A clash of identities? The US and Europe after 11 September
AbstractA deepening rift between Europe and the USA has replaced the short period of unity and solidarity within the Atlantic community that lasted for several weeks following the 11 September terrorist attacks. In most analyses of this situation and its roots, traditional approaches prevail, the focus being on power asymmetry and resultant divergences in material interest between the two actors. This article tries to enlarge the perspective on the problem by looking at its non-material, ideational dimension. That Europe has constructed its identity in terms of post-modernity, while the identity of the US is deeply rooted in modernity, is the author's main assumption. The different identities then condition different value preferences and frameworks through which the actors interpret the world and their respective place and role in the international system, construct their interests, legitimise their methods for the use and management of power, and, last but not least, through which they look at each other. Social constructivism is the theoretical framework of this analysis.
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