Chris Patten, one of Europe’s most distinguished statesmen and current Chancellor of Oxford University in England, analyzes the tensions that have arisen within the West since the end of the Cold War in his new book, Cousins and Strangers: America, Britain and Europe in a New Century (Times Books, 2006). Drawing on his decades of experience in elected government and international diplomacy, Patten’s book is a frank and personal assessment of the United States, Great Britain, and Europe, and the stakes for all three if the West breaks apart.
At this briefing, Patten discussed how the Western Alliance must adapt to cope with the economic and political challenges of the 21st century. Currently, America’s unilateralism has alienated its friends and eroded its capacity for leadership. The United Kingdom’s tendency to subordinate its own national interest to American interests has undermined Britain’s own strategic interests at home and in Europe. Europe, in turn, has not emerged as a military and political leader and has failed to take on a larger share of the responsibility for global security and policing. Brookings President Strobe Talbott provided introductory remarks.