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Understanding Transatlantic Relations: Whither the West?

A valuable book that helps to better understand the spiky path in the relations between Western countries on both sides of the Atlantic. Simoni scans through the transatlantic relations (TRs) seeking to predict the course they may take in the future. She explains the main theories that tackled TRs, namely Neoliberalism, Neorealism and Constructivism, showing how each has its pros and cons.

A valuable book that helps to better understand the spiky path in the relations between Western countries on both sides of the Atlantic. Simoni scans through the transatlantic relations (TRs) seeking to predict the course they may take in the future. She explains the main theories that tackled TRs, namely Neoliberalism, Neorealism and Constructivism, showing how each has its pros and cons. The author analyses NATO’s enlargement, the difficult birth of the International Criminal Court (ICC), and Debt Relief to trace the milestones that shaped the TRs in the post-Cold War era. More recently, she looks through the Arab Spring, the intervention in Libya and Foreign Assistance in Africa where the alliance between both sides of the Atlantic was seriously tested. Simoni correlates the notion of identity with the development of the TRs where the definition of the “self” of each country will draw its policies and scope of cooperation. Hence, she concludes that a realistic understanding of the TRs must consider that those allies are different social and ideological entities which have different perspectives in addressing world’s threats and merits. 

To this end, the author structures her book into four parts that include ten chapters. In the first part, she explains how the sudden collapse of the common threat, the USSR, put the TRs in an existential test: a question of survival with the absence of the main reason those relations were built for. Neoliberals are optimistic in anticipating better ties between the Atlantic allies since they share common values of freedom, liberty and democracy. Neorealists are more pessimistic and foresee a decline of TRs due to the absence of the common threat. Constructivists, who have a more comprehensive perspective according to Simoni, managed to analyze the diagram of the TRs from a social context which will lead into forming an “identity” f

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