GP360 European Union Project

Introduction: EU for Americans

EU-US Relationship

The United States has traditionally encouraged
European integration. American leadership believed that a united Europe
would create a stronger front against Soviet Communism and lessen the
burden on the U.S. in defending Europe.

However with the end of the Cold War and the
disintegration of the communist threat in Europe, Europeans have
focused their energies on assimilating the former communist countries
and trying to avoid violence and instability in those countries. This
has led Europe to be a bit more inward focused, and to feel less of a
need for U.S. protection. But this is stronger in the western
countries. Former east block countries still worry about a possible
resurgent Russia and are more open to U.S. defense.

In the mean time, as the EU has started to develop
its own policies that are sometimes different from the U.S, there has
been some friction. Similarly, the desire of some Europeans, led by the
French, for the EU to be a separate pole in a multi-polar world, to
challenge U.S. dominance, has resulted in a cooling towards the EU
among the U.S. elite. The official U.S. position still supports the EU
and integration, but the U.S. clearly wants the EU to develop in
directions that do not challenge U.S. leadership on a variety of
issues, and despite the official position, the Bush administration does
not support the growth of EU strength in all areas. The Clinton
administration basically held the same view, both being influenced by
the foreign policy establishment. While the overt unilateralism of the
Bush administration goes farther than anything the Clinton
administration did, complaints from European about Clintonian
unilateralism were not rare when he was in office.

All of this relationship bubbles around NATO, the
anti-communist alliance from the last century. American and European
Atlanticists (those who want the U.S. - Europe relationship to dominate
foreign policy) see NATO as the core of the EU-Europe relationship.
Contrary to the Atlanticists, European centrists tend to want the EU to
develop a stronger military capability so that NATO can eventually wind
up, thus limiting U.S. influence in Europe.

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