A Relationship in Flux?
Since the end of the Second World War, successive U.S. Administrations and many Members of Congress have supported a close U.S. partnership with Europe. Often termed the transatlantic relationship, the U.S.-European partnership encompasses NATO, the European Union (EU), and extensive bilateral political and economic ties. Over the past 70 years, political tensions, trade disputes, and changes in the security landscape have tested U.S.-European relations. Despite periodic difficulties, U.S. and European policymakers have valued the transatlantic partnership as serving their respective geostrategic and economic interests.
President Trump and some Administration officials have questioned the tenets of the post–World War II transatlantic security and economic architecture to an unprecedented extent. President Trump’s criticisms of NATO, the EU, and key European countries have prompted significant concerns in Europe. The Administration contends that it is committed to NATO and supports close U.S.-European ties, but some Europeans question whether the United States will remain a reliable, credible partner. Policy divergences exist on a wide range of regional and global issues and managing the spread of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) has further strained U.S.-European relations. The second session of the 116th Congress may wish to consider the implications of Trump Administration policies for U.S. interests in Europe and U.S.-European cooperation.