5th Mar 2021

Bush told to treat Europeans 'like adults'

The former American secretary of state, Madeleine Albright, has attacked the Bush administration for alienating the Arab world and Europe, warning a long-term rift will occur if fences are not mended.

"European unease with American pretensions, coupled with American doubts about European resolve, has created the potential for a long-term and dangerous rift", Ms Albright writes in the September/October edition of Foreign Affairs.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

Deeply critical of the Bush administration's handling of the "war" against terrorism, Ms Albright - who was Bill Clinton's secretary of state - is also critical of the way some European countries handled themselves.

"The problem is that President Bush has reframed his initial question [posed of other countries]. Instead of simply asking others to oppose al Qaeda, he now asks them to oppose al Qaeda, support the invasion of an Arab country, and endorse the doctrine of preemption -- all as part of a single package. Faced with this choice, many who staunchly oppose al Qaeda have nevertheless decided that they do not want to be "with" the United States".

"The French certainly have not helped matters, by arguing, for example, that the very purpose of European integration should be to create a counterweight to American power".

Challenge for Europe

Much like the British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, Ms Albright cautions against a United Europe becoming, as one commentator put it, "a strategic enemy" of the United States.

"The challenge for Europe is to reject French hyperventilating about American hyper[-]power and keep its perspective… [t]he challenge for the United States, however, is to frame a choice for Europe that most of Europe can embrace with dignity (if not always with France)".

"The idea that the power of the United States endangers the interests of European democracies, rather than strengthens and helps shield them, is utter nonsense. American power may harm French pride, but it also helped roll back Hitler, save a blockaded Berlin, defeat communism, and rid the Balkans of a rampaging Slobodan Milosevic".

The way forward

"The Bush administration should enthusiastically welcome European efforts to develop an independent rapid reaction capability, especially to conduct peacekeeping operations and respond to humanitarian emergencies", counsels Ms Albright.

She concludes that: "Perhaps above all, the Europeans should be treated as adults. If they have differences with U.S. policy, those differences should be considered seriously, not dismissed as signs of weakness (or age) or tantamount to treason. Washington needs to recall that "allies" and "satellites" are distinctly different things".

EU-US ties in "vicious circle"

Former US Secretary of State, Madeline Albright, says that current transatlantic relations are in a dangerous "vicious circle". She also declares that the EU is not a counterweight to American power in the World.


Why Russia politics threaten European security

Russia could expand hostile operations, such as poisonings, including beyond its borders, if it feels an "existential" threat and there is no European pushback.


Ten years on from Tahrir: EU's massive missed opportunity

Investing in the Arab world, in a smart way, is also investing in the European Union's future itself. Let's hope that the disasters of the last decade help to shape the neighbourhood policy of the next 10 years.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council to host EU webinars on energy, digitalisation and antibiotic resistance
  2. UNESDAEU Code of Conduct can showcase PPPs delivering healthier more sustainable society
  3. CESIKlaus Heeger and Romain Wolff re-elected Secretary General and President of independent trade unions in Europe (CESI)
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersWomen benefit in the digitalised labour market
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersReport: The prevalence of men who use internet forums characterised by misogyny
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersJoin the Nordic climate debate on 17 November!

Latest News

  1. China and Russia abusing corona for geopolitics, Lithuania says
  2. Worries on Europe's infection surge, after six-week drop
  3. EU wants large firms to report on gender pay-gap or face fines
  4. EU Commission cannot hold Frontex to account
  5. Orbán leaves EPP group - the beginning of a long endgame
  6. 'Corporate due diligence'? - a reality check before EP votes
  7. Austrian ex-minister joins list of EU's pro-Kremlin lobbyists
  8. Internal Frontex probe to deliver final report this week

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us