The usa and European Security

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The USA and European Security
Christine Stark

Visiting Lecturer

University of Westminster
January 2002

At the end of the Cold war - 1989

  • Real momentum to European security & foreign policy coordination came with end of Cold war

  • Period of uncertainty following cast doubts on US’ willingness to remain engaged in Europe by questioning future of NATO

  • Without dominant Soviet threat, it became increasingly difficult for US policy makers to justify spending defence dollars protecting wealthy Europeans

  • European nations realized that they had to take greater responsibility for their own security in an increasingly unpredictable international environment

  • After fall of Berlin Wall, fears of regional conflicts as repressed animosities surfaced (ex. Yugoslavia)

  • US were pressing for greater support from Europe in military operations & willingness of Europeans to commit themselves as active partners

During Maastricht negotiations

  • US Role in European foreign, defence & security policy-making appeared threatened by upheavals of 1989

  • US joined the debate & became increasingly firm during Maastricht negotiations

  • Famous Bartholomew telegram, sent to all EC NATO countries as WEU meeting was taking place, laid down very clearly that US were not prepared to let Europeans make tendentious initiatives on defence issues

  • It set down that there should be no European caucus inside NATO, no marginalisation of non-EC members of NATO & no alternative defence organisation for the Europeans

  • Although considered an American over-reaction, even by British, it nevertheless made it clear that any subsequent defence debates were going to include US as player if NATO's role was challenged

  • This first negotiating phase was considered 'stuttering start', but it clearly established that defence component of any revised treaty would meet with strong American resistance

NATO at 50 - new roles for NATO

  • 1949 NATO created under US leadership to defend West against Soviet military threat

  • Historically, US provided largest share of funds, troops & weapons to NATO’s activities & dominated decision-making

  • Collapse of Soviet Union & Warsaw Pact, End of cold war:

    • invalidated NATO’s original mandate

    • raised questions about need for military alliance focusing on territorial defense

    • prompted a search for a new approach to European security

Several new roles proposed for NATO for example:
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