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23 November 2008

Europe and America - together again

This article from the Economist analyses the prospects for renewing the Transatlantic Alliance - before it's too late.

Yet in the longer run the chances of better transatlantic co-operation may be greater than they seem at first sight. The reason is simple. For both Europe and America the long-term outlook is quite bleak. Global acceptance of American leadership has diminished both because of the Iraq war (and Guantánamo) and because of the rise of emerging powers with different ideas about how to order the world, some of which carry a whiff of 19th century great-power rivalries. Today’s Europe has little military clout, and is in demographic and (relative) economic decline.

A lot of articles on the economy and on the new administration coming to the US in January 2009 all take as a given that the power of the US, and indeed of "the west," is definitely on the wane. Some put the high-water mark back as far as 1948, although I would disagree with that. I think 1989 has at least as strong a claim. But there is no argument at all that the eight years of the Bush administration hastened the end for America, and a surprising number of pundits agree with me in pointing to Hurricane Katrina as the smoking gun that proved it to be so.

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