The Cold War and After: History, Theory, and the Logic of International Politics

By Marc Trachtenberg | Go to book overview

CHAPTER NINE
The Iraq Crisis and the Future of the
Western Alliance

IN JANUARY 1963, Konrad Adenauer, the chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany, came to Paris to sign a treaty of friendship with France. This was an event of considerable political importance. The German government, it seemed, had decided to form a kind of bloc with the France of President Charles de Gaulle, a country that for some time had been pursuing a policy with a distinct anti-American edge. Indeed, just one week before Adenauer's visit, de Gaulle had risen up against America. He had announced that France was going to veto Britain's entry into the European Common Market. If the British were allowed in, de Gaulle argued, continental Europe would eventually be absorbed into a “colossal Atlantic Community, dependent on America and under American control,” and this France would not permit.1 The German government seemed to share de Gaulle's sentiments. How else could its willingness to sign a treaty with France at that particular point possibly be interpreted?

The Americans were enraged by what France and Germany had done, and the Kennedy administration, then in power, decided to take a very hard line. The Europeans, President Kennedy felt, could not be expected to pursue a pro-American policy simply because of what the United States had done for them in previous years. “We have been very generous to Europe,” he told the National Security Council on January 22, 1963, “and it is now time for us to look out for ourselves, knowing full well that the Europeans will not do anything for us simply because we have in the past helped them.”2 They would come around, in his

This article, written in 2004, was originally published in David M. Andrews, ed., The Atlantic Alliance Under Stress (Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, 2005). In republishing it here I deliberately did not change the text (except for some very minor corrections). A more fully footnoted version of the article, with direct links to many of the sources cited, is available online at http://www.polisci.ucla.edu/faculty/trachtenberg/ useur/iraqcrisis.html.

1 Press conference of January 14,1963, in Charles de Gaulle, Discours and Messages, vol. 4 (Paris: Plön, 1986), p. 69.

2 Notes on Remarks by President Kennedy before the National Security Council, January 22,1963, US Department of State, Foreign Relations of the United States, 1961–1963, vol. 13, p. 486; henceforth cited in this form: FRUS 1961–63,13:486.

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