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Europe in an Asian century: Europe between the superpowers: no longer inevitable? the transatlantic relationship from Bush to Obama

LSE IDEAS, The London School of Economics and Political Science
Publication Date
  • Jn Political Institutions (Europe)
  • Jz International Relations


Until recently, the relationship between the United States and Europe constituted one of the most intimate in modern times. Indeed, as we ‘over here’ love reminding our American friends ‘over there’, the United States was in the beginning a mere by-product of Europe – initially created by a rising European power in the form of Great Britain, then born out of a long war between Britain and France, and finally transformed into a world power in large part because of large-scale European migration between 1814 and 1914. Europe’s long twentieth century crisis, however, had a massive impact on the balance within this relationship, and by 1945 not only had Europe lost its place at the head of the international table but had become highly dependent on the United States itself. Still, in uncertain times, the US continued to need as many friends as it could muster, and whether one prefers to view the nature of the postwar relationship in the more liberal sense of being a ‘community’, or in more realist terms as being one in which an American hegemon dictated terms to weak dependencies, matters less than in recognising how important the relationship was to become to both countries during the Cold War. Thus, Europe needed the US to survive in a bipolar world: the United States, however, required Europe in order to protect that world from the threat posed by its many anti-western enemies around the world.

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