Authored by: Tom Lansford

The Ashgate Research Companion to US Foreign Policy

Print publication date:  December  2009
Online publication date:  March  2016

Print ISBN: 9780754648628
eBook ISBN: 9781315613727
Adobe ISBN: 9781317041177


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The transatlantic relationship remains the most significant aspect of US foreign and security policy. More than is so with any other region, the United States has been, and continues to be, defined by its intercourse with Europe. The United States was founded on the principles, values and traditions of Western Europe. These shared political, economic and social commonalities continued to influence the development of the country after its birth as a nation and formed the core of the transatlantic community. Nonetheless, the United States spent the next two centuries establishing its own political and social culture. US foreign and security policy for the first 160 years of the nation’s existence was based on the effort to avoid involvement in European geostrategic affairs. During this period, the United States was focused inwardly on the effort to both develop the interior spaces of the country and industrialize. The world wars of the twentieth century ended US isolationism and marked a new era in transatlantic relations, one predicated on American economic and security primacy. With the end of the Cold War, another phase of transatlantic relations began: the maturation of the community. This contemporary era has been marked by the transition from a unipolar international system to one characterized by increasing economic and social integration within the transatlantic community and a concurrent rise in tensions with actors outside of the region. Consequently, the future of US security will be determined by the success or failure of the transatlantic community.

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