The Changing Face of US-Europe Relations: Geopolitical Causes and Possible Consequences
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Relations between the United States and Europe have been quite volatile over the past five years. This volatility is not just a product of disagreements over the American invasion of Iraq. It is tied to a set of fundamental challenges to the geopolitical arrangements and understandings that emerged in the wake of World War II. Three challenges were of particular importance: the fall of the Iron Curtain, the Balkan crisis of the 1990s, and the election of a presidential administration in Washington, DC, which adopted a neoconservative geopolitical agenda. The global impacts of this agenda were heightened by the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States of America. The U.S. response exposed fundamental differences between the U.S. and Europe on the use of international military forces in the “war on terrorism,” the role of NATO, and the U.S. government’s effort to force “regime change” in Iraq. Europe’s reaction to U.S. policy has not been uniform, however. At the governmental level, fundamental differences have emerged among European countries. The United States has sought to highlight those differences, suggesting that the U.S. favors “disaggregation” in Europe, even as it trumpets the virtues of a uniform response to the threat of terrorism. The future trajectory of U.S.-European relations is likely to be shaped by intersections between Europe’s struggles with integration and the U.S.’s evolving global geopolitical posture, which could move in either a hegemonic or a globalist direction.
Keywordstransatlantic relations geopolitics neoconservative unilateralism United States Europe European Union
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