The Calm after the Storm? Emotions and Transatlantic relations in the post-Trump era

Journal article in progress


The Calm after the Storm? Emotions and Transatlantic relations in the post-Trump era


Co-author, with

Emmanuelle Blanc


In progress

The American election of 2020 brought with it hopes of a renewed Transatlantic diplomatic partnership. Although it is too soon to tell the real foreign policy implications of having a new administration, electoral victory was the confirmation that change is on the horizon, and this has undoubtedly resulted in more a strongly optimist discourse about the future of Transatlantic Relations. The four years of the Trump administration challenged the very core of the diplomatic discourse around the long-standing alliance across the Pond, bringing with them an overarching sense of resentment toward a range of partnerships perceived as ‘bad deals for the United States’. By way of contrast, the newly elected Biden administration promises already in its early days in office that alliances with old partners will be repaired and reinforced. The response on the European Union’s side has been generally measured and cautious, although welcoming a much-needed change.

In this paper, we investigate how emotions shape the responses to the change in government on both sides of the Atlantic. We draw on recent scholarship from the ‘emotional turn’ in International Relations and propose a framework for the study of emotions in the context of Transatlantic foreign policy. We illustrate this framework with a qualitative sentiment analysis of official communication by key members of Biden administration and of high-ranking officials in Brussels in the aftermath of the electoral victory.