Talk to any long-standing observer of the trans-Atlantic relationship and you will hear that the United States and Europe are on a collision course. From climate change to the Iran nuclear deal to tariffs on steel and aluminum, the two sides of the Atlantic increasingly find themselves at odds over a long list of foreign-policy and trade issues. But those same observers will also tell you that trans-Atlantic rifts have been a long-standing feature of the relationship, surfacing quite regularly over the last 70 years. The real question is whether what the trans-Atlantic partners are experiencing today is any different from, say, the deep divisions they experienced over the Iraq War. It didn’t take that long for Europe and the United States to overcome that disagreement and return to a rich agenda of cooperation. In other words, the United States snapped back then and will snap back again (presumably once President Donald Trump has left office). Right? Not so fast.
The United States and Europe have had ruptures over trade before and managed to more or less resolve them respectfully, without questioning the institutions or values that have served as the bedrock of the relationship.
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