Trans-Atlantic Relations


American Leadership in NATO: A Rocky Return but a Firm Future

Although America is ‘back’ at NATO, Europe remains unsettled about the credibility and longevity of US commitments to the alliance. A cloud of uncertainty hangs over the alliance’s next Strategic Concept and how the two sides will craft a common agenda to endure the coming decade. The Biden administration, despite a few recent transatlantic missteps, recognises the gravity of this moment and has come prepared with a focused set of priorities for NATO’s future.

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NATO, Russia, and the Security Dynamics in the Black Sea

In the last decade, the Black Sea has become a de facto arena for competing and objectively irreconcilable strategic interests, where an opportunistic Russia has unilaterally changed the security architecture and dynamics in the region via not only conventional military means, but also highly sophisticated and hybrid means that have allowed Moscow plausible deniability.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) shakes hands with US President Joe Biden prior to the US-Russia summit at the Villa La Grange, in Geneva on June 16, 2021.

The Biden-Putin Summit: No Rolling Over, No Rolling Back

‘I did what I came here to do’ is exactly what Ronald Reagan might have said. But whilst Reagan had a talent for making toughness sound affable, the challenge for Joseph Biden after his two and a half hour summit with Vladimir Putin on 16 June 2021 will be to persuade his home base, and Putin himself, that he will show toughness through deeds and substance. When he told the State Department on 5 February that ‘the days of the United States rolling over in the face of Russia’s aggressive actions are over’, he faced no such challenge. But Biden now has a credibility problem in both Washington and Moscow.

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#NATO2030. Addressing the Burden-Sharing Challenge

NATO routinely measures and compares the national defence inputs and outputs of its members to assess how they share the burden of collective defence. It has always been apparent that by comparison with the US, Europe needs to do more, but NATO’s burden-sharing discussion is stuck on tired arguments about simple spending measures.

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Does France Seek Alone European “Strategic Autonomy”?

The French President, Emmanuel Macron, recently gave an interview to Le Grand Continent, a journal published by the Groupe d’études géopolitiques. Macron discusses crises that plagued Europe and the world in 2020, particularly the COVID-19 pandemic and terrorism, as well as fundamental long-term transitional processes and challenges such as climate change, digital transformation and various intra- and inter-state inequalities.

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Estonia in the UN Security Council: The Importance and Limits of European Cooperation

In January 2020, Estonia became a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) for a two-year term. The international environment, meanwhile, is becoming increasingly challenging for multilateral cooperation and a rules-based global order. The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the lack of global leadership, previously provided by the US, and inability of the UNSC to mobilise international cooperation.

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Impossible Security Policy Choices for the Baltics

The security of the Baltic Sea region is increasingly overshadowed by two interrelated developments: growing uncertainty about the US role and the increasing fragility of international institutions. The three Baltic states are the most vulnerable. Our security policy faces a difficult task: how to prepare for a possible weakening of the US presence in the future without our actions adding to the likelihood of this development.

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