Europe, America, Bush: Transatlantic Relations in the Twenty First Century

Europe, America, Bush: Transatlantic Relations in the Twenty First Century

Europe, America, Bush: Transatlantic Relations in the Twenty First Century

Europe, America, Bush: Transatlantic Relations in the Twenty First Century

Synopsis

In this book, American and European experts assess transatlantic relations on matters of foreign and security policy, economic diplomacy, justice and internal security cooperation, environmental policy and relations with Russia, the Balkans and the Middle East. Europe, America, Bush is the first study of underlying elements of continuity in the transatlantic relationship, as well as new and powerful forces for change. It offers a definitive assessment of whether, and how much, the election of George W. Bush, the events of 11 September and conflict over Iraq mark genuine and lasting change in transatlantic relations.

Excerpt

The defining feature of transatlantic relations in the post-war period has been mutual dependence between the United States (US) and western Europe. Under the conditions of the Cold War, their interdependence in the security realm was particularly salient, with both sides responding to powerful incentives to cooperate and avoid discord in the face of a monolithic Soviet threat. Economic interdependence intensified over time, but economic conflict and cooperation were generally second-order concerns. the term 'transatlantic' was rarely used to describe European-American relations because the Atlantic Alliance-the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO)-was the primary channel for the most important exchanges.

It is often forgotten that the Cold War ended almost simultaneously with the final stages of a dramatic effort by the member states of (what became) the European Union (EU) to enhance their economic solidarity and power by creating a single European market. Subsequently, the eu emerged as the United States' most important partner in terms of trade and investment. Before but especially after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, economic and political reform in central and eastern Europe became an urgent and shared western concern. the us under the Clinton administration thus found itself with new incentives to broaden and intensify economic and foreign policy cooperation, and to seek new channels of diplomatic exchange with a Europe increasingly seeking to be a united, single partner by acting through the eu. a formal US-EU dialogue had been sought by the Bush (Senior) administration and agreed via the Transatlantic Declaration in 1990. But it was upgraded under Bill Clinton and given significantly more policy substance through the 1995 New Transatlantic Agenda (NTA).

The eu remained very much a work in progress, especially in foreign or security policy, as revealed by its humiliation as an aspiring peacemaker in the former Yugoslavia. Still, Europe and America seemed closer than ever before to something like a strategic partnership by the late 1990s (see Feather stone and Ginsberg 1996; Peterson 1996; Smith 1998; Monar 1998). Even sceptics admitted that 'the potential for the eu and the United States to raise their relationship to a new level of cooperation remained' as the decade ended (Allen 2002:45).

The year 2001, however, witnessed two landmark events, each with potential to augur a substantial change in the tenor and substance of transatlantic relations.

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