Courtesy Reuters

Transatlantic disaffections, sturdy perennials since the turn of the decade, continued to sprout luxuriantly throughout 1982. They were nourished by two as yet inchoate forces which, if unchecked, will logically lead to the end of alliance: the trends toward neutralism in Europe and toward unilateralism in America.

Both sentiments spring, paradoxically, from the same source. If the message of neutralism is "Leave us alone," the motto of global unilateralism is "We will go it alone." It does not matter that the neutralist impulse seeks safety in the escape from power while unilateralism glories in its reassertion. Nor does it matter that the one may be driven by fear whereas the other is fueled by a heady sense of newfound determination. For in both cases, the leitmotiv is retraction and insulation-from the grating demands of dependence, from the troubles of a strained partnership, from commitment to uncertain allies who exact loyalty with

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  • Josef Joffe, a senior editor of the German weekly Die Zeit, is currently on leave at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington.
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