The U.S. Role in Post-Cold War Europe

Significance of European Views of the New U.S. Administration

by Marten van Heuven

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The ability of the Clinton administration to pursue policies of enlargement and multilateralism will depend on European perceptions and rest in part on how Washington can shape European views. While U.S. policies toward Russia, the Middle East, the G-7, and nuclear nonproliferation have on the whole been welcomed, American policy in Iraq, Somalia, and the Uruguay round of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade has raised questions. American reluctance to have U.S. troops involved on the ground in Bosnia has raised particular European worries that this issue is being handled as a derivative of domestic U.S. politics and doubts whether the U.S. is prepared to engage in what they experience as the most serious security issue on the continent. Nonetheless, Europeans continue to want an American role in Europe. Suggestions for a more detached American policy serve neither American nor European interests. Without an American capacity to help shape events, Europe faces more turmoil.

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