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Atlanticist

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The term Atlanticist (or Atlanticism) carries a variety of meanings, depending on one's perspective. One example comes from Christodoulos Pelaghias in his article for the European Rim Policy and Investment Council, "The Atlanticist credentials of the next Cyprus president":

The "term Atlanticism is used to describe, without intending to oversimplify, the views of those who support a US-led American-European coalition that would continue to dominate the world scene. As opposed that is, to a Euro-Centrist view. Advocates of the latter, without denying America's primary role in international affairs, argue that not only Europeans but increasingly Europe as a constituted political unit have distinct interests from those of the United States, and that it is necessary to express and act upon such interests."[1]
"The Atlanticist world-view carries with it ideological concepts as well as practical geostrategic and geopolitical considerations. These are the elements of American power and most importantly America's ability to project such power on a global and regional basis. Important issues in this regard have a bearing on global economics and finance but also on intelligence, the effectiveness of military capability and deployment around the world, and the support of States that constitute global and regional pivots of a world-wide policy and strategy. The defense of Israel, the regional importance of Turkey, especially with regard to Central Asian natural resources and the War on Terrorism, the expansion and the future role of NATO, the Balkans, as well as America's overall relation with the European Union, all feature prominently on the Atlanticist Agenda."[2]

John Williams, a member of the Federal Union committee, in his article "Atlanticism: The Achilles' Heel of European Security, Self-Identity and Collective Will" refers to Atlanticist theology. "Like all theologies," he says, "the theology of Atlanticism is based on a myth - namely, that the geo-political and geo-strategic interests of Europe and America [are] ... inseparable in the final analysis." Williams sees the Cold War relationship between the U.S., Europe, and Russia as another myth which he says resulted in Europe having a "self-identity crisis."[3]

The Committee on Eastern Europe and Russia into NATO, in a report entitled "Bringing Eastern Europe and Russia into NATO", perhaps lends some credence to at least the background for this assertion:

"Should NATO concentrate on bringing in those ex-Communist countries that are most pro-Western in sentiment, closest to the West culturally, and most reliable; i.e., the Poles, Czechs and Hungarians first and foremost? Or should NATO be equally interested in bringing in the countries that most need an Atlantic anchor for their democracy, i.e. Russia?
"NATO history would favor the answer, both. Contrary to expectations in 1949, NATO's greatest political accomplishment was not to unite the old reliable core group of Atlantic allies but to Atlanticize the countries of Central and Southern Europe (Germany, Italy, Spain, Portugal), by uniting them around the Atlantic core and anchoring and nurturing them on the path of democratic reliability. Today these countries are more reliable than some of the original reliable core members of NATO were in 1949. They form a part of an expanded reliable core, opening the door to a new expansion."

In writing about Contemporary British and American poetry, Keith Tuma refers to Atlanticist culture. Tuma states that "after World War II, tremendous effort was put into constructing and administering an Atlanticist culture." Atlanticism, he says, "was an American invention and bore an American signature."

Conrad Black, in a speech delivered at the Nixon Center in Washington, D.C. -- "English-Speaking Peoples The European Union, Britain and the United States: Which Way to Go?" -- provides some perspective on the Atlanticist versus Euro-Centric point of view. Black points out that "Unlike Britain, none of the largest continental European countries has durably effective political institutions. Those of Germany date from 1949; France's from 1958; Spain's from 1975. The Italians are still trying to reform their constitution. All have proportional representation voting systems and cumbersome coalition governments. It is understandable that these countries, unlike Britain, might feel that in moving toward federation they are not, in institutional terms, giving up much." And, he adds, "None of the continental European countries has a particular affinity with the United States and Canada or anything slightly comparable to Britain's dramatic modern historic intimacy with North America."

British international affairs can be divided into atlanticist and pro-european camps.


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