Courtesy Reuters

Partners and Allies

After the events of the past six months, few people on either side of the Atlantic would dispute the view that the concept of Atlantic partnership and the imagery of "twin pillars" and "dumbbells" need reconsidering. As applied, the imagery has obscured the disparity in European economic and strategic strength; it has overlooked the contrast between America's genuine desire to see European economic strength increase and cohere, and its equally genuine reluctance to encourage the proliferation of nuclear weapons; it has assumed an identity of political interest between the United States and Western Europe which can, one hopes, be evolved but may not exist prima facie; and it has rested on an important confusion between the six West European countries of the Community and the 12 European countries in NATO, whose interests also are not identical with one another.

For nearly 20 years American policy has cherished the vision of a united Europe whose leaders could talk the same language of power and responsibility as its own. During the early years of that policy there was little conflict between its economic and political aspects, for almost all the strategic power of the West was effectively in the hands of the United States. Moreover, if military technology had pursued a less breakneck course, it is possible that the United States would have viewed the acquisition of nuclear weapons by a united Europe-or its individual countries-with a reasonable equanimity. The United States might have calculated that to enhance European pride, lessen European fears and promote Western security as a whole would hasten the day when the two systems could look each other in the eye with confidence. Indeed in the mid- 1950s, when the British V-Bomber force with nuclear bombs was becoming an actuality, it was accepted in Washington as fulfilling a useful complementary role to that of the Strategic Air Command (SAC), in that, with its speed and proximity to Russia, it could be in action faster than American bombers.

It can be argued,

Loading, please wait...

Related Articles

This site uses cookies to improve your user experience. Click here to learn more.