The Year of Europe? in Global Forecast: the Top Security Challenges of 2008
November 14, 2007
“Nineteen seventy-three,” declared Henry Kissinger in late April of that year, “is the year of Europe”—a time, he insisted, for the allies to join in “a fresh act of creation . . . equal to that undertaken by the postwar generation of leaders” on both sides of the Atlantic. Now, in 2008—the thirty-fifth year of “the year of Europe”—conditions seem to be broadly met, at last, for an answer from the European states and their Union.
First, at the level of the nation-states, the replacement of worn-out and often discredited leaders in Germany, France, and even Britain has ended the political agony that surrounded their last years in office. Unusually high levels of public support for their successors, combined with an opposition that is either in disarray or feeble, suggest that Angela Merkel, Nicolas Sarkozy, and Gordon Brown are likely to remain in place for the next six to ten years. On the whole, these new leaders are political pragmatists who can relate to each other and also appear ready to work with the United States—as is confirmed by their open interest in engaging President George W. Bush even as each eagerly awaits the arrival of a new administration. With elections in Poland, Spain, and Italy as well as for the European Parliament due in 2008–2009, the political framework is being recast for all of Europe and its most significant interlocutors in the United States and Russia, both of which will hold presidential elections of their own in 2008.
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