Is There Still a West? The Future of the Atlantic Alliance

Is There Still a West? The Future of the Atlantic Alliance

Is There Still a West? The Future of the Atlantic Alliance

Is There Still a West? The Future of the Atlantic Alliance

Synopsis

The international response to the attacks of 9/11 promised a new sense of unity between the United States and its European allies, but subsequent disagreements over Iraq have made the Western alliance seem tentative at best. Is There Still a West? looks beyond recent events to put disagreements within NATO into historical perspective, exploring how cultural, demographic, economic, and military factors since the 1940s have affected future prospects for security cooperation. As questions underlying the current rift persist, distinguished scholars--Stephen A. Schuker, Michael Radu, Jeremy Black, and others--consider whether that gathering of nations long known as "the West" remains a valid construct. Claiming that differences over Iraq are no greater than past conflicts over Suez, China, or other issues, they adopt a "realist" stance in international relations to offer an alternative to neoconservative and liberal viewpoints. They show what the major issues--and nonissues--really are, and which among them are the true time bombs. These essays consider a range of relevant topics, from the impact of globalization to emerging differences in the political cultures of North Americans and Europeans to an analysis of headscarf issues among Muslim immigrants. They particularly address the consequences of demographic shifts as Western countries try to deal with growing Muslim communities that present a security and cultural challenge. In proposing possible counterterrorism strategies to define a shared Western security policy, this book considers whether a distinctive Western way of war in fact exists and what it might mean for the alliance. These insightful essays look beyond transatlantic complaints to probe underlying difficulties, explore sources of conflict, assess prospects for economic divergence, and advocate a workable security policy. Together, they ask readers to consider whether "the West" is still a major force in international affairs or whether we face a new world of competing states and shifting alliances. By addressing these challenges, Is There Still a West? points toward the development of effective policies to ensure the ongoing unity of the West.

Excerpt

William Anthony Hay and Harvey Sicherman

The dissolution of the soviet union on December 25, 1991, established the American-led North Atlantic Treaty Alliance as the arbiter of European security. Over the next decade, the alliance was extended to the borders of Ukraine and came to encompass much of the former Warsaw Pact. nato also fought its first war to end the Serbian dictator Slobodan Milosevic’s depredations in Kosovo. Unity was the theme once more when the allies invoked their mutual obligation to aid the United States after the attacks of September 11, 2001, on New York and Washington.

Yet barely eighteen months later, what had come to be called the “Western Alliance” or, in short, “the West,” appeared in utter disarray. An open quarrel at the United Nations had developed into public vituperation. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld’s remark contrasting an “Old Europe” of France and Germany with the “New Europe” defined by former Warsaw Pact members such as Poland implied that the young and vigorous Europeans were pro-American while the old and decrepit were, well, old and decrepit. French President Jacques Chirac matched Rumsfeld when he told Time magazine that “any community with only one dominant power is a dangerous one and provokes reactions,” an exposition suggesting that America should resign from sole superpowerdom or face coalitions, perhaps led by France, to enforce multipolarity. Following the war in Iraq, President George W. Bush’s then national security adviser Condoleezza Rice raised the stakes when she purportedly expressed U.S. policy toward its European opponents as “Forgive Russia. Ignore Germany. Punish France.”

1. James Graff, “France Is Not a Pacifist Country,” Time, February 24, 2003.

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.