America and Europe face political, economic and demographic challenges to their longstanding primacy. This is a delicate moment for a power transition, given the host of emerging global threats: global warming, nuclear proliferation, macroeconomic imbalances, terrorism, the need to reform global governance and so on. The question is, can the United States and the European Union continue to exercise leadership on these issues? The answer, at best, is, "not for long."So little has changed in eight years.
Both the United States and the European Union have been humbled in recent years by missteps in the application of hard power and soft power, as Constanze Stelzenmüller pointed out in a GMF briefing paper. The rise of new state threats (Russia, Iran) and nonstate threats (see above) have led the transatlantic neighborhood to recognize that they have more common than divergent interests.Eight years on, it's the same talking heads on the same Sunday shows talking about the same things. There will be no Oliver Cromwell, dear reader, to tell these "very stupid people" they have sat there long enough. There will be complex adaptive systems, doing what they d*** well please.
That's the good news. The bad news is that it is far from clear whether Washington and Brussels are truly focused on external challenges and threats. The same poll revealed that both Americans and Europeans were unimpressed with transatlantic cooperation on peacekeeping, global warming, human rights, poverty reduction and counterterrorism.