The Alliance: Verbal Volleys

Growling across the Atlantic

From Paris to Bonn, from London to Rome, the reaction was immediate: a touch of pique, a dash of perplexity and a pinch of barely controlled anger. "It doesn't help us achieve a clearer under-standing of each other's problems, does it?" asked a British official. A diplomat in Bonn called it "unfortunate, ill tuned and wrong." Said an Italian official: "We were rather surprised. We would like to react, but it is wiser that we don't."

The restraint was admirably diplomatic, considering the provocation. The day before, U.S. Under...

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