chapter  1
14 Pages

The Traditions of US Foreign Relations

At the end of the ‘American Century’ the United States clearly considered itself a European power. Its relationship with the continent of Europe has usually been described as one of ambivalence; it has held both affection and disaffection towards the continent, or parts of it, throughout the twentieth century. The concept of Europe has changed dramatically during the twentieth century. It moved from a collection of imperial systems engaged in a balance of power, through internal division and catastrophic wars, the continental division in the Cold War and the loss of empires through decolonisation, to a more integrated Western Europe, first economically and now politically. The nations of Central Europe were dominated by Soviet power, which facilitated greater cooperation on security between the United States and the increasingly unified Western Europe. In the economic sphere, the West Europeans, retracted from their empires, rescued their ‘nationstates’ (Milward, 1992) and enhanced competition with the United States through integration and negotiating as a bloc, especially on agricultural issues.