Michael Chertoff – who was the 2008 recipient of The European Institute’s annual Transatlantic Leader Award – was often a controversial figure in Europe during his four-year tenure heading the Department of Homeland Security. Those tensions were widely reported at the time and remain vividly in the public recollection of the period when the two sides of the Atlantic often seemed to be engaged in a tug of war over citizens’ rights, notably privacy and protection from unreasonable search.
That Sweet Enemy: The French and the British from the Sun King to the Present
By Robert and Isabelle Tombs
Alfred A. Knopf Press, 2007, 816 pages
Reviewed by Avis Bohlen
The ancient rivalry between France and Britain is, as recent events remind us, the most enduring and influential relationship within Europe. Overshadowed during most of the cold war by the crucial Franco-German tie, the motor which drove European construction, the Anglo-French quarrel exploded with full force during the bitter run-up to Iraq in 2003. The enlargement of the European Union and the defeat of the Constitutional referendum in France in 2005 spelled the end, at least for now, of a certain idea of Europe which France supported and Britain opposed. At the heart of both debates are long-standing Franco-British differences about the relationship with the US and the future shape of Europe. But the bitterness and animosity of these debates are hard to explain without reference to the past.
© COPYRIGHT THE EUROPEAN INSTITUTE 2009
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