Future of Transatlantic Security Relations: Four Scenarios

  • Tomáš Karásek
Keywords: International security, United States of America, European Union/European Communities, North Atlantic Treaty Organization, international relations, defence policy/security policy, transatlantic relations, hegemony, realism, prognosis


After the 9/11 attacks and the subsequent military action in Afghanistan and Iraq, is the transatlantic community headed towards a divorce of Europe and the United States? Or, quite the opposite, are we witnessing a dawn of a new, revitalised, globally active western community? The article focuses on possible evolution of the transatlantic community, and aims at judging various future arrangements of security and defence area against the background of realist approach of international relations. The analysis proceeds in four steps. First of all, the realist theoretical background is laid down, as compared to other possible approaches, including the one of Robert Kagan. Self-interest and the crucial importance of security of an international actor are presented as basic principles. Secondly, the military capabilities of the United States of America and Europe are compared, as the gap between them justifies the concept of strong America and weak Europe. The third part presents four possible scenarios of future transatlantic relations. Since the position of the United States is to be considered constant for foreseeable future, the article closely examines the relationship between NATO and the EU. The structure on which the scenarios are based combines two processes: the process of European integration in security and defence, and the evolution of transatlantic cohesion. Military capabilities, effectiveness of political leadership, and a capacity for global action are considered to be the substantial aspects for the evaluation of the balance of power. Finally, the scenarios are compared with the assumptions of the realist theory. The results differ substantially from Kagan's who claims that the strengthening of Europe will result in a closer transatlantic community. The realist approach foresees either a close alliance based on subordination of Europe to the United States in case of substantial external threat, or a strong Europe opposing the power of the United States.

Author Biography

Tomáš Karásek



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