Following his recent commencement speech at West Point, President Obama’s approach to US foreign policy is again subject to scrutiny. This Alert assesses how the president intends to defend US international leadership, reassure US allies, and overcome domestic constraints.
The transatlantic relationship has been and remains the cornerstone of the EU’s foreign and security policy. However, in a context where the US is increasingly looking towards Asia and is less willing to take a lead in international affairs, expectations on Europe have been raised. The impact of austerity measures on transatlantic defence budgets further highlights the necessity for Europe to take on more responsibility in international security.
As President Obama has stated: "We want strong allies. We are not looking to be patrons of Europe. We are looking to be partners of Europe". He spoke specifically of European defence capabilities, but his statement can also be applied to other areas of transatlantic cooperation. Indeed, EU-US security cooperation - particularly in the civilian aspects of peace-building and across the spectrum of the comprehensive approach - has increased over the past decade, and there is now a strong basis on which to build.
The rise of new global power centres has added a new dimension to transatlantic debates. Both partners must redefine the relationship to preserve security and prosperity but also to maintain influence in an emerging global system where the US - and the EU, as part of ‘the West’ - may no longer be the sole, or the dominant, player.
The EUISS pays particular attention to developments in US foreign policy and debates over strategy and burden-sharing in security and defence; but also to EU-US cooperation in foreign and security policy and to a broader transatlantic agenda that includes cyber and energy security and other emerging foreign policy challenges.
Trade has often been touted as an area where Washington and European capitals – with a little help from Brussels – could create common ground. While regulatory challenges abound, what role does energy play in the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership?
The last in the series of EUISS alerts focusing on Afghanistan, this alert offers an assessment of the state of US-Afghan relations just after the first round of presidential elections. Given the continued uncertainty concerning the signing of Bilateral Security Agreement and the changing strategic priorities of the US, what form will future relations between the two countries take?
Although the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) will not directly cover to the defence sector, dual-use goods and technologies are increasingly blurring the lines between defence and civilian commercial realms. What impact will the TTIP have on small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that operate in the European defence sector, and what of the future of the European Defence Technological and Industrial Base?