The Corner

Report: Europe Needs to Play Hard to Get

If you want to read something truly silly, check out the coverage of a recent report from the European Council on Foreign Relations about problems in the transatlantic relationship. To me, it almost sounds like the introduction to a Dr. Phil episode:

European governments’ desires to gratify the US rob the EU of influence. A number of European nations – including the UK, the Netherlands and Portugal – like to think they have a ’special relationship’ with the US which works better for them than any collective approach. They deploy different strategies to ingratiate themselves with Washington in a competition for American favour. The result is a frustrated US and an uninfluential Europe: Europe has 30,000 troops in Afghanistan yet virtually no say in strategy.

The US needs strong partners in a world that it no longer dominates. It knows it can turn to China on the economy and Russia on nuclear disarmament. In comparison, Washington is disappointed with Europe and sees EU member states as infantile: responsibility shirking and attention seeking.

The US would prefer a more united EU, but expects so little that it cannot bring itself to greatly care. When the EU is hard-headed, as with trade negotiations, the US listens. When it is not, Europeans are asking to be divided and ruled.