Cousins and strangers : America, Britain, and Europe in a new century 

Patten, Chris  

New York : Times Books, Henry Holt and Company


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Further works by Chris Patten

Chris Patten (British, born 12 May 1944), a former Chairman of the UK Conservative Party, is currently Chancellor of the University of Oxford and Chairman of the BBC Trust. He served as the last British Governor of Hong Kong between 1992 and 1997. From 1999 to 2004 he was the European Commissioner for External Relations. He has written various books and articles on politics, diplomacy and international relations.


In this book, Chris Patten draws on his extensive political and diplomatic experience, including his 5-year stint as European Commissioner for External Relations, to examine the relationships between the United States, the United Kingdom and the European Union. The traditional 'Western alliance' was a staple element of the post-World War II global political order, but a combination of political and economic factors - not least the collapse of communism and the reunification of Europe and the impact of globalisation in a world that is becoming more multi-polar - has changed the underlying dynamic of this relationship in recent years.

While it is often argued that the US's primary geo-strategic interests now lie in Asia, Patten makes a forceful case (enlivened with many interesting anecdotes from his years representing the EU around the world) for a renewed collaborative leadership from the US and Europe in order to manage new global challenges in the economic, environmental, governance and security spheres and to promote democracy and the rule of law. This will require the EU to play a more vigorous role in the world, not only in matters such as trade but also in terms of security issues. The United Kingdom, which prides itself on its special relationship with the US, but where EU membership has over the years proven a more contentious issue, should, in his view, aim to play a central role in promoting such an endeavour.