Basniak, Julia, 2015. THE TRANSATLANTIC RELATIONS AFTER COLD WAR IN NEO-REALISTIC AND NEO-LIBERAL DEBATES. Social and Human Sciences. Polish-Ukrainian scientific journal, 01 (05), pp. 27-39.
THE TRANSATLANTIC RELATIONS AFTER COLD WAR
IN NEO-REALISTIC AND NEO-LIBERAL DEBATES
УДК 327 „1991/2001”
Yuri’ Fedkovych Chernvitsi National University (Chernvitsi, Ukraine),
Chair of International Relations,
This article argues that disagreements between transatlantic partners will continue depending on the issue at stake. This is a process that started in the aftermath of the end of the Cold War and has continued notwithstanding the rise of a new and perceived common threat (i.e. Islamic terrorism). We need to conceptualize the transatlantic relations as part of a dynamic process that started with the collapse of the USSR and that is constantly constructed and re-constructed by European and American values, identities and social practices which ultimately determine their policies.
Keywords: Cold war, transatlantic relations, the West, neo-realism and neo-liberalism.
ТРАНСАТЛАНТИЧНІ ВІДНОСИНИ ПІСЛЯ ХОЛОДНОЇ ВІЙНИ У ДЕБАТАХ МІЖ НЕОРЕАЛІСТАМИ ТА НЕОЛІБЕРАЛАМИ
Чернівецький національний університет імені Юрія Федьковича (Чернівці, Україна),
кафедра міжнародних відносин,
У статті стверджується, що розбіжності між трансатлантичними партнерами продовжуються в залежності від викликів політичного порядку денного. Процес, який почався в період після закінчення холодної війни продовжується навіть незважаючи на появу нової спільної загрози (ісламський тероризм). Концептуалізація трансатлантичних відносин у рамках динамічного процесу, який почався із розпадом СРСР, і який постійно випробовує на міцність єдність європейських і американських цінностей, ідентичностей та соціальних практик. Адекватне розуміння трансатлантичного партнерства дає дослідження принципових дебатів між неореалістичною та неоліберальною школою тлумачення системи міжнародних відносин.
Ключові слова: Холодна війна, трансатлантичні відносини, Захід, нео-реалізм і нео-лібералізм.
On January 23rd, 2003, French and German leaders were outraged. French Finance Minister Francis Mer affirmed being „profoundly vexed” while German Foreign Minister Joschka Fisher declared that „we should try to treat each other sensibly” and added: „our position is not a problem, it is a constructive contribution”. . Such atypical outrage was caused by the remarks made the day before by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, who had defined France and Germany as „problems” vis-à-vis the U.S.A. intent to invade Iraq and had labeled them as representatives of the „old” Europe because of their insistence on finding a diplomatic solution that could avoid war with Iraq. On this point, and as a way of providing the full context of the remark, it is relevant to note that this comment intended to set the „old” Europe (i.e. France and Germany) in explicit contrast to the cooperativeness, of the „new” Europe (i.e. Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic). With his remark, Rumsfeld simultaneously irritated the leadership of Europe and undermined the European Union political project. The disagreement over Iraq prompted consensus on the hypothesis that, with the end of the Cold War, the basis for transatlantic relations was eroding [8, p.4] in which he talks about deep differences between the U.S. and Europe. Following the Iraq crisis, others envisaged such crisis as the cause of transatlantic political differences. „We are witnessing the dissolution of an international system” [9, p. 6]. But just how crucial was this crisis? And what relevance would it have for the future of the transatlantic allies?
During the Cold War years the transatlantic relationship as a military alliance managed to survive most challenges. As historian and International Relations scholar, Michael Cox reminds us, such a relationship „had its ups and downs, of course. Indeed, its whole history was marked by what seemed at the time to be terminal crises, from Suez to the Gaullist challenge, Vietnam to the clashes caused by Regan’s new Cold War of the early 1980’s” [3, p.524]. Nonetheless, its structure, as he puts it, „endured, like some sturdy medieval castle within whose thick walls the Americans and the Europeans could enjoy each other’s company even if they sometimes had their little family spats.” [3, p. 524.] Michael Cox is using interchangeably transatlantic relations, Americans and Europeans and NATO.
The transatlantic military alliance was builted, according to Lord Ismay, NATO’s first Secretary General (1952-1957), on three basic needs: „keeping the Russian out, the Germans down, and the Americans in”. There is not a uniform quotation of Lord Isamy’s famous phrase. In Michael Cox’s article is „to keep the Russians out, Germans down, and the Americans in” [3, p.523]. In Joseph Nye’s article is „to keep the Russians out, the American in, and the Germans down,” [15, p. 53.]. The transformation of Europe from the champion of power politics to a highly institutionalized region characterized by a supranational entity (i.e. the European Union), with Germany and France at its core, did not diminish the strategic value of maintaining a transatlantic relationship. The containment of communism was still vital and required a strong partnership with the United States; thus, the Americans had to „stay in”. Transatlantic relations, however, were not only about security; they were also about economic cooperation. Economic cooperation, however, did not stop with the Marshall Plan; since the United States also supported European economic integration. In the aftermath of WWII, the capitalist world economy was restructured under American leadership.
Nevertheless, as the Soviet Union unexpectedly collapsed, the crucial question shifted, and suddenly became: what impact would the end of the Cold War have on transatlantic relations? And will the U.S. and Europe keep cooperating, given the absence of a perceived common threat? This question spurred a wide debate in public and academic circles during the 1990s. From the numerous answers that emerged from those discussions one issue became clear: international relations specialists were sharply divided on the likely future direction of transatlantic relations. Two contending argumentative positions on the prospects of a transatlantic partnership, also reflecting two major theoretic approaches to security and cooperation in International Relations, emerged from the debate: in fealty to their belief that balance-of-power politics is the main determinant of international relations, neo-realists expected a worsening of Euro-American relations, while neo-liberals, following their core belief in the power of institutions, maintained an optimistic outlook.
Neo-realists argued that the lack of the Soviet threat would crumble Euro American military and economic cooperation. Because of the disappearance of the common threat, many contended, the US and Europe would not feel the need to prolong their cooperation in the military and economic realms. As long as the transatlantic allies had to confront the Soviet Union, neo-realists claimed they felt compelled to engage in military and economic cooperation. Conversely, with that threat removed, they argued, the basis for both types of cooperation was undermined [14, p. 5-56]; [ 4, pp.22-25].
Opposite to the neo-realist position, neo-liberals have emphasized instead that the prospect of a continued transatlantic cooperation between the US and Europe would remain, even in the absence of a common threat. They have argued that shared economic interests and political identities (i.e. democracy and free-market economies) as well as membership in public institutions such as NATO, WTO, IMF and G7 continued to constitute a stable basis for transatlantic cooperation. The absence of a common threat and the presence of such shared elements, neo-liberals argued, decreased the likelihood of separation between the transatlantic allies [13, pp. 445-475].
What seems to be missing or inadequately addressed in the existing literature on the future of the transatlantic partnership, is an analysis of the interactions or praxis of the United States and Europe within international institutions, during a period in which there has been no clear common enemy that could catalyze their political, military and economic relations. Providing evidence for their behavior, such an analysis would show the validity and usefulness of both the neo-realist and neo-liberal predictions for the future of the transatlantic relations. Further, it would tell us which prediction has been more accurate and insightful and would expose the underlying general theoretical assumptions of each approach with respect to a transatlantic partnership between the two powers. Additionally, such an analysis would offer an understanding of what issues the United States and Europe would consider worthy of cooperation, and therefore allow for more accurate predictions on the future of the transatlantic relations and the West.
In the late 1990’s, for example, the US abandoned important cooperative efforts supported by Europe, undermining multilateralism, and leaving Europeans on their own on the Kyoto global warming treaty (Kyoto Protocol, 1997), the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer or Anti-Personnel Mines and on Their Destruction (Ottawa Treaty, 1997), and the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court Treaty (Rome Statute, 1998). In light of these political divisions on multilateral efforts, the inevitable questions that need to be asked are: What do these behaviors tell us about the future of the transatlantic allies? Were they symptomatic of the opening of a gap which signaled larger political and cultural divisions within the partnership? Were they evidence of an ongoing reshaping of their relations? In addition, if so, what does this reveal to us about the West? Should it be redefined in the Post Cold war era?
Moreover, how can we characterize the West when it is no longer definable by an exclusively negative juxtaposition with the Soviet Union? Finally, is Islamic terrorism the new defining threat which can bring the West closer again, and set it off against a new enemy? These are some of the questions, which are guiding this investigation. Answering these questions requires the consideration of two factors: an assessment of the ongoing debates on the future of the transatlantic relations, and an understanding of the fluidity of those transatlantic relations. The explanations that dominate the literature on transatlantic relations and the West highlight important aspects of Euro-American relations (security-economic interests and political identities). None of the extant literature, however, adequately addresses another critical point: the contradictions in their praxis during the 1990’s, the interim period between the collapse of a perceived common enemy and the rise of a new one. These contradictions are pervasive in at least three critical areas: security, justice and economic development. In these critical areas, Euro-American relations have often been at odds.
The post Cold War West and transatlantic relations cannot be understood or conceptualized within an amorphous framework that elaborates on assumptions borrowed from the Cold War dynamics because that specific parameter is now obsolete. Indeed, the collapse of the USSR has changed the reality of the transatlantic partnership. Nonetheless, while it has not brought the entire church down it has unequivocally stirred a reformulation of transatlantic relations that is less dependent on the presence of a common enemy and more determined by the issues at stake. This article argues that disagreements and/or agreements will continue depending on the issue at stake. Both the United States and Europe will manage their relations on a ‘pick and choose’ basis. This process started in the aftermath of the end of the Cold War and has been continued notwithstanding the rise of a new and perceived common threat (i.e. Islamic terrorism). We need to conceptualize the transatlantic relations and the West as part of a dynamic process that started with the collapse of the USSR and on identity, values and social practices [1, pp. 317-356], [11, p.176].
Understanding Euro-American contemporary and future partnerships, and the forces that regulate them, requires being aware of the evolution in the praxis of their relations. This entails challenging the limitedness of „transatlantic relations” and „West” as identifiers of the relationship. We need to set limits and redefine these words (i.e. transatlantic relations and the West), which have become over determined by their usage during the Cold War. By continuing to use these terms to indicate common political, security and economic interests, we are missing how Euro-American divergent policies emerged. Yet defining the West in the post-Cold War world is not an easy task. The West is a security alliance, which defines security relations within the North Atlantic realm through a perception of itself as the ultimate moral authority. Nonetheless, the West is also a body of conflicting praxis shaped by divergent understandings of justice, unity and sovereignty and, ultimately, by a distance of values. This article reveals the inconsistencies between theorizations about the future of the transatlantic relationship and the praxis of the transatlantic partners in the international arena and suggests that predictions can only be made on a case-by-case basis taking into account how states’ praxis is constantly shaped by values, identities and social practices. In essence, we need to contextualize actions because, in order for us to understand them, they have to be related to and situated within the social context in which they develop.
With the end of the Cold War in 1991, a wide debate was generated that had International Relations specialists greatly divided on the future direction of transatlantic relations. In Europe, neo-realists were expecting that the demise of transatlantic relations would soon follow. This prediction, however, was highly contested by liberals who emphasized that the West would keep cooperating because they shared security and economic interests, as well as common norms, values and political identities. The collapse of the Soviet Union had, according to major neo-realist scholars, (we are referring to the neo-realists who participate in the debate about the future of the transatlantic relations, not to neo-realists in general), removed the glue that kept the West together militarily and economically. Because the West have been conceptualized against the communist threat and the necessity of containing it, the disappearance of such a common threat, they argued, removed the need for cooperation among Western nations.
It is worth underlining that each of the neo-realist works analyzed in this project predicts a split: some academics focus on the security alliance dissolution; others underline demise in economic cooperation. However, none within the neo-realist position seems to take into consideration that the West could keep cooperating simply because of shared common interests and identities. Thus, the neo-realist argument has been very consistent. All these scholars agree that the end of the Cold War would have crumbled Euro-American military and economic cooperation. John Mearsheimer, argues that NATO at the most will become an empty shell [14, p. 32].
Moreover, if the Cold War comes to a complete end, the United States will abandon Europe provoking the end of a stable bipolar order [14, p. 32]. Mearsheimer claims that the stability of bipolarity will be replaced by the instability of a multi-polar structure [14, p. 18]. Whether bipolarity leads to more stability than multi-polarity is not a topic to be discussed here; however, what is relevant for this study is the prevailing hint in his work regarding the worsening of military relations within the transatlantic alliance as a result of the end of the Cold War. This specific understanding, that post Cold War Europe and the U.S. will part ways is a prediction commonly shared within neo-realist scholarship. Owen Harries, for example, in his article „The Collapse of the West”, reinforces this point by arguing that the West could not endure the collapse of the Soviet Union because the concept of the West was constructed out of „desperation and fear” not „natural affinities” [10, p.42]. Thus, for Harries the end of the Cold War was also likely to produce a split within the military alliance.
In addition to the anticipated split on the military alliance, other neo-realists included a split in economic cooperation as well in their predictions on the future of transatlantic relations. According to these theorists, the end of the Cold War would produce, as a consequence of the military split, a corresponding economic split. Stephen Walt makes precisely such an argument [16, p.4]. While recognizing, along with other neo-realists, that the U.S. and Europe were brought together by the fear of the Soviet threat, Walt underlines that economic ties, during the Cold War, reinforced military cooperation. The argument Walt makes is that the U.S. needed Europe to be economically strong so it could contribute to the U.S. economic prosperity and that strengthened the transatlantic alliance [16, p. 6]. In other words, the common threat induced economic cooperation, which produced economic gains that ultimately enhanced the combined powers of the partners.
Conversely, Walt argues, the end of the Cold War through the elimination of the overriding common security interest will also loosen economic ties. For neo-realists, trade should serve power. Because power is relative, trade is desirable only when the distribution of benefits favors one’s own state over rivals. In addition, the expansion of the European Union, he suggests, will create further tensions. The Euro, Walt explains, has the potential to challenge the dollar as the principle international reserve currency. In his view, the loosening of economic ties will contribute to the estrangement of the transatlantic allies.
Finally, he argues that the end of the Cold War is inducing fragmentation and disorientation because there is no longer a sense of commitment to the Atlantic community, after rejecting the argument that cultural and ethnic ties brought Europe and America together, Walt argues that to the extent that such ties reinforced American interests in Europe their success is diminishing in the post Cold War because, he says, figure like Dean Acheson, Dwight Eisenhower, Paul Nitze and John Foster Dulles are no longer making foreign policy decisions and they have been succeeded by a new generation with „different memories.” The lack of a direct experience with WWII is, in Walt’s opinion, reason to be pessimistic about the future of the transatlantic alliance. He concludes by saying that even if the new generations might recognize the importance of transatlantic cooperation „it will never kindle the reflexive emotional response that it did for their parents and grandparents.”
This is a non-realist part of his argument. What is significant about such an argument is that while he makes a neo-realist argument in the article, with the classical assumptions about power balancing and threat, in the last part, when discussing „generational change, he does not look at the international system or at the state, but rather at the socio-cultural level” [16, p. 8.]. Americans are no longer willing to sacrifice for Europe, he contends, because of a generational change. „The people that built NATO were East Coast internationalists with strong personal and professional ties to Europe… They believed that Europe’s fate was worth fighting and perhaps dying-for, and they were willing to risk considerable blood and treasure to protect these allies” [16,p. 8]. However, he concludes, this is no longer the case. The end of the Cold War is thus producing, according to Walt, a transatlantic split.
The major problem with the neo-realist argument is that NATO did not disappear in the 1990’s. It did not become an empty shell and did not become moribund. Contrary to the neo-realist expectations, it remained the most important security institution in Europe. The transatlantic partners disagreed on how to transform NATO, but not on its importance, even in a world devoid of the threat once posed by the Soviet Union. Furthermore, in a post 9/11 world and consequently in the presence of a new perceived common threat (i.e. Islamic terrorism) the partners disagreed yet again on how to tackle the issue, not on the assumption that Islamic terrorism is the key threat to their security. Both document: „The National Security Strategy of the United States of America” (September 2002) and „A Secure Europe in a Better World” European Security Strategy (Brussels, December 2003) indicate Islamic terrorism as the new common threat ; .
Converse to the neo-realist position, in the 1990’s neo-liberals argued that the U.S. and Europe would keep cooperating because, even absent a common threat, the transatlantic partners share security and economic interests, norms, values, political identities and membership in public institutions. These factors, many neo-liberals claim, were and will be the basis of transatlantic cooperation. Such shared elements will decrease the chances of separation while stimulating cooperation.
Their assessment of the future of transatlantic relations is based on a three-fold understanding of shared constitutive elements of Euro-American partnership: 1) Common security, 2) economic interests, and 3) common values and political identity. In the post Cold War, neo-liberals claim, transatlantic relations will still be characterized by military cooperation. In 1993, James Elles wrote „Europe is America’s natural partner by virtue of its actual military capability” [7, p. 36]. He claims „the US has learned that its resources are finite and that the defense of its own legitimate interest, as in the Gulf war, has to be conducted in partnership with others.” In this sense Europe is America’s „natural” partner because of its economic and military capacity.
The logic behind his argument is that they are partners because the U.S. and Europe are committed to democratic institutions and market economy [7, p.36.]. John Duffield, in an article published in 1994, stressed that there was still a solid consensus between the U.S. and Europe on the need to preserve NATO. The Alliance, he emphasized, „continues to enjoy generally strong support from its member states” [6, p. 766.]. Joseph Nye also predicted that NATO would keep playing an important role because Europe has not been capable of solving the Balkan problem on its own [15, p.54].
In short, liberals contended that transatlantic relations would not be jeopardized by the collapse of the Soviet Union and that new threats would constitute the glue of the Euro-Atlantic alliance, ensuring the endurance of military cooperation. NATO and its survival would thus not be threatened because the U.S. and Europe acknowledge its importance as a security organization. The neo-liberal argument, however, also points at common economic interests that will guarantee cooperation in the West. James Elles identifies Europe and the U.S. as natural economic partners by virtue of their economic weight [7, p.38].
They claim that American and European societies are „permeated by market relations, mentalities and institutions” and, they add, „as the importance of the markets grow in these societies, their characters converge” [5, p.18]. Joseph Nye warns us not to listen too much to the „doom-sayers”. He in fact underlines that „while American trade with Asia has surpassed the one with Europe, American trade with Europe is still more balanced” [15, pp. 54-55]. He also points out that „American foreign investment in Europe still exceeds that in Asia” [15, p.55].
Similarly, Anthony Blinken emphasized that „American investment in Europe has increased seven-fold over the past six years” [2, p. 36]. This is, in his view, a sign of a strong relationship not weakened by the end of the East-West rivalry. Finally, neo-liberals emphasize that shared norms, values, political identities and membership in public institutions will continue to foster cooperation between the U.S. and Europe. Deudney and Ikenberry underline that the West is „bound by a web of complex institutional links and associations” which created what they call „the spirit” of the [5, p.19.]. Such „spirit,” they claim, is made of common norms, public mores, and political identities.
Because the U.S. and Europe share this „common spirit” within an international institutional framework, they are likely to keep cooperating. International institutions such as NATO embody Western common values and political identities and since they are also a regular part of U.S. and European domestic and international politics, those institutions cannot be considered merely instrumental, but rather the cornerstones of Western cooperation. James Elles agrees with the rest of the contributors in the neo-liberal camp and claims that there is no reason to be pessimistic about the future of the transatlantic relations, because the U.S. and Europe share the common values of democracy and a market economy [7, p. 41].
Furthermore, he stresses that they have also created „mechanisms, procedures and institutional and personal relationships for coordinating positions and resolving differences” [7, p. 35]. Of the same opinion is Kupchan who claims that „shared norms are working together to produce the cohesiveness of the transatlantic community” [12, p. 78]. Joseph Nye identifies the transatlantic communality of values in democracy and human rights, and claims that the U.S. shares such values more thoroughly with Europe than with most other states [15, p. 55]. Finally, Anthony Blinken argues that there is no value gap between Americans and Europeans and that „the U.S. and Europe are converging culturally” [2, p. 35]. As evidence, he maintains that while the American support for the death penalty is decreasing in the States, in Europe it is increasing. Hence, he concludes, transatlantic values are converging, rather than diverging. [2, p. 46].
Neo-liberal approaches which point out that the U.S. and Europe would remain cooperative even in the absence of a clear common threat, draw attention to some dynamics that seem to nurture transatlantic cooperation in general. When neo-liberals argue that military cooperation will endure because there is consensus on the need to maintain NATO as the leading security organization in Europe, their predictions appear more viable than the neo-realists’ ones. Nonetheless, neo-liberals failed to explain Euro-American disagreements in NATO. What is notably omitted from this literature is a clear engagement between the two contending argumentative positions on the prospect of a transatlantic partnership. Often neo-realists do not respond to neo-liberals arguments and often neo-liberals did not counter neo-realist claims. In essence, both approaches frequently speak past each other.
For example, the neo-realist argument that as a consequence of the disappearance of the Soviet Union the U.S. is likely to abandon Europe because of an increase of security choices is not addressed by the neo liberals. The analysis of the debate, however, also reveals contending arguments. Neo-realists for instance, argue that because of the vanishing of the common threat the increase of security options will reduce NATO strength, while neo-liberals claim that there is consensus in Europe and in the U.S. on the importance of NATO. The question that needs to be answered thus becomes: what was happening within NATO in the 1990s? In other words, is there any evidence, which could justify either position? Another mismatched argument in the debate is about the disintegration of the transatlantic community because of a decreased sense of loyalty within the members of the community itself.
Liberals do not address this realist argument and instead focus on shared security and economic interests, norms, values, political identities and membership in international institutions that integrated the transatlantic partners. They argue that these commonalities have constituted and will keep constituting the cohesiveness of the transatlantic community. The question which some of the contentious arguments raise is: Is there empirical evidence of the dissolution of the commitment to the Atlantic community during the 1990’s, or instead, institutions, norms and values kept the Atlantic community together during that period? The problem with both neo-realist and neo-liberal arguments on the future of transatlantic relations lies in the fact that neither of them analyzes Euro-American interactions within international institutions, during a period in which there was no clear common enemy which would force them into a political, military and economic cooperation. This is a major flaw because transatlantic relations were built and consolidated within institutions, and the most relevant of them has been NATO.
Created in 1949 to protect Western Europe from a possible attack by the Soviet Union, it soon became an institution of transatlantic-shared interests (protection against the Soviet threat) and shared values (promotion of democracy and peaceful relations among member states). During the Cold War, security interests and shared values within NATO constituted the basis for military cooperation and spurred economic cooperation. The logic behind transatlantic economic cooperation was that a prosperous Europe would be a stronger political and military partner. In those years, the U.S. and Europe became important trading partners. Transatlantic relations therefore should not be understood without an analysis of their interactions inside international institutions. Furthermore, a review of their mutual political praxis tells us when they agreed and when they disagreed. This can shed some light on the question of the transatlantic split or cooperation within the partnership in the aftermath of the end of the Cold War.
Such an analysis provides evidence as to whether there was an ongoing reshaping of the relations between the US and Europe. It helps us to identify the post Cold War West, and finally tells us if in fact Islamic terrorism is the new defining threat that can bring the West closer. At the same time, it can shed light on the neo-liberal claim that common values and norms will keep the transatlantic partners together. Outlined above, the question about the future of the transatlantic relations has spurred a wide debate both in public and academic circles. The consequences of the end of the Cold War for the U.S.-European partnership have been of great concern to many political scientists and international relations experts.
Many of the articles published on the subject however are non-theoretical or do not directly engage with international relations theories. The majority of the literature on the subject discusses the future of the transatlantic relations in non-academic journals, in policy-review editorials or in policy reports. It is because of these characteristics that I refer to my literature as “public debate” or as commentary by „public intellectuals.” Both contending positions tend to also offer unempirical grand explanations for the future of the West. In essence, these positions are rooted in speculation rather than recent history.
Neo-realists expected NATO to quickly wither away because of the disappearance of the Soviet Union. Neo-liberals instead were more optimistic and contended that there would be agreement on the importance of NATO. This case shows that in the 1990’s there were frictions on how to enlarge NATO. Nevertheless, it also reveals that some disagreements Neo-realists expected NATO to quickly wither away as a result of the disappearance of the Soviet Union.77 Neo-liberals instead were more optimistic and contended that there would be agreement on the importance of NATO. After more than two decades since the end of the Cold War and after the divisive controversy over the war with Iraq, the debate on the likely future of transatlantic relations is still thriving and articles and books continue to stress that transatlantic relations are dissolving; although not everyone agrees.
The sudden collapse of the Soviet Union and the resulting end of the East-West rivalry, had taken so many International Relations scholars by surprise that predictions on what would eventually happen with transatlantic relations in the future became the focus of a high spirited and ongoing debate. These experts in fact, were deeply divided: while neo-realists anticipated a deterioration of Euro-American relations, neo-liberals predicted the endurance of transatlantic cooperation The debate today has shifted to address the future role of the United States in NATO, on whether a coherent European Union could emerge as a challenge to that alliance, and what part, if any Russia is likely to play within such an union. To date, no firm conclusions have been reached, and the debate continues as to the future of transatlantic relations. Notwithstanding the sudden disappearance of the Soviet threat, the transatlantic allies’ renovated security identity has allowed NATO to acquire new tasks and prolong the military cooperation between Europe and the United States.
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