Kerry and Europe

Those whom the gods would destroy, they grant their wishes. Those in Europe and around the world who yearn for a victory by John Kerry in the US presidential election ought to keep that bit of ancient Greek wisdom in mind.

During the Cold War, America was the natural leader of the Atlantic community, but the price of this leadership was that the US had to accept the autonomy and influence of its European allies. After the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, President Bush embarked on a unilateral foreign policy. The traditional Atlantic alliance was replaced by what the US called "coalitions of the willing," where "the mission determines the coalition," not historic alliances.

This policy divided Europe. It has also fueled deep divisions in the US presidential campaign, with one of the most potent arguments used by Kerry being that he will restore trust between America and its allies; that as president he will recruit international help in Iraq.

America undoubtedly needs more allies to bring Iraq's chaos under control and to build an Iraqi state that is seen as legitimate both by Iraqis and the world. Allies are seen as an answer to America's twin credibility and legitimacy deficits in its occupation of Iraq. But can a Kerry-led US get a fresh start in Europe? Will a President Kerry really be able to rally allies to America's side?