Courtesy Reuters

Europe and the American Connection

At the beginning of the 1980s, we rub our eyes and note, not without relief and astonishment, that more of the familiar foreign policy structures have survived the rough and rugged past decade than have crumbled, collapsed or vanished. Among the survivors are the European Community, the transatlantic partnership and, in a smaller and more precarious yet important enough sense of the term, East-West détente. While it is easy to discern clouds gathering over each of these areas, and just as easy to imagine how developments in one may have a negative impact on the others, it would be only realistic to assume that greater West European integration, enduring transatlantic closeness and some measure of détente , fitful as all three of them may be, will remain hallmarks of the next decade as well.

With regard to Europe, there was more justification for being bullish in 1979 than there had been in the preceding years, appearances notwithstanding. The moment of slack water in the tide of European affairs is obviously past. Yet at first glance, the European Community (EC) would seem to be entering the 1980s in a rather frayed state. The modalities of British membership once again constitute a bone of contention. The inanities and insanities of the Common Agricultural Policy are no nearer a solution today than they were five years ago. It is a safe bet that the negotiations over the entry of Greece, Spain, Portugal and, eventually, Turkey into the Community will be beset by monstrous difficulties.

Nonetheless, it is possible to take a more hopeful view of the Community's slow evolution. The Community is involved in a double-pronged process of once again enlarging its membership while simultaneously strengthening its internal structures and procedures. We have been witnessing a gradual erosion of European parochialism. The leaders of the nine member nations have reconfirmed the "political finality" of their association. European union remains their goal. Whatever procedural snags the renewed effort at pulling together may run into, and

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