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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.”

Has illiberalism brought the West to the brink of collapse?
Series: Pocket Politics

The West of which we speak is defined by the values of liberal democracy, individual freedom, human rights, tolerance and equality under the rule of law. This book explores how Islamist terror and Russian aggression as companion threats to the West when terrorists target Russia as well as the United States and its allies. The threats posed by Islamist terror and Russian aggression present themselves in very different ways. In the time of transatlantic traumas, the Islamist terrorist threat and the Russian threat have worked diligently and with some success. The book examines the hatred of Islamists towards Western democracies, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the European Union for their involvement in the Middle East politics for several decades. There is no single explanation for the rising popularity of illiberalism in the Western democracies; a combination of factors has produced a general sense of malaise. The book discusses the sources of discontent prevailing in the Western countries, and looks at the rise of Trumpism, Turkey and its Western values as well as the domestic tensions between Turkey's political parties. It suggests a radical centrist populist Western strategy could be applied to deal with the threats and challenges, reinvigorating the Western system. The book also touches upon suggestions relating to illiberalism in Europe, Turkey's drift away from the West, and the Brexit referendum.

Stanley R. Sloan

This chapter pauses the historical narrative to take stock of some of the factors that influenced the strengths and weaknesses of the transatlantic alliance. It argues that NATO is more than a military alliance and that its political role is critical to its success. It examines the aspects of geography, history, ideology, international and regional roles, and capabilities that affect alliance relationships. It then shines a light on the perpetual burden-sharing issue that has been part of the alliance from the beginning and will likely persist for as long as the alliance survives.

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

The first chapter presents a definition of the context for the book, examining the origins and meaning of the “transatlantic bargain” and how the transatlantic alliance fits into various approaches to alliance theory. It then looks at the many aspects and roles of the alliance that have evolved over more than seven decades.

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

This chapter examines the historical foundations of the alliance, stimulated by the European desire for the United States to remain present in Europe. To convince the United States to do so, they sought to demonstrate their willingness to contribute to their own defense by agreeing to the 1948 Brussels Treaty of Economic, Social and Cultural Collaboration and Collective Self-Defence, which then led to negotiation of the 1949 North Atlantic Treaty. The chapter identifies the motivations of the leading actors and the issues that remained after signature of the treaty. It then tracks the treaty’s progression through the advice and consent of the US Senate and its transformation into the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

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

This chapter documents the failed European attempt to keep to their part of the transatlantic bargain by establishing a European Defence Community (EDC). It then reports on how the United States and its allies cobbled together in the London and Paris agreements arrangements to substitute for the EDC and set the terms for the Federal Republic of Germany’s membership in the alliance. The text argues that this outcome fundamentally altered the original transatlantic bargain, making the alliance much more dependent on American nuclear and non-nuclear forces.

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

This chapter opens by examining the dramatic end of the Cold War, the fall of the Berlin Wall, the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact and then the Soviet Union and reunification of Germany. It studies the challenges posed by the Balkan conflicts and how those struggles affected relations among the allies. It looks at the questions facing the allies concerning the future of the alliance in a new European security environment and then examines in detail the process of NATO enlargement begun when former Warsaw Pact allies of the Soviet Union pleaded to join the West through accession to NATO and the European Union. It assesses how this dynamic affected the West’s relations with Russia and its attempts to maintain cooperation with Moscow even while accepting countries with which the Russians had only a few years before shared either membership in the Warsaw Pact or status as Soviet Republics. The chapter also traces developments in relations between NATO and the European Union, which had been formed out of the European Communities in the 1992 Treaty of Maastricht.

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

This chapter opens by focusing on how the unilateralist approach of the new George Bush administration in the United States threatened alliance solidarity. This focus was quickly overtaken by the terrorist attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001. The chapter reports on invocation of NATO’s collective defense provision—Article 5—for the first time in alliance history. It contrasts allied support for the United States in the Afghanistan War with the profound differences among the allies about the Iraq War, which led to more general tensions in transatlantic relations between the United States and the European Union. The chapter also focuses on the deteriorating relationship with Russia, as the Bush administration sought to push Georgia and Ukraine toward NATO membership and Russia intervened militarily, initially in Georgia, to prevent that happening. The chapter closes with the allies welcoming the end of the second term of the Bush administration and hoping for policies from the successor more in sync with European preferences.

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

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.

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

This chapter analyses the major changes to the alliance that occurred during the Cold War, from 1954 to 1989. It examines France’s departure from NATO’s Integrated Command Structure, the impact of détente on the alliance and the adoption of the Harmel formula of “defense and détente” policies to respond to the challenges from the Soviet Union. It reports on the transition of nuclear strategy from massive retaliation to flexible response, the British decision to join the European Community, the Federal Republic of Germany’s growing importance, and the developing coordination of foreign and security policy in the European Community.

in Defense of the West (second edition)