Rebuilding Alliances Involves More than Just Making Nice

A staple of Sen. John Kerry's critique of the Bush foreign policy is that President George W. Bush and his lieutenants squandered the goodwill of longstanding allies by their boastful words, plunged into Iraq without the explicit blessing of the UN Security Council, and otherwise disregarded the will of the international community. Only by striking an apologetic pose vis—a —vis the European allies, maintains Sen. Kerry, can the United States hope to revivify its alliances and rally support behind its foreign policy. Sen. Kerry has it right —— up to a point. Alliance politics, like all diplomacy, does rely on the lubricant of cordial words and gestures. But the problem with America's transatlantic relationships runs deeper than that. A philosophical rift has opened, generating tensions, while historical forgetfulness —— especially on the part of the European allies —— has only worsened matters. Plenty of harsh words have been flung around...(Read Full Article)

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