Anne-Marie Slaughter: US and Europe Must Engage China
The German Marshall Fund - Brussels Forum 2010
Is the transatlantic relationship, arguably the single most important bilateral relationship in the world for much of the 20th century, decreasing in vitality and importance? What is the role of NATO and the U.S.-EU relationship in a world in which power is shifting toward Asia and Europe is largely stable? Is the United States, led by a President Barack Obama whose personal biography is not dominated by experience with Europe, losing interest in this relationship? Are the common values that ostensibly unite North America and Europe strong enough to sustain this partnership and the alliance in a globalizing world? Or has our relationship just become one of many important ones?In recent months, these questions have echoed across the Atlantic as one columnist after another has questioned the ability of the United States and the European Union as well as NATO to adequately respond to a variety of new challenges. President Obama's decision not to attend the U.S.-EU Summit this spring was interpreted by some, rightly or wrongly, as a downgrading of Europe and the European Union in America's foreign policy priorities. Many question whether the passing of the Lisbon Treaty has really given the European Union the new tools to assume more global responsibility. And what is the future role of NATO in this increasingly unpredictable world?While President Obama is arguably the most popular U.S. president in decades, the European public's love affair may be waning and is slowly being replaced by complaints and squabbling about his ostensible lack of commitment to this relationship. Twenty years after the fall of the Iron Curtain, the transatlantic relationship is portrayed by many on both sides of the Atlantic as less relevant for the future. But what is the alternative? Are there any other allies waiting in the wings to be partners of the United States in places like Afghanistan? And can President Obama pursue his multilateralist vision -- or the EU its commitment to multilateralism -- without a thriving transatlantic core?