Why US friends feel treated like enemies

From a recent speech by the vice-president of Luxembourg at Tufts University's Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.m It would be presumptuous, of course, for the representative of a small state to pass judgment on how to approach the international situation. Nevertheless, or perhaps precisely because we are detached from immediate national contingencies, Luxembourg is able to have somewhat more neutral opinions on the international situation and can thus bring a valid contribution to the discussion between states.

We must admit that after all the hope that had arisen from the rapprochement between the superpowers during the last decade, hope and enthusiasm have, alas, had to be replaced by disillusions and concern.

Washington has used the language of force, and inevitably it has been listened to, in Europe and in the rest of the world, to the great satisfaction of some, but it has not fully been understood by all, even among friends of the United States. This change of tone has undoubtedly affected communication between the US and the Soviet Union, but it has also complicated relations between the US and Europe.

What do Europeans complain about?

* The US does not respect the alliance's rules of the game and does not give the Europeans a fair chance to take part in the decisionmaking process.

* The US is not interested in a balanced cooperation, based on an equitable compromise. It refuses a medium road and wishes to impose its views upon its European allies.

* The US takes risks. This, of course, it is free to do but only as long as it does not put its allies in jeopardy.

Thus, some Europeans feel that they are being treated in a way that is not dissimilar to that in which the alliance's enemies are, and they come to wonder whether the language of force is not also directed toward Western Europe.

Such thoughts have, among some political families, led to a feeling of frustration which in turn has opened a great debate which could end in a questioning of the alliance's fundamental options. This, we very definitely must prevent from happening!

Western diplomatic action would probably best be able to meet its objectives if certain conditions are fulfilled.

* A Western policy should raise the risks for those who threaten the existing balance of power and thus acquire a more dissuasive character.

* This attitude of firmness must be well explained so that it will be well understood in the whole Western world in order not to lead to internal tensions.

* At the right moment the policy of firmness must be replaced by an open policy toward the nonaligned countries and a dynamic development policy toward the third world.

* The Western world must master or at least limit the effects of the economic crisis, thus providing the means to achieve the aforementioned conditions.

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