From Kosovo to the War on Terror. The Collapsing Transatlantic Consensus, 1999-2002
AIR UNIV MAXWELL AFB AL STRATEGIC STUDIES QUARTERLY
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The years since al-Qaedas September 11, 2001, attack on the United States have not been happy ones for the transatlantic relationship. Despite initial European rhetorical solidarity with the United States, disagreements with Washington about how to deal with al-Qaeda and its Taliban hosts in Afghanistan emerged almost immediately in the fall of 2001. Six years later, in 2007, there is no transatlantic consensus on a strategy to counter the terrorist threat and create international stability over the long term. Compared to the transatlantic consensus that existed in 1954, six years after the 1948 Berlin blockade and the start of the Cold War, the state of the relationship today is bleak, indeed. The common wisdom is that the collapse of the transatlantic relationship began with disagreements at the United Nations over how to deal with Iraq in the fall of 2002, and that the American decision to invade Iraq in March 2003 destroyed the alleged post-911 solidarity of Europe with the United States. This article contradicts that view. It argues, instead, that the dialogue between Europe and the United States in early 2002, a year before the invasion of Iraq and only six months after 911, was already characterized by a degree of mutual sniping that frequently seemed to have lost sight of the fact that a terrorist threat existed at all. European complaints about American decisions and decision makers, and the United States discontent with the declining military capabilities of its continental allies already dominated what was increasingly a dialogue des sourds.
- Government and Political Science
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics