Architects of Delusion
Europe, America, and the Iraq War
"A masterful analysis of America and Europe: insightful, trenchant, brilliantly conceived, and elegantly written. Drawing his lessons from America's post-World War II engagement with allies in Europe, Simon Serfaty has captured with chilling precision the dilemmas and symmetries that will dominate America's and Europe's security concerns in this generation."—General Wesley K. Clark
"Simon Serfaty shows why America has more to fear from a weak Europe than a strong Europe. This powerful account of leadership failure in four countries explains not only how Iraq split the West but what a new set of leaders must do to repair the damage."—Joseph S. Nye, Jr., author of Soft Power: The Means to Success in World Politics
"This is an impressive work of policy analysis and scholarship. Serfaty's knowledge of politics and personalities in the four capitals he considers is extensive. The interpretations of interactions among them are subtle. And there is a fine sense of historical background as well as today's global context."—Michael Brenner, University of Pittsburgh
The commencement of war in Iraq in 2003 was met with a variety of reactions around the globe. In Architects of Delusion, Simon Serfaty presents a historical analysis of how and why the decision to wage war was endorsed by some of America's main European allies, especially Britain, and opposed by others, especially France and Germany.
Tony Blair, George W. Bush, Jacques Chirac, and Gerhard Schroeder were, Serfaty argues, the architects of one of the most serious crises in postwar transatlantic relations. These four heads of state were the victims not only of their personal delusions but also of those of the nations they led. They all played the hand that their countries had dealt them—the forceful hand of a righteous America, the principled acquiescence of a faithful Britain, the determined intransigence of a quarrelsome France, and the ambiguous "new way" of a recast Germany.
Serfaty's deft interweaving of the political histories and cultures of the four countries and the personalities of their leaders transcends the Europe-bashing debate sparked by the Iraq invasion. He contends that not one of these four leaders was entirely right or entirely wrong in his approach to the others or to the issues, before and during the war. For the resulting wounds to heal, though, and for the continuity of transatlantic relations, he reminds us that the United States and France must end their estrangement, France and Britain must resolve their differences, Germany must carry its weight relative to both France and Britain, and the United States must exert the same visionary leadership for the twenty-first century that it showed during its rise to preeminence in the twentieth century.
Simon Serfaty is Senior Professor of U.S. Foreign Policy in the Graduate Program in International Studies at Old Dominion University as well as Zbigniew Brzezinski Chair in Global Security and Geostrategy and Senior Adviser to the Europe Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C.