Courtesy Reuters

France, the European Crisis and the Alliance

The year 1973 may still go down as the "Year of Europe," though not for the reasons Henry Kissinger had in mind when he christened it that, in his April 23 speech last year. It will be rather that the crises of the past year have made the choices for Europe clearer than ever; they have further shown that if European lack of will and vision led to nothing more serious than division and weakness before, they now are perfectly capable of leading the European Economic Community to disintegration.

In 1973, Europe was indeed, in the words of French Foreign Minister Michel Jobert, "treated like a non-person" and "humiliated," not only by the United States, Mr. Jobert's favorite target, but by practically everybody. The Soviet Union showed no great solicitude either for France or for the EEC during the year, less than did the United States-unusual considering that in these topsy-turvy days one generally expects better treatment from his adversaries than from his friends. Any relationship Europe may have dreamed of with China was upstaged by Henry Kissinger's ties to Chou En-lai. The Europeans' self-abasement in front of the Arab nations on November 6, and their approval of a document accepting the Arab interpretations of U.N. Resolution 242, did little either for the European reputation or Middle East peace. And it remains to be seen if it earns Europe any special energy privileges in the future. Despite that humiliating gesture, Europe still suffered oil shortages and was obliged to show the world how dependent the once mighty Continent was on the tiny sheikdoms of the Persian Gulf.

And there were other humiliations: Europe was, as usual, consulted little on important planetary questions. The June 22 U.S.-Soviet agreement on the prevention of nuclear war-which Jobert called along with the Middle East war the most important event of the year-was concluded in secret with no advice sought from Europe. The Middle East alert and subsequent Geneva consultations ("How can Europe be absent from this negotiation when

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