Europe and America: Battle of the Atlantic

Regardless of how the Iraq episode ultimately concludes, one thing is certain: both Europe and the United States will try to paper over their bitter dispute. The US needs Europe, especially in its quest to maintain a new Middle East stability, while Europeans have little to gain from prolonging the spat. France has accomplished what it always wanted – raising serious questions about the very survival of NATO. And the Germans, who have achieved a similar result by accident rather than design, will do their best to restore their link with Washington.

The World Today
6 minute READ

Jonathan Eyal

Associate Director, Royal United Services Institute

The diplomatic confrontation surrounding the Iraq crisis will leave deep scars. The links between the old and new continents remain important but will undergo profound change. The old transatlantic community is being slowly dismantled by both sides, giving way to ad hoc bilateral military links between Washington and some Europeans.

The key slogan for the future is coalition of the willing: temporary arrangements between countries depending on their military capabilities and political circumstances. When the dust settles over Iraq, it will become clear that the dispute between Europeans and Americans has merely accelerated a process of decay in their relations, which began, slowly and almost imperceptibly, with the collapse of communism.

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