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Allies at War: America, Europe and the Crisis Over Iraq Hardcover – 4 Jul 2004

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill Professional (4 July 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0071441204
  • ISBN-13: 978-0071441209
  • Product Dimensions: 15.7 x 2.5 x 23.1 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,837,745 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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From the Back Cover

"Masterful ... a timely demonstration that a new transatlantic compact is both possible and necessary for our common security."

--Joseph R. Biden, Jr., Ranking Member, Senate Foreign Relations Committee

A Detailed Examination of What Has Gone Wrong in the Fragile U.S./Europe Alliance--and How to Make It Right

Praise for Allies at War:

"In Allies at War, Phil Gordon and Jeremy Shapiro do a masterful job dissecting the recent rift between the U.S. and Europe over Iraq.  More important, theirs is a timely demonstration that a new transatlantic compact is both possible and necessary for our common security."

--Joseph R. Biden, Jr., Ranking Member, Senate Foreign Relations Committee

"An invaluable and lucid account of the present transatlantic crisis; and a compelling plea for putting that crisis behind us."

--Robert Kagan, Author, Of Paradise and Power: America and Europe in the New World Order

"A deservedly scathing indictment of an arrogantly unilateral policy and a sensible plea for an urgent strategic readjustment."

--Zbigniew Brzezinski, Former National Security Adviser

"Allies at War is a superb but unsettling account of how the most successful alliance in history almost came apart over Iraq.  The Americans and the Europeans have much to learn from this meticulously even-handed account of a crisis both sides badly mishandled."

--John Lewis Gaddis, Yale University

"This is a great book, likely to become the definitive account of this period."

--Charles Grant, Director, Center for European Reform

From the 1956 Suez Crisis to the disputes over US military intervention in Bosnia and Kosovo in the 1990s, the history of the post-World War II American-European alliance is one of nearly continuous diplomatic crisis. Yet, no matter how deep the divisions or bitter the dispute, in the end, the allies always found ways to rise above their differences and preserve the integrity of an alliance which, by the late 1990s, had become the most successful in world history.

The diplomatic wrangling over the war in Iraq produced the worst transatlantic crisis in nearly fifty years, and for the first time leaders in both the United States and Europe are seriously questioning the viability and, indeed, even the value of the alliance. But is this latest crisis really so different from all those that came before it? Is it, as some contend, the culmination of an inevitable process of dissolution that began with the end of the Cold War and became clear after 9/11? Is the fragile American-European alliance and the world order it supports coming unraveled?

In Allies at War distinguished Brookings analysts Philip Gordon and Jeremy Shapiro provides answer to these and other critical questions about the current crisis in American-European relations and its implications for the future.

To help put the current crisis into context the authors trace the evolution of American-European relations since World War II. They describe how deep ideological differences that emerged at the end of the Cold War and disputes over the Balkans, Iran, and Iraq during the Clinton years already had some analysts questioning if the alliance would survive. They explain how the Bush administration's "cowboy diplomacy" helped bring already simmering tensions to a boil. And they provide a detailed, inside account of the events leading up to the Iraq crisis, describing how a series of disastrous diplomatic missteps turned a legitimate disagreement over how to deal with a rogue regime into a crisis that threatened the alliance's very existence.

Finally, in response to those who would say good riddance to an alliance that has given the West fifty years of unprecedented economic and political stability, the authors explain why continued US-European cooperation is essential to global security and prosperity. In an age of terrorism and globalization, they argue, no country or continent, no matter how strong, can stand alone. Allies at War offers concrete prescriptions for mending the rifts that have opened in our relationship and cementing an even stronger alliance--one strong enough to weather the challenges of a post-9/11 world.

About the Author

Philip Gordon, Ph.D., is a senior fellow and Jeremy Shapiro, Ph.D., is an associate director and research fellow with the Brookings Institution. Dr. Gordon has written for prominent publications including the New York Times and appears regularly on CNN, ABC, and other broadcast outlets. Both live in Washington, DC.

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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Essential Reading to Inform Public Debate 6 Oct 2004
By Dr. C. G. Mazzucelli - Published on
Format: Hardcover
The importance of persistent conflict in Iraq throughout the 2004 presidential campaign makes this volume an essential contribution to the on-going public debate about the Bush Administration's foreign policy, particularly its global war on terrorism. Gordon and Shapiro carefully analyze the motivations and perceptions of the political elites on each continent as well as the opinions of their publics as the Iraq crisis unfolded. The initial chapters set the historical context for an analysis of the deepening discord within the Atlantic Alliance, which came to a head after September 11. The second part analyzes the sources of disagreement regarding Iraq and the reasons for divergence among the members in the transatlantic relationship. The final chapter makes several constructive recommendations to restore the Atlantic Alliance.

These recommendations are particularly significant in light of findings reported after the book's publication. Recent confirmations question intelligence regarding Iraq's weapons of mass destruction (WMD) capability, notably the aluminum tubes cited as evidence that Saddam Hussein was rebuilding Iraq's nuclear weapons program. The fact that these aluminum tubes were likely intended for small artillery rockets, not nuclear use, necessitates a more comprehensive and critical public inquiry. There is an ethical imperative for the American public and the world to receive the information that allows citizens to question intelligently why military action was taken in Iraq. In light of the mounting casualties on all sides, this is a civic responsibility that speaks to America's founding as a republican government, not a reluctant empire. In question are the Bush Administration's doctrine of preventive war and its insistence on the need for regime change, not containment, in the Middle East. This volume underscores the Bush Administration's reliance on military action to rid the region of terrorists. The fact that this reliance occurs without a steadfast pursuit of Middle East peace through a US commitment to the Road Map defies a basic premise of The 9/11 Commission Report's findings. The Report emphasizes that a global strategy to protect the nation should be a balanced one that uses all elements of national power, including diplomacy, intelligence and education to reach out to the larger Muslim world.

Perhaps the most relevant aspect of this case study analysis is the explanation of allied differences. The American faith in precision technology and military prowess is contrasted with the European willingness to accept, contain and try to deter the threat Iraq represented under the dictatorial leadership of Saddam Hussein. More fundamentally, Europe's, and particularly Germany's, awareness of historical mistakes in the rush to militarism is opposed by an increasing American proclivity to accept military force as just another tool in its global strategy against terrorism. This difference brings to mind the influence of the Bush Administration's distinction between a September 10th and a September 12th mentality. For a government that initially shied away from nation building, the undaunted belief in the creation of democracy with bombs in the Middle East flies in the face of French and British experiences with colonialism there. Moreover, this book's analysis is helpful as we evaluate whether success in Iraq is indeed possible, and if so, whether it can decisively define a new stage for Middle East peace as an alternative to negotiations with Arafat.

More fundamentally, this volume offers readers the opportunity to assess the impact of a consistency that has emerged in America's domestic and global policies since 9/11. Cornel West terms this "escalating authoritarianism" in his recent book, Democracy Matters. On the domestic front, the democratic public discourse so vital to the nation's capacity for renewal is at risk. The nature of the US popular debate about the war in Iraq, critical or passive, is a litmus test in this regard. It demonstrates the extent to which Americans are able to display a responsible consciousness about the nation's military involvement there. This public awareness is significant because, as Allies at War convincingly explains, the Atlantic Alliance is not doomed to disintegrate. The context in which the Alliance must evolve has changed, however, given the absence of the Cold War and current threats to world peace, including "out-of-area" ethnic conflicts as well as nationalism, which, in the case of the Beslan tragedy, is not always distinguished from global terrorism. This volume's timely conclusion should not be taken for granted amidst the factual confusion, media spin and political rhetoric of the 2004 presidential campaign. Gordon and Shapiro are right to assert that the post 9/11 context requires leaders and populations in Europe and the United States to understand the challenge they face: to adapt the Atlantic Alliance as a matter of choice as well as necessity.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
This is the best study yet of the transatlantic crisis over 9 Jan 2005
By Kaushik - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Iraq, well informed and eminently fair; it concludes with excellent advice, particularly regarding the need for Washington to continue supporting European integration and a collective European defense effort. What the authors make clear, without shrillness or grandstanding, is that "the European complaint that the American decision-making process and diplomacy about Iraq violated reasonable alliance norms and expectations is valid." They prove this point with careful analysis of what happened in 2002 and 2003 and with a short, sharp reminder of previous alliance crises and how they were overcome. This is not to say that the authors side with France and Germany; their criticism of those countries' diplomacy is often quite stinging. But the fact that the United States is the "indispensable power" does not mean that its allies must support it in every case. As Gordon and Shapiro write, "when taken too far, assertive leadership can quickly turn into arrogant unilateralism, to the point where resentful others become less likely to follow the lead of the United States." "Even a country as powerful as the United States," they explain, "needs a certain level of legitimacy and consent." And indeed, it is clear that U.S. rashness and roughness in its handling of Iraq has weakened its legitimacy and, as a result, badly damaged its interests.
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