What is Atlanticism?

Meaning of Atlanticism

Atlantism is called the political doctrine that advocates intense cooperation between the United States, Canada and the countries of Western Europe at the political, military and economic levels.

Understanding that such relationships should be encouraged and increased , due to the supposed communion of values ​​between these developed countries. Atlanticism arises from an international political vision founded on the Atlantic Pact.

In fact, this is the proposal of the military-strategic pact of NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) for Western Europe and North America (United States and Canada). The doctrine of Atlanticism owes its name to NATO, founded in 1949.

It guarantees in its constitutive act a military alliance between North America and Western Europe. At the time of its foundation.

The main objective of the organization was to defend Western Europe against the communist threat from the Eastern European bloc.

Later, the meaning of the concept was expanded , designating a complete political doctrine, defended by supporters of liberalism in Europe.

This definition, however, has numerous inaccuracies, because compared to the liberal theses and the American concept of neoconservatism , which present similar principles.

It is a fact that today, this term has a strongly negative connotation , particularly in left-wing and anti-globalization circles.


In France, the concept of Atlanticism was strongly rejected by former President Charles de Gaulle. It is important to mention that, in practical terms, this term is totally absent from the North American political vocabulary.

The Atlanticism implicit in NATO guidelines made the institution’s anti- Soviet role (defended by the United States) predominate.

France would abandon that policy, not agreeing to a larger conflict with the communist bloc , which would form the Warsaw Pact soon after NATO was instituted.

The idea of ​​Atlanticism also exhibits a certain anti -European character by placing US policies in priority over European decisions.

Such was the case in 2003, when the governments of Spain, the United Kingdom, Poland and Italy, among others, supported the start of the Iraq War, triggered mainly by the American initiative despite the position adopted by Germany and France.

After the beginning of the 21st century, especially in the French-speaking countries of Europe, Atlanticism is often described as advocating for economic liberalism , for liberal democracy, and also as supporting international politics called Americanism.

In Europe, certain countries, such as the United Kingdom, Poland or the Baltic countries, seem to be more favorable to the idea of ​​Atlanticism.

Others like France and Germany seem moderately favorable to Atlanticism. Depending on the parliamentary majorities that are in power. A similar situation occurs in Italy and Spain, whose foreign policy was strongly marked by Atlanticism during the governments of Silvio Berlusconi and José María Aznar.

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