Friday, April 04, 2008

A Two-Tier Alliance

re: "AS THE 26 leaders of the NATO Alliance gather in Bucharest this week for the organization's 59th summit, there will be simmering tensions between the United States and what Donald Rumsfeld memorably described in 2003 as "Old Europe." As the Bucharest meeting will show, the traditional rifts between Germany and France and America on some of the biggest foreign policy questions of the day is still firmly in place. The notion that Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Nicolas Sarkozy are ushering in a new era of transatlantic cooperation, with Europe and the United States walking hand in hand solving the world's problems is a romanticized fiction that bears little relation to reality. /It is true that the venomous anti-Americanism of Gerhard Schröder and Jacques Chirac has been replaced by a softer and subtler message, and the rhetoric coming from the Chancellery and the Elysee Palace is less openly hostile, but the harsh fact remains that France and Germany's foreign and domestic policies are largely unchanged. The United States and the Franco-German axis are still worlds apart on the war on terror, Iraq, Russia, the Middle East Peace process, global warming, trade, economic policy, and social and religious outlook. Public opinion in both countries is still overwhelmingly anti-American, a long-term trend that will almost certainly outlast the Bush administration. Only on the issue of Iran has there been a significant shift in policy in the case of France..."...

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