Foreign Policy Research Institute A Nation Must Think Before it Acts The Rise of China and the Future of the Atlantic Alliance
The Rise of China and the Future of the Atlantic Alliance

The Rise of China and the Future of the Atlantic Alliance

Abstract

The consequences and implications of China’s rise have been analyzed and discussed from a number of perspectives. There has been little analysis that specifically evaluates the implications for the Atlantic Alliance, however, and whether an international system defined by U.S.-China bi-polarity would lead to a strengthening or a weakening of the transatlantic relationship. This article argues that China’s rise will create security dynamics that likely will lead to a weakening of the Atlantic Alliance. It is unlikely that China’s rise will provide NATO with a renewed purpose or give a convincing rationale for alliance cohesion the way the Soviet Union once did. Instead, China’s rise will reveal divergent strategic interests and priorities among the members of the Atlantic Alliance, with a real possibility that America’s rebalancing toward the Asia-Pacific could intensify perceptions on both sides of the Atlantic of NATO’s declining geopolitical value and relevance.

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