Understanding Transatlantic Relations: Whither the West?, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Understanding Transatlantic Relations

Whither the West?, 1st Edition

By Serena Simoni


220 pages

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In light of the Arab Spring and after days of public quarreling that highlighted the divisions among NATO’s members on an agreement to give command of the "no-fly" zone in Libya to the Alliance, it is evident that the U.S. is having problems engaging with its European allies and partners. Why is this happening?

Breaking away from the conventional way to study transatlantic relations, Serena Simoni uses a Constructivist theoretical lens to argue that the transatlantic partners’ changing identities since the early 1990s have influenced their political interests and, as a consequence, their national security policies. Contemporary divergences are a notable byproduct of these transformations. By focusing on cases of disagreement (i.e., NATO’s enlargement, the International Criminal Court, and Debt Relief for Africa), this book shows how since the 1990s, the US has started to see itself as the actor carrying the international defense burden, while the European Union has developed an image of itself as the actor in charge of humanitarian efforts, which generally entails diplomacy rather than military efforts. Contemporary cases of disagreement as the Arab Spring, Libya, and Foreign Assistance in Africa illustrate how redefined national identities continue to alter the course of transatlantic relations.

Understanding Transatlantic Relations provides a more accurate examination of the future of transatlantic relations and offers an understanding of those issues that the United States and Europe would consider important enough to justify their cooperation.


"This smart analysis focuses on historical cases in which there have been disagreements between the US and its European allies in order to draw conclusions about the actors’ evolving identities and the changing relationships that have resulted in the wake of the Cold War and 9/11. The author asks critical questions about these cases that she takes pains to answer. Scholars and practitioners can learn from these lessons of the past and the important insights Simoni draws for the future."

—Joyce P. Kaufman, Whittier College

"Painstakingly researched and elegantly written, Serena Simoni's work makes us reexamine our assumptions about transatlantic relations and the causes of post-Cold War differences. Hers are persuasive, original, and often surprising findings about perceptions and foreign policy-making in Washington, London, Paris, and Berlin."

—Robert English, University of Southern California

Table of Contents

Part I. 1. Introduction 2. The changing security context 3. Theories of Transatlantic Relations Part II. Transatlantic Relations from the end of the Cold War to 9/11. 4. NATO’s enlargement: the United States moves forward regardless of European anxiety 5. The International Criminal Court: Europe goes on in spite of American distress 6. Debt Relief: Transatlantic Disconnected Advancement to Forgive Africa’s debt Part III. Transatlantic Relations from 9/11 to today. 7. The Arab Spring: A Missed Opportunity for a Common Transatlantic Agenda 8. Libya: What to do? Finding National Solutions to International Problems 9. Foreign Assistance for Africa: Europe’s Defense of its Programs. A Vital Element of Identity and National Security. Conclusion. 10.Transatlantic Relations: A Process of Redefinition with an Uncertain Outcome

About the Author

Serena Simoni is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Samford University.


About the Series

Routledge Advances in International Relations and Global Politics

International relations is a rapidly changing area of research, reacting to and anticipating an ever more integrated and globalised world. This series aims to publish the best new work in the field of international relations, and of politics more generally. Books in the series challenge existing empirical and normative theories, and advance new paradigms as well as presenting significant new research.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
POLITICAL SCIENCE / International Relations / General
POLITICAL SCIENCE / International Relations / Diplomacy
POLITICAL SCIENCE / International Relations / Treaties