‘Heat,’ wrote Laurence Sterne in Tristram Shandy, ‘is in proportion to want of true knowledge.’ He could have been referring to the invective in transatlantic divisions over Iraq. It echoed – and ampliﬁed – mutual misunderstanding. Like neighbours quarrelling across the garden wall, European and American disputants were arguing from different premises.
To America’s critics in Europe, President George Bush’s administration seemed hell-bent on war for a raft of dubious motives. A replay of the 1991 war? Revenge for September 11? Electoral calculation? A bid for Iraqi oil? The hope of a second American outpost in the Middle East alongside Israel? Such suspicions devalued ofﬁcial policy.