Transatlantic Drift: The Present and the Future

Geir Lundestad

in The United States and Western Europe Since 1945

Published in print September 2003 | ISBN: 9780199266685
Published online April 2004 | e-ISBN: 9780191601057 | DOI:
Transatlantic Drift: The Present and the Future

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Discusses the transatlantic drift (or split) that has occurred between the US and Western Europe since the election of George W. Bush in December 2000, and the attack on the World Trade Centre in New York on 11 Sept 2001. The further tensions that have arisen since then over the Afghanistan and Iraq wars are discussed, as is the crisis over North Korea and the huge expansion in NATO and in the EU through the entry of Eastern European countries. The author presents speculations on the future of the American–Western European relationship, and forecasts an even further drift apart. This he bases on eight primary reasons, which he discusses in detail. These are: the Cold War is over; unilateralism is growing stronger in the US; the EU is slowly but steadily taking on an ever stronger role; out‐of‐area disputes are becoming increasingly frequent and they have been notoriously difficult to handle for the two sides of the Atlantic; redefinitions of leadership and burdens are always difficult to do; economic disputes are proliferating; even cultural disputes are becoming increasingly numerous; and finally, demographic changes are taking place, particularly on the American side of the Atlantic, that in the long run are likely to challenge the existing relationship.

Keywords: Afghanistan War; American–Western European relations; Cold War; cultural disputes; demographic change; Eastern Europe; economic disputes; EU; EU expansion; EU strength; George W. Bush; George W. Bush administration; Iraq war; NATO; North Korean crisis; out‐of‐area disputes; redefinition of relationship; September 11 2001; transatlantic drift; transatlantic split; unilateralism; World Trade Centre

Chapter.  12659 words. 

Subjects: International Relations

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