Atlanticist and “Post-Atlanticist” Wishful Thinking

08/01/2018 | by Jana Puglierin, Hans Kundnani

The German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF), Policy Essay No. 01/2018, January 3, 2018

Category: Transatlantic Relations

The publication of an Atlanticist manifesto by a group of leading German foreign policy analysts has prompted a lively debate about whether or not Germany, and by extension the European Union, should “preserve” the transatlantic partnership or decouple itself from the United States and pursue a “post-Atlanticist” foreign policy.

Both sides of the debate make important points. But the Atlanticists underestimate the long-term shift taking place in U.S. foreign policy and the “post-Atlanticists” underestimate the ongoing significance of military power and the dependence of Europeans on the United States in security terms. Both sides of the argument reach the same conclusion about the approach that Germany and the EU should take toward the United States while Donald Trump is president: compartmentalization. But this approach is much more problematic than they recognize. The dilemma that Europe faces is thus more intractable than either the Atlanticists or the “post-Atlanticists” suggest. The uncertainty about U.S. engagement in Europe forces Europeans to move quickly toward greater “strategic autonomy.” But taking steps to becoming more independent may further undermine U.S. commitment. In short, Europe is between a rock and a hard place. 

Read the full article on the website of The German Marshall Fund of the United States

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