Open Access Journal

ISSN: 2183-2463

Article | Open Access

“America is Back” or “America First” and the Transatlantic Relationship

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Abstract:  The presidency of Donald Trump represented an unprecedented low point in transatlantic relations. When Joe Biden took power in early 2021, his administration launched several policy initiatives suggesting that the new administration would continue to allow the seemingly long-term weakening of the transatlantic relationship to continue. A significant part of the literature on recent developments in transatlantic relations points in the same direction, namely that a weakening of the cooperation across the Atlantic has taken place. This article proposes an alternative view, arguing that the relationship has strengthened in recent years despite Donald Trump and his erratic policy. The article applies a theoretical framework combining international as well as domestic variables. Based on an analysis of four cases—NATO, the US pivot to Asia, the sanctions policy towards Russia, and the Afghanistan debacle—it is concluded that the transatlantic relationship is strong.

Keywords:  Afghanistan; China; decision-makers; NATO; perceptions; Russia; Ukraine



© Gorm Rye Olsen. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (, which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.