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In February 2019, speaking at the annual Munich Security Conference, former Vice President Joe Biden promised that “America will be back” when Donald Trump’s term comes to an end. His speech was met with a standing ovation, exposing an open secret: The state of the transatlantic alliance is in disarray. This month, Biden once again took the world stage, this time as the newly elected US President. But the return of a familiar face and respected ally does not mean a return to the old status quo. In the last four years, the Trump administration has altered the course of the liberal international order with its promise of “America First”. Trump’s counterstance to the previous administration’s policies on the environment, defence, trade, freedom of the press and foreign affairs has weakened the state of Western diplomacy. President Biden is expected to mend many of the divisions that have formed as of late. But Europe would be wise to acknowledge that the world looks very different now than it did four years ago and to navigate a new transatlantic partnership accordingly.

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© The Author(s) 2021

Open Access: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

Open Access funding provided by ZBW – Leibniz Information Centre for Economics.

DOI: 10.1007/s10272-021-0942-4