Chapter

Introduction

Caroline Fehl

in Living with a Reluctant Hegemon

Published in print December 2011 | ISBN: 9780199608621
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191731730 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199608621.003.0001
Introduction

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This chapter introduces the book’s central research question: Why have European proponents of multilateral treaty initiatives dealt in varying ways with US opposition to their proposals, at times accommodating US objections and at times opting for non-hegemonic cooperation? The chapter discusses why varying European responses to US policy have remained a blind spot in the current debate about ‘US unilateralism’, and why understanding European strategic choices vis-à-vis the reluctant hegemon is of both practical and theoretical relevance. It maps the historical trend toward transatlantic conflicts over multilateral agreements and the pattern of varying European responses to these conflicts after 1990. It reviews various ‘ad hoc’ explanations of European choices that have been advanced by analysts in commenting on recent high-profile transatlantic controversies and discusses the methodological shortcomings of these contributions. The chapter concludes with a brief sketch of the book’s theoretical argument, case selection, and structure.

Keywords: US unilateralism; transatlantic relations; historical trend; Kyoto Protocol; climate change; biological weapons

Chapter.  12438 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: International Relations

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