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Towards a Post-American Europe: A Power Audit of EU-US Relations

4 November 2009

 We are now entering a “post-American world”. The Cold War is fading into
history, and globalisation is increasingly redistributing power to the South
and the East. The United States has understood this, and is working to replace
its briefly held global dominance with a network of partnerships that will
ensure that it remains the “indispensable nation”. Where does this leave the
transatlantic relationship? Is its importance inevitably set to decline? If so,
does this matter? And how should Europeans respond?

In this report we argue that the real threat to the transatlantic relationship
comes not from the remaking of America’s global strategy, but from European governments’ failure to come to terms with how the world is changing and how
the relationship must adapt to those changes. Our audit (based on extensive
interviews and on structured input from all the European Union’s 27 member
states) reveals that EU member states have so far failed to shake off the
attitudes, behaviours, and strategies they acquired over decades of American
hegemony. This sort of Europe is of rapidly decreasing interest to the US. In
the post-American world, a transatlantic relationship that works for both sides
depends on the emergence of a post-American Europe.