Trouble in Pax Atlantica? the United States, Europe, and the Future of Multilateralism

David G. Haglund

in US Hegemony and International Organizations

Published in print February 2003 | ISBN: 9780199261437
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191599309 | DOI:
 Trouble in Pax Atlantica? the United States, Europe, and the Future of Multilateralism

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Takes up the relationship between the US and regional multilateral organizations in Europe, in particular, NATO (the North Atlantic Treaty Organization), and the European Union (specifically the common European security and defence policy, or ESDP). It is suggested that US relations with Europe are an indicator of the US commitment to multilateralism more generally, and argued that the US approach to NATO has been driven by a combination of international structural factors (the distribution of capabilities) and the key domestic factor of national character (the liberal identity of the US). These very same factors hold important consequences for NATO because the US is the decisive actor in NATO, which, as a political entity, reflects the multilateralism that has its foundations in US national character, but as a military instrument, reflects the dominant power of the US. The resulting tensions in NATO were finessed more easily during the cold war, in the face of a common enemy, but are more significant in the current unipolar system, which exaggerates both the incentives for the US to act unilaterally and the frustration of European states who are less able to constrain the US yet unwilling to act independently. The author expects NATO to become less rather than more important to the US in the years ahead, and thus to matter less as a multilateral organization. The different sections of the chapter are: Isolationism as Multilateralism's ‘Other’?; Sources of America's Eurocentric Multilateralism; Systemic Change and American Behaviour: The Case of NATO; Consequences for Multilateral Organizations: The EU and the ESDP; and The Bush Administration and the European Allies.

Keywords: behaviour; Bush; common European security and defence policy; ESDP; Europe; European Union; isolationism; multilateral organizations; multilateralism; NATO; North Atlantic Treaty Organization; regional organizations; US; US relations with Europe; US relations with NATO

Chapter.  11984 words. 

Subjects: International Relations

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