US progressives and NATO

Finland and Sweden’s membership and burden sharing


  • Rachel Tausendfreund German Marshall Fund of the United States


NATO, US politics, US foreign policy


In the past two decades, a foreign policy shift has taken place in Washington, and it is not limited to one side of the political spectrum. Voices from the left-wing of the Democratic party, or progressive
Democrats, are also challenging traditional foreign policy orthodoxies, and these views are moving closer to the mainstream. The focus of this foreign policy re-examination is around US military spending in service of global dominance and (over)extended military commitments. This has
important implications for European allies of the United States. An examination of progressive views reveals that US commitment to NATO in general is supported, as are the accession of Finland and Sweden to NATO. Not least due to a commitment to climate change mitigation and multilateralism, for Europeans in the political center and left of center, much of the progressive foreign policy agenda should be welcome. However, there is a broad and firm view that Europeans collectively should rely much less on the United States for their security – which is a prospect that European NATO countries are still far from genuinely pursuing.