From In his 1962 speech, Kennedy called for a “Declaration of Interdependence” with Europe. The administration of George H.W. Bush produced the “Transatlantic Declaration.” President Bill Clinton launched the “New Transatlantic Agenda” and “Joint U.S.-EU Action Plan.” But no such vision has yet emerged from the Obama administration. Instead, framed by a pragmatic and unsentimental outlook, it appears that while the United States sees a collection of 27 countries with whom it can and must broker deals, it is not attune to ways to share wide-ranging goals.

While Russia has benefited from an Obama “reset” and the Chinese now have a “strategic” as well as economic dialogue, a new U.S. strategy towards the EU is hard to discern. And with the absence of a single European approach making transatlantic coordination cumbersome, unitary states such as China, India, Brazil, and even Russia are only too happy to fill in the leadership gap on a range of pressing issues from Iran to the global economy — but not always in a way that promotes U.S.-European interests. For example, in the delicate task of moving Iran away from a nuclear future, Europe’s cooperation will be important, but with their global clout and Security Council vetoes, China and Russia are also critical players. (photo: Sascha Schuermann/AFP/Getty)