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What Happens to America’s Transatlantic Relations after the U.S. Elections?

Peter S. Rashish

Vice President; Director, Geoeconomics Program

Peter S. Rashish, who counts over 25 years of experience counseling corporations, think tanks, foundations, and international organizations on transatlantic trade and economic strategy, is Vice President and Director of the Geoeconomics Program at AICGS. He also writes The Wider Atlantic blog.

Mr. Rashish has served as Vice President for Europe and Eurasia at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, where he spearheaded the Chamber’s advocacy ahead of the launch of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. Previously, Mr. Rashish was a Senior Advisor for Europe at McLarty Associates, and has held positions as Executive Vice President of the European Institute, on the Paris-based staff of the International Energy Agency, and as a consultant to the World Bank, the German Marshall Fund of the United States, the Atlantic Council, the Bertelsmann Foundation, and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.

Mr. Rashish has testified on the euro zone and U.S.-European economic relations before the House Financial Services Subcommittee on International Monetary Policy and Trade and the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Europe and Eurasia and has advised three U.S. presidential campaigns. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Jean Monnet Institute in Paris and a Senior Advisor to the European Policy Centre in Brussels. His commentaries have been published in The New York Times, the Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, Foreign Policy, and The National Interest, and he has appeared on PBS, CNBC, CNN, and NPR.

He earned a BA from Harvard College and an M.Phil. in international relations from Oxford University. He speaks French, German, Italian, and Spanish.


As Peter Rashish writes in The National Interest, “If the United States under a new Biden administration puts aside Trump’s ‘America First’ rallying cry and extends the hand of cooperation to the European Union, then it will be in the EU’s own interest to find ways to make its sovereign ambitions consistent with closer transatlantic relations.

Until the election of Donald Trump in 2016 transatlantic relations were undergoing a steady shift in focus. As the European Union grew from an embryonic six-nation grouping in 1957 into today’s economic superpower of twenty-seven member states the United States and the EU increasingly focused not only on managing their bilateral agenda but also on promoting their common global interests. In other words, the transatlantic relationship became less about itself and more about the world.

This evolution slowed to a halt with the advent of the Trump administration. The president’s campaign was built on grievances about the U.S. global role, portraying the country as a victim of the liberal international order that it had constructed after World War II. Europe had become the principal U.S. partner in defending this rules-based order and the multilateral organizations that constitute it—NATO, the United Nations, the World Trade Organization, and the International Monetary Fund. The Trump administration’s ideology of “America First” devoted to the maximization of the U.S. freedom to act means the relationship with the EU based on common support for the liberal order is suspect.

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This article originally appeared in The National Interest on October 30, 2020.

The views expressed are those of the author(s) alone. They do not necessarily reflect the views of the American-German Institute.