20110611

The trans-Atlantic alliance?

The ft.com ran an article about Robert Gates, the US secretary of defence, on Friday. Gates claimed that NATO alliance was at risk. The reason was the bad performance of allies in Libya. It is the old problem having some people doing the light work and others doing the hard work and the difference in how much resources they spend per capita.

I reread the book Of Paradise and Power by Robert Kagan from 2003 for the occasion. Henry Kissinger said of this book: "Though in the past we have often disagreed, I consider this essay one of those seminal treatises without which any discussion of European-American relations would be incomplete and which will shape the discussion for years to come".

Kagan says the following: "One of the things that most clearly divides Europeans and Americans today is a philosophical, even metaphysical disagreement over where exactly mankind stands on the continuum between the laws of the jungle and the laws of reason. Americans do not believe we are as close to the realization of the Kantian dream as do Europeans."

Furthermore, Kagan does not think the Europeans want to strive for a unified "West". So what have happened since 2003? Well, Obama turned out to be very popular in Europe compared to Bush but this does not seem to have bridged the difference in how Europeans and Americans view their security. The Arab Spring, however, in my humble opinion, should make the Europeans more willing to view things the American way.

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