the US President, Franklin Roosevelt, were considered by many in
senior political circles to have established a common and enduring bond
that was unique among nations, both in kind and intensity. But the balance of power between the two countries was far from equal, and transatlanticrelations were far from trouble-free.2 Notable weak points centred
on the issues of Palestine and cooperation over nuclear weapons technology (particularly following the US decision to cease bilateral collaboration
in 1946), while the ongoing themes of economic and international rivalry
, Trump’s disregard for NATO, his contempt for the EU and his tendency to treat Germany as an enemy rather than an ally made him Moscow’s accomplice in weakening transatlanticrelations. His assault on Germany for its low level of defence spending and the hostility of his administration to Nord Stream 2 were a deeply unnerving experience for German policymakers that look set to recede to some extent under the presidency of Joe Biden. However, even if the atmosphere improves, a return to the pre-Trump status quo in Germany’s relations with the USA looks unlikely because
[…] Notwithstanding this draft on its resources, it at present holds
perhaps a higher position in the country than it ever occupied before.
In common with other denominations its population has of late
declined; but its ministers and congregations since the beginning of
the century have more than doubled’.16 Like Catholic clergy, Presbyterians could therefore identify significant ways in which, despite its
losses, their church had profited by emigration. Not least of these was
the fostering of transatlanticrelations which had been so important
in initiating the transformative 1859
The more things change the more they stay the same?
María J. García and Arantza Gómez Arana
ground, but rather set the framework for greater external pressure on the issues (García's chapter).
Beyond government-level interactions, inter-parliamentary dialogues have also been firmly institutionalised within transatlanticrelations. As with other high-level inter-regional dialogues, Eurolat has failed to reach agreements. Subsequent decisions and plans for action on key issues, such as the deteriorating social situation in Venezuela, have failed to materialise, given different views on the matter and Latin American states’ opposition to
values on which the transatlantic alliance was founded had triumphed.
The time for celebration, however, was short. The allies almost immediately found themselves dealing with the consequences of their victory and asking questions as fundamental as “Do we still need NATO if there is no more Soviet threat?”
The chapters that follow in Part II of this book discuss how the allies responded to this challenge, and how international events shaped the post-Cold War alliance. This chapter, however, reflects on some of the fundamental factors in transatlanticrelations as
George Washington and Anglo-American memory diplomacy,
transatlantic elites: politicians, diplomats, ambassadors, civil servants, philanthropists, and specially formed private associations including, significantly, women’s patriotic societies. Eager to bolster transatlanticrelations in the present, such elites trawled the past for figures and events that they could claim – and commemorate – as indicative of a uniquely close Anglo-American bond. 12 The important role played by such activities in the post-1945 era has certainly received attention. 13 But by examining the period from the Anglo-American rapprochement of the 1890s
at Europe, and that desire resonated throughout transatlanticrelations – and the rest of the world – through the century. 7
The focus on the twentieth century differs from the acknowledged subject-area of Atlantic Studies, which examines the interchanges of the era of the great revolutions and the slave trade, and peters out some time in the early 1800s. 8 What sets this transatlantic era apart is the scale and depth of US–European interactions, ranging from large-scale migration, to the transfer of political causes and scientific
more capable soldiers, organizers, businessmen and politicians.” 17
More than 60 years later, concerns about Germany’s potential political and economic domination of Europe still haunt many French politicians and influence French attitudes toward European integration and transatlanticrelations—plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose! (the more things change, the more they remain the same). However, French concerns about Germany today relate more to the studied pacifism that influences Germany’s contemporary approach to security challenges and Berlin’s economic
administration under President Trump that caused the tensions in transatlanticrelations, the UK's decision to leave the EU that reduced its role as a transmission belt of EU states’ interests, and an increase in competition within the international system, a reduction in the strength and coherence of the transatlantic coalition in the Security Council lowered the political cost of opposing the US's proposals for Russia and China.
Sponsorship of draft resolutions on
European Integration , 38(7): 791–806.
Hamilton, D., 2014. ‘The Transatlantic Pivot’, in Roy, S., Cooper, D. and Murphy, B. M. (eds), TransatlanticRelations and Modern Diplomacy: An Interdisciplinary Examination (New York: Routledge), p. 81f.
Ikenberry, J. and Inoguchi, T. (eds), 2013. Reinventing the Alliance: US – Japan Security Partnership in an Era of Change (New York: Palgrave Macmillan).
Midford, P., 2010. ‘Historical Memory versus Democratic Reassurance: The Security Relationship between Japan