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75 3 9/11 AND THE TRANSATLANTIC RIFT the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington on September 11, 2001, had far-reaching consequences for transatlantic rela� tions . They prompted nato, for the first time in its fifty-year history, to invoke Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty, whereby an attack on one state, in this case the United States, was considered to be an attack on all nato members. This invocation was indicative of a considerable sense of unity in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, encapsulated perfectly by the famous headline in Le Monde, “We are All Americans.”1 Yet, in a short space of time, it became clear that nato would not be central to the us response to the attacks. The George W. Bush administration proceeded with only limited assistance from nato states in removing the Taliban from power in Afghanistan, and it was not until April 2003 that the alliance took over the command of the un-mandated International Security Assistance Force (isaf) in Afghanistan. The deeply contentious invasion of Iraq, moreover, by a “coalition of the willing,” outside of nato auspices, prompted major divisions within the alliance and a period of deep acrimony. Some commentators went so far as to characterize the crisis over the invasion as the worst intra-alliance crisis in the history of nato,2 and many more described the fallout as indicative of an alliance in decline.3 This chapter assesses the root causes of this division and examines how nato responded to it. The period between 2001 and 2003 was deeply challenging for nato, largely because the interests and values of the us and Europeans seemed to diverge sharply. Yet, it is the contention of this book that this rift in transatlantic relations was a temporary aberration from the norm of alliance politics, similar to previous crises, such as Suez and the crisis over Bosnia. Relations were not permanently damaged. It was, essentially, a fallout between friends, and one that was overcome. In fact, the need to secure new allies in the fight against terrorism gave fresh impetus to the enlargement process and extended the geographical reach of the alliance even further, through new institutional partnerships, to countries 76 ◆ nato’s durability in a post–cold war world in North Africa and Central Asia. The institutional adaptation of the alliance also accelerated and intensified in response to the attacks and further steps were taken to extend nato’s recognition that the post–Cold War environment was fundamentally different from the Cold War period. This gave the institutional bodies that were established in the 1990s new workloads. This chapter proceeds in two main parts. First, it examines the nature of the transatlantic rift—the early response to the attacks of 9/11, the shift in the us from a multilateral to a more unilateral approach, how this contributed to divisions within the alliance, and how both sides eventually sought rapprochement. It then examines the consequences of 9/11 for nato’s relations with Russia and the enlargement process, and examines the new institutional relationships and structures that have been put in place by the alliance to respond to terrorism. the transatlantic rift From Multilateralism to Intra-Alliance Crisis Initially, between September and December 2001, President George W. Bush’s administration seemed to want to take advantage of the outpouring of support for the us by pursuing a multilateral response to the attacks, which would involve nato, but also other international organizations—the un, eu, and others. This was helped by the fact that support from the un and nato had been forthright. On September 12 the un Security Council “unequivocally” condemned the attacks and expressed “its readiness to take all necessary steps to respond.”4 It came together to authorize a multinational military operation in Afghanistan, which began on October 7, 2001, and culminated in the overthrow of the Taliban regime and the establishment of a new interim Afghan administration under un auspices. nato also responded swiftly and with a great deal of solidarity and there was a sense within the alliance that a collective response was needed. The significance of the invocation of Article 5 on September 12, 2001, in particular, must not be underestimated— this was an unprecedented action in response to an unprecedented attack. It was welcomed in Washington as an immediate gesture of solidarity, and an immediate indication that the us would not be alone in taking the fight to those who were deemed responsible...


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