In terms of scenarios, the ‘next world’ will see a strategic confrontation between the US and China. The transatlantic relationship, writes Heather A. Conley for GMF, will continue to be strong, but US influence, according to Europeans, will decline.
The future of the transatlantic alliance is at stake in the sense that the world order as we knew is being problematised. No wonder European public opinion does not unconditionally support the US attitude towards Taiwan.
If the fear of what is happening in Europe has made NATO’s role stronger, it is not through the militarisation of the world that we can solve the security problem in the complex sense. Nor is it by dividing the world into good and bad that we will achieve planetary ‘political sustainability’.
Conley writes: Transatlanticism’s future will be tested on whether a united policy stance towards China can be developed, continuing to address a highly unstable Russia, rebuilding Ukraine, and meeting the challenges of digital, networked world. These daunting tasks require sustained US diplomatic investment and consistent policy rather than episodic and transactional approaches. “America is back” in the sense that we have an opening to craft stronger policies with our European allies vis-à-vis Russia and China now, but the task will not be easy.
Well, our position (with particular regard to China) is that we do not have enemies but strategic competitors. With respect to Russia, well considering that Putin has put his country on the wrong side of history, we have to imagine it as part of the future (and complex) European security.
We owe much to the Marshall Plan, but the transatlantic alliance must gradually come to terms with geostrategic upheavals that bind us to new paths of dialogue-negotiation-vision, quite different from those we had set for a world that no longer exists.