The 2010s
new tasks, new traumas
in Defense of the West (second edition)
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This chapter opens with the positive notes for the alliance of Barack Obama’s ascent to the US presidency and France’s return to NATO’s command. A worldwide “great recession” cast a dark cloud over the West. But with the uncertainties surrounding the Bush administration’s commitment to the alliance gone, the allies set about preparing a new strategic concept. The 2010 Lisbon concept adjusted NATO’s mission to reflect new realities, including preparing for more non-Article 5 crisis management contingencies. Possibilities for improved relations with Moscow were dashed in 2014 by Russia’s seizure of Ukraine’s Crimea region and intervention in the eastern parts of the country. The West responded at the Wales Summit with new sanctions and commitments to increase defense spending. The chapter looks also at NATO’s awkward intervention in Libya, helping remove Muammar Gaddafi from power but leaving the country in chaos. The chapter concludes by examining the traumas that confronted the West in the middle of the decade including a general tendency toward illiberal politics in many NATO and EU nations, Turkey’s drift away from the West, the British decision to leave the EU and, most prominently, the shock of Donald Trump’s antagonism toward Europe, NATO and the EU, autocratic inclinations, and friendship with Russian President Putin.

Defense of the West (second edition)

Transatlantic relations from Truman to Trump

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