Rethinking Transatlantic Relations in a Multipolar Era

In an era of emerging powers and growing interconnectedness, transatlantic relations have lost their bearings. Elaborating a paradigm replacing the Cold War-era notion of a community based on shared interests and identity is, however, an exercise fraught with problems. The empirical evidence is contrasting: signs of estrangement, such as the US 'pivot to Asia', coexist with instances of cooperation that hint at an enduring partnership, such as the plan for a transatlantic free trade area. Theoretically, the evolution of the relationship appears in a different light depending on the assumed perspective. In this article we build three alternative scenarios based on a neorealist, constructivist and liberal understanding of social politics. We argue that, by using the scenarios as analytical tools rather than predictions of the future, we may draw a more accurate picture. We then identify the conditioning factors that may set transatlantic relations on a specific path of development.

Revised and updated version of Three scenarios for the future of the transatlantic relationship, Roma, IAI, September 2012 (Transworld Working Paper 4).

in International Politics, Vol. 51, No. 3 (May 2014), p. 366-389
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