June 5, 2020

Through the Looking Glass: The Nordic-Baltic Region and the Changing Role of the United States

AFP / Mark Wilson / Scanpix
U.S. President Donald Trump walks off the stage after delivering a speech at the Ronald Reagan Building December 18, 2017 in Washington, DC.
U.S. President Donald Trump walks off the stage after delivering a speech at the Ronald Reagan Building December 18, 2017 in Washington, DC.

Strengths and power come from within. While the US still dominates in terms of power of attraction, its fraught domestic situation undermines its global standing.

This analysis focuses on the countries in the Nordic-Baltic region – Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania and Sweden – and assesses how they are adapting to President Donald Trump administration’s foreign policy and the changing role of the US in the world.

President Trump has stirred the current world order and the US foreign policy. Previous long-term and broad US foreign policy has become narrow and shallow. Immediate gain has become the new measure of success in US external relations; setting the direction and interests of US foreign policy. To the region and Europe at large, this has been a shake-up which consequences have not been thoroughly analysed and debated in the public space.

The analysis hopes to serve as an opener to a broader debate in Estonia and in the Nordic-Baltic region about the US’s changing role and the following consequences. The analysis desires to advance regional cooperation and shared thinking; helping policy-makers, journalists, researchers and politicians to contribute to the future discussions.

The guiding notions of the analysis are following:

  • Transactional foreign policy in US’s external engagements – what is the price for close relations with the US?
  • The Nordic-Baltic region’s fragmented adaptation and approach to the US – why compete with each other?
  • The Nordic-Baltic region’s missing voice in the European security and defence debate – will the transatlantic voice survive?
  • The US’s strategic turn to Asia. What is going to be Europe’s role and how does the US turn affect the foreign and security policies of the countries in the Nordic-Baltic region?

Some highlights:

  • The fragmented Nordic-Baltic approach to the US also dictates the US approach to the region. It is planned regionally, but practiced bilaterally.
  • Europe’s role in future US foreign policy is far from set. Climate change, global trade, the sustainability of multilateral institutions and China – all need to be addressed and require a coherent vision from the euro-atlantic community.
  • An update of the NB8 Wise Men report or an extension to the new, under-updating Stoltenberg Report can lead the way to shared goals and interests. Discussing new challenges can serve as healthy starting point: the Three Seas Initiative, the Arctic, China.

Download and read the analysis: Through the Looking Glass: The Nordic-Baltic Region and the Changing Role of the United States (PDF)

No comment yet, add your voice below!


Add a Comment