Croesus and Caesar

Croesus and Caesar

Mini Teaser: Those who would compare U.S. and European power by focusing on military capabilities misread history and miss the essence of NATO's genius--and future prospects.

by Author(s): Richard Rosecrance

Yet Europe as a pacific economic giant will not be inward-looking. It
will seek to influence others to follow its peaceful mission. Other
nations may well emulate its strikingly successful institutions and
policies. By expanding, the new Europe will bring peace and
prosperity to eastern Europe and perhaps even to Russia, but it will
not police the world. The NATO link with the United States will still
be essential in all of this. That is why it is both erroneous and
self-defeating to claim that America does not need Europe or Europe
the United States. America and Europe are essential and reciprocal
counterparts to one another in the structure of world power.

Then there is the continuing threat of terrorism. This threat will
not disappear now that the war with Iraq is over; terrorism may even
spread, at least in the short run. Neither the technical revolution
in military affairs that has occurred in the United States nor the
growing imperial reach of America's conventional forces can vanquish
terrorism. For that, the United States will need cooperation and the
shared intelligence of many other countries, particularly those of an
enlarged European Union. There are no superpowers in the war against
terrorism--every nation can be a military theater where battles may
be won, and Pakistan's cooperation may be as important as Russia's.
International cooperation between the United States and Europe is
essential to win the long bout against terrorism.

Europeans and Americans alike have been predicting the demise of NATO
and the end of U.S. and European cooperation since Suez in 1956. The
alliance, however, has not collapsed--and it won't. In the last
thirty years, Europe has carried the primary financial burden,
allowing the United States to maintain an essentially unbalanced
economy while acting as the world's gendarme. Europe has not built up
its military strength, but instead has done something much more
important: it has created the financial conditions that have allowed
the United States to act.

Americans may complain about the recent actions of Monsieur Chirac
and Herr Schröder, but if they insist on remaining oblivious to
Europe's critical financial role, they only contribute to an
atmosphere in which that role is weakened. And Europe, which will not
act militarily on its own in any serious way, should stop squawking
about theuse of American force as though, cases aside, there is
something wrong about it in principle. The Atlantic economic and
military partnership serves both Americans and Europeans, and it will
become firmer as the true basis of the relationship dawns on both
sides of the Atlantic. One hopes this happens sooner rather than
later, for Caesar needs Croesus, and Croesus needs Caesar, now.

Essay Types: Essay