Working as Ombudsperson for Human Rights in the State of Bosnia and Herzegovina in Sarajevo, Gret Haller became aware that the reactions of the United States and Europe are hardly ever the same, be it in Bosnia or in other parts of the world, with the current crisis in the Middle East offering just another example: in international negotiations it is always the United States that refuses to give up sovereignty. While Europeans view sharing as an instrument to guarantee freedom and peace, Washington sees it as a threat to its independence and power. Instead, the U.S. government relies on unsanctioned campaigns against rogue states. The author is not optimistic that the recent shift in the political climate in the U.S. will change this deeply ingrained attitude. In her book, based on in-depth and first-hand experience in the transatlantic political arena, the author concludes that any fresh approach towards addressing these differences will first require an understanding of their roots in history. In Europe, the Peace of Westphalia of 1648 began a development that led to the emergence of a nation-state that ultimately came to be based on shared sovereignty.
In the New World, however, the dominance of society over the state marked a break with that European tradition.
A lawyer by training, Gret Haller first worked in a private law practice in Bern and from 1984 to 1988 as a member of the municipal government of Bern. From 1987 to 1994 she served as a member of the Swiss parliament, of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, and later of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). From 1993 to 1994 she served as president of the Swiss Parliament. Following her tenure as ambassador of Switzerland to the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, she was elected by the OSCE to the post of Ombudsperson for Human Rights in the State of Bosnia and Herzegovina in Sarajevo. In 2007 she was appointed Assistant Professor at the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University, Frankfurt am Main.