5th Dec 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.

News in Brief

  1. Covid: Belgium might close schools and cultural activities
  2. EU consumers can sue Facebook, judge advised
  3. French centre-right tilts toward Pécresse
  4. EU urged to blacklist Israeli spyware firm
  5. Austria's ex-chancellor Kurz quits politics
  6. EU agency: Omicron to be over half of infections 'within months'
  7. New German restrictions target the unvaccinated
  8. EU commission unveils proposal to digitalise justice systems


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 MinistersNew report reveals bad environmental habits
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersImproving the integration of young refugees
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNATO Secretary General guest at the Session of the Nordic Council
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCan you love whoever you want in care homes?
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNineteen demands by Nordic young people to save biodiversity
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersSustainable public procurement is an effective way to achieve global goals

Latest News

  1. Belgium tightens Covid rules as health system 'is cracking'
  2. EU and US tighten screw on Lukashenko
  3. Belgian impasse leaves asylum seekers on snowy streets
  4. EU 'missed chance' to set fossil-fuel subsidies deadline
  5. EU energy ministers clash amid gas price uncertainty
  6. ECJ told to dismiss Poland and Hungary rule-of-law challenge
  7. Covid: what Germany got right - and wrong
  8. Quick Take: Enrico Letta

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us