04.10.2021

Dossier: The transatlantic relationship

Download the latest FES DC and Social Europe Dossier

Featuring contributions from Delara Burkhardt, Alex Cobham, Giovanni Gruni, Mary Kaldor, Lauren Schwartz, Ania Skrzypek & Laeticia Thissen and Torrey Taussig.

This new dossier looks ahead to how relationships between the US and Europe could and should evolve over the coming years, up to two Democrat presidential terms, across a raft of issues. Often—especially from a ‘realist’ international-relations standpoint—the relationship is conceived narrowly in security terms, with taken-for-granted assumptions derived from the cold war as to what these terms must be.

Our fresh approach addresses security, certainly, but from a standpoint of how US and European institutions and social movements can work together to foster human security in a polycentric world—such as on the prevention and containment of further global pandemics—recognising that the major competitors in this context are what has become a rogue state in Russia under Vladimir Putin and the party-state dictatorship in China under Xi Jinping (both figures now constitutionally embedded as presidents for life). Can a new ‘global public opinion’ be formed behind the universal norms of democracy, human rights and the rule of law which transformed the ‘dark continent’ of Europe into a peace haven after 1945—bypassing the blocking vetoes of Russia and China, derived from the postwar balance of forces, at the United Nations—and in pursuit of the realisation of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals?

A collaborative, rather than protectionist, approach to trade is also be under scrutiny. A proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership met considerable public opposition in Europe over trade-related intellectual-property rights and private courts open to corporate complainants and was in any event abandoned when Trump took power. Should that agenda be reopened, in such a way as positively to protect labour and environmental standards as well as enable trade? And will Biden’s ‘Made in America’ thrust sit easily with that?

As in the interwar period, unregulated markets led inexorably to financial bubbles and to a crash, the associated insecurity fostering authoritarian populism in its wake. Now with populism once more in retreat on both sides of the Atlantic, can a progressive political alliance be reconstructed? And can it cope with today’s more complex agenda, embracing not just the conventional postwar socio-economic concerns but cultural and political issues, notably focused on gender, ethnicity and sexual orientation? The other agendas in this series are set to depend on it.

Download the dossier here.

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