Transatlantic Relations: Permanent Alliance or Perpetual Crisis?

Stanley R. Sloan: Transatlantic Relations: Permanent Alliance or Perpetual Crisis?, AIES Fokus 2/2014.




The on-going discussion in the European Union, NATO and in Western capitals about how to understand, and what to do about, Russian aggression against Ukraine has revealed some clear fault lines.  Some of those fault lines run through the Atlantic, but even more dramatic ones have emerged between those NATO and EU members who live in Russia’s immediate neighborhood and those who do not. 

This analysisi provides some historical perspectives on the transatlantic relationship as background for what may become a very difficult Euro-Atlantic debate on how to deal with Vladimir Putin’s Russia in the wake of his recent actions in Ukraine.  The analysis starts from the premise that the transatlantic alliance was born in crisis, and that the history of transatlantic relations since 1949 can be seen, in part, as driven by perceived crises and the responses of the transatlantic allies to those crises.ii
It proceeds from the premise that it is a mistake to look at transatlantic relations as simply an interaction between the United States on one side and “Europe” on the other.  Europe has never been so coherent to be able to describe it as one entity, particularly when it comes to defense and security interests of European states.

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