Globalisation:Atlantic Partnership: Atlanticism and it's Critics

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Globalisation: Atlantic Partnership


Atlanticism became the foundation of British foreign and security policy for the duration of the Cold War. The uniqueness of being a trustworthy ally in the circumstance of a hostile international system produced a union of interests across a variety of security and defence issues. Following the tragedy of 9/11, international relations imply a very dissimilar context. Conscious of its principal position in the unipolar order, the “imperial public” has verified that it is not satisfied to act as a status quo power.[1]

In order to recover ground with the United States the EU is suggesting improving transatlantic relations further than the traditional Atlanticism one to one that is more orientated around results and lead by tactical precedence, such as the Atlantic Partnership.[2]

In the 21st century, Atlanticism has undergone important adjustments due to terrorism and [the 2003 war in Iraq], the main consequence being a new inquiring of the idea itself and a new insight that the security of the particular countries quite possibly need alliance action outwith the North Atlantic terrain. Following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, NATO -which has strong links to the Atlantic Partnership through individuals such as John Gilbert - for the first time invoked Article 5, stating that any attack facilitated on a member country will be seen as an attack on the entire group of members.[3]


On the 24th of June, 2005, the Streit Council for a Union of Democracies prearranged a panel on Atlanticism in 20th century U.S. Foreign Policy at the Annual Meeting of the Society of Historians of American Foreign Relations. The panel tackled the question of whether American foreign policy could resolve some popular contrasts, particularly the European soft power versus American hard power choice offered by Robert Kagan - who has been linked with the Atlantic Partnership [4] - and discovered that the Atlantic integrationist approach had supplied an efficient blend during much of the twentieth century.

Also, the panellists analysed the reason why the Atlanticist postwar strategy of combining an initial grouping of democratic countries succeeded in attracting other countries to democratize and join, opposing to the observation that much of the academic and activist worlds had taken that it would cause other countries to unite against it. They disputed that the Atlanticist approach had united universalism with regionalism in two ways: a “nucleus” tactic of moving from the regional toward the universal by persuading others to join, and a concentric circles approach supporting both inner (Atlantic) and outer (global) levels of international organisation, with the inner circle offering direction and enthusiasm, and the outer circle offering global legal standards and authenticity. The complexity of this approach materialized out of the disturbing experiences of the World War I and World War II generations. The internationalists of the period became well aware of the insufficiency of every basic form of internationalism and developed a more sophisticated one. After 1947 they were capable of applying, in a biased, Euro-Atlantic structure, both strategies-- concentric circles and open nucleus – raising their notion to the level of the core project of the 20th century American foreign policy.[5]

As the end of 2005 was drawing in, the officials of Europe and America are stimulated over how, for trans-Atlantic relations, it has been a good year. The undersecretary of state for political affairs , Nicholas Burns - who has attended conferences held by the Atlantic Partnership[6]- says “Europe and the United States have rebuilt bridges across the Atlantic, ended the war of the words sparked by discord over Iraq and recognized the fundamental truth that the trans-Atlantic partnership is a long-term marriage not susceptible to separation or divorce.” There are two large structural disjunctions that are expected to be the roots of future trouble. The first is said to be that trans-Atlantic relations presently have little focus upon Europe, in the view of the Europeans; these relations are still very much focused on the United States. The analysis which Burns makes was regularly repeated in Washington at that time. It is a gracious declaration about how Europe is not at the centre of U.S. geopolitical strategy. “Now that the process of postwar European construction has largely been achieved, the question is no longer what Washington thinks about Europe, but what the United States and Europe can do together to promote their interests and values, and spread democracy, in the rest of the world.” Collectively with acknowledgment of the increasing role of the EU, this new approach was intentionally highlighted by President George W. Bush’s visit to the European Commission in Brussels in February 2005, which was the first by a U.S. president. To those of the Brussels-orientated European elite who would like to trust that the EU is on the edge of becoming an equal partner to the United States on the world level, this approach is seductive. However, this idea is, for the most part, based on self-delusion. While the United States still wants Europe as a source of help for a variety of reasons, Washington does not often put the word “equal” ahead of “partner”. The essential trouble is that regardless of Washington’s blandishments, most of the European intelligentsia, the news media and the political classes deem the United States, especially under Bush, as overbearing and unsafe. They seize upon every supposed transgression, from professed “torture flights” they carry suspected terrorists to undisclosed prisons to alleged violations of American civil liberties, as keenly as Bush’s most potent rivals in the United States. “This distorted view of America is fed by widespread envy of U.S. power. As long as it persists, many Europeans will be reluctant to commit themselves to a stronger Atlantic partnership.” The second large structural disjunction is stemmed from the variety of ways in which Europeans and Americans think the world should be controlled. The truth is that EU and U.S. officials frequently stress that the EU is making key donations to peace in such places as Yugoslavia and Afghanistan and working on the matter of Iran’s nuclear predicament with Washington. However, the model European outlook of how Western influence and especially military force should be put forth in the 21st century, is fundamentally contrasting to America’s and is liable to remain as such. In spite of the indisputable developments on the surface, these deep, underlying trans-Atlantic pressures are not likely to have been resolved within the next few years.[7]

Tim Dunne's journal entry ‘When the shooting starts’: Atlanticism in British security strategy” in International Affairs, criticises Atlanticism arguing it is a way in which the United States can exercise power over its European ‘allies’. It shows that the most predominant transatlantic relationship is between the US and the UK, Dunne argues that the invasion of Iraq in 2003, ‘shows that Britain continues to place the bilateral connection with the United States above all other obligations’ and questions whether ‘atlanticist identity’ will succeed in delivering the interests of the United Kingdom or just be beneficial to the United States [8] ultimately this journal entry believes atlanticism describes individuals and organizations who support coalition between the United States and Europe, with it being dominated and led by the United States.


NATO has defended the relevance of Atlanticism arguing that it is changing and modernising over time, "Today, the European Union is an economic equal to the United States. So the United States has every right to expect a more even sharing of the security burden with its prosperous European Allies. Thus, if NATO and the European Union today are building new ties between each other, if Europe and North America re-adjust their security relationship, they remain fully within the logic of Atlanticism - because Atlanticism is not static. It is a constant process of mutual adjustment." [9] The Atlantic Partnership strives to develop realationships between political bodies which is highlighted in NATO's defence of atlanticism, a main feature of Atlanticism that is still prominent from the days of the Cold War is, "the need for integration, and the linking of security and economics, still applies today. Nowhere is it more visible than in the complementary efforts by NATO and EU to project stability eastwards by offering membership to some, while associating others." [10] Ultimately NATO details that Atlanticism should not be criticised as as 'short-term marriage of convenience between Europe and North America' but instead that it rests on the conviction that the nations of Europe and of North America are like-minded nations - nations who trust and respect each other, nations who are better off together than apart. [11]

America favours the connections that Atlanticism can empower, the Washington Times expresses it delight;"The dawn of a New Alanticism comes as a welcome surprise. After years of benign neglect, European leaders who are energetic and emancipated Atlanticists in Germany, France and England are ready to shoulder new responsibilities outside their borders"[12]

Therefore orgasnisations like the Atlantic Partnership who allow for Atlanticism are supported on either side of the Atlantic.


  1. ""FIghting For Values": Atlanticism, Internationalism and the Blair Doctrine" allacademic research. Accessed 15 November, 2010.
  2. "EU wants a new Atlanticism" EurActiv. Accessed 16 November, 2010.
  3. "Statement by the North Atlantic Council" NATO. Accessed 15 November, 2010.
  4. "Still the Colossus" Atlantic Partnership website. Accessed 16 November, 2010.
  5. "Atlanticism in 20th Century U.S. Foreign Policy" Streit Council for a Union of Democracies. Accessed 16 November, 2010.
  6. "Healing the Rift - London Conference" Atlantic Partnership website. Accessed 16 November, 2010.
  7. Reginald Dale (2005) Behind the smiles, trans-Atlantic bile; Europe and the U.S. The International Herald Tribune. December 29, 2005 Thursday.
  8. ”[Dunne, T (2004) When the shooting starts’: Atlanticism in British security strategy” International Affairs, accessed 14th November 2010]”
  9. "The Relevance of Atlanticism" NATO accessed 16th November 2010
  10. "The Relevance of Atlanticism" NATO accessed 16th November 2010
  11. "The Relevance of Atlanticism" NATO accessed 16th November 2010
  12. "Horizons of the new Atlanticism" Washington Times, accessed 16th November 2010