Biden’s Europe Problem


The new Biden administration has made clear that strengthening relations between the United States and Europe will be one of its top foreign policy priorities.  Biden officials view a reinvigorated NATO alliance – and a more robust community of transatlantic democracies—as  critical to containing Chinese power, reining in Russia, and tackling climate change and other international challenges.  But is Europe ready and willing to march in the direction the Biden team hopes to chart?  What obstacles might stand in the way of American objectives in and with Europe? 
The Center for the National Interest assembled a panel of experts on Wednesday, January 27, 2021 to discuss a range of perspectives on Biden’s agenda with Europe. 

  • Richard Burt is managing partner of McLarty Associates and has led its work in Europe and Eurasia for more than a decade.  He has served as Assistant Secretary of State for European and Canadian Affairs, as U.S. ambassador to the Federal Republic of Germany, and as U.S. Chief Negotiator in Strategic Arms Reduction Talks with the Soviet Union. He is a member of the board of directors for the Center for the National Interest.
  • William Ruger is the Vice President for Research and Policy at the Charles Koch Institute and the Vice President, Foreign Policy at Stand Together. He was previously an Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science at Texas State University and an adjunct Assistant Professor at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas-Austin. A decorated veteran of the Afghanistan War, he is a board member of the Center for the National Interest.
  • Benjamin Haddad is the director of the Future Europe Initiative at the Atlantic Council. An expert in European politics and transatlantic relations, he served as a fellow at the Hudson Institute prior to joining the Atlantic Council.  His recent book “Paradise Lost: Europe in the World of Trump” makes the case for greater European unity in a world of new challenges and threats.
  • Rachel Rizzo is Director of Programs at the Truman National Security Project and an adjunct fellow at the Center for New American Security.  Her work on transatlantic relations has appeared in The National Interest, Politico, The Hill, and other publications. 
  • Jacob Heilbrunn, editor of The National Interest, moderated the discussion after a short introduction from Melinda Haring, deputy director of the Atlantic Council’s Eurasia Center.