Courtesy Reuters

A GREAT DIVIDE

One of the most striking consequences of the Bush administration's foreign policy tenure has been the collapse of the Atlantic alliance. Long considered America's most important alliance and a benchmark by which a president's foreign policy skill is measured, the U.S.-European relationship has been shaken to its foundations over a series of disputes that culminated in the U.S.-led war in Iraq. To be sure, there have been rows across the Atlantic before: American opposition to the seizure of the Suez Canal by French, British, and Israeli troops in the 1950s; France's withdrawal from NATO's integrated military command in the 1960s; the battle over Euromissiles in the early 1980s; and the deep acrimony over how to stop war in the Balkans a decade ago. Still, the current rift has been unprecedented in its scope, intensity, and, at times, pettiness.

Several factors make the recent collapse in transatlantic

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  • Ronald D. Asmus is a Senior Transatlantic Fellow at the German Marshall Fund of the United States and a Senior Adjunct Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. He is the author of Opening NATO's Door: How the Alliance Remade Itself for a New Era and served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs from 1997 to 2000.
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