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The Shaky Pillar: The U.S. and the European Union

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Throughout the Cold War, the U.S. security guarantee to Europe assured it dominance of the U.S. European Union relationship. The U.S.-EU Declaration of November 1990, signed at a time of when the EU appeared headed toward world power status, commits the U.S. and the EU to a global partnership implying a greater sharing of world leadership. With U.S. support for the separable but not separate option for European forces within NATO at the January 1994 NATO Summit, the United States appears fully prepared to accept the independent European defense identity that could make burden sharing within a global partnership a reality. Yet three years after the Declaration was signed, the extended wrangle over the GATT agreement and the bloody quagmire of former Yugoslavia are witness to the limits of cooperation, joint action, and to the EUs ability to act alone. Some part of the U.S. - EU tensions over these issues reflects enduring flash points in the U.S.-EU relationship. However, U.S.-EU tensions and frustrations over issues like the GATT and former Yugoslavia are also due in large measure to the EUs limited ability to pursue cohesive, swift, decisive action on issues which go beyond the strictly technical. The need for de facto consensus on foreign policy issues has hampered EU foreign policy making since its earliest days. The EUs external paralysis is compounded now by its own pervasive internal malaise, of which the travails of the Maastricht Treaty, the wreckage of the European Monetary System, and anti-immigrant tensions are only the symptoms.

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  • Administration and Management
  • Government and Political Science

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