Repairing European and Transatlantic Institutions: Threat to Global Order

The conventional wisdom at the end of the Cold War on both sides of the Atlantic was that interdependence had grown so close that Europe and the US had no alternative to partnership. Integration was thought to have taken west European states well past any breakdown in relations among member governments. War in Iraq is testing these assumptions.

The World Today Published 1 May 2003 Updated 21 October 2020 5 minute READ

William Wallace

Britain and France have taken sharply opposing positions within the European Union; competing declarations have lined up other states in one camp or the other. Washington has divided its European allies into supporters and opponents, crudely labelled ‘old’ and ‘new’ Europe. Its conservative think tanks have hailed this ‘success’, and declared that it is in America’s strategic interest to keep Europe weak and subservient.

It is important to recognise how far the development of an open international economy – the foundation for the astonishing, if uneven, global economic development over the past half-century – has rested on American multilateral leadership, and its partnership with west European states through multilateral institutions.

Australia and Canada were founder members of the post-1945 ‘west’; Japan from the 1970s became to a limited extent a partner in a broader coalition of industrial democracies, with Korea and Mexico also playing minor roles.

Subscribe to read all issues

Articles from the current issue are free to read by all, the archive is exclusive to magazine subscribers and our members. Subscribe or become a member to view articles from the archive.