Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee accused the Bush administration of having an "arrogant bunker mentality" on foreign policy. Secretary Rice responded:
We have right now probably the strongest trans-Atlantic relations ... I would say in a very long time. (...) We're working with allies in Europe, Russia and China on Iran. The (NATO) alliance is mobilized together in Afghanistan.
Phillip Carter over at Intel Dump believes "Condi succumbs to the Kool-Aid:"
Strongest trans-Atlantic relations in a "very long time"? Are you serious? I mean, maybe I'm nostalgic for the good old days of the Marshall Plan and the Berlin Airlift, or even the good old days of the 1980s when NATO stood against the Soviet threat. I wouldn't say our relations with Europe and the world are all that stellar right now. But maybe I'm wrong. Maybe there's some super secret diplomacy going on, and the Germans and French are really our best friends right now. Maybe underneath all that anti-American sentiment and rhetoric on the streets of Europe, they still do think we're that bright shining city on a hill.
I basically agree, except for the last sentence, which is far too black and white, even for provocative closing words. It sounds too much like: You either love us or if you don't, you apparently must hate us. (Related post in the Atlantic Review: The Anti-Americans and the Manichaean Narcissists.)
IMHO Anti-American sentiment on the street should not be used as the main indicator of how good or bad transatlantic relations are. BBQs between our heads of government should not be used as the main indicator either. Instead, all that counts is how well we cooperate regarding Afghanistan, climate change, Middle East, trade, counter-terrorism, Kosovo etc. And here, I believe, cooperation is not as strong as it could and should be.
But, let's face it: Have Europe and the US ever cooperated that much on such a wide range of global issues? During the Cold War transatlantic cooperation was limited to a few policy areas. European and American leaders did not bother themselves with doing something about climate change. NATO did not send 20,000 troops to some far away country.
Today's transatlantic agenda is longer than it ever was before. Perhaps that is what Secretary Rice was referring to. Therefore it is okay, that we do not agree on everything.