Saturday, December 27, 2008

European Defense Forces as a Challenger to NATO?

Leaders of the United States and Europe are challenged by changes in fundamental security interests. The first challenge to Transatlantic Dialogue is the perception that European leaders are not serious about security. Posen asserts that “the EU is balancing US power.” (Posen, 151) Posen argues that the Europe’s creation of EU Security and Defense Policies (ESDP) is the structural realistic approach to countering US global hegemony. However, Posen’s support for this assertion highlights the lack of seriousness with which Europe is pursuing this “balance.” In real terms, the ESDP is a force of 60,000 or so European troops from various countries. To put those numbers into perspective, these 60, 000 troops are meant to balance the 1.44 million personnel that the United States has under arms. (DOD) This calls to mind the time France advised Stalin to be more accommodating to Catholics so his standing with the Pope would improve. Stalin asked dismissively: “The Pope? How many divisions has he got?” (Churchill, 121) President Bush could well ask a similar question of the ESDP.

Another challenge is the erosion in the common background of Europe and the US. Since the settlement of North America, the leadership class had descended from traditional European ethnic groups so there existed, in general terms, a shared point of view. However, demographic trends have pulled Europe and the US toward different policy concerns. Europe’s native ethnic groups no longer reproduce at replacement rates. (Steyn, 10) However, European social programs require immigrants to supply the tax payments to support those programs. These new immigrants are Muslims who are less supportive of aggressive anti-terrorist foreign policies they see as both driven by the US and as anti-Muslim. The US population is becoming increasingly Latino, whose security interests are more related to violent drug gangs threatening their families in the US and in their native countries. These growing populations have little interest in threats to European security, which represents yet another vector pulling US and Europe security apart.

Sources cited:

Churchill, Winston (1986) The second world war: the gathering storm. London: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Department of Defense. (2008) “DOD personnel and military casualty statistics” (October 31) accessed 18 December 2008.

Hason, Stephanie (2008) Mexico's spreading drug violence.
Council on Foreign Relations Daily Analysis (November 21) accessed 18 December 2008.

Posen, Barry R. (2006) European Union security and defense policy: Response to unipolarity. Security Studies, 15, no. 2 (April-May) pg 149.

Steyn, Mark. (2006) America alone: The end of the world as we know it. Washington: Regnery Publishing.