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Oldest Allies, Guarded Friends: The United States and France since 1940

By Charles G. Cogan | Go to book overview

should have no significant role in Europe's future unless Europe becomes the object of a major, and unexpected, attack from some unsuspected source." 32

Is it sufficient to argue, as some European officials have done, that there will be no hegemonic power in Europe because it will be unified and hence no danger to the United States? Or should the United States, as the so-called "Wolfowitz report" is supposed to have advocated, "dissuade possible rivals from aspiring to a larger regional or global role," or more specifically "prevent the emergence of a system of an exclusively European security system which could destabilize NATO"? 33

Most fundamentally, should the United States "encourage an expanding and more cohesive European Community to play an increasing political, economic and military role," as Stanley Hoffmann has recommended? 34 Or should the United States, in a comparison pointed up by Jean-François Deniau, act toward the Franco-German alliance in the manner of Rome ("this law of the Roman Senate, applied during six centuries, and which forbade any alliance between two allies of Rome")? 35 The weight of wisdom would seem to be with the thesis of Stanley Hoffmann, which recognizes the limits of American power, and against the "Roman" precedent.

The words of Henry Kissinger on European unity, a stated ideal of the United States ever since 1947, ring prophetically from their moment of origin nearly thirty years ago:

[A] European sense of identity can no longer be nourished by fear of the U.S.S.R. [Therefore] a united Europe is likely to insist on a specifically European view of world affairs--which is another way of saying it will challenge American hegemony in Atlantic policy. This may well be a price worth paying for European unity; but American policy has suffered from an unwillingness to recognize that there is a price to be paid. 36


NOTES
1.
Robespierre, Discours et rapports à la Convention ( Paris: Union Générale d'Editions, 1965), 248-49 (on the relation between religious and moral ideas and republican principles, and on national holidays; speech delivered to the Convention on May 7, 1794).
2.
Jules Michelet, Le Peuple ( Paris: Flammarion, Édition Champ Historique, 1974), 75.
3.
Interview with the author, June 22, 1992.
4.
Burton Stevenson, ed., The Home Book of Quotations, 10th ed. ( New York: Dodd Mead, 1967), 719 (taken from Thomas Jefferson, Writings [ Washington, D.C.: Thomas Jefferson Memorial Association of the United States, 1907], 159).
5.
Le Monde, May 29, 1992, 1.
6.
Ibid.
7.
Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library (DDEL), White House Office File, Office of the Staff Secretary, Box 3, Department of State, May-August 1958: Message from Dulles to Herter, May 29, 1958.

-215-

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