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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Transatlantic Tensions and European Security

  • Author(s): Sarotte, Mary Elise
  • et al.

Any nuanced assessment of current transatlantic tensions requires an awareness of their historical context. An understanding of the legacy of the Cold War in particular helps to answer the following questions: (1) What are the sources of current US-European tensions? (2) Has the transatlantic connection sustained mortal damage, or can it endure? (3) What changes of attitude and of focus might help the transatlantic relationship in the future? The argument is as follows: The US-European relationship is under assault not just because of recent US military actions but also because of a longer-term shift away from a successful US Cold War grand strategy that still had much to offer the post-Cold War world. However, cause for alarm is limited, because the history of cooperation, the lack of alternative partners, and the very real nature of external threats means that neither the US nor the Europeans have any realistic alternative to cooperation with each other.

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