The dynamics of alliance diplomacy over Iraq

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Series Details No 26, 2004
Publication Date 2004
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The transatlantic fight that erupted in late 2002 and early 2003 over the war in Iraq was no freak conjunction of unrelated dynamic systems that whirled out of control. The rupture was a real test of the new Pax Americana and the new hegemonic style of the United States-but that style itself was the biggest single variable in the schism. The scale of the confrontation was measured in the unusually wide spectrum of transatlantic quarrels, the vitriol in the polemics, and the ill will that went far beyond mere interests to offend the self-definition, self-identity, and self-importance of both sides of the Atlantic. Tracing the political developments in dealings between the United States and Europe since 9-11, this article assesses the current state of diplomatic affairs across the Atlantic and the implications of American actions in Iraq for the future of the transatlantic relationship. Had it not been for the catalyst of 9-11 and the subsequent American determination to attack Iraq, the diverging US and European political mentalities might conceivably have accommodated their growing differences without crisis.

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