Afghanistan and the Western alliance

From an article in Foreign Affairs:

The Afghanistan crisis has dramatized and intensified antecedent changes and strains in the Western alliance. There was unanimous, if separate, condemnation […], but there were also divergent, and often acrimoniously different, assessments of the causes of aggression and the nature of the challenge. The difficulties of orchestrating a common response or of at least preventing a discordant one suggest a new balance of forces within the alliance and a set of divergent interests.

In essence, the leadership of a weakened America is being challenged by a more independent Europe, led by an ever more important Franco-German condominium. […]

The balance between unity and discord is precarious. There are not only substantive differences between the United States and its European allies; there is—at least on the nongovernmental level—a growing impatience on both sides. The roots of discord go deep; to ignore or underestimate the shifts of power and attitudes might heighten the dangers of drifting apart. In the past, an external threat has always served to unite the alliance. Now we cannot count on the automatic reappearance of solidarity. […]

This article, by Fritz Stern, appeared in the Spring 1980 issue of the journal.

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