Main topic




Joseph Biden’s electoral win in November 2020 was widely anticipated as American return to the global stage. In many academic and policy circles, the removal of “isolationist” Donald Trump and important triumph of liberal internationalist Biden was expected to bring about a new chapter in US relations with allies worldwide, leaving behind the awkwardness of previous administration’s reckless political style. However, once the global affairs started unfolding in 2021, Biden Administration’s key international slogan “America is back” also proved to be much more a thing of political style than well-developed substance. This article aims to examine the ways in which the Biden administration’s strategic posture during the first year of the presidency affected transatlantic relations. To that effect, key foreign policy speeches and documents have been analyzed and major international developments tracked. The key finding is that, despite the permissive context shaped by the Trump administration’s disparagement of European allies, the new administration has failed to move forward in terms of strengthening transatlantic ties. This goes to indicate that many of the issues have all along been more structural and had predated Trump’s policies, which means that they will be all the more difficult to overcome.

keywords :


    • Biden, Joseph R. 2021a. “Remarks by President Biden on America’s Place in the World.” The White House.
    • Biden, Joseph R. 2021b. “Remarks at the 2021 Virtual Munich Security Conference”. The White House.
    • Biden, Joseph R. 2021c. Interim National Security Strategic Guidance. Washington, DC: The White House.
    • Biden, Joseph R. 2021d. “Remarks by President Biden in Address to a Joint Session of Congress.” The White House.
    • Brattberg, Erik. 2021. “Transatlantic Relations After Biden’s First 100 Days.” Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
    • Büthe, Tim. 2021a. “Prospects and Challenges for Transatlantic Relations After Trump and Corona.” In New Perspectives on Transatlantic Relations: Multidisciplinary Approaches, eds. Jürgen Gebhardt and Stefan Fröhlich, 135–159. Heidelberg: Universitätsverlag Winter.
    • Büthe, Tim. 2021b. “Is America Back? A view from Europe.” The Hill.
    • Carafano, James Jay. 2021. “Joe Biden’s Afghanistan Collapse Tanked Transatlantic Relations.” The Heritage Foundation.
    • Carpenter, Ted Galen. 2021. “How Joe Biden Has Damaged Transatlantic Unity.” Cato Institute.
    • Collins, Michael. 2021. “In meeting with France’s Macron, Biden says U.S. was ‘clumsy’ handling nuclear submarine deal.” USA Today.
    • de La Baume, Maïa. 2021. “Josep Borrell slams ‘arguable’ Biden remarks on Afghanistan.” Politico.
    • Dennison, Susi and Dina Smeltz. 2021. “Europeans and Americans Are Divided on the Transatlantic Relationship.” The Diplomat.
    • G7. 2021. Carbis Bay G7 Communiqué. Our Shared Agenda for Global Action to Build Back Better. Cornwall: G7.
    • Gasparini, Amedeo. 2021. “Challenges under the Biden administration in the US-EU transatlantic relations.” Global Affairs. doi:
    • Ganesh, Janan. 2020. “Why America no longer looks to Europe.” Financial Times.
    • Janes, Jackson. 2021. “Transatlantic Relations under US President Joe Biden.” Zeitschrift für Außen- und Sicherheitspolitik 14: 57–73. doi: 10.1007/s12399-021-00841-0.
    • Krastev, Ivan and Mark Leonard. 2021. The Crisis of American Power: How Europeans See Biden’s America. London: European Council on Foreign Affairs.
    • Lišanin, Mladen. 2020. “U.S.-Russian Relations in the Shadow of the 1999 Kosovo War.” Politika nacionalne bezbednosti 18 (1): 11–31. doi:
    • Lišanin, Mladen. 2021. “Transcending the Rift? Realism, Transatlantic Relations, and American Grand Strategy.” In World Order Transition and the Atlantic Area, ed. Fulvio Attinà, 143–155. Cham: Springer.
    • Lowen, Mark. 2021. “Afghanistan crisis: How Europe’s relationship with Joe Biden turned sour.” BBC.
    • NATO. 2021a. Brussels Summit Communiqué, Issued by the Heads of State and Government participating in the meeting of the North Atlantic Council in Brussels 14 June 2021. Brussels: NATO.
    • NATO. 2021b. Defence Expenditure of NATO Countries (2014-2021). Brussels: NATO Public Diplomacy Division.
    • Ohnesorge, Hendrik W. 2020. “Joe Biden and the Future of Transatlantic Relations.” E-IR.
    • Schake, Kori. 2018. America vs. the West: Can the Liberal World Order Be Preserved? A Lowy Institute Paper. Melbourne: Penguin Random House Australia.
    • Seroka, James. 2016. “The 2016 Presidential Election in the United States and the Resurgence of ‘American Nationalism’ in Foreign Policy Decision-making.” Serbian Political Thought 14 (2): 11–24. doi:
    • Simic, Dragan R. and Dragan Zivojinovic. 2019. “Western Balkans U.S. Policy in the Context of President Trump’s Grand Strategy.” Serbian Political Thought 65 (3): 13–42.   doi:
    • The White House. 2021a. U.S.-EU Summit Statement. Washington, D.C.: The White House.
    • The White House. 2021b. United States Advances Shared Interests with G20 World Leaders and Delivers for the American People. Washington, D.C.: The White House.
    • Vandiver, John. 2021. “Army secretary reassures Germans that US forces will be in the country long term.” Stars and Stripes.
    • Walla, Katherine. 2021. “Exclusive poll: Europeans are warming to the US in the Biden era.” The Atlantic Council.
    • Walt, Stephen M. 2018. The Hell of Good Intentions: America’s Foreign Policy Elite and the Decline of U.S. Primacy. New York, NY: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
The Policy of National Security 2/2021 2/2021 УДК: 327(73)”2021” 11-27