Fontaine, Andre
December 1980
Foreign Affairs;1980 Special Issue, Vol. 59 Issue 3
The differences that arise more or less regularly between the nations bordering the two sides of the North Atlantic are customarily laid to misunderstandings. But the fact that these differences multiplied all through 1980 indicates that there exists between the United States and two of its principal European partners something of a crisis of confidence. Reaction in Europe was the same with regard to Afghanistan, the invasion of which had clearly been in preparation for weeks, if not months. The brutal rise in the price of oil imports inflicted such a shock on trade balances that it became necessary to export more at any cost-but this had to be done in a world where, because of the energy crisis and competition from Japan and certain developing countries, demand was tending to slack off. For all the countries of Western Europe, the markets of Eastern Europe constitute an important source of revenue which they could not forego without experiencing still further increases in unemployment, which in 1980 reached alarming levels: more than 2.1 million in Great Britain, more than 1.6 million in France, and about one million in West Germany.


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