All eyes are on the U.S. presidential election. Whatever the outcome, one thing is certain: the transatlantic relationship is nearing the end of a cycle. It is true that this observation has developed to a greater extent in France than in the rest of Europe, or in the United States itself. It is of great concern to many officials – as evidenced by the indignant reactions to Emmanuel Macron’s referring to NATO’s "brain death". But strategists are beginning to think that a new transatlantic contract might be necessary – and that without one, the coming years will witness the unraveling of what has long been a key foundation of the international order.
The proposal we would like to put forward in this policy paper is that Europeans should not wait on a future U.S. administration to determine the structure of this contract: regardless of how the presidential election on November 3 turns out, they must take the lead and advance their own ideas. Europeans are the ones who must put together a strategic offer to present to the next U.S. administration. The question is, how should they go about it?