NATO’s decision to ‘modernize’ its medium-range nuclear weaponry unleashed massive popular protests throughout Europe and produced strains within the Atlantic Alliance itself. The effects on relations between the continental European states, and on their internal politics, form the subject of Diana Johnstone’s lively and polemical book.
The author argues that US strategy is designed to exploit international rivalries within Europe, reasserting its own military and political dominance through rearmament and an aggressive anti-communist crusade. Cruise and Pershing missiles were meant to prevent a ‘decoupling’ of Europe and the USA; now this has been achieved, in a nightmarish strategy that threatens to combine ‘theatre’ nuclear war on the continental mainland and armed interventions in the Third World.
The significance of the German Question in European politics is carefully weighed, and the differences between the French and German Lefts assessed in a cool and caustic account. Further discussions relate the varying reception of the Euromissiles in Italy, the Low Countries and Scandinavia to the political traditions and balance of forces within each state.
Throughout this book Diana Johnstone provides a lucid portrait of a Europe still dominated and limited by its past rivalries, unable to transcend the petty grandeur of its nation states even in the face of unprecedented threats to peace.