In This Review

Towards a Post-American Europe: A Power Audit of EU-US Relations
Towards a Post-American Europe: A Power Audit of EU-US Relations
By Jeremy Shapiro and Nick Witney
European Council on Foreign Relations, 2009, 75 pp

Accusing Europeans of "infantile" behavior and "fetishizing" the transatlantic relationship, this provocative report calls on Europe to pursue a more unified and assertive foreign policy toward the United States. Shapiro and Witney argue that Europe's treatment of the United States is characterized by bad habits: knee-jerk solidarity, excessive deference, and instinctive submissiveness. They claim that the pushback should start in Afghanistan, where the EU countries matched the United States when it came to foreign aid and provided nearly 40 percent of the military forces through 2008 but let Washington call the shots. To be sure, the authors' argument reflects a U.S. perspective; military operations in Afghanistan and the Middle East are primarily for the United States, not Europe. When Europe's own interests are at stake -- on the issues of EU enlargement, Russia, and climate change, to name a few -- the continent has been remarkably united. Thus, one might read Shapiro and Witney's critique as a plea not for Europe to stand up to the United States but for Europe to rescue the United States from itself -- particularly when the sole superpower is irresolute (in Afghanistan), indifferent (toward Russia), or internally gridlocked (on the Israeli-Palestinian question).