Commenting on the future of transatlantic relations, Anthony writes:
We should hope for the best with the emergence of the Obama administration. And at the very least it'll give me an excuse to start having a go at the Continentals again. But managing expectations, so to speak, is undoubtedly the right way to go. There are plenty of issues that have the potential to cause ructions.
That's not to say, incidentally, that the problems are ALL structural. This is an argument generally employed by Bush 43 apologists to support the notion that it doesn't matter how undiplomatically the US government acts because the results will be the same and it should be resisted. But let's not get carried away.
This is entirely true. We forget too often how much the Balkan wars strained the transatlantic alliance and how close NATO came to breaking up over Kosovo. That wasn't the only issue, of course, but it was probably the biggest, most complicated one. You'll recall how Blair and Clinton were reduced to shouting matches over Kosovo and, previously, how Clinton and John Major had rowed over Bosnia and Northern Ireland. Now in the end most (or at least many) of these differences were resolved, but they were, in some ways, easier than many of those which face the west today.