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Transatlantic relations from Truman to Trump

This book is an interpretive history of transatlantic security from the negotiation of the North Atlantic Treaty in 1948–1949 to the turbulence created by President Trump, British departure from the European Union (Brexit) and the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. The book concludes with analyses of possible futures for the West and observes “the most disruptive force of all has been the American presidency of Donald J. Trump. Trump refused to accept virtually all the political and strategic assumptions on which transatlantic political, economic, financial, and security relations have been based for 70 years. And, given the transatlantic alliance’s heavy reliance on American leadership and involvement, Trump’s lack of commitment has placed huge question marks over the West’s future.”

Stanley R. Sloan

it,” is popular for a good reason. We do need to learn from history, even if it doesn’t predictably repeat itself. And, as Timothy Sayle has remarked in an excellent new history of NATO’s Cold War history, “If history is not repeating itself, do the policy papers and memorandums of conversation of post-Cold War NATO officials at least rhyme with the archival record?” 4 In the case of transatlantic relations, two global conflicts in the last century led democratic leaders at the end of World War II to agree on some major international steps to try to avoid

in Defense of the West (second edition)
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turbulent transatlantic ties
Stanley R. Sloan

headed for the White House or the US Capitol, crashed in a field in Pennsylvania after passengers learned of the other three hijackings and decided to try to wrest control of the aircraft from the terrorists. As the United States, Europe, and the world turned their eyes toward the threat posed by international terrorism, important questions remained unanswered about the relationship between the United States and Europe in the alliance. September 11 and transatlantic relations On the morning of September 12, the Paris daily Le Monde headlined their story on the 9

in Defense of the West (second edition)
Stanley R. Sloan

In considering the future of transatlantic relations and “defense of the West,” it is important to take into account not only the external threats that NATO and the EU will face but also the internal challenges confronting Western nations, which will affect their ability to deal effectively with those external threats. This chapter inventories the external threats and the internal challenges, while examining the interactive dynamic between the two categories and discussing the circumstances under which NATO and EU member states may, or may not, be successful in

in Defense of the West (second edition)
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new tasks, new traumas
Stanley R. Sloan

Two key developments in the late 2000s played a major role in shaping the opening of the next decade in transatlantic relations. One of those developments was the 2008 election of Barak Obama to replace George W. Bush as president of the United States. The second development was the descent of the Western economic system into the worst decline since the great depression of the 1930s. Barack Obama entered the White House in January 2009 pledging to end the combat roles of the United States in both Iraq and Afghanistan and to pursue a less interventionist

in Defense of the West (second edition)
Stanley R. Sloan

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 transatlantic relations as

in Defense of the West (second edition)
Stanley R. Sloan

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 transatlantic relations—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

in Defense of the West (second edition)
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transitions and challenges
Stanley R. Sloan

Christopher called “the problem from hell.” 50 Transatlantic relations over Bosnia policy were also troubled by the fact that the United States saw and understood the conflict largely as one involving an aggressor—the Bosnian Serbs, supported by Serbia—against the much weaker Bosnian Muslims. The Europeans, for the most part, believed the conflict should be seen as a civil war in which all parties were to blame. These two different interpretations of the conflict produced divergent policy preferences. The approach to the conflict favored by many members of the US Congress

in Defense of the West (second edition)
Stanley R. Sloan

the face of congressional skepticism. The United States and France continued through much of the alliance’s first 70 years to pursue different visions for the future of transatlantic relations, but into the second decade of the twenty-first century new leaders in Washington (President Barack Obama) and Paris (Presidents Nicolas Sarkozy and then François Hollande) narrowed the gap between American and French attitudes. In Europe, France still worries about Germany, but now it is a reunited Germany’s “soft” power and its pacifistic tendencies that trouble Paris the

in Defense of the West (second edition)