The ebb and flow of the transatlantic security community in the post-American world: what role for Germany?

Dr. Patricia Daehnhardt

Three decades after the end of the cold war and the hope for the advent for a more peaceful and post-national era, geopolitics, great power competition and nationalism has flowed back into international politics: in a growingly contested and complex world facing forces of fragmentation, disintegration, and the risk of war, Europe faces two enormous and intertwined challenges: the challenge of disintegration of the European integration process, on the one hand, and the challenge of the fragmentation of the transatlantic security community, on the other, as the two main ordering pillars of the post-Second World War period. Both these challenges derive as much from external forces, such as Russia’s actions vis-à-vis Ukraine and Russian interference in the domestic politics of European Union member states’ countries, and Turkey’s redefinition of its foreign and security policy, as they come from internal forces unleashed from within, such as populism, Brexit and the US administrations’ unilateralist and transactional approach in transatlantic relations. To counter these tendencies, the papaer argues that European countries need to engage more in building their own security and defense environment, empowering the EU to become a credible international actor and persuading the US of the continued relevance of the transatlantic security bond. Germany, which together with France plays a crucial role, has thus far revealed ambivalence between its official rhetoric and effective policy implementation. Building on the work of Karl Deutsch et al. (1957), and Emanuel Adler and Michael Barnett (1998), on security communities, and on the work of Robert Putnam (1988), on a two-level game between diplomacy and domestic politics, this paper analyses the link between security and integration and the pressure the aforementioned challenges represent, in particular with regard to Germany’s present day foreign and security policy amidst the turbulence of the euro-atlantic area security environment.