Architects of Delusion: Europe, America, and the Iraq War

In This Review

Architects of Delusion: Europe, America, and the Iraq War

By Simon Serfaty
University of Pennsylvania Press, 2008
160 pp. $45.00
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Serfaty, an expert on Europe and U.S. foreign policy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and Old Dominion University, brings a historical perspective to this study of transatlantic relations in regard to the Iraq war. Drawing on an intimate knowledge of postwar European history, he sees continuities with the past in the way key players on both sides approached the issue: France, for example, concluding that it could maximize its influence by standing up to the United States and the United Kingdom trying to do so by standing alongside it. But there were also discontinuities. Serfaty is as unsparing in his criticism of Germany's unilateralism -- a sharp break with German tradition -- as he is in his criticism of the Bush administration. Less a narrative about the Iraq diplomacy than an essay about the strategic cultures on both sides of the Atlantic, Architects of Delusion is marked by the author's palpable regret that neither European nor U.S. leaders put the premium on transatlantic (and intra-European) solidarity, which he believes is both necessary and possible. Serfaty rejects the popular thesis that Europe and the United States are inevitably growing apart, but the sad tale he tells in this book will leave readers wondering whether the transatlantic alliance that existed before the Iraq war can really be restored.