Published on 04/06/2009
The three summits in London, Strasbourg-Kehl and Prague heralded the revival of the trans-Atlantic relationship. Barack Obama easily swept away all memories left behind by his predecessor and the temporary points of discord between the Allies. He played the game in a G20 that was requested by the Europeans and who provided the inspiration for final decisions which are indeed extremely promising. Finally together, a new international order can be built on the decisions taken by the 20 heads of State and Government. The oilskins, navigational choices, and the sails will be decided on together; detailed commitments have been made until the time comes when they can share the same liquor together!
For the 60th anniversary of NATO the American President offered Germany and France official recognition of the European Defence system, which already exists but which struggles to convince other partners; he also put forward a new strategy for Afghanistan which is what was asked of George Bush in Bucharest in April 2008. He finally re-launched the movement to disarm and the objective of a denuclearized world – which means a complete change in direction in terms of American policy. Differences in opinion on the future role of NATO, on the anti-missile shield and economic revival have been minimised and postponed for discussion at a later date. The American President was not there to argue with anyone – his aim was rather to win hearts, tack towards Europe, and catch a favourable wind in the hope that he will again be granted a place at the helm.
Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy have sailed perfectly in company. Once again by showing that Franco-German unity can steer Europe, give it leadership, weight and hope they have confirmed that the keel of the European ship is indeed Franco-German alliance. The European wind has blown in the right direction; it was appreciated and supported by the representatives of other continents.
The barometer therefore indicates good weather over the Northern Atlantic. With the spring, the unpredictable ocean has shed off the mists of ulterior motives, squabbles over unilateralism and the spindrifts of public mix-ups. On both shores there is a real will to work in transparency, clarity and dialogue. This light will be useful in warming up a world economy that has drifted off course on bad currents. It seems that the crew is on the bridge, manoeuvring, ready for any event and pushing ahead with the morale of early morning sailors setting off for the open sea.