also humanitarian (and dare I say altruistic) reasons to do this. Like anything it was a mixture. I think it;s an error to paint human motives as 'altruistic' (pure white) or self-interested (black). Most things are shades of gray.

Don S on :

Marvelous post, Elzbth! "Also, what on earth makes you think Americans cared about not having a seat on the Human Rights Council?" Elzbth is correct in that the Human Rights Council was not and is not considered by most Americans as a major prize. "It is true that westner Europe wished that this was the impact" I think 'Western Europe' (what dat?) thought they were delivering a message which would have a huge impact in the US population. I think it did have a large impact - but not one that the countries who did it anticipated - or wanted. I believe that the ringleaders in 'Old' Europe thought that the vote would either force Bush to toe the (European defined) line or that it would damage Bush badly. "Americans noted the make-up of the council, and the countries that were voted in." Yes, many certainly did. We also noted the countries who brought it to pass, and the timing. I think the reaction was something like 'kiss my backside' - and noting has occured to change this attitude since 2001. That UN vote (and many, many others) were a gesture of contempt to the US by Europe, and the contempt has been observed. The losses of the UN positions is not particularly important but the percieved contempt is extremly important. Joerg, I cannot really reply to Elzbth - because I agree with her.

Zyme on :

"How is the transatlantic relationship that beneficial in the present world?" Now thatīs easy: To provide AWACS-Planes for the olympic games :D Seriously, I donīt get it either. Actually there are no more regions left in which europe could rely on security provided by america: The russians are no more in the position to threaten us militarily - and the muslim terrorist threat is something that canīt be adressed by the americans anymore. For being able to change something in the muslim world, it is most important to have some credibility left in these countries. I wonīt argue that european colonial powers have treated the muslims any better in the past than america does, but we did not fool them: From the point european forces arrived, the local population knew it was not for their benefit. By telling those muslims that america is there to "make them free" or to "spread human rights", you canīt expect them to take america seriously anymore.

Bill on :

I'm not so sure that J.F.O. MacAllister is so "on target" with his analysis of the diverging paths between Europe and America as his article for TIME trys to project. I deal with European and immigrant youth here on a regular basis, and have seen plenty of evidence in their points-of-view and interactions with myself and other Americans that reflect a healthy respect for the U.S.A. and show a willingness to stay bound together in a number of ways. That is not to say there hasn't been a rise in anti-Americanism across Europe, as there certainly has been over the past 5-10 years. It's just not at epidemic proportions... yet. Perhaps things are different in London where Mr. MacAllister presumably lives and works. I think that most European youth have many of the same fears and dislikes as their American counterparts, mainly frustration and disgust with an increasingly unstable world and with their respective political and business leaders who are supposed to put things right but cannot and/or will not do anything but talk, talk, talk. As far as the Clash of Civilizations thing goes between Europeans and Muslim communities here, that's a witches brew just waiting for the right temperature and a spark to boil over into more violence. Fortunately when that bit of nastiness goes down again it will be a "European problem", not ours. People (young and old) who harbor deep-rooted animosity toward the United States of America have always been here in fairly large numbers, lurking in the shadows awaiting their chance to strikeout with their often ill-informed opinions about Americans and U.S. foreign policy and so forth and so on. It makes great sport and brings me personal satisfaction to "whack 'em back into the bushes" when I've got the time to be bothered, which is not often. Read Robert Wright's May 4, 2006 article on this subject over at the New American Foundation "They Hate Us, They Really Hate Us". Wright gives a good review of Julia Sweig's recent book "Friendly Fire..." and "America Against the World" by Andrew Kohut and Bruce Strokes. Here is the URL: http://www.newamerica.net/publications/articles/2006/they_hate_us_they_really_hate_us

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