The Year of Europe?

Courtesy Reuters

Whatever may be the final outcome of this autumn's Middle East crisis, accompanied, as it has been, by a major political upheaval in the United States, it seems certain that it has brought about a deterioration in relations between America and her European allies not easily remedied. Acknowledgment of this fact, indeed, appears to be common ground between the two sides of the Atlantic. A recent editorial of The New York Times makes the point clearly enough:

What the United States had envisioned as the Year of Europe, a period of imaginative updating and refurbishing of the NATO alliance, capped with a new Atlantic Charter, has become instead the year in which Washington's relationship with its European partners has struck an all-time low.

Symptoms of this outburst of bad temper have included numerous attacks from American sources on the unhelpfulness of European allies at the height of the Arab-Israeli fighting. The West German government, indeed, protested publicly against the use of its ports to ship U.S. war matériel to Israel. For their part the British are said to have refused the use of bases in Cyprus to U.S. reconnaissance aircraft and to have been unwilling to sponsor a ceasefire resolution in the Security Council at the request of the State Department (the British Foreign Secretary has subsequently denied this last accusation). There followed Secretary of State Kissinger's complaint to a group of parliamentarians from the European Community that Europeans had "acted as though the alliance did not exist" and his reported aside: "I do not care what happens to NATO, I am so disgusted."

These were strong words, and, for good measure, more were added by other leading figures in the Administration, including the President himself and the Secretary of Defense. Moreover, Secretary of the Treasury Shultz has once again suggested that Europeans are being unhelpful about the coming trade negotiations within the framework of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT)-something to which Europeans could

Loading, please wait...

Related Articles

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