A PROFOUND shift is taking place in the relations between the United States and Western Europe. Though there is a temptation to think of the shift as the result of yesterday's headlines, its causes run a good deal deeper, and its consequences are likely to remain for a long time. For those who assume that the achievement of a moderate world order depends on some sort of working coöperation in the Atlantic area, the implications of the change are deeply disturbing.

Throughout most of the period since the end of World War II, the economic relations between Western Europe and the United States have been conditioned by a few fundamental considerations. First and overwhelming was the question of relative size. The United States was five or six times as big as any state in Western Europe, and it enjoyed the highest per capita income by a large margin. Second, the United States was profoundly self- confident. When occasional uncertainties arose over national purpose, they were usually internal matters, matters that had very little to do with the country's perception of its place in international affairs. Beyond that, the United States Could be counted on to use its strength, so most West Europeans assumed, in ways that were not blatantly hostile to Western Europe. Finally, the problem of America's disparate size was commonly thought of as only a transitional state, until the time when a united Western Europe would develop which was equal in dimensions to the United States.

Today, the assumption that the United States could be expected to use its great economic and military strength in benign and unhostile ways has been badly eroded in Western Europe. The Suez crisis of the 1950s may have begun the process; but, so far as many Europeans were concerned, it was fortified by the U.S. role in Vietnam, ratified by the U.S. decision unilaterally to suspend the convertibility of the dollar, and confirmed by the independent style of the United States in the conduct of its new Ostpolitik.

Along with the change in Europe's perception of the United States, there has been a change in America's perception of herself. The change in self- perception was already apparent in 1959 when President Eisenhower sent his Secretary of the Treasury urgently to Europe, tin cup in hand, to solicit contributions from the Europeans in order to bolster an ailing U.S. balance of payments. The old sense of utter invulnerability was gone, and never quite returned in the Kennedy administration. Then it began to be undermined even further by the nightmare in Vietnam, by the seeming disappearance of the technological gap, by the dissipation of America's gold supply and finally by successive devaluations of the almighty dollar.

As long as Europe had hopes of emerging eventually as a cohesive political force, the independent policy and loss of self-confidence on the part of the United States were not unmitigated drawbacks in the eyes of Europeans. Those developments added impetus to the growth of the European idea. They added to the appeal of de Gaulle's famille des patries in Europe. And they supported Heath's reflections on the need to find some alternative to Britain's "special relationship" with the United States.

But in the past few years, Europe's hope of creating an effective independent political force has not grown stronger. On the contrary, even as the economic reach of the European Community increases, the idea of Europe as a political entity is being enfeebled. To be sure, there are some members of a brave band of Europeans still to be found in Brussels and The Hague, and even in Paris and in London; but few of them anticipate any great political movement toward a United Europe for a decade or more to come.

All that remains of the original considerations which shaped the economic relations between the United States and Europe, therefore, is the outsized nature of the United States. In economic terms, Europe has grown a bit more rapidly than the United States in the past decade or two, but the difference has not been very great. In spite of Europe's growth, the United States still has a gross national product that is over five times larger than West Germany's, and a per capita income that is 40 percent higher. Whatever Americans may think of themselves, the U.S. economy still displays an enormous overweening material strength to the rest of the world. Today, however, it is widely assumed in Europe that a rather different spirit animates that strength. Once the prevailing assumption had been that though the United States might be dangerous at times, this was largely because the country was not always very careful and not always very bright. Today, a common assumption is that the strength of the United States is animated by cunning and by fear. If there is some appropriate metaphor from the animal world in the collective European mind, it is no longer the image of a big amiable bear but that of a devious rogue elephant.


If American readers boggle a little at the picture of the United States as one of overbearing strength, it would not be the least bit surprising. For the past decade, the U.S. public has been confusing the fact that the economy of the country is not totally invulnerable with the illusion that it is therefore weak. Americans have discovered, practically for the first time, the concept of a balance-of-payments restraint. They have rediscovered for the third or fourth time in recent history that nonrenewable resources are indeed nonrenewable. Having come to think of itself as the world's undisputed leader in technology, the United States has been brought up short by Sputnik, acupuncture and the Datsun. In an effort to adjust to its new vulnerabilities, many Americans have come to think of their country as an enfeebled and debilitated giant.

Some Europeans also profess to see the United States as a papier-mâché economy. Though this reaction is based in part on the same facts upon which the Americans have drawn, I suspect that it is also a familiar human response to the seeming humbling of the mighty. But the general European perception of the change in the status of the U.S. economy is qualified in major respects. While both Americans and Europeans see the strength of the United States as having declined, Europeans still see the U.S. economy as disconcertingly powerful-and, being imbued with the psyche of the rogue elephant, as disconcertingly dangerous.

The distinction between the American view and the European view of the U.S. balance-of-payments situation is a case in point. From the viewpoint of U.S. policy-makers, the payments situation is an unmitigated disaster, a source of weakness that can barely be tolerated. But the policies that have been adopted to deal with that weakness suggest how strong the U.S. position really is. The U.S. government, in effect, no longer defends the international value of the dollar. Europe and Japan are invited to stabilize the dollar's natural price as they wish; but it is up to them to do the job. Meanwhile, in a classic version of the strategy of benign neglect, the U.S. government exhibits no great anxiety over the ultimate fate of the excess dollars that the Europeans profess not to want or need.

The response of European governments to the U.S. strategy has revealed their relative weakness. In effect, they have taken on the task of supporting the dollar at its new level. They have been fearful of destroying the international value of the dollar, which they hold in large amounts. They have been worried about promoting the competitive strength of U.S. exporters, who would benefit from a decline in the value of the dollar. They have felt inhibited about imperiling the highly developed European market for dollars, which has served as a rather extraordinary mechanism for absorbing and supplying international funds. So they have followed the characteristic course of the small country that confronts the large; they have adapted themselves as best they could to the new circumstances, by doing the U.S. bidding.

There is a widespread uneasiness in Europe, unfocused though it may be, that the capacity of the United States to wreck the currencies of other countries is considerable. This uneasiness is usually expressed in somewhat misleading terms, as it most often is stated in the form of an indictment against the financial power and flexibility of the U.S.-based multinational enterprises in industry and banking. Now and then, as currency crises bubble up and as liquidity pinches come and go in Europe, Europeans charge these enterprises with playing a major unsettling role.

Though the multinational enterprises get more than their proper share of attention in this context, the fact is that the U.S. economy as a whole maintains assets abroad in a volume that no other economy can even remotely match. At the end of 1971, Americans were reported as holding assets valued at $181 billion abroad, while the holdings of all non-Americans in the United States at the time were only $123 billion. True, the foreigners had very large liquid holdings in the United States. But too much should not be made of that point. On command, American holders of the $181 billion of assets abroad could easily squeeze $50 or $60 billion out of their holdings, enough to force most other countries of the world to suspend the convertibility of their currencies. Worse still, the enforced liquidation of U.S.-held assets in foreign economies could depress internal values, from land on the Riviera to chemical plants in Germany.

Europeans do not often pose the possibility of an economic Armageddon of this sort. That is probably due to the unspoken assumption that the United States would be incapable of summoning up the international will for such a gruesome exercise. Yet the possibility is not wholly unthinkable. The capacity of the Soviet Union to take on such an operation, if ever it acquired significant assets outside of its borders, would be considered beyond question. Britain did something like it before World War II; and the French ratissage operations in the 1950s fell in the same category. The sheer bulk of U.S.-controlled assets in the European economy, therefore, constitutes a latent threat; and it may be that there is a vague appreciation of that fact deep in the European psyche.

The situation of the U.S. economy with respect to future shortages of raw materials is another illustration of the country's relative invulnerability. If vulnerability is measured by the degree of reliance on imported materials, the United States is much less exposed than Europe. Besides, if the United States should ever face a shortage, its resiliency in responding to the shortage is far greater.

If the question of U.S. vulnerability to a raw-material shortage is weighed in narrow military terms, no problem actually exists. For blitz nuclear warfare, raw-material supplies would be irrelevant; for large-scale conventional warfare, direct military requirements would absorb no more than a minor fraction of the current U.S. consumption level, an amount that could easily be squeezed out of the indulgent life-styles of the country. U.S. reliance on imports, therefore, does not present a military problem, narrowly conceived. The problem is simply that of an habitual consumer, unwilling to consider any restraint on its consumption habits even if such a restraint would greatly improve its bargaining position abroad.

The strength of the United States in raw materials is dramatically illustrated by the case of petroleum. It is conventional wisdom at the moment that the country confronts an acute shortage of energy; the case is said to be clearer for the long term than for the short, but acute whatever the period of projection may be. Along with a small beleaguered band of chronic doubters, I am strongly suspicious of the projections on which these conclusions are based. But that is not the central point here. No one will doubt, not even the most convinced adherent of the projection of scarcity, that in the short run the United States could turn scarcity into surplus. In the case of oil, all that would be needed is the most trivial kind of rationing: a limit on the horsepower capacity of new automobiles; a suspension of the use of snow buggies, motor launches, electric toothbrushes, electrified tie racks and the like; a restriction on lights and heating levels in unoccupied buildings, and similar measures.

Europe's vulnerability to a scarcity of raw materials, on the other hand, is of rather a different sort. Not only does Europe rely far more on imports; it also uses a higher proportion of its consumption for essential consumer and industrial needs. For Europe, a curtailment of supply cuts quickly into the meat and sinew of the economy; for the United States, it is less likely to cut beyond the fat. Accordingly, all that the United States needs in order to free itself from the appearance of scarcity, at least in the short run, is a minor exercise of will; Europe, on the other hand, faces a more substantial problem.

The European perception of its relative weakness extends not only to its supplies of raw materials but also to its control over the more advanced technologies. Today, there is a dusty sound to the phrase "technology gap." Yet if the concept was justified five or six years ago, it is still justified today. Nothing very fundamental has changed in the technological relationships between the United States and Europe.

Historically, the Americans have had certain distinctive advantages over the Europeans for innovation of a certain kind. These palpable advantages have included the size and homogeneity of the domestic U.S. market; the existence of high labor costs and high per capita incomes in that market; the existence of large-scale government procurement programs in the high technology fields; the ability of U.S. firms to absorb the financial burdens of error in large-scale development projects; and, finally, the pervasive feeling of anxiety under which U.S. businessmen are obliged to operate as they confront a vast business environment in which new competitive threats cannot easily be identified and controlled.

Responding to these special conditions, American businessmen have taken the lead in a series of industrial innovations and then eventually have come to share the lead or to lose the lead to others. In the postwar period, European businessmen have caught up in a number of industrial areas in which the United States had held the lead: in automobiles, in plastics, in consumer hard goods, in consumer electronics and in many other lines. But there was nothing new in that phenomenon. In the hundred years before, U.S. producers had seen their dominance in international markets continuously whittled away in fields that they had originally dominated: in firearms, sewing machines, automatic signals, oil refining, life insurance, electrical equipment, business machines, mass-produced automobiles and so on. If Europe had not resumed the process at some point after World War II, this would have been an aberration in history.

To be sure, the speed with which old trends were resumed in the 1960s may have been disconcerting, especially for a generation of businessmen whose historical memories did not stretch beyond World War II. But despite the speedy resumption of old trends, insofar as the concept of a technological gap ever had any valid basis in fact, the basis continued to exist. For as U.S. enterprises reluctantly surrendered a share of their world markets to the European firms in their existing product lines, they continued to generate new leads in the more advanced technological branches of industry.

Of course, U.S. enterprises will not originate all the innovations of the future any more than they originated all the innovations of the past. Throughout recent decades, while the Americans were grinding out a succession of new products in response to their special needs and opportunities, the Europeans were doing the same. Synthetic fertilizers were Europe's response to a scarcity of land; rayon, an answer to the dearth of cotton; the oxygen process in steel-making, a response to Europe's scarcity of capital and materials; radial tires, to Europe's tortuous and narrow roads. The Japanese invented little television sets for their tiny homes, the Italians small refrigerators for their limited budgets. But these were not inventions on which governments staked their prestige and their security; they did not capture the commanding heights.

One can debate how large the new U.S. leads may be and how long they are likely to be held. One can question whether they will stimulate U.S. employment and U.S. exports sufficiently to offset the losses that are associated with the closing of the older gaps. These are worrisome questions, difficult to assess; the only thing to be said is that no dogmatic generalization will stand up very well.

The existence of the new leads, however, is almost incontrovertible. The unique congeries of environmental factors in the United States has placed U.S. firms in the lead in various sensitive fields: in the advanced general purpose computers; in advanced minicircuitry; in the more promising types of nuclear reactors; in airframes and air engines; in space launchers and communication satellites; in mass automotive antipollution devices; in deep- sea oil drilling; almost certainly in other forms of deep-sea exploitation. Further out in time, it seems close to inevitable that U.S. firms will lead in the industrial exploitation of the environment of outer space, in weather modification and in the early industrial applications of the laser beam.

Lest this recital of accomplishments and expectations be interpreted for what it is not, let me recall the context in which it is presented. These achievements suggest little or nothing about the relative levels of well- being on the two sides of the Atlantic now or in the future. But they do suggest that the political power of the technological gap, however that power may be perceived, still rests with the United States. Though the idea of the technological gap is out of fashion, the reactions that the gap engenders are not. The Europeans are still grappling with a sense of technological inferiority that is deeply disconcerting.


If one could be sure that the European Community was going to evolve much beyond the stage of a mere customs union, then the perspectives regarding the relations between the United States and Europe would be greatly changed. In that case, the United States would confront an integrated European economic area with a gross national product of, say, $700 billion, and a population of 270 million, operating under common political imperatives. Its $60 billion or so of foreign-exchange reserves and its annual revenues in the public sector of some $250 billion would represent more than a match for the U.S. economy.

In an economy of that size and character, for example, the individual enterprises in key industries would confront internal conditions not unlike those in the United States. That is to say, the enterprises that were eager to exploit some special technical skill or organizational capability would confront a huge internal market in which to try their wings. At the same time, the enterprises that were eager to lead the quiet life would discover that they could no longer count quite so readily on maintaining a closed little society in which competition was considered disloyal and governments were at hand to arbitrate the clashes. To the extent that enterprises required a large public market to launch them into areas of new technology, as in space launchers and nuclear fusion, the new Europe would easily be of the scale necessary to provide it. Indeed, mere questions of scale, for example in the size of capital markets, would no longer represent a problem.

There is very little in the present situation, however, to justify strong expectations that Europe will move very rapidly beyond its present stage, a state of limited coöperation among a group of independent powers. Perhaps a decade from now the story will be different; but for the present the obstacles in the way of any deepening of Europe's arrangements seem much more formidable than the impulses.

For one thing, the clarity and coherence of Europe as a geographical concept have been blurred and blunted by the successive layering of economic arrangements. From a core of nine European countries, one moves outward to a half-dozen other European states joined to the core by a series of free-trade areas; then west to Turkey and Greece, serving novitiates on the way to membership in the Community; then south to another half-dozen Mediterranean states, sheltered with special preferences as the half-grown wards of the European group; then further southward to black Africa, where several dozen new little states play the role of dependents of the European Community, receiving aid, advice and their own set of trade preferences from their former masters to the north. The organizational impression is one of a pyramid of eclectic arrangements, difficult to reconcile with the idea of a tightly integrated economic unit.

But that is not the only problem. Though the effects of Britain's entry into the Common Market will be a long time working themselves out, some of the early effects are clearly disturbing to the movement. The British team, acting out of the necessities of the domestic political situation in Britain, seems destined at the beginning to play the role of the reluctant dragon, at least with regard to some of the key issues that have been painstakingly compromised among the present leaders of the Common Market.

Three issues in particular are up for reconsideration. One is the shape of the common agricultural policy of the Community: Britain is bound to demand a system that generates lower agricultural prices inside the Market, a demand which important elements in Germany, France and Italy will fight tooth and nail. Britain will use every effort to prevent the development of a common monetary area in Europe, unless it can gain some guarantees that the Community will ship back to the British economy all the capital that is expected to leak away from Britain in such a common area; and the chances of setting up a satisfactory arrangement with those features are not wildly encouraging. But much more fundamentally, Britain can probably be expected to side with France on the most critical issue of all: namely, the inherent nature of the executive powers of the Economic Community. Is the Community, for instance, simply to be a mechanism for setting common standards, with the means of execution to be left to the member-states? Or is the Community to acquire some of the attributes of a federal or confederal structure, with a measure of execution and enforcement at the center? So far, to the extent that a pattern can be detected, Britain leans heavily to the common- standards approach and shies away from the idea of a fledgling government.

Almost every day, there is fresh evidence out of Europe that the prerequisites in attitude and identification among Europe's élite have not yet evolved to a point at which a well-integrated European structure can be contemplated. It may be, of course, that attitude and identification will always lag behind economic reality, a consequence rather than a cause. Europe in the end may be pushed to integration by Jean Monnet's well- advertised process of progressive involvement, of engrenage, and may wake up one day to discover that it is there. But that is a process which can be drawn out and full of detours. And for the present, the detours seem to be determining the line of march.


Perhaps the most obvious indication of the uncertain quality of the European Community is the inability of Europe to pool its strategies in the field of industrial policy. Neither Europe's sense of vulnerability in raw materials nor its desire for control of its own advanced technologies has found expression in any pan-European policies that are responsive to its goals.

In the field of raw materials, oil serves once again as the leading example. On the face of it, Europe would seem in a fairly good position for concerting a joint policy on the subject. In Britain, France and Italy, strong oil companies exist in which the national government owns a controlling interest. Moreover, the idea of a joint European energy policy is far from a novel one, having been worked on assiduously by the Brussels technocrats since the early 1960s. Yet despite these facts there has been no joint action by Europe.

To be sure, European interests have been involved in plenty of policy formulation on the subject of oil. But the policies have not been developed or applied at the European level. European companies have been deeply involved in global caucuses with their friendly rivals in the United States, seeking to bolster their joint negotiating position vis-à-vis the oil-exporting countries. When European oil companies have moved independently of the Americans, the moves have represented national interests, not European interests. France's captive companies, for example, have sometimes made an independent move, but moves of this sort have been under the wing or under the prod of the Quai d'Orsay, not of Brussels. France's oil companies, therefore, can be thought of as operating within two systems: in an interacting system of large oil companies, global in interest and in reach; and in the system that is the French nation-state.

The non-European focus of the big raw-material enterprises in Europe is illustrated in many ways. Both in oil and aluminum-perhaps a little less so in copper-one is impressed by the intimate crisscross of ties that link the big companies with one another. While the leading North American companies in these industries have been solidifying their investments in Europe, the European companies-even the European companies owned by national governments-have been building up their investments in North America. And in third countries, the intertwining process through joint ventures and common strategies has kept pace. At the same time, of course, new national companies have also come into existence, some from the advanced countries and some from newer areas; so it ought not to be thought that all the interlocking and intertwining of the leaders have created more monolithic industries. What the process has done, however, is to blur the identification of the leading European-based companies with the area of Europe, to dilute their national identification, and to replace them with a set of global perspectives. Ironically, because the U.S. market is so huge by comparison with any other national market, the problems of identity confusion and identity dilution may prove much greater for the multinational enterprises based in a European country than for the multinational enterprises based in the United States.

In the high technology fields, a somewhat similar process has gone on. Recent studies by some of my collaborators in Europe and the United States throw some clear light on how the Europeans have responded to their frustrations in such fields as advanced electronics, the airframe industry, the nuclear reactor industry and the launching of space satellites. The responses of the Europeans have been in two directions. One has been the creation of national champions-of well-financed and well-protected national companies, pulled together into a common national organization from the most promising elements in the national economy. Ample public credits, privileged access to research funds, and special rights as purveyors to public agencies have been the usual means of supporting the national champion. Britain and France have been moving in this direction in the aerospace industry; Britain, France and Germany in computers and related electronics; France and Italy in chemicals, and so on. But note the stress on the word "national." Though transnational organizations have also been tried in a few cases, the stress has been on the national approach, on champions ready to repel all boarders from outside national limits.

So far, alas, these national champions have generally proved feeble giants. Some have had acute indigestion in attempting to absorb their diverse elements into a common national organization. Some have found that the research capabilities of their separate units were neither complementary nor competitive, merely disparate. Some have simply remained separated entities under the camouflage of a common corporate shell. Discovering their weaknesses, they have looked in various directions for more help: to their own governments, as a rule, for more protection and more money; and to the leading American firms, as a rule, for more technological support. Side deals with the Americans have flourished-in computers, in reactors, in jumbo electrical installations, in aircraft engines, and in other modern toys that stand for national independence and national prestige.

Here and there, it is true, the response of Europe's national champions to their revealed weaknesses has been to attempt some sort of pan-European alliance. But alliances of that sort have run into an endless succession of roadblocks. European governments have been more jealous of sharing the control of their national champions with other Europeans than with the more remote, more anonymous, yet more aggressive Americans. European corporate laws and tax laws governing mergers and acquisitions have inhibited European-based parent companies from putting together pan-European companies more than American parents have been inhibited. When technical difficulties of that sort have been overcome, as they sometimes have, the fruits of the union have been excruciatingly slow in coming. The Fiat- Citroën merger and the Dunlop-Pirelli alliance are illustrations of the fact that large European organizations have great difficulty in developing a common strategy and exploiting the resources of a common organization. The result has been that, so far at any rate, the object of achieving some independence in the high technology fields has eluded the Europeans.

Moreover, in the various efforts to launch some pan-European response, the limitations of the European Community have been apparent. The Community's technocratic apparatus in Brussels has tried repeatedly to stir the Europeans to more effective action. A provocative report on industrial policy in 1970, issued at the highest level, created no more than a ripple of interest. Another major report on European aeronautical industry, issued in the summer of 1972, seems headed for a similar fate.

Where transnational coöperation has been tried in Europe, it has taken an ad hoc form, based on some limited perceptions of mutual interest among two or three countries. The Concorde and Airbus ventures are cases in point. The French-British partnership in the Concorde, far from representing a project for emulation, is widely regarded in both countries as a near disaster. After an interminable series of false starts, the new project for a trans-European launcher capability began its life in 1972 with widespread recognition of the fact that it was essentially a French project, smuggled under a pan-European label to give it some marginal added support and to head off a wholly independent French effort in the same direction.


The rogue elephant, it appears, still controls the forest His awareness of that fact is not acute, as he complains of his internal problems and recovers from the wound of Vietnam. The margin of his strength is somewhat impaired as other countries grow and prosper. But he is still the ranking animal.

That fact will soon intrude itself on all parties, as U.S. policymakers turn their attention once again to the issues that are central to transatlantic relations. Those issues will probably develop in two clusters. One is the issue of military security: this will come to the fore in such projects as the SALT talks, the proposal for an MBFR (Mutual and Balanced Reduction of Forces), and the pending European Security Conference, as well as in U.S. congressional discussions over the future of U.S. commitments in the NATO organization. The second is the cluster of issues bearing on monetary and trade relations, which the U.S. government proposes to renegotiate with the Europeans in some integrated way over the next few years.

Though the choices that confront the parties in this tangle of negotiations are detailed and technical, the negotiations are dominated by some common elements. The self-perception with which the Europeans and the Americans enter this period of reassessment will be especially critical.

The U.S. official mood, as it begins these negotiations, seems to contain one element that is especially disturbing. What the United States discovered in the months following August 15, 1971, was the fact that, despite the seeming disappearance of the technological gap, despite the evaporation of its supplies of gold, despite the negative balance in its current trading account with the rest of the world, its negotiating position with Europe is far from dissipated. On the contrary, as long as the United States is so big and self-sufficient, as long as the technology of the modern world gives advantages to big economies and big firms, the United States can require the rest of the world to help solve any problems that arise from the seeming weaknesses of the U.S. economy. As long as the United States retains enough power to absorb the cost of a destructive unilateral response, it has the power to injure others even more. That realization does not reduce the probability that the United States and Europe will reach formal agreements on the issues that are in dispute. Out of anxiety not to bring the system tumbling down, Europe may be prepared to meet the United States halfway. And if the United States does not press the advantages of its strength-with-weakness too blatantly, there may be a possibility for finding a middle ground on sensitive and contentious issues.

But the sense of self-denigration and self-pity that so commonly characterizes the U.S. perception of itself in world affairs today-the insistence that it is not getting a "fair shake" from the wily Europeans-is not calculated to create a restrained bargainer. As the United States rediscovers the fact that it can still bargain from strength-with-weakness, this may add to the immediate difficulties rather than otherwise. For a time, until self-confidence is also restored, the temptation to use its bargaining strength to the limit for national short-run gains will be very strong.

As for the European mood, my expectation is equally disconcerting. I find it hard to believe that the metaphoric association of the United States with the rogue elephant will wear away very rapidly. Accordingly, if there are concessions from the Europeans, the concessions will be grudging and limited; they will be agreements which the Europeans see themselves as entering under duress. That kind of agreement, of course, is one of limited value in international relations. It is an agreement that the parties will want to avoid and evade, and eventually to renegotiate as quickly as their bargaining positions permit

Though prophecies move in one direction, hopes may be permitted to move in another. Perhaps the United States can reestablish its sense of inner confidence sufficiently in order to worry a little less about its monthly trade balances and a little more about the collective problems of a tolerable world order. If that shift in focus did not occur spontaneously, it may be that the appearance of a strong and unified Europe would push U.S. thoughts in that direction. I do not mean to suggest that a strong and unified Europe could be expected to exercise any great measure of wisdom and restraint; there is little in the history of Europe's nations to suggest that a European entity would be more immune to short-run fears and pressures than the United States. There is the possibility, however, that two well-matched elephants in the forest are better than one. On that uncertain premise, one may have to pin one's hopes.

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