Transatlantic Tensions

July 13, 2001 • Volume 11, Issue 25
Are the United States and Europe drifting apart?
By Mary H. Cooper

Introduction

Protesters outside NATO headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, on June 13 denounce the policies of U.S. President Bush, who was attending a one-day summit of NATO leaders. Europeans have criticized Bush's positions on global warming, missile defense and the death penalty. (Getty Images/Sean Gallup)
Protesters outside NATO headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, on June 13 denounce the policies of U.S. President Bush, who was attending a one-day summit of NATO leaders. Europeans have criticized Bush's positions on global warming, missile defense and the death penalty. (Getty Images/Sean Gallup)

U.S.-European relations, already on a downward slide since the mid-1990s, have deteriorated further since President Bush took office in January. Bush's reluctance to support the Kyoto treaty to curb global warming and his plans to deploy a missile defense system in defiance of a 1970s-era arms-control treaty are the two main friction points. But American positions on many other issues, including the role of NATO peacekeeping initiatives, Europe's evolving trade policies and the U.S. death penalty, also are straining bilateral relations. European critics charge that the United States is misusing its post-Cold War status as the world's sole superpower to impose its will, ignoring the interests of its closest allies.

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