What Europe's New Leaders Could Do

The arrival of fresh faces in France and Britain could lead to closer ties between America's oldest European allies. That's also good news for the U.S.

Thomas Dworzak / Magnum for TIME

A Sarkozy campaign poster reflected in a Paris window. The Gaullist drew support from young and old voters to win the presidency.

Half a century ago, the Prime Minister of France came up with a novel idea. Then as now, the world was occupied with the specter of war in the Middle East--this one precipitated by Egypt's decision to nationalize the Suez Canal. As troops from France and Britain geared up to attempt to take back the canal, Guy Mollet, France's Socialist Prime Minister, secretly presented his British counterpart Anthony Eden with a proposal: What if France and Britain became one country?

The idea was quickly dropped, and when its details were disclosed for the first time earlier this year, citizens of both...

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