A Turning Point in National History
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Een keerpunt in de vaderlandse geschiedenis (Dutch: "A turning point in the history of the fatherland"; ISBN 90-290-7698-4) is a 2005 Dutch book by Amsterdam University professor Karel van Wolferen and NRC Handelsblad reporter Jan Sampiemon. Its secondary title is "A manifesto to the Dutch people".
Despite the 'fatherland' in the title referring to the Netherlands, the book is mostly about the changes in the foreign policies of the USA since the presidency of George W. Bush and the effects these have had on the Atlantic partnership.
The first two-thirds of the book describes how the USA changed from a force for good in the world, in general, and a transatlantic ally of Europe, into a solitary force, after it effectively unilaterally broke its alliances by largely withdrawing from the United Nations and assorted international agreements and organisations, and consequently invading Iraq. Europeans, especially in the Netherlands, are having a difficult time coming to grips with, and even acknowledging, this new situation. The authors say part of the problem is that the media is effectively controlled by the USA, introducing terms like 'rogue states', thereby suggesting there are such states.
The authors suggest that Europe should change its orientation from the USA to the UN and rising powers like China and use diplomacy instead of brute force, thus continuing the process the USA started, but has recently turned its back upon. In the world, Europe has more authority than it realises and within Europe the Netherlands is in a good position to effect such a change as one of the founding nations of the European Union (and international law) and a country that has always had a very international outlook (for trade purposes). According to the book Germany, France and Spain no longer follow the USA, as shown by their reaction to the Iraq war. According to the authors, once this new world order is established, the USA may once again take its place in it.
The book comes highly recommended by the former three-fold Dutch Prime Minister and European Community ambassador, Dries van Agt: This is an important and brave book. The writers may expect a lot of resistance and indignation. But it will certainly shake awake the daydreamers of the trustworthy Atlanticism from their comfortable snooze. (quote on the back cover) Mr. Van Agt also participated in the presentation of the book (see photo).
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