Europe Breaks Apart
AMID the general clamor surrounding the unleashing of the Carter administration’s new foreign policies, a major anniversary slipped by with little fanfare; in Rome late in March, the members of the European Common Market celebrated the passage of two decades since the establishment of that institution. The Treaty of Rome in 1957 was supposed to have been the first step in the creation of a new Europe, free from the dangerous nationalism which had twice in this century led the continent into catastrophic wars. The Common Market was designed to minimize the risks of divisive economic competition, thus making it more likely that the European nations would find it possible to achieve some sort of political integration in the following years. It appeared that Europe, along with its American ally, had learned the basic lessons of World War II. The two parties seemed to have concluded that it was necessary to break with the nationalistic traditions of the past, both because nationalism was a cause of warfare on the continent and because, in Hajo Holborn’s words, “No Western European state, or for that matter, not even all the Western European nations together, could resist Russia’s power.”
Those who advocated European unity realized that this was an enormously desirable development for both partners in the Atlantic alliance. Europe could not defend itself alone, and thus needed American assistance and guarantees. On its side, the United States badly needed a free and viable Europe. For the greater the coherence and coordination of the European nations, the more successful NATO-the cornerstone of the effort to contain the Soviet menace-was likely to be.
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