Threats to European-US Defence Cooperation in a post-Modern World
This paper explores the role of economics in the foreign policy relationship between the EU and the US. An introduction is given, followed by discussions of the economic background of the EU, its effect on transatlantic security, and the concerns regarding new economic partners. A research design is included that uses a case study to illustrate the multifaceted nature of the relationship. The paper ends with a conclusion and policy recommendation, as well as a bibliography.
Since the end of World War II, Western Europe has virtually functioned under the US defence umbrella. In recent years, the strength of the transatlantic defence cooperation has come into question, as several economic and political issues give rise to concerns regarding the vitality of this special relationship. With the world economy in recession, the European nations have begun pursuing gradual cuts in defence and are forced to weigh the costs and benefits of maintaining spending in institutions like North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Emerging conflicts in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia, coupled with the demand for managing austerity budgeting, is pressing Europe to reassess its allocation of resources, and more importantly is taking resources away from national and mutual defence entities. Consequently, Europe is increasingly making moves towards the prioritization of economic welfare over international security. As European nations attempt to reach out to potential trade partners, particularly Brazil, Russia, Indian and China (the rising BRIC nations) to strengthen their economies, they cannot afford to be limited by US policy restrictions that often accompany organizations such as NATO. The past two EU presidencies have emphasized the need to move towards enhancing economic ties with China, and expanding into Asian markets, regardless of US wishes. At the heart of the decline of the transatlantic defence cooperation are the increasingly diverging worldviews and threat perceptions from and towards European nations who are now attempting to move past this model into pragmatic decision-making for their priority which is economic motive.
Europeans would be daft not to prioritize the economy in light of the Eurozone crisis and steady decline of European influence in the past few years.
For Europeans as a nation, it is easier to identify where politicians’ loyalties lie – taking a page from Clinton’s highly effective 1992 presidential campaign slogan, ‘It’s the economy, stupid,’ Domestic concerns have taken the spotlight away from more flashy agenda rallying cries (i.e. humanitarian interventionism) and since the austerity measures have gripped Europe, European governments have been pressed to re-evaluate precedence of the defense agenda.
The growing distance, especially economically, between the European Union and the United States has been analyzed thoroughly within academia. Causes for concern center mainly on the loss of hegemony for the US in economic terms, and the rise of the BRIC nations in the modern world system. The European Union has grown tiresome of American efforts at world peace within the volatile situation of current world economic proceedings, and based on these economic woes the EU has constructed a new Common Defence Foreign Policy (CDFP) which parities economic concerns and with European security. This new CDFP is despised by noted American officials, who see the CDFP as reflective of a potential drop in EU contributions to already existing organizations and treaties, and a betrayal of the EU to the special relationship. By throwing American cautions to the wind and pursuing a nuanced international defence policy focused on limiting and streamlining defence policies (in hopes of conserving dwindling defence budget resources), the CDFP proposes that the EU has embraced a