This report is part of our Strategic Monitor 2018 - 2019, which monitors the international system and assesses risks to Dutch national security. The Dutch version of the synthesis report Interregnum was published in February 2019. The English version is expected in March 2019.
In this report author Dick Zandee analyses underlying trends in relations between Europe and the United States and the consequences for the transatlantic alliance.
NATO in 2024 is unlikely to be an Alliance living in harmony. American pressure on Europe to contribute more to its own defence – and thus to the NATO burden-sharing – will remain. Even a post-Trump United States will bring the European Allies to the test, though most probably in a more diplomatic and friendly way. Underlying trends point to a structural change in transatlantic relations with a United States which increasingly will have to cope with its relatively declining position in the world order and a growing role of Europe in taking more responsibility for its own security – although it will remain far from military capable ‘to stand on its own feet’. On the other hand, both on the input and the output side the European contribution to NATO will grow in the years to come. There is also little or no sign that the U.S. will diminish its military presence in Europe. On the contrary, if Putin’s Russia continues to pursue its neonationalistic, anti-NATO agenda the U.S. will be left with no other choice than to stay militarily in Europe. Ultimately, the key to transatlantic unity and its common defence effort lies primarily in Moscow.