Conflict and Cooperation: American–Western European Relations (not) Redefined, 1969–1977

Geir Lundestad

in The United States and Western Europe Since 1945

Published in print September 2003 | ISBN: 9780199266685
Published online April 2004 | e-ISBN: 9780191601057 | DOI:
Conflict and Cooperation: American–Western European Relations (not) Redefined, 1969–1977

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In the late 1960s, the wider framework for and the basic structure of the North Atlantic alliance was being challenged on virtually all fronts at the same time, causing the need for a reappraisal of relationships. These challenges included: the continuing Cold War with the Soviet Union and its allies, where the confrontation continued, but was now being combined with détente (i.e. cooperation on important military, political, and economic issues); the change in the American–European relationship resulting from Europe striking out more on its own; the perceived decline of the US by the Nixon administration and its resulting need to cooperate with the other economic centres of the world; outside Europe, the combination of the rise of OPEC and the volatility of the Middle East, which highlighted a growing energy problem that was to prove quite troublesome in Atlantic relations; and the effect of the rise of Japan and the Pacific rim in redefining the role and importance of Western Europe in the world. All these redefinitions imposed a strain on American–European relations in the period 1969–1977, but even though the resulting conflicts were now more structural than they had been earlier, they were still contained within the alliance framework, for both the US and Western Europe still needed a certain degree of cooperation and mutual dependence. The four main sections following the explanatory preamble to this chapter discuss various aspects of this conflict and cooperation between the US and Western Europe. They are: The US, Western Europe, and Détente; Nixon–Kissinger's Reappraisal of European Integration, 1969–1976; The Southern Flank [of Europe], Communism, and the US—a discussion of the political situations in Portugal, Spain, Greece, Cyprus, Turkey, Italy (and Iceland); and Conflict, but Still Primarily Cooperation.

Keywords: American–Western European relations; challenges; Cold War; Communism; conflict; cooperation; Cyprus; decline of the US; détente; European integration; Greece; Iceland; Italy; Japan; Middle East; mutual dependence; North Atlantic alliance; OPEC; Pacific rim; Portugal; Southern Europe; Spain; Turkey; US; Western Europe

Chapter.  15934 words. 

Subjects: International Relations

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