In This Review

Americans and Europeans:  Dancing in the Dark
Americans and Europeans: Dancing in the Dark
By Dennis L. Bark
Hoover Institution Press, 2007, 246 pp.
Repairing the Damage: Possibilities and Limits of Transatlantic Consensus
Repairing the Damage: Possibilities and Limits of Transatlantic Consensus
By Dana H. Allin, Gilles Andreani, Philippe Errera, and Gary S
Int. Inst for Strategic Studies, 2007, 90 pp.

In the aftermath of the greatest transatlantic crisis in at least 50 years -- the U.S.-European split over the war in Iraq -- analysts on both sides of the Atlantic have been trying to understand its causes, weigh its importance, and offer suggestions for repairing the breach. These two recent studies reach the similar conclusion that concerted efforts will be required to repair the relationship. Bark is most interested in the social, historical, and cultural factors that divide (and sometimes unite) Europe and the United States. He focuses on the "essential difference" that Europe is run from the "top down" while the United States works from the "bottom up." The idea is not original, but it is presented with exceptional clarity, substantiated by solid evidence and telling anecdotes, and offered without a trace of the caricature that often accompanies sweeping judgments about "Europeans" and "Americans."

The Adelphi Paper's authors -- experienced experts from the United States and France -- share Bark's guarded optimism that the transatlantic split can be overcome with better manners and more mutual respect, and they offer ten propositions for future transatlantic security consensus. They recognize structural differences between Europe and the United States on issues such as the war on terrorism, nuclear proliferation, and the Middle East but seek to demonstrate that common ground exists. Neither study, however, entirely dispels the concern that the future Atlantic alliance will consist of, in Bark's words, "fragmented coalitions of expediency between America and individual European countries."