The Future of Transatlantic Relations: Perceptions, Policy and Practice

By Andrew M. Dorman; Joyce P. Kaufman | Go to book overview

Conclusions

Reflections on the Future of Transatlantic Relations

Andrew M. Dorman and Joyce P. Kaufman

IT IS CLEAR FROM THE PRECEDING CHAPTERS THAT TRANSatlantic relations will continue to play a significant part in world affairs. It would be entirely conventional to argue that the economic downturn, the change in leadership throughout the major states and the ongoing war on terrorism, as manifested in ongoing conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, mean that this is a pivotal or turning point in transatlantic relations. It is not that this is not the case, but it is not our intention in this conclusion to do so. Rather, we would suggest that a significant number of trends and events are running in parallel at present; these might, in time, show this to be a turning point for a host of reasons. One thing is for certain-these relations run deep and are surprisingly strong, as Wallace Thies’ book Why NATO Endures demonstrates.1 It is our intention to avoid suggesting an ‘End of History’ moment, as Francis Fukuyama suggested in 1989,2 and instead to argue that it is too early to say that this is necessarily a decisive point in the evolution of transatlantic relations. Rather, what the various national case studies have highlighted is a series of common elements that will not only influence future developments in transatlantic relations but also provide us with important insights into the international system as a whole.

First, transatlantic relations are, at one level, deeply personal. It is clear that individuals play an important part, be they Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany or President Viktor Yushchenko of the Ukraine. Whilst all the individual leaders are influenced by the structural determinants around them,

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