9. 11. 2012 8:53

Transatlantic relations after the U.S. presidential election

On Thursday, 8th November 2012, another regularly held seminar organised by Eurocentre Prague took place in the Information Centre of the Czech Government, this time on transatlantic relations after the U.S. presidential election. Presentation of Tomas Karasek, PhD, Director of the Research Centre of the Association for International Affairs and Senior Research Fellow at Faculty of Social Sciences, Charles University Prague, was started by looking at the fundamental power and institutional aspects of the Euro-American relations, out of which NATO, an organization which represents probably the most successful security-collective body at all, plays clearly the most important role. From the institutional point of view, NATO is, however, the only viable institution in the transatlantic relations. Economic relations, which have been historically formed between two key poles of the international system, have been nowadays losing its importance due to strengthening of the influence of China and other actors in the international arena, as well as the Eurozone crisis. In the long term, it has been also Euro-Atlantic identity, political structure from the period after the 2nd world war, which has been weakened and has been – according to Karásek - no longer carried by the elites who would consciously invest political, economic and value capital in it.

Current transatlantic relations can be characterized by the loss of strategic attractiveness of Europe for the U.S.A. Shared values have been worse operationalized for a joint action and institutions (such as NATO) have difficulties in finding new solutions for mutual relations. A “new” euroatlantism could, according to Tomas Karasek, come from power threats or other correspondingly strong challenges, opportunities to strengthen the Euro-Atlantic identity or shared understanding of the importance and significance of the threat. A lot of questions can be, however, raised. Strategic concepts of threats, no matter if it is Iran, China, Russia, or terrorism, are different for both units. Persistent security, economic and institutional factors prevent the transatlantic link from being radically broken. Nevertheless, it can be expected that if a breakthrough event (such as 11th September 2001) doesn’t appear in the near future, the importance of the transatlantic relations can slowly fade.

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