It is difficult to exaggerate the extent to which Russia’s brutal aggression in Ukraine and Ukraine’s courageous resistance are destroying the world order. It has revived NATO alliances, pushed Pacific Rim democracies like Japan and Australia to fight, and deepened Russia’s dependence on China. At home, it has boosted Joe Biden’s vote count and forced Putin, like JD Vance, to backpad apology. It has enthralled citizens around the world for a conflict-ridden liberal democracy fighting dictatorial aggression and has given young Americans a reason to reconsider their deep distrust of U.S. global power.

The change has not been deeper than in Germany For a decade and a half under then-Chancellor Angela Merkel, Berlin deliberately increased its reliance on Russian fossil fuels to support its lucrative exports while investing less in its military sector. In late February, Merkel’s successor, Olaf Schulz, reversed those policies. He announced that he would close a new gas pipeline from Russia, send anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons to Ukraine, and increase Germany’s defense budget by 100 billion euros – making Germany the world’s third-largest military spender by some estimates. (Perhaps chess master Vladimir Putin did not remember when he launched the attack). Surprisingly, the German people rallied irresistibly towards the new Chancellor’s masked tactics.

Biden is now set to take a similarly bold step. His administration has efficiently, even brilliantly, quartered the United States and its allies’ response to Russia’s aggression, including sending arms to Ukraine, using Intel to disclose Putin’s next steps, and organizing sanctions that are hurting Russia’s economy. It remains to be seen whether these measures will be enough to save Ukraine while avoiding a major war. But the combination of world events and changes in public opinion gives Biden the opportunity to turn the power behind the Allied effort into a more stable economic system – as ambitious as the United States after World War II.

As retired General Wesley Clark and others have argued on these pages, Biden should call for the creation of an “Atlantic Alliance” outside of NATO: a new, structured trade relationship between the United States, the European Union and the United Kingdom. Despite their differences, all three boast of a shared commitment to developed economies and liberal values ​​- such as representative democracy, equal opportunity, privacy, environmental stewardship and the rule of law. All three increasingly acknowledge that these values ​​have been threatened by Russia and China, and that they have forgiven themselves through practice, including over-reliance on weak supply chains and corporate monopolies that box entrepreneurs and weaken wages.

All that is needed is a binding agreement between the United States, the EU and the United Kingdom on a policy of no-confidence, labor rights, climate change, technology transfer and other important issues. This agreement will be designed with two goals in mind. First, raising middle and working-class wages on both shores of the Atlantic is a good way to reduce internal support for liberal politics. Second, create a trading bloc — together, the United States, the EU, and the United Kingdom make up 45 percent of global GDP — that could challenge China and other authoritarian regimes. If those countries want access to the Atlantic Alliance market, they must change their ways. If not, we will protect ourselves from their economic trends and expand the sourcing of our vital supplies.

An Atlantic alliance could take the form of a comprehensive agreement or trade agreement. But in essence over time, a good route would be a series of agreements on isolated issues. An example is the administration’s agreement with the EU in October. Both sides agreed to reduce tariffs on steel and aluminum imports and to develop standards for measuring the carbon emissions involved in their production. “Dirty” steel from China will be excluded from the US and EU markets. Countries that clean up their work can gain access, as the UK is now discussing.

Biden has yet to express a vision for something as big as the Atlantic Alliance. However, there are indications that his administration is moving in that direction. Last September, it created a new body, the US-EU Trade and Technology Council, to deal with everything from artificial intelligence to export controls for American and European officials, with a special focus on inclusive growth for the middle class and low-income people. On both shores of the Atlantic. ” The TTC will be an excellent place for both sides to discuss the Atlantic Alliance. And its next scheduled meeting, in May, will be an ideal time to announce Biden’s efforts.

If he does, I doubt he will receive the kind of broad public support that Olaf Schulz has received. American politics may be radioactively biased at the moment. But look at the bottom of the page, as Gabby Birenbaum and Philip Longman did in their cover story for this issue (page 31), and you will see that both sides have a strong desire to refrain from free trade and loose confidence-enforcing policies. Recent decades – policies that have destroyed central cities and shrunk the middle class. Add extraordinary bilateral consensus to the struggle in Ukraine and you have a moment where something big can happen.

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