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82 Foreign Aff. 67 (2003)
Reinventing the West

handle is hein.journals/fora82 and id is 1027 raw text is: Reinventing the West
Dominique Mo'si
DOES THE WEST still exist? Have we moved from a world with two
Europes and one West to a world with one Europe and two Wests?
Transatlantic tensions of the past-the Suez debacle, the French
departure from NATO in 1966, the Vietnam War, and the Euromissiles
crisis in the 198os-were contained by painful memories of World
War II and the unifying effects of the Soviet threat. But if the long-
term cause of today's emotional estrangement was November 9, 1989,
the day the Berlin Wall came down, the short-term catalyst was Sep-
tember n, 2001. For the past two years, the United States has been at
war, but attempts to elevate America's foe to a new common enemy, to
redefine the West in purely negative terms, have been largely divisive.
Islamic fundamentalism, international terrorism, and weapons of
mass destruction (WMD) have not had the same unifying effect as yes-
terday's Soviet threat because Europe and the United States have
increasingly differed on how to confront them. It is ironic that since
September n, the United States has adopted the Bismarckian approach
to foreign policy, dominant in late-nineteenth-century Europe, placing
dramatic displays of military might at the heart of its strategy. Europeans,
meanwhile, have behaved more like early-twentieth-century American
idealists, advocating measured and principled foreign interventions.
This role reversal has profound causes, underpinned by political and
social changes on both sides of the Atlantic and, like September n itself,
by deep-rooted geopolitical trends. The challenge is to accept that
DOMINIQUE MoYsi is Senior Adviser to the Institut Frangais des Rela-
tions Internationales. A longer version of this essay will appear as a report
of the Trilateral Commission.


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