"Atlanticism in the Era of Globalization"
This week, we publish a few selected essays from the book "Towards Mutual Security - Fifty Years of Munich Security Conference" exclusively on this site. In his contribution, Strobe Talbott, the President of the Brookings Institution and former US Deputy Secretary of State, analyzes the validity of the concept of "Atlanticism" for the future. "Atlanticism today is as much about how the participating nations govern themselves individually and collectively as it is about how they defend themselves against external enemies," he writes.
"In the last century, when the term 'Atlanticism' came into common usage, it was associated with the global and seemingly permanent challenge of keeping at bay a giant adversary sprawled across the Eurasian landmass—from Vilnius on the Baltic to Vladivostok on the Pacific. Why, then, make the Atlantic the focal point of grand strategy? And why the Greek suffix, suggesting not a military doctrine but a school of thought and a code of behavior? In fact, though, that was precisely what the word was meant to evoke: a philosophy of cooperation that would bind the fates of two continents on either side of the world’s second largest ocean. Allies in North America and Western Europe felt close enough to nickname the three thousand miles of open water between them 'the pond.' Hence, Atlanticism was key to the vocabulary, mission, and vision of the founders of the Internationale Wehrkunde-Begegnung.
Fifty years later, the concept and goals of Atlanticism are still valid, but they have taken on new dimensions, including expanded geographical scope. 'Western Europe' has extended eastward, and North America is an increasingly integrated economic space that includes Mexico in a way that was unforeseen in the sixties."