Reinventing transatlantic relations

European and american's flags

The Cold War (1947-1991) was a structuring framework for transatlantic relations for over four decades. On the one hand it prompted the United States to pursue massive political, economic, and military commitment in Europe, and on the other it made NATO the core of its members’ defence strategy in the face of the USSR and the Warsaw Pact. The end of the East-West conflict consequently raised questions regarding the future of transatlantic relations. In reaffirming the US strategy of engagement in Europe, George Bush and later Bill Clinton silenced isolationist voices in the United States, and moreover opened new possibilities for transatlantic relations: beyond NATO and the security of the Atlantic space, these relations would impose themselves as a motor for the political and economic integration of all European states. Diverging economic interests have nevertheless prevented the conclusion of a genuine agreement in this area. The emergence of new competing powers could lead to the conclusion of these negotiations in the coming years.