Courtesy Reuters

European leaders were pleased to start 1981 with a new American President and looked forward to steadier Atlantic relations rather than to a bumpy, unpredictable course with Jimmy Carter. Not that they agreed more with Ronald Reagan; they knew very little about him. But they had come to dislike and disdain Mr. Carter so much that it was assumed a change must be for the better, and Mr. Reagan's general projection of a newly vigorous, confident, purposeful America, after a disheartening decade, was most welcome.

By late in the year, however, the common theme on both sides of the political spectrum,

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