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International Relations

Transatlantic Alliance

  • 20 Feb 2021
  • 5 min read

Why in News

The USA President Joe Biden in his first address to the annual Munich Security Conference declared that the 'transatlantic alliance is back' and stressed the need to defend democracy around the world.

  • The USA President intended to improve the strained relationship between the USA and other European allies.
  • The Munich Security Conference is an annual conference on international security policy that has taken place in Munich, Bavaria (Germany) since 1963.

Key Points

  • About:
    • The Transatlantic Alliance has been the cornerstone of the post-World War II world order.
      • It is a real-world expression of West - of a sense that both sides of Atlantic are in it together.
    • It is the foundation on which the collective security and shared prosperity of the USA and Europe are built.
      • However, this historic, long-established friendship between the world’s two largest economies has become strained in recent years.
    • Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP):
      • T-TIP is an ambitious, comprehensive, and high-standard trade and investment agreement being negotiated between the United States and the European Union (EU).
        • The TTIP negotiations were launched in 2013 and ended without conclusion at the end of 2016.
      • T-TIP will be a cutting edge agreement aimed at providing greater compatibility and transparency in trade and investment regulation, while maintaining high levels of health, safety, and environmental protection.
  • Reason for Strained Relations:
    • The Donald Trump (former) administration flaunted its foreign policy through an “America First” lens.
    • The former American president not only attacked the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) - the fundamental structure of transatlantic alliance but also withdrew from virtually all multinational agreements recently championed by the European Union (EU), such as the Iran nuclear deal and the Paris climate agreement.
    • The USA and the EU appear to be at odds with each other currently regarding their China interests, particularly on the economic and trade front.
  • Significance of the Latest Declaration:
    • A boost to multilateralism.
    • Concerned with maintaining its global strategic primacy, the USA was once equivocal about European defence and strategic autonomy. But as power has shifted eastward, subsequent USA governments have been keen to devote as much attention, money, and military muscle as possible to the Indo-Pacific.
    • The Alliance can lead to development of an EU-USA carbon border adjustment mechanism, and can help in averting most catastrophic impacts of climate change.
    • On Iran, Europeans can anticipate renewed negotiations on a revamped nuclear deal aimed at de-escalating tensions across the region.
    • Germany’s Merkel spoke about the need of a transatlantic policy towards Russia.

North Atlantic Treaty Organization

  • Establishment: North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) was established by the North Atlantic Treaty (also called the Washington Treaty) of 4th April, 1949, by the United States, Canada, and several Western European nations to provide collective security against the Soviet Union.
    • NATO provides a unique transatlantic link for political and security cooperation.
  • Headquarters: Brussels, Belgium.
  • Functioning:
    • NATO is a political and military alliance whose primary goals are the collective defence of its members and the maintenance of a democratic peace in the North Atlantic area.
    • NATO has an integrated military command structure but very few forces or assets are exclusively its own.
      • Most forces remain under full national command and control until member countries agree to undertake NATO-related tasks.
      • All 30 allies have an equal say, the Alliance’s decisions must be unanimous and consensual, and its members must respect the basic values that underpin the Alliance, namely democracy, individual liberty and the rule of law.
  • Members: As of 2020, there are 30 member states, with North Macedonia (2020) becoming the latest member to join the Alliance.
    • Member Countries: Albania, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Turkey, the United Kingdom, Montenegro, North Macedonia and the United States.

Source: TH

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