Redefining the Transatlantic Security Relationship

The transatlantic security relationship is built on strong and enduring shared values. Americans and Europeans share, on the whole, similar perceptions about the nature of power, the norms that should guide relations among states, as well as a desire to promote democracy and basic human rights. The US and Europe also share most of their security objectives, this being particularly true when speaking of non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and tackling state weakness around the world. Not surprisingly, therefore, our elite survey revealed that elites across the Atlantic are supportive of each other’s role in maintaining international security, and wish to remain partners through NATO. However, the partnership is exposed to a serious risk of fragmentation driven by changes in the international landscape, mainly the rise of multipolarity and the emergence of China as a major security player in East Asia, and by events with significant internal implications such as the financial crisis that started in 2007 and the subsequent Eurozone crisis and the emergence or multiplication of crises from Libya and Mali to the Middle East and Ukraine. These developments could easily pull the transatlantic partners in different directions, perhaps more so than any other change of the past half-century, creating tensions between the two, and bringing into question the usefulness of their alliance.
Paper produced within the framework of the IAI project Transworld.

Roma, Istituto affari internazionali, September 2014, 28 p.
Publication date: 


1. An Enduring Partnership: Shared Values and Goals
1.1 Context: Power, burden-sharing and NATO
     Nature and use of power
     A stronger alliance? Or more independence?
1.2 Convergence on Specific Security Issues
     Non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction
     Cyber security

2. Discrepancy and Fragmentation Across the Atlantic: Trends Pointing to Future Developments
2.1 Context: Changes in the geo-strategic environment, domestic withdrawal and ideational factors
     Geo-strategic environment, its complexity and the limited efficiency of power
     Domestic withdrawal
     Ideas, values and norms
2.2 Discrepancies over Specific Security Issues
     Rising Powers



Research area