THE UNITED STATES has four fundamental strategic relationships—those with Europe, Russia, Japan, and China. This judgment remains as valid today as it was 60 years ago on the eve of World War II. A central task for senior U.S. policymakers is to concentrate attention on these key relationships and to prevent less significant problems—such as Haiti, Panama, Bosnia, Somalia, and now Kosovo—from dominating time and agendas.
Of the four strategic relationships none is more important for this country than Europe. Europe remains a critical arena for both American leadership and partnership. Moreover, Europe today is on the cusp of fundamental change with clear and immediate ramifications for the United States.