- The Washington Times - Saturday, July 30, 2005


Edited by Tod Lindberg

Routledge, $18.95,

224 pages


The last few months of relatively civil and calm relations between the United States and Europe looks like a rapprochement. First, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice kicked off her tenure in February with a fence-mending trip to Europe. Then last month the EU apparently decided not to lift its arms embargo on China. Before that, to the pleasure of Brussels, Paris and Berlin, Washington let the International Criminal Court handle Darfur and agreed to continue multilateral talks with Iran. But it’s anyone’s guess as to whether the good feeling will continue.

Tod Lindberg, editor of Policy Review and a columnist for these pages, asked the authors of “Beyond Paradise and Power: Europe, America and the Future of a Troubled Partnership” to take a stab at this question, among others, in response to Robert Kagan’s much-discussed book “Of Paradise and Power.” The results are all over the map. Some of the noted scholars, think-tankers and journalists whose essays Mr. Lindberg collects here agree with Mr. Kagan that a stark new rift between Europe and America is emerging. But several do not.

The 12 voices Mr. Lindberg presents give 12 different answers pointing in even more directions. Mr. Lindberg’s aim was to provoke, not to draw fast conclusions, and so “Beyond Paradise and Power” serves as a sampler of a range of opinion, all of it pro-Atlanticist and pro-cooperation but none of it bland or unimaginative. There are European voices: the French Foreign Ministry’s Gilles Andreani and German Ambassador Wolfgang Ischinger, who represent their governments but avoid platitudes and diplo-speak; there are policy wonks like the Brookings Institution’s Ivo Daalder, Simon Serfaty of CSIS and Walter Russell Mead of the Council on Foreign Relations; there are academic heavyweights like Oxford’s Timothy Garton Ash, the Hoover Institution’s Peter Berkowitz and Francis Fukuyama of Johns Hopkins and Oxford’s Kalypso Nicolaidis; and then there are the scribes, the Washington Post’s Anne Applebaum, Stephen Erlanger of the New York Times and Mr. Lindberg himself. The first thing to be said about this group: When it comes to the future of U.S.-European cooperation, there are about as many bulls as bears, so to speak, and a few fence-straddlers.

Mr. Mead is probably the most bullish. He writes that “unless one or both sides lose sight of their true interests, the partnership should endure into the future.” Mr. Ischinger is not far behind, declaring that the differences “are not as great, or structural, or as lasting as Robert Kagan would have us believe” (although as an Old European in good standing, he suggests too much American unilateralism could change this). Mr. Lindberg is also cheery, concluding that bitter words over Iraq were “not a sign of fundamental division.” To varying degrees, Mr. Lindberg and the bulls think the United States and Europe have too much in common to drift too far apart.

The bears either aren’t so sure or are downright gloomy. Mr. Fukuyama is gloomy: He thinks that disagreements over where democratic legitimacy comes from — Congress or the World Trade Organization? Topeka or Brussels? — “will ensure that transatlantic relations will remain neuralgic through the years to come.” If you have to look up “neuralgic,” it means painful. Mr. Garton Ash is a doomsayer, too: He worries that the carriers of “American anti-Europeanism” — freedom fries, “cheese-eating surrender monkeys” and all that — “may be the first swallows of a long, bad summer.” Then there is Mr. Andreani, the Frenchman, who argues that “loose talk of American empire” serves to jeopardize “a certain sense of fairness and moderation in America’s relation with power and some of the respect this sense had won for the United States abroad” — thus implying doubt about the American half of the bargain. The palm for fence-straddling goes to Ivo Daalder, whose suggestively titled “The End of Atlanticism” actually concludes that “either [the] long marriage comes to an end, or it will be renewed.” Indeed.

Who’s closer to the mark, the bulls or the bears? A good realist would be agnostic on that question: Good relations happen when national interests align, and bad relations occur when they do not. But leaving aside realpolitik for a moment, it’s clear that at least one half of the U.S.-EU equation is in serious flux. French and Dutch voters shot down the EU constitution and are calling some of the most basic premises of “Europe” into question. European elites are trying to salvage their supranational project. They’ll surely save parts of it, but the idea that Europe could become a unified whole — one that could push Europe’s external relations in some radical new direction — is being revealed for the fiction that it is. Meanwhile, Europe’s demographics are changing rapidly. Birth rates are exceedingly low, while immigrant populations, many from the Muslim world with little interest in assimilation, are on the rise.

The fact that “EU-topia” is returning to earth suggests that, over the long term, translantic relations should remain more or less as they’ve been. In that respect the advantage is to the bulls. But that will happen only if Europe’s demographic woes ease up. What a depopulated, immigrant-heavy, Muslim-predominated Europe would be in the foreign policy sphere is unknown.

Brendan Conway is an editorial writer at The Washington Times.


Edited by Tod Lindberg

Routledge, $18.95, 224 pages


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