Mark Weber

The 60-Year Itch?

Europeans should be pleased – and relieved – that they are no longer America’s first line of defense, even if that has meant a loss of interest in Europe among Americans. If Europeans still want the US to listen to them, they need to have something to say, and they need to say it together.

JERUSALEM – “Europe is boring: thank God, for you and for us,” my interlocutor told me. “Today, drama is in the Middle East, growth is in Asia, hope is in Africa, and proximity to the United States is in Latin America. Europe is nowhere – it has become the lost continent.”

There is, of course, a little provocation and a lot of irony in these remarks. A few years ago, their speaker occupied important positions within US diplomacy; he is now a key figure of the New York establishment. And his provocation highlights a sad reality that Europeans must accept and confront: Europe no longer interests America.

Yes, the European Union’s enlargement since 2004 was preceded by NATO’s eastward expansion. But that has not made a real difference; at the end of the day, America is also losing interest in NATO, which turned in a not-fully-convincing performance in Libya and a downright poor one in Afghanistan.

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