The author studied at Georgetown University, Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, and Leiden University. In 1966 he joined the diplomatic service of the Netherlands. He served with the Netherlands?s delegations to the United Nations and NATO, as deputy at the embassy to the German Democratic Republic at the time of the détente and the opening to the East, and at the military mission to the Allied Control Council in Berlin at the time of the fall of the wall. In The Hague he worked in the European integration section of the ministry of foreign affairs. After postings as ambassador to a number of African countries, his professional career ended as ambassador to Kazachstan, Kyrgystan, and Tadjikestan. He was fortunate to be at the right place at the right time to witness several of the most important developments in the trans-Atlantic partnership and in East-West relations and to observe first-hand the emergence of the post-Soviet successor states. He considers his writing to be a personal but objective view of the current state of the trans-Atlantic relationship and the most urgent problems confronting it. His intention is to provide the professional person not of the discipline who is interested in global political interrelationships with the information needed for a sound judgment. It is a pragmatic analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of central players in the trans-Atlantic cooperation, the United States of America and the European Union, in the formative years of the postmodern world order: where the Westphalian state is gradually being replaced by regional and global project-driven functional cooperation, where the need to provide for the physical security and the material well-being of the individual has replaced ideology as the driving force for political action, and where the rule of law prevails over the rule of power.