This post seeks to document, and partly explain, collaboration between the United States of America and Western European states (most being democracies founded under U.S. protection after World War II) in military and political interventions in the Balkans and the Third World.
The “Anglo-Saxon” countries and France have for centuries looked upon one another as “the Other” they use to define their own self-image. Many of the posts on this blog have been committed to correcting the stereotypes that inevitably come from this. I have made this post, as with the France/Germany comparison, to bring together most of the relevant stats in a single place.
European and American leaders alike claim they are allies. But while Europeans contribute substantial military, economic and political support for American ambitions in the Middle East, differing interests and values mean the U.S. rarely supports Europe on any issue, whether international law, climate or finance.
While the Alliance served a noble purpose against the totalitarian Soviet Empire, with the end of the Cold War the American connection has meant little more than dividing European leaders and enticing them towards war, lawlessness and torture, even when their own public opinion is opposed.
There are few subjects on which I know and care about more than European-American relations. This is quite natural for me as a politically-interested French-American, both countries having made demonization of the other, to some extent, a part of their national identity. The question of the Atlantic Alliance is obviously fundamental to the Iraq War of 2003 which first made me become interested in politics.
So I was of course interested at the Heinrich Böll Stiftung’s conference last week on “Europe’s Common Future” when, beside talking about the eurozone, we broached the subject of U.S.-Europe relations. In particular, a former American ambassador to Germany, John Kornblum, was emphatic about the need for good relations with the U.S. for Europe’s security and harshly condemned European efforts to create independent defense capabilities.
The Habermasian Euro-Gaullist in me naturally took offense and so I took the microphone to point out what seems obvious to me: that the U.S. systematically opposes Europeans on most issues, including international law, the environment and finance, and that military cooperation with the U.S. makes a lot less sense after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the launch of George W. Bush’s lawless War on Terror.
UPDATE: The original version of this post was lost following a hacking attempt on this website. New security and daily backups are in place so with any luck this will no longer be a problem in the future. It has been republished with some modifications. Reactions to the original piece have been lost.
…we have not been able to find any US economist making a strong case for the euro prior to its birth.
This is perhaps the most striking find in a fascinating survey by the European Commission of U.S. economists’ assessments of the coming of the euro, as expressed in some 170 publications. The document is enlightening in two respects: first as an intellectual history of American economic thought on the euro, an “American interpretation” which in fact still predominates, and second as an X-ray into the “Eurocratic mind” and its attempts to explain away criticism of the euro. Every self-styled EU-expert should probably read it or, failing that, this post, which summarizes and provides extracts of its 50-odd pages. Continue reading
I began to come to political consciousness in many ways on 11 September 2001. It was, wrongly given all the other ills about, the moment I realized not all was well in the world and one could not live “carelessly” on a planet characterized by infinite, gentle progress. I was 14.
I have never thought the War on Terror was anything but a parochial, Western phenomenon, unimportant except for those who must die in its name. Bush-era officials, asinine conservative hacks, former CIA officials, and neocons in their armchairs of course compared it, and still do, to the Second World War or the Cold War.