The Revival of Atlanticism in NATO? Changing Security Identities in Britain, Norway and Denmark

Author (Person) ,
Series Title
Publication Date 19/08/2011
ISBN 978-82-7002-250-2
Content Type


In this report, we argue that despite major changes in the transatlantic security landscape, ‘Atlanticism’ has survived as a specific national security orientation on the European political arena and within NATO. However, we also observe that the content and implications of Atlanticism seem to have changed. We substantiate this claim through an analysis of the security discourse and practices of three long-term European NATO members: Britain, Norway and Denmark. While geographical location, historical bonds with the United States and Euro-scepticism constituted key indicators of these countries’ Atlanticist orientation in the Cold War era, their present-day Atlanticism seems characterized by their readiness to work together with the United States, and to commit troops and equipment to US-led and NATO-led operations. Based on this revised definition of Atlanticism, we argue that all three countries have remained steady in their orientation as ‘Atlanticists first’. On the other hand, we also note that the new administration in Washington and the growing tensions between Russia and the West are factors that might reinforce the traditional geopolitical and historical aspects of Atlanticism, both within NATO and as part of the security identities of European member states. Recent discussions concerning ‘core tasks and areas’ in relation to NATO’s new strategic concept could be seen as indicating such a tendency.

Source Link
Subject Categories
Countries / Regions , ,