REBEL EUROPE: How America Can Live with a Changing Continent by James Oliver Goldsborough

REBEL EUROPE: How America Can Live with a Changing Continent

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The current differences between Washington and Europe-over nuclear weaponry or the Western response to the military crackdown in Poland-are only the most recant signs of a changing relationship between the US and the Continent. In this compact study, former foreign correspondent Goldsborough (now with the Twentieth Century Fund) analyzes these changes and their consequences calmly and lucidly. For starters, Goldsborough notes that an ""us"" (America and Western Europe) vs. ""them"" (the USSR) picture of East-West relations doesn't work for the simple reason that Eastern and Western Europe are one entity; a triad is more appropriate, with Europe as a separate set of states that has relations with both superpowers--and interests not entirely satisfied by either. Trade between Western Europe and the USSR not only far exceeds US-Soviet trade, for example, but the Europeans actually import more from the Soviets than they export. Lately, while the US has worried over Middle East oil supplies--and marshaled its military power to protect those supplies--the Europeans have taken steps to lessen their reliance on Middle East oil through oil and gas imports from the USSR. To Goldsborough, this is not only a non-belligerent way to deal with a crisis, but a rational and desirable move from a European perspective. Thus, a fundamental fact unrecognized in the US: Europe has a stake in detente as a goal rather than as one possible way of managing East-West relations. On the other side of the divide, Goldsborough cites the economic and political strains experienced by the Soviets and the relative latitude afforded Eastern Europe as a consequence. (Goldsborough, writing before the Polish crisis, discounts a Soviet move into Poland-which is still valid.) The implications for NATO? Goldsborough advocates a lessened American presence-to induce the allies to raise their share of defense spending to five percent of GNP; he notes, however, that they already provide most of the alliance's aircraft and troops. And even as Europe develops its own set of interests, that growing continental identity is beset by counter-movements toward local autonomy (i.e., Europe has its own problems, too). On balance, Goldsborough doesn't think that any of the current trends in Europe are threatening to American interests if we will only take a realistic view of both the trends and the interests. Alfred Grosser's recent The Western Alliance has more detail and historical depth, but Goldsborough's overview has the virtue of brevity. Altogether: an excellent place to start coming to terms with Europe.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1982
Publisher: Macmillan