While a global recession of uncertain duration plagues the planet, the Atlantic countries are faced with an agenda of complicated, almost intractable international challenges. The surge of new protagonists on the world scene has been largely the result of a long period of relative stability and extraordinary economic growth thanks to the prevalence of Western paradigms. And yet they mark another step in the shrinking of the West's geostrategic relevance. Obama's America and half-integrated Europe should deal with this new multipolar world with a consistent and synergic approach, made up of a mix of traditional balance-of-power skills and systemic innovations. Over the past two decades, the US' solitary position at the apex of global power has made the analogy with imperial Rome common currency. While this is the wrong lesson to learn from classical history, the achievements and mistakes of ancient Greece and republican as well as imperial Rome may still help us, third millennium Europeans and Americans, sail through the stormy waters of today's planetary Mediterranean.