TFPD Transatlantic Foreign Policy Discourse (TFPD)  

  A Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik Project 

Working Groups

Past Working Groups 2002-08

  Post-Conflict Management
The Role of Islamists
State's Economic Role
Transatlantic Security
  China's Rise
Russia, USA and the EU
Military Transformation
Balkans Politics
EU Enlargement
States at Risk
Military Co-operability
Middle East
Meetings & Reports
Partners Organizations


Concepts and realities in transatlantic security relations (2005/06)


arrow Meetings & Reports

Group Leader:
arrow Dr. Peter Schmidt

Key SWP Participants:
arrow Ronja Kempin
arrow Volker Heise
arrow Frank-Ulrich Kupferschmidt
arrow Dr. Peter Rudolf


arrow Publications

arrow Partner Organization:

After three years of U.S.-European bickering, transatlantic relations are, on the official level, on the mend. The trip of the newly-appointed Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, to Europe to pave the way for President Bush's European tour and the warm welcome she received from European officials make die-hard Atlanticists optimistic again. But this amicable atmosphere hides the structural alterations in the relationship, the multitude of issues that have to be addressed by the partners, the institutional complexity of the relationship today, and the still-disapproving mood in the European public towards the current administration.

On the one hand, there are Europeans who proceed from the fact that history has closed the Fulda gap and with it the massive strategic dependence of Europe on the Americans and who regard Russia as a comrade, China as a far-away power, and the possible threat by Iranian nuclear missiles presumably as something they can deal with through diplomatic means alone. All of this is regarded as grist for the mills of a "strategic Europe" separated from the U.S. The bigger part of the European strategic community, however, knows that Europe and the world are much better off with a strong transatlantic connection and is again trying to tie the transatlantic knot. However, it is not clear what this means in concrete and conceptual terms. On the other hand, Washington has changed its attitude to emphasize American power and to stress its capacity to form flexible coalitions.

Moreover, the current diplomatic effort to take the Europeans into a "common boat" is still missing a coherent architectural conception. Since the Eisenhower/Kennedy period, the leading notion in studies of the transatlantic architecture has been "partnership". However, this term has many different meanings and raises numerous questions. Is there, for example, a difference between a U.S.-European and a U.S.-EU partnership? Should partnership compartmentalize or link economic, political, and military components? Is equality in resources and political structure a prerequisite for the implementation of the partnership model? In addition, how do the different partnership models relate to such older architectural concepts as Atlantic Community and Atlantic Union, and to newer ideas such as global governance?

The purpose of the project would be threefold: (1) to look at the development of the various concepts for the transatlantic relationship, their aims, and their open and hidden assumptions and preconditions; (2) to examine the linkage between the current development of the EU's CFSP/ESDP and those concepts; and (3) to speculate about how much the EU's future development will change the transatlantic architecture.


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