Government analysis, assessment and research activities
Report: US global engagement – change and continuity

Government Communications Department 31.1.2018 10.02
Press release 42/2018
Report: US global engagement – change and continuity

The report published today, 31 January, investigates the evolution of US global engagement and the longer-term trends and more immediate dynamics that affect the global role of the United States.

The report first considers domestic developments in the US as well as strategic debates, to provide a context for understanding the potential changes and continuities in American foreign and security policy during and beyond the unfolding Trump era. The intention is to shed light on the evolution of US global engagement and national interests in terms of the future of international order, great-power relations and the strategic setting of Northern Europe. Within this global framework, the analysis also contributes to the understanding of Finland’s broad security environment.

In their first year, President Donald J. Trump and his administration have stressed competition between states, shifted the US focus to hard power, emphasised the conditionality of alliance commitments, shown a preference for bilateral transactions, and paid less attention to America’s core liberal values. Nevertheless, in practice the US has been less disruptionist than initially feared. In particular, it remains committed to NATO, continues its engagement in the Asia-Pacific and Afghanistan, combats transnational terrorism and views China and Russia as strategic competitors.   

Yet, the oscillation between change and continuity has alarmed US allies and partners. A transatlantic “waiting game” has emerged, defined by the need to pursue both strategic patience and selective sector-based proactivity.

The report was compiled by a research group of the Finnish Institute of International Affairs. The publication is part of the implementation of the Government Plan for Analysis, Assessment and Research for 2017.

More information on Government analysis, assessment and research activities at:

BETWEEN CHANGE AND CONTINUITY: Making Sense of America’s Evolving Global Engagement -Report

Additional information: Mika Aaltola, Programme Director, Finnish Institute of International Affairs, tel. +358 (0)9 432 7780, mika.aaltola(a)