Roosevelt Study Center, Middelburg, the Netherlands
Roosevelt Study Center, in cooperation with the University of Cergy-Pontoise
Atlantic, Euratlantic, or Europe-America? The Atlantic Community and the European Idea from Kennedy to Nixon
Thursday 20th – Friday 21st September 2007
For more than forty years the security alliance of the North Atlantic Treaty symbolised the common interests of Western Europe and North America, and provided the context for all transatlantic political and economic relations. However, since the end of the Cold War the changing international environment has raised questions about the actual depth of mutual interests between Europe and the United States. Together with the availability of new research materials, this has provoked a renewed investigation among historians into the whole concept of Atlantic Community: The particular individuals and groups that promoted it, the methods they used to promote it, the different perspectives across national interests, and its impact on political and social life in general.
From the early 1960s onwards the development of a stronger European voice within the Atlantic Alliance – both collectively via the EEC and individually from specific nations – caused many questions to be raised about the goal of an Atlantic Community.
The ‘European Idea’ and the proposal for ‘two pillars’, based on a greater equality between the United States and Western Europe, was an attempt get beyond the impression of Atlantic Community as American hegemony. But was the Community concept flexible enough to absorb it? From Kennedy’s optimistic Trade Expansion Act to Kissinger’s ill-fated Year of Europe, the United States attempted to accommodate and encompass a stronger European presence. Yet tensions among the European powers themselves over the future of Europe, particularly between Britain and France, also prevented a clear vision from emerging. Meanwhile global forces impacted on the passage of transatlantic cooperation. Economic difficulties spurred on by the 1973 oil crisis brought disappointments for those who thought the Hague summit of 1969 was the blueprint for a new leap forward in European integration. Ostpolitik and superpower detente revealed different perspectives on each side of the Atlantic concerning the future of East-West relations. The rise of new economic powers such as Japan brought a reconfiguring of ‘the West’ via an expanded OECD and the arrival of the Trilateral Commission.
A top-level group of scholars has been invited to investigate this broad theme, with special emphasis being given to the following topics:
1)Key actors who played a leading role in conducting transatlantic relations during these decades, either publicly or behind the scenes;
2)Inter-governmental and transnational non-governmental organisations such as NATO, CSCE, and Bilderberg;
3)National perspectives as portrayed through government policies, public diplomacy, and the media in North America and Western Europe.
4)Key policies that encapsulated the Atlantic idea e.g. the Multilateral Force.
5)Developments that caused major strains within the Atlantic Alliance, such as Gaullism, crises in the Middle East, and Eurocommunism.
For the full line-up of speakers and subjects covered, as well as a registration form, please go to the webpage provided.
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