From the Desk of the Editor
Dear Reader of Atlantica,
It is no secret that the bulk of the transatlantic community is elated to have US President Joe Biden in the White House following four years of Donald Trump in office. Over the last four years, Trump's rhetoric and actions have torn open the gaps and pitfalls of the Alliance, sometimes leading to points of self-reflection and at other times threatening Alliance cohesion and action. With a new face and foreign policy outlook leading NATO’s largest member state, it is time now for the transatlantic community to not only reflect on these lessons learned from the Trump era but, more importantly, to move forward in building a new transatlantic status quo: in the words of Biden, it is time to “build back better.” As President Biden will join NATO’s leaders at an early Summit in 2021 and looking forward to the formulation of a new Strategic Concept for NATO, we’ve asked our patrons to assess the challenges ahead.
In his article “NATO after Trump: Main challenges for the Biden administration,” Juris Jurans addresses the challenges to the Alliance that President Biden has inherited from Trump. While Biden’s rhetorical narratives indicate his strong support for mending transatlantic trust, how he will mend fences in face of a more independent Europe that will likely remain skeptical of American promises after the Trump era is uncertain. In his article, “Getting the house in order: Reinvigorating NATO’s Strategic Concept for the multipolar order,” Andrew Erskine argues that a new consensus among NATO members is needed to reinvigorate the Alliance. Building a multilateral approach through what he refers to as “institutions of regionalism” is the best way forward to ensure democratic processes and state sovereignty for all member states. Finally, in his article “Reorienting NATO’s Strategic Concept toward China,” Finley Grimble lays out a new forward strategy for NATO toward China. He argues that while moving to directly confront China in the South China Sea would present grave challenges for the Alliance, establishing partnerships with the surrounding regions, namely the ‘String of Pearls’ countries, and targeting China’s economic resources would be a much more effective strategy for NATO.
While (re)adjusting to the Biden presidency and formulating a new Strategic Concept are just two of many challenges confronting NATO in 2021, it most pressing that in times of continued uncertainty that NATO member states remain committed to moving forward as one transatlantic Alliance. We at the Atlantic Forum hope that both the Biden presidency and a new Strategic Concept will continue to propel the Alliance forward.