The Iraq war divided "old" and "new" Europe and imposed unprecedented strains on the relationship between America and Europe. For nearly 60 years, the Atlantic partnership has been a force for good, not only for Europe and North America, but for the world. Are these ties beyond repair, or can they be restored?
Relations disintegrated alarmingly fast. In the aftermath of September 11th, even French newspapers carried headlines reading "We are all Americans." It began to seem as though our fundamentally common outlook and our much-vaunted shared values had reasserted themselves.
Within a year, everything looked different, especially in Germany. The transatlantic partnership once was a basic tenet of German foreign policy--and yet Germany's Chancellor won re-election on what was seen as an anti-American platform. Although some of this sentiment was misrepresented, Germany clearly would not support military action in Iraq.
Many Germans remain torn not only about Iraq, but about war in general. Many believe that Germany's stance represents pacifist, rather than anti-American, sentiment. They may be right. Germany has changed over the last decade, sending peacekeeping troops to Somalia, Bosnia, East Timor, Kosovo, the Caucasus, Macedonia and, in response to September 11th, Afghanistan. But none of those troops has fought a war.