The End of the Atlantic Alliance

    Joergen Oerstroem Moeller

    Security, Europe

    NATO flag flutters next to the U.S. Air Force F-35A Lightning II fighter in Amari air base, Estonia, April 25, 2017. REUTERS/Ints Kalnins

    President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from JCPOA is one more step in dismantling the edifice built after the end of World War II by the United States and Britain.

    President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from JCPOA (the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) is one more step in dismantling the edifice built after the end of World War II by the U.S. and Britain. Trump’s decision follows after withdrawing from the Paris climate agreement and the TPP (the Trans Pacific Partnership). Additionally, NAFTA (the North American Free Trade Agreement) may survive, but only if renegotiated. Swipes have also been taken at European allies at various occasions. Finally, the forthcoming negotiations with North Korea will harm U.S. alliances in Asia, with Trump likely to forge an agreement with North Korea that will secure the U.S. homeland while disregarding South Korean, and especially Japanese, interests.

    So far, the U.S. has abandoned quickly and without hesitation its role as leader of the global alliance system. Its long-term allies are left baffled, not knowing what to do in a new world order in which with “America first” has transformed into “America only”.

    Traditional American allies are considered no longer indispensable for projecting U.S. power and their friendship is no longer treasured. “America first” and “America only,” signals a swing towards isolationism where international commitments are judged solely by what the bring to the U.S. Trump may well be recorded by history as the first in a line of American presidents taking the nation back to a more isolationist policy similar to America’s withdrawal after World War I.

    Nowhere is this clearer than in the explosive situation the JCPOA decision implies for the Atlantic Alliance. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) was created in 1949 to defend the Western societal system and was kept together by common and shared values strong enough to overrule adversarial interest about economics and trade. The collapse of the Soviet Union and the Soviet Empire removed the raison d’être of the alliance and NATO became weaker. Further writing on the wall came in 2003 when two major European allies, France and Germany, said no to participate in the U.S.-led operation against Saddam Hussein’s Iraq.

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