A transatlantic debate heats up as France and Italy defy the U.S.
"The spirit of commerce has a tendency to soften the manners of men, and to extinguish those inflammable humours which have so often kindled into war."
Alexander Hamilton, 1787
Though spoken by one of America's founding fathers, that approving view of the benefits of commerce among rival powers seems to have few adherents in official Washington these days. Hamilton's thesis is regarded by President Reagan as a dangerous illusion that should have been shattered by the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, Moscow's...