Academic journal article The Virginia Quarterly Review

An Alliance at Risk: The United States and Europe since September 11

Academic journal article The Virginia Quarterly Review

An Alliance at Risk: The United States and Europe since September 11

Article excerpt

An Alliance at Risk: The United States and Europe since September 11, by Laurent Cohen-Tanugi. Johns Hopkins, September 2003. $19.95

A timely and remarkably wise prescriptive analysis of U.S.-European relations in the wake of 9/11. Cohen-Tanugi's book has critical words for both sides of the Atlantic. he identifies and addresses a "vicious circle" (p. 96) between U.S. unilateralism and European antiAmericanism, whose origins seem lost in history (origins which, in any event, are relevant only to the childish among us) but whose effects continue today, like a dysfunctional marriage. he recognizes that the positions have changed; it used to be Europe which scoffed at American naïveté (a trope as old as Henry James and as recent as Jimmy Carter), but today it is the Americans who face the dangers of the world with a cold eye, while Europeans look inward, lured by the siren songs of Brussels and "human rights," which allow them to avoid facing the realities of the world that they inhabit. The U.S.'s unilateralist tendencies are almost explicable (and thus forgivable) when one imagines the provincial arrogance of European elites more interested in sniping from the sidelines than in offering any constructive alternatives to direct action. …

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