Graphic MC Papers 4

The current state of the transatlantic relationship and assesses the possibilities for future US–European cooperation

Europe and the Transatlantic Relationship in the Shadow of Tomorrow

June 2002, Number 004


The George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies takes great pride in presenting this fourth edition of the Marshall Center Papers. It explores many pressing issues for the international community, as NATO prepares for its October summit in Prague. President George W. Bush has remarked that NATO is headed toward a decisive effort to invite in “all of Europe's democracies that are ready to share in the responsibilities NATO brings.” NATO has also signed a new agreement with Russia, giving Moscow a role in alliance decision making that further transcends the old divide between East and West.

Yet, in spite of these accomplishments, some observers worry that the United States and Europe are drifting apart. After a brief burst of cooperation in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks on the United States, there is a rising chorus of both old and new complaints. Many Europeans criticize the United States for doing too much on its own, becoming overly focused on the Global War Against Terrorism, and ignoring legitimate European concerns. Americans respond that the Europeans are spending too little on defense, failing to implement the “Revolution in Military Affairs,” and pursuing narrowly European defense initiatives that may undermine NATO capabilities.

This Marshall Center Paper seeks to clarify such issues by presenting two rather different views. Peter van Ham, writing from the European perspective, contends that the transatlantic relationship suffers from the fact that it is asymmetrical. The United States is confident and strong—as the world's only remaining Superpower— while Europe is confused and indecisive, still searching for its own role and identity. He warns that it may be increasingly difficult for the United States and Europe to act together as a cohesive and unified “West.” Even so, he argues that U.S.–European cooperation is essential not only to counter new threats like international terrorism by non–state actors, but mainly to tackle the challenges of globalization for both continents.

Richard L. Kugler provides an incisive American view. He applauds the European dream of unifying an entire continent under the mantle of democracy, economic integration, and multilateral cooperation, but he warns that Europe must not wall itself off from the rest of the world. Globalization is nurturing venomous anti–Western ideologies, nihilistic terrorists, and menacing countries. These new threats are merging together, gaining access to modern information systems and technologies that allow them to inflict violence at very great distances. They are also bringing further turmoil to unstable regions. In many places, the result is a boiling primordial stew that endangers common Western interests, security, and values. To deal with these new threats, Kugler proposes a specific agenda of improvements in NATO and European military capabilities.

It seems clear that the international community faces many tough questions. Can the United States and Europe work together to conduct the Global War on Terrorism? Are the Europeans ready to modernize their forces and close the technological gap that limits their capability for distant, joint, and combined operations with the United States? What concrete steps can NATO take to prepare for tomorrow's threats, perhaps involving rogue states or terrorists armed with Weapons of Mass Destruction? And, finally, what are the implications of Globalization, not simply for NATO and Europe but for all the democratic countries of the world?

Peter van Ham and Richard L. Kugler provide answers to all of these questions that go beyond mere diagnosis of the current tensions. They propose coherent solutions that are sometimes controversial but always insightful. Their views are essential reading for anyone who seeks to strengthen the international community and defend it against attack.

Robert Kennedy, PhD
George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies

Executive Summary

After the dramatic events of September 11, 2001, Europe has shown itself a loyal ally of the United States. NATO was keen to activate the mutual assistance clause of Article 5 of the Washington Treaty, declaring that the terrorist attacks were not only aimed against New York and Washington DC, but against the free and democratic West as a whole. International terrorism was seen as the new glue keeping the transatlantic relationship together, replacing the ideological ties of the past. Unfortunately, these positive developments were short–lived.

This paper examines the current state of the transatlantic relationship and assesses the possibilities for future U.S.–European cooperation. It argues that transatlantic relations are troubled and will remain so for the foreseeable future. Many Europeans believe that the United States is not taking into account the views and interests of its traditional allies. The emerging transatlantic division of minds will only intensify if the U.S. decides to invade Iraq to topple Saddam Hussein.

These political problems are aggravated by a massive increase in the U.S. defense budget, accelerating a Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA) that will, in turn, widen the gap between American and European military strategies and capabilities. In addition, a so–called value–gap seems to be opening, illustrated, for example, by the refusal of European countries to extradite suspected terrorists to the United States because America allows the death penalty.

The events of 9/11 have underscored that Europe still has far to go before it will be a military actor of any real significance. Thus, Europeans will find it difficult to remain militarily relevant to the United States for the foreseeable future, given Washington's key priority: fighting international terrorism. Europe will also have to pay a serious price to keep NATO and transatlantic cooperation alive and well. Europe's main challenge will be to transform itself from a quantité négligeable to a partner that the United States will take seriously.

The current transatlantic relationship is dangerously asymmetrical. A confident and strong United States — as the world's only remaining Superpower — faces a confused and indecisive European continent still in search of its own role and identity. A consolidated Western approach to global problems is essential and is only possible when current allies see eye to eye. Some Europeans believe that the political climate in Washington does not allow constructive criticism to breach the wall of assurance built by post–9/11 patriotism, even if it comes from European allies. Thus a crucial question is whether transatlantic cooperation will be ad hoc or coordinated.

Clearly, the U.S.–European relationship is once again at a crossroads. It may become increasingly difficult for the United States and Europe to act as a cohesive and unified “West.” Politically, strategically, and culturally, the United States and Europe appear to be slowly drifting apart. Now that Cold War discipline no longer keeps them together, NATO members must reconsider the strategic purpose and underlying value of their Alliance. Europe faces the dilemma of either accepting American supremacy, or developing and implementing its own, independent policy course — realizing that the latter will most certainly result in transatlantic acrimony.

The only way to keep the transatlantic partnership from sliding into irrelevance is for Europe to become a serious partner of America. In the coming years, the fight against international terrorism will remain the key point on the West's security agenda. But, the main danger will not come from extremists with dirty nuclear devices. The main problem will be that “the West” as a cohesive bloc and single–minded political force may cease to exist.1


After the dramatic events of September 11, 2001, Europe has shown itself a loyal ally of the United States. North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) countries were keen to activate the mutual assistance clause of Article 5 of the Washington Treaty, declaring that the terrorist attacks were not only aimed against New York and Washington DC, but against the free and democratic West as a whole. The day after 9/11, the European Union (EU) declared that:

. . .[t]his barbaric attack was directed against the free world and our common values. It is a watershed event and life will never be quite the same again. European institutions and Governments will work closely together with our American friends and partners in the defence of freedom. . . . In the darkest hours of European history, the Americans stood by us. We stand by them now. 2

Forgotten were the transatlantic quarrels over issues like the Kyoto Protocol, the future of the Anti–Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty, and the role of the International Criminal Court (ICC). For a moment, all attention was focused on the fight against a common enemy challenging the fundamentals of western civilization. The post–Cold War era seemed to have finally found a new name and paradigm, since the remainder of the 21st century would be colored by the fight against international terrorism.

9/11 forever altered the tenets of national security — The new focus is on the common enemy of the fundamentals of Western civilization

This threat was seen as the new glue keeping the transatlantic relationship together, replacing the ideological ties of the past. Moreover, it was suggested that NATO could play a central role in the fight against terrorism, turning itself into a key institutional platform for transatlantic cooperation. NATO Secretary General Lord Robertson argued that “the world's largest and most effective permanent coalition [NATO], will be central to the collective response of the international community to terrorism, both now and in the long–term.” He referred to NATO's unique capabilities (“the interoperability, joint training, compatible communications and logistics that flow from NATO's military structure”), and suggested that “for the moment, NATO is the best — indeed the only — game in town.” The EU's European Security and Defence Policy is in its (too) early stages, Lord Robertson claimed, whereas the United Nations (UN) and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) lack the “unique composition, strength, cohesion and speed of delivery of NATO.”3

The moderate and smart response of U.S. President George W. Bush's administration after 9/11 seemed to make the United States aware of the need for a more multilateral foreign policy stance. Going it alone would be counterproductive to confronting this new menace. The United States agreed to pay its United Nations (UN) dues, indicating that Washington perceived the UN to be of an increased strategic importance. Unfortunately, these positive developments were short–lived. America's quick military success seemingly proved that superior military might was an excellent basis for U.S. security. Critical voices from Europe were soon discarded as pitiful moans from a sidelined “axis of petulance.”4 Today, U.S.–European relations are strained, with only a few signs of possible improvement.

European countries perceive themselves to be ignored by the United States

This paper maps out the current state of the transatlantic relationship and assesses the possibilities for future U.S.–European cooperation. Since September 2001, European countries largely perceive themselves to be ignored by a United States that does not appear to have taken into account the views and interests of its traditional allies. These political problems are aggravated by a massive increase in the U.S. defense budget, accelerating a Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA), which will in turn widen the gap between American and European military strategies and capabilities. In addition, a so–called value–gap seems to be opening, illustrated by the shock with which Europe received the initial images of Al–Qaida suspects interned at Camp X–Ray in Guantanamo Bay and by the fact that European countries are also refusing to extradite suspected terrorists to the United States because America allows the death penalty.

A confident and strong United States faces a Europe still searching for its identity

These are indicators that it may become increasingly difficult for the United States and Europe to act as a cohesive and unified “West.” Politically, strategically, and culturally, the United States and Europe appear to be slowly drifting apart. Europe now faces the dilemma of accepting American supremacy, or developing and implementing its own, independent policy course, realizing that the latter will most certainly result in transatlantic acrimony and worse. The implication is that the US–European relationship is at a crossroads — once again. But, now that Cold War discipline no longer keeps them together, NATO and its member states have to reconsider the strategic purpose and underlying value of their Alliance. This paper argues that US–European cooperation is essential not only, or even mainly, to counter new threats like international terrorism, but, first and foremost, to tackle the globalization challenges both continents face. The case will be made for a consolidated Western approach to global problems, only possible as long as current allies see eye to eye. One of the crucial questions is whether this cooperation will be ad hoc or coordinated. This paper will also deal with the asymmetrical quality of the current transatlantic relationship, since a confident and strong United States — as the world's only remaining Superpower — now faces a confused and indecisive European continent still in search of its own role and identity. This makes relations between the United States and “Europe” all the more complicated.

Moreover, when we speak of “Europe,” or the “European” view, or policy, we are actually combining fiction and reality, overlooking the fact that in contemporary Europe we still cannot really assume a Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) nor a European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP) worthy of their acronyms. The CFSP and ESDP are the attempts by the EU to consolidate a European identity of sorts in the security and defense fields, but these efforts are often half–baked in theory and even less palatable in practice. The events of 9/11 have underscored that this “Europe” still has far to go before it will be a military actor of any real significance. Thus, Europeans will find it difficult to remain militarily relevant to the United States for the foreseeable future, given Washington's key priority: fighting international terrorism. Europe will also have to pay a serious price to keep NATO and transatlantic cooperation alive and well. The main challenge will be to transform itself from a quantité négligeable to a partner that the United States will take seriously. This paper will conclude with suggestions on how Europe may become that serious partner, acknowledging that to do so is the only way to keep the transatlantic partnership from sliding into irrelevance.

Washington's Paradigm Shift

Even in Europe one notices an unease, albeit still modest, with America's leadership and its ways of dominating the economic, political, and military global agenda. After an initial wave of compassion and solidarity for the United States in response to the terror attacks, we now see a steady redirection toward anti–Americanism. Criticism from European politicians has become louder. Christopher Patten, responsible for External Relations in the Commission, for example, argued in February 2002 that “however mighty you are, even if you're the greatest superpower in the world, you cannot do it all on your own.” The European approach is quite different, Patten argued, since in the fight against international terrorism smart bombs have their place but smart development assistance seems to me even more significant. . . . There is more to be said for trying to engage and to draw these societies into the international community than to cut them off.”5 Similar ideas and points of criticism could be heard from French Minister of Foreign Affairs Hubert Védrine and his German counterpart, Joschka Fischer.6 Many European politicians have also — mainly informally — aired their concern with the Manichean and military approach the United States is taking in its “war” against international terrorism.

America’s challenge is to listen to Europe — Europe’s challenge is to become a serious partner to the United States

This criticism should be heeded by American policymakers. Unfortunately, the political climate in Washington does not allow critical notes to breach the wall of assurance built by post–9/11 patriotism, even if they come from European allies. It is, of course, difficult to apply some grey tones and nuances to the black and white worldview of “you're either with us, or against us,” which President Bush officially adopted last September. In this context, European criticism, however mild and constructive, is not seen as positive involvement, but as just another sign of weakness and lack of loyalty. This has become a serious obstacle to keeping the transatlantic relationship healthy. Before we examine the specific problems between the United States and Europe, it is essential to grasp how 9/11 has changed the American outlook on the world, and especially how this differs from the “world according to Europe.”


Post–9/11, the United States is experiencing an upsurge of patriotism, illustrating that there is indeed a “war” against terrorism. Many Europeans look upon this “rally around the U.S. flag” with a certain sense of wonder, but also with some admiration. The seemingly narcotic effect on the American people of all this patriotic rhetoric and flag–waving turns the 9/11 experience from a possible defeat into a moral and political victory. An atmosphere of righteous indignation continues to color U.S. foreign and security policy. It also affects the transatlantic relationship in a detrimental way.

In his State of the Union address of January 30, 2002, President Bush proposed an assertive policy of interventionism to neutralize the so–called “Axis of Evil” — a group of anti–western countries comprised of Iran, Iraq, North Korea, Cuba, Syria, and Libya. Bush made it clear that this would be a tough and protracted battle where the support of America's allies was not assured: “But some governments will be timid in the face of terror. And make no mistake about it: If they do not act, America will.”7 In the same mood, President Bush earlier pushed through Congress the USA Patriot Act, a series of tough anti–terrorism laws, which have raised serious questions among citizens' rights organizations.8 The Bush administration's new FY 2003 defense budget was accepted at $379 billion. This was the most dramatic rise — more than 14% — in the defense budget in 20 years.

All of this illustrates that the United States feels beleaguered, more vulnerable than ever, and at the same time readier than ever to approach the new challenge of international terrorism head–on. It could hardly have come as a surprise that President Bush labelled the fight a “crusade,” with the United States as the leader of the “civilized world” fighting against “Evil.” Since European politicians fail to support this black and white outlook, their efforts to accommodate countries like Iran, Syria, or Libya are looked upon with suspicion. The same applies to Tokyo with its doubts about the wisdom of confronting and antagonizing North Korea.

Principled Leadership

In this tense political atmosphere, there is hardly room for diplomatic nuances. America accepts its allies on a pragmatic basis: whoever is ready to offer concrete support to the cause of fighting international terrorism is welcomed as long as they accept U.S. leadership. U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz has stated that “the mission must determine the coalition, the coalition must not determine the mission. . . . As a corollary, there will not be a single coalition, but rather different coalitions for different missions.”9 The American modus operandi is, therefore, first to determine the mission and the goal, and then to decide upon the most effective and flexible coalition for success. The American modus operandi is, therefore, first to determine the mission and the goal, and then to decide upon the most effective and flexible coalition for success.

This approach certainly has its advantages, but it implies that NATO is no longer the privileged and natural institutional platform for the coordination of Western anti–terrorism policy. It also means that European allies play a minor, even marginal role. Irwin Stelzer formulated this view as follows: “In short, those who matter [in Washington] are convinced of two things: the important business of the world will be done by America, which will not let any coalition dictate its mission; and Europe is largely irrelevant to our efforts to make America safe from further harm.”10 Through American eyes, this approach stands for U.S. principled leadership. Clearly, it's not that difficult to envisage worse scenarios. As Charles Krauthammer argued in an essay in Time: “America rules: Thank God. Who else should call the shots? China? Iran? The Russian mafia?”11 What is worrying, however, is that Europe seems to realize that while it will continue to provide commentary on vital issues, it no longer has the influence to alter Washington's foreign policy. Especially now that the EU is in the process of defining its identity as an independent international actor, this is disconcerting and strains the transatlantic relationship. What is worrying, however, is that Europe seems to realize that while it will continue to provide commentary on vital issues, it no longer has the influence to alter Washington's foreign policy. Especially now that the EU is in the process of defining its identity as an independent international actor, this is disconcerting and strains the transatlantic relationship.

Bush's State of the Union address, with its emphasis on coercive diplomacy and preemptive strikes, indicates that American unilateralism has gained the upper hand in Washington. Policymakers like Vice President Richard Cheney and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld see no reason why the United States should compromise its national interest to accommodate the qualms and concerns of its European allies. Since the United States is the world's only Superpower, it should use its unique position to rid the world of security threats. With the Bush administration, a new attitude has taken over. Gone are the Clinton days when the inclination was to remain friends with everybody, including European allies. The current Republican leadership has used 9/11 to break away from this proclivity for multilateralism. Republicans do not want to repeat the frustrating experience of the Kosovo campaign, where U.S. armed forces had to fight “with one arm behind their back,” and were subject to North Atlantic Council (NAC) criticism — mainly by the French — concerning targeting lists and other tactical decisions. The United States has embarked upon an American war against the terrorists who attacked America. This war will be fought under American leadership and according to American rules of engagement.

The American Gulliver has used 9/11 to cut the multilateral ropes that restrain its power — the Lilliputian onlookers may huff and puff, but they will have to accept the fait accompli

It is important to stress, however, that 9/11 can only partially explain the new mood of Washington's policy making circles. The terrorist attacks are as much a useful excuse as a cause for America's new assertive unilateralism. Even before 9/11, Washington had started to cut the legal and political ties that would limit its room to maneuver. This is testified to by the refusal to ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), the decision to do away with the ABM Treaty, and the opposition and obstruction of the Kyoto Protocol and the ICC. Europe, Russia, and the rest of the world are confronted with an America unwilling to take into account the concerns of others, now that it sees its own survival as a free and prosperous country at stake. The American Gulliver has used 9/11 to cut the many multilateral ropes that restrain its power, and the Lilliputian onlookers may huff and puff, but they will have to accept this reality as a fait accompli.

The Evil Outside

The problem may be, therefore, that what the United States considers legitimate and principled leadership, others may see as American hegemony and overbearing behavior. It does, indeed, seem hardly justifiable that a single country should act as the world's political leader, police agent, judge, and, in the end, Grand Executioner. Although the United States can still count on plenty of sympathy and goodwill around the world, especially now that it has suffered terrorist atrocities, suspicion is gradually building and may escalate in all–out discord, if America takes military action against Iraq. “Iraq” is the Rubicon that the United States should think about three times before crossing.

The EU is not likely to support a campaign against Iraq

Although the Middle East crisis detracts media attention from U.S. policy toward Iraq, the military option for dealing with Iraq remains open. On February 12, 2002, Secretary of State Colin Powell argued that “[w]ith respect to Iraq, it has long been, for several years now, a policy of the United States government that regime change would be in the best interest of the region, the best interest of the Iraqi people. And we are looking at a variety of options that would bring that about.”12 Only one day later, it was announced that the Pentagon and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) were making preparations for a possible invasion of Iraq by American troops.13 In the spring of 2002, U.S. media were busily speculating about the exact timing of a U.S. ground and air war against Saddam Hussein. At that time, the consensus was that “any offensive would probably be delayed until early next year [2003], allowing time to create the right military, economic and diplomatic conditions.”14

The United Kingdom may participate — politically and militarily — in the U.S. campaign against Iraq. But, other European countries will either remain neutral or condemn such a military action outright. It is unlikely that the EU will muster the political will and cohesion to support the United States in any serious way. It is also unlikely that Europe will be capable of producing an alternative plan for dealing with “rogue states” to avoid U.S. military action. This will be discussed later in more detail.

Russia will balk at the prospect of a U.S.–led military strike against any of the “Axis” countries, especially Iraq. President Vladimir Putin already has enough problems convincing his skeptical public and elite that his constructive policy to support the United States in the fight against international terrorism is in Russia's national interests. NATO has made an effort to give Moscow more influence on policymaking inside the Alliance. The NATO summit of November 2001 opened the door to Russia, if only a little bit. Prior to the summit, British Prime Minister Tony Blair distributed a letter to his NATO colleagues pleading for a more prominent Russian role inside NATO, as a kind of “reward” for Putin's support in and around Afghanistan during the heat of the battle against the Al–Qaida movement. Blair suggested that Russia should have some influence in the North Atlantic Council (NAC) on certain areas of mutual concern (to include crisis management, non–proliferation, and certain military aspects of the fight against international terrorism). A reluctant Pentagon blocked Russia's participation and a NATO communiqué of December 6 simply declared that means should be found in the coming months to include Russia in exploring, developing, and “building on the [NATO-Russian] Founding Act, new, effective mechanisms for consultation, cooperation, joint decision, and coordinated/joint action.”

At the NATO Ministerial Meeting in Reykjavik of May 14–15, 2002, the hatchet of the Cold War finally seemed to be buried. A formal agreement was reached between NATO and Russia to jointly combat terrorism and other common security threats. The long expected NATO–Russia Council, which started its work at the Rome meeting of May 28, 2002, will set joint policy on specific issues, including counterterrorism, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), missile defense, peacekeeping, and the management of regional crises. This would mean that on many occasions NATO would meet “at 20,” i.e., with a representative of Russia at the North Atlantic Council's deliberations. It was declared that in the new Council, “NATO member states and Russia will work as equal partners in areas of common interest, while preserving NATO's prerogative to act independently.”15 This implies that NATO maintains absolute autonomy in its “core business” of collective defense, but that on most so–called “Article 4” issues (dealing with political consultation), Russia's interests and points of view would be taken into account.

Three transatlantic problems:
– NATO’s dwindling power
– US quantum leap in the RMA
– Struggle to retain the same world vision

It remains unlikely that this will remove Russia's mounting displeasure with America's foreign policy. It is often asked why the United States has positioned its armed forces around Afghanistan (e.g., in Georgia, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan). Russian nationalists consider 9/11 as having been heaven–sent to the United States, offering it an excuse to gain control over the transport routes of Caspian oil. Moreover, many of the “rogue states” are, or were, Russian strategic allies and trading partners with whom it will be difficult to break suddenly and completely. Moscow feels that it is not being taken seriously, is not being heard, and lacks any serious influence on the policy shaping process in the Bush administration and Congress. Whereas Europe has been marginalized, Russia has de facto been dropped from the strategic map of those who count in Washington. This will, obviously, make U.S.–Russian cooperation complicated and bothersome.

All these critical voices are registered in Washington, but they are certainly not appreciated. Secretary Powell, for instance, argued that his European colleagues should be as critical of Iraq as they were of President Bush and his foreign policy. The American Ambassador to the EU, Rockwell Schnabel, argued that “as time goes on, we believe it will be more difficult to work together as partners.”16 Washington reads European criticism as “whining” and as a show of weakness and indecisiveness. This incompatibilité d'humeur constitutes one of the most serious problems between the United States and Europe (and Russia as well). It makes honest and open communication difficult, if not altogether impossible. One of the main challenges is to turn this trend around. However, the dilemma is that if Europe were to follow U.S. leadership without any criticism, it would not encourage the long overdue process of American introspection. On the other hand, if Europe continues to criticize without simultaneously offering credible policy suggestions, it will undermine the already crumbling basis of transatlantic solidarity and trust. Both options are equally unattractive. Is there no way out?

The Crumbling Transatlantic Foundation

The problems between Europe and the United States are threefold:

  1. NATO no longer constitutes the exclusive institutional platform for dealing with American and European practical security problems;
  2. The United States is taking a quantum leap in the Revolution in Military Affairs, leaving their European allies behind. This implies that in the future NATO allies will no longer be able to conduct military operations on an equal basis; and,
  3. The United States and Europe no longer share the same vision when dealing with the world's most urgent problems and threats. They also often disagree on the definition of these problems and threats.

Given the serious existential problems facing the Alliance, one should ask how “the West” can remain relevant as a strategic actor in the years ahead? Clearly, even the American “hyper power” — as the United States is often called in France — cannot do everything on its own and needs support, both political and practical. Terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction have no quick fixes, but call for a broad, concerted multilateral approach to be successful in the long–term. To understand the nature and depth of the current transatlantic imbroglio, we need to examine these three problems in some detail.

A Redundant NATO?

Only 24 hours after the fall of the Twin Towers, NATO member states invoked Article 5 of the Washington Treaty. This was a very emotional period during which European allies declared their “unrestricted solidarity” with the U.S. government and the American people. A headline in Le Monde even stated: nous sommes tous Américains(we are all Americans).17 This period of solidarity lasted a mere five months. In February 2002, NATO dusted off and posed again the timeworn questions concerning its future: What is the strategic relevance of NATO? How can the problem of burden sharing between the allies be addressed? Do the United States and Europe have to reconsider invigorating their Alliance, perhaps by broadening their cooperative efforts and introducing a new transatlantic “Grand Bargain”?

After 9/11, NATO played a useful role, but not a pivotal, let alone a vital, one. On top of activating Article 5, European allies offered the U.S. unrestricted overfly rights and sent AWACS radar planes to help guard American airspace. Moreover, NATO has provided a value, albeit not that obvious or visible, that is often overlooked: the long years of intense and effective cooperation, political and military, among NATO member states and Central European and Central Asian countries within the Euro–Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC) that greatly facilitated the coalition building essential to the 9/11 response. In addition, it was relatively easy for European countries to participate in the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) — which has created the illusion of law and order in and around Kabul since January 2002 — because they could fall back on their shared NATO background and experience. And, NATO has its own Weapons of Mass Destruction Centre, which focuses on the protection of civilians and soldiers from nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons. All this should be appreciated and not played down.

But, still more was, and is, expected from the Alliance. Many hoped that Lord Robertson's rhetoric would become reality, and that NATO would, indeed, turn itself into the central plank of Western efforts to come to terms with this new challenge of catastrophic terrorism. This has not happened. Sweden's former Prime Minister Carl Bildt asked recently: “Will the Americans ever fight a war through NATO again? It's doubtful. The United States reserves the right to itself to wage war, and dumps on others the messy, expensive business of nation–building and peace–keeping.”18 And, U.S. Senator Richard Lugar (Indiana–R) declared that “[i]f NATO does not help tackle the most pressing security threat to our countries today — a threat I believe is existential because it involves the threat of weapons of mass destruction — it will cease to be the premier alliance it has been and will become increasingly marginal.”19

Lord Robertson has stated very clearly that terrorism will be the key security challenge in the 21st century. Since terrorism is global in nature, NATO's response must be global as well. Lord Robertson's conclusion is straightforward: “NATO and its members must expand its responsibility as an essential platform for defense cooperation to become the primary  means for developing the role of armed forces in helping to defeat the terrorist threat.” He further identified four areas where NATO could play such a role: 1) in the timely identification and detection of terrorist threats; 2) in the protection of civilian and military infrastructure and populations; 3) in the management of the consequences of possible future terrorist attacks; and 4) by preparing for preemptive military action. This last element is essential, Lord Robertson stressed, since “[t]hose who set out to die in support of their ill–conceived causes are unlikely to be deterred through traditional means. Military strikes against terrorists and their networks are often the only effective option to prevent further damage.”20 U.S. military action in Afghanistan has proven this point for NATO to emulate.

This is an ambitious program and it is unlikely to be adopted and implemented in the foreseeable future. For NATO to go so dramatically “out of area” and preemptively attack possible threats remains improbable. Not only will the United States be unwilling to limit its room for maneuver by coordinating its own military policy within the NAC, several NATO members will not accept such actions without a clear mandate of the UN Security Council. Since Lord Robertson's other focus points for the Alliance are political in nature, NATO's direct “military” use in the fight against international terrorism is likely to remain minimal.

Political Bright Spot: NATO using anti–terrorism to strengthen ties with EAPC countries, especially Russia

From a political perspective things look brighter. NATO is using the anti–terrorism campaign to strengthen ties with partners within the EAPC, and with Russia in particular. Although Moscow has its own, very specific interests in, and definition of, combating terrorism (i.e., its policy toward Chechnya), NATO now seems engaged in an appealing striptease, shedding its Cold War clothes while moving toward a system based on cooperative security. This is a courageous decision, that is not without its own risks. Giving Russia more influence in the NAC — especially if taken together with an enlargement by approximately five to seven countries at the Prague summit this coming November — will alter the nature and role of the Alliance from a classic, transatlantic, collective defense organization, to something of a totally different quality. In this way, 9/11 has altered NATO forever.

By invoking Article 5, and because the United States refused to make full use of NATO, NATO has lost its mythical character. Article 5 now stands for a glorified declaration of solidarity, but without the automaticity and ironclad guarantee of the past. This means that 9/11 has reinforced NATO's already existing political role, and diminished its military function. Thus, NATO's prospective enlargement will be both less complicated and less controversial. Fully involved in the workings of the Alliance, Russia will have fewer qualms about NATO “encroaching” upon its former sphere of interest. A more political NATO will, therefore, play a positive role in changing Europe's strategic landscape, but without the dominant military component of its past. In this sense, NATO is not redundant at all, but is likely to remain relevant for transatlantic security in a new political environment.

The Military Gap

At the moment, the United States is engaged in an arms race with itself. Obviously, the United States will win this “race,” but it may meanwhile seriously harm the transatlantic relationship. This is the political collateral damage of America's RMA.

Much has been written and made of this technological revolution, which, according to Gordon Adams, deals with “sophisticated command, control, communication, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C4ISR), data links, and precision guided munitions. This package of technological capabilities is one of the great force multipliers of the 21st century and its impact on military operations will only increase.”21 Only the United States is making the most of the RMA. In May 2001, Secretary Wolfowitz was already arguing that U.S. military strategy would in the future be “capabilities–driven,” rather than “threat–driven.” This implies that the RMA will develop a dynamic of its own, since an increased defense budget and a focus on new military technology will bring the U.S. armed forces into a league of its own within a decade or so. This is in stark contrast to the fact that most European defense budgets are shrinking and the EU's recently established ESDP shows only modest accomplishments. Even after two decades of discussion and planning, the European defense industrial base remains fragmented and political coordination (in the field of strategic planning and procurement) is ad hoc and slightly chaotic. The transatlantic military gap is perhaps best reflected by the fact that the United States spends $28,000 per annum per soldier on Research and Development (R&D) — approximately four times the European average.

Two questions should be asked. First, how does the American RMA affect the practical possibilities for transatlantic cooperation? Second, what are the implications for political cooperation among the allies?

The military operation in Afghanistan has shown what future warfare may look like: specially trained commando units using their laptop computers and laser and satellite telephones to trace targets that will be destroyed by nearby B-1s, B–2s, B–52s, or fighter aircraft in half an hour's time. The commandos will move around on horseback, if need be, illustrating the famed flexibility of the U.S. armed forces in postmodern warfighting scenarios.22 During the Afghanistan campaign, the B–52s operated from the island of Diego Garcia (in the Indian Ocean), whereas the B–2s started from Missouri, flying back and forth within 44 hours. Important here is that these technological advancements make the United States less dependent on its allies to “do the job.” Allies are viewed as politically convenient, but militarily unnecessary, and even likely to detract from the operation's efficiency and chances of success. Within the Pentagon, even European allies are known as “deficit contributors,” who cannot expect to wield any political influence of importance.

In Afghanistan, U.S. armed forces “tested” more than 30 new military technologies, including the Predator unmanned aircraft, which actually destroyed its target — a tank — with Hellfire missiles. A thermobaric bomb was used, as well as new microwave weapons that do not kill, but rather temporarily incapacitate. For those aware of the technical details of the RMA, the difference between reality and science fiction becomes blurred. Secretary Rumsfeld announced that the commando units in Afghanistan were so successful, that these flexible, high–tech brigades will be developed as a priority. This is just another step toward Network Centric Warfare (NCW), which gives the United States more control over factors like space and time, offering strategic, operational, and tactical opportunities during warfighting.

Europe faces military modernization or marginalization

Here, too, the implications for NATO are dire. Lord Robertson argued in February 2002 that the “huge additional investment [the United States] is making in defense will  make  practical interoperability with Allies, in NATO or in coalitions, impossible. The gap between American forces on the one hand and European and Canadian forces on the other will be unbridgeable. For Washington, the choice could become: act alone or not at all. And that is no choice at all.”23 Robertson offered two solutions. First, European countries have to spend more on security and defense, both individually and within the ESDP. For Europe, he argued, the choice should be clear: “modernisation or marginalisation.” Second, the U.S. government should relax for its European allies the stringent export control regulations on technology transfers, offering them at least part of the benefits of the American RMA.

All in all, it is questionable whether European countries will be able, and willing, to catch up with the American RMA. Europe has failed to invest in the newest developments in military technology and has already cashed its post–Cold War peace dividends. Europe lags behind in two main fields. First, it has only recently established the large “system integration defense contractors” who play such a key role in adapting commercial high–tech to military purposes. The European Aeronautic Defense and Space Company (EADS), set up in 1999, has the required format to function as such an intermediary between commercial and military technological developments. Second, and perhaps even more serious, Europe has not formulated and integrated a joint military strategy based on these high–tech defense capabilities. The United States is adapting its strategic thinking rapidly, e.g., in NCW or Information Warfare, all the way through to training, exercises, and tests. Europe remains far removed from the U.S. level of sophistication, which explains why Richard Perle, chairman of the Pentagon's Defense Policy Board, argued that Europe's armed forces are “atrophied to the point of virtual irrelevance.”24

Balanced military cooperation is difficult if the United States is not prepared to do peace making and Europe is not prepared to do war

The American RMA has major implications for NATO, making it more difficult, and, therefore, less likely for the United States and Europe to work together effectively in joint military operations. Since the United States has access to more intelligence in real time, has more advanced military technology at its disposal, and has a different perspective on the use of force, NATO has de facto been dethroned as the privileged military instrument for Atlantic cooperation and action. Moreover, and perhaps more worrying, the old concept of burden sharing is acquiring new meaning: The United States is the peace enforcer, whereas Europe specializes in peacekeeping and post–conflict reconstruction. As Senator Lugar argued in March 2002, “[t]oday there are more Europeans on the ground in Afghanistan than Americans. And it is Europe, not America, that is going to foot much of the bill for Afghan reconstruction. In these areas, they have been exceptional allies.”25 The same could be said for the division of labor among allies in Bosnia and Kosovo.

Washington has made it clear that its armed forces are loath to “do the windows,” i.e., to take on the more mundane tasks of peace making and peace building. However, this convenient division of labor is certainly not politically accepted, since it may well exacerbate the diverging strategic perspectives among allies and hence damage the feelings of solidarity and limit the possibilities for practical cooperation. But, as long as the United States is not prepared to “do windows,” and the Europeans are not prepared or capable to “do war,” balanced military cooperation remains difficult, and the best to hope for is a closely coordinated transatlantic approach to solving global problems.

The political implications for the transatlantic relationship are, therefore, mixed, at best. The new burden sharing status quo may for the time being be convenient, but it will in the end undermine a balanced and functional Alliance. The problem is not only — or even mainly — the differences in military capabilities between the United States and Europe, but the simple fact that these capabilities are a reflection of the way the United States and Europe each see the world and the world's problems. In his essay on U.S. strategic culture, Colin S. Gray aptly remarked that “[f]or better or for worse, the United States is a society with a low tolerance for lengthy investment with distant payoffs. . . . Americans do not resort to force quickly, but when they do, as citizens of the exceptional polity, they expect a thumping triumph.”26 Europe's strategic culture, meanwhile, has preferred compromise and “appeasement,” since EU integration has undermined any illusion of absolute sovereignty and invulnerability.

This means that the American RMA is a reflection of a “can do” strategic culture. It is an option which remains open for Europe as well, but one which is not chosen for a variety of practical and cultural reasons. Surely, if EU member states would join efforts and pool financial and other resources, a “European” RMA would be possible. Europe does not lack the money or political maturity to take such a step. But, since most European countries do not think it strategically opportune, it has not happened. In both elite and public opinion, the necessity to spend much more on defense — in comparison to health care, development assistance, etc. — is not recognized. The widening transatlantic military gap, therefore, mirrors a concomitantly widening political and strategic gap. The question now is how serious is this latter divide, and whether the trend is toward a narrowing or a widening of the gap.

It would be no exaggeration to reframe the question by asking what role Europe should play during an emerging period of American global dominance. International terrorists may try to undermine American power with “asymmetrical warfare.” They do not, therefore, by definition, challenge the United States as an equal opponent. The United States will be the world's only Superpower for the foreseeable future. Until quite recently, this would have left most Europeans reassured that they could continue to take a free ride on U.S. power and benefit from the collective goods that accompany it: order, freedom, and prosperity. Historically, U.S. power has been beneficial for Europe. As Krauthammer said, “who else should call the shots?” However, confidence in the benign nature of U.S. power is rapidly dwindling.

Recent American behavior has caused the world to question the comfortable assumption of U.S. power. Whereas Europe en bloc supports the Kyoto Protocol, the ICC, the Ottawa Treaty (banning anti–personnel landmines), and the ABM Treaty, the United States does not. When the United States seriously considers using low yield tactical nuclear missiles against WMD threats — as was suggested in the Nuclear Posture Review Report, leaked in March 2002 — this goes against the spirit of the Non–Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and will most likely sound the death knell of the CTBT and other regimes limiting the testing, and hence development, of WMD. If the United States were to use military force against an “Axis” country — most likely Iraq — in a preemptive strike, this would set a precedent for others to follow suit in situations that are less clear (e.g., China against Taiwan; Russia against Georgia, etc.), possibly opening a Pandora's Box of global anarchy.  When  these  were  “mere”  differences of opinion among equal partners, this could be ignored. The problem is that where Americans expect deliverance from the many multilateral ties and treaties in order to free their power and open up room for maneuver, Europeans witness this with suspicion and trepidation. America's “liberation” is viewed in Europe as an erosion of the international legal order around which most of Europe's security is built.

On this point, Josef Joffe has suggested that “[a]s long as the United States continues to provide international public goods while resisting the lure of unilateralism, envy and resentment will not escalate into fear and loathing.” His advice to Washington would therefore be: “Pursue your interests by serving the interests of others. Transform dependents into stakeholders. Turn America the Ubiquitous into America the Indispensable.”27 Unfortunately, many Europeans have begun to question whether the emerging Pax Americana serves their interests, now that the United States fails to take European political concerns into account. Europeans know from historical experience that only a strong and robust international legal system stands between order and the law of the jungle based on military power. Being in the driver's seat, the United States is relaxed about such a scenario. Europeans do not have this luxury.

Working toward Global Governance

During the coming years, the fight against international terrorism will remain the key point on the West's security agenda. But, the main danger will not come from extremists with dirty nuclear devices. The main problem will be that “the West” as a cohesive bloc and single–minded political force will cease to exist. Due to the increasing political divide between the United States and Europe, “the West” may — for different reasons than Marx anticipated — become the victim of its own internal contradictions.

If the United States and Europe work together there is little that cannot be achieved

This will happen during an era that requires a united West as a powerful initiator of global governance. Since globalization limits the possibilities of individual states to control economic, financial, political, security, and cultural forces that affect them directly, cooperation among states and non–state actors such as non–governmental Organizations (NGOs), the EU, UN, International Monetary Fund (IMF), and other international financial institutions — is all the more necessary. What country can really cherish the ambition to control international crime, the spread of diseases, climate change, the spread of international terrorism, or massive international capital flows by itself? The West's motto should be that if the United States or Europe act alone, they will likely hinder each other, but if they work together, there is little that cannot be achieved or solved.

This is, of course, nothing new. It may even sound too self–evident to repeat. But, compared with the lack of serious transatlantic cooperation and even at times open disagreement — on many important areas, the difference between wishful thinking and reality becomes painfully obvious.

Europe is all too aware that to be prosperous and secure it needs the United States. In the United States the “need” for good relations with Europe is not always as clearly appreciated. America should not forget that whereas Europe may be an unconvincing ally in the military field, it remains America's best partner in the area of economics and trade. On an annual basis, the United States and Europe invest $700 billion in each other's economies, generating some 6 million jobs (3 million each in the United States and the EU).28 What  is more, the EU's new single currency — the Euro — is already developing into a convincing competitor to the U.S. dollar, putting more pressure on the United States and the EU to work together to better manage their monetary policies. At times, Washington has even had to bend to EU rulings and laws, for example in June 2001 when the European Commission ruled against the merger of two American technology giants, General Electric and Honeywell.

Economic relations between the world's two largest trading blocs have, in fact, recently deteriorated with the March 2002 decision of President Bush to impose tariffs of up to 30% on many steel imports, causing anger in Europe as well as in many other parts of the world. The EU has appealed to the World Trade Organization (WTO) and has even threatened to impose retaliatory sanctions on specific American exports. Since European leaders maintain that President Bush's protectionist policies were intended to strengthen support for the Republican Party in several key states for the November 2002 Congressional elections, the EU has carefully selected its retaliatory sanctions against the United States to exactly hurt these politically sensitive states. Clearly, this does not contribute to a healthy transatlantic relationship, and no doubt spills over into the areas of foreign and security policy.29

But, the EU's economic clout goes beyond trade, and has clear security implications. Especially in the fight against international terrorism, the EU's economic and political influence is important to the United States. For example, the EU has introduced a Europe–wide search and arrest warrant, new extradition procedures, agreements on data sharing, and more prominent roles for Europol (the EU's nascent law enforcement organization) and Eurojust (the future European unit for cooperation between national prosecuting authorities).30 The United States has requested, and generally received, EU assistance in the areas of police and judicial cooperation, in particular regarding regulations on extradition and  police  surveillance.  Washington  is  also  interested in obtaining more direct access to the EU's Schengen Information System (SIS). The European Commission introduced EU–wide standards to improve security for air travelers as well as emergency legislation to “freeze” more than €100 million worth of assets belonging to people suspected of terrorism. The Commission also tabled proposals for a common definition of terrorism and for a system of EU–wide penalties for terrorist offenses. It proposed measures to reinforce the security features of a common visa system and is exploring how existing EU legislation on the issues of financial markets and asylum can be made “terrorism proof.” The EU further earmarked over €310 million to relieve the suffering of the Afghan people. As an immediate reaction, the Commission released €5.5 million in emergency aid. An additional €6 million food aid has been released to the World Food Program. Taken together, the United States has as much to lose “economically” from a souring transatlantic relationship as Europe. Further, the EU's nonmilitary efforts have significant security implications that are often underestimated, especially because they do not receive due credit in the mass media.

Euro–American policy coordination may be underdeveloped, but certainly is no tabula rasa. A modest institutional infrastructure is already in place to facilitate coordination. In 1995, the United States and Europe set up the so–called New Transatlantic Agenda (NTA) to solve economic as well as — less prominently — political issues. During the June 1999 NTA meeting in Bonn, it was even agreed that both sides would strive toward a “full and equal partnership” in the economic, political, and military fields. Unfortunately, these have remained empty words. The NTA has not gained the political weight to shape the transatlantic agenda and influence U.S. and EU policy. In this respect, there remains much room for improvement.

A new transatlantic cement requires a common concern and interest in a united effort for global governance

Given the basis of trust and mutual understanding that still exists between the United States and Europe, a revitalization of the transatlantic relationship remains possible, but will not take place spontaneously. All too often, both American and European policymakers assume that the “transatlantic community” is a given, a resource to draw upon, but not one to invest too much in, let alone cherish. This is a huge and potentially dangerous mistake. The United States and Europe need each other, perhaps now more than ever. But, whereas the EU has a so–called “common strategy” — a well thought through approach comprising all policy areas to which EU member states are supposed to orient their national policies — toward Russia, Ukraine, and the Mediterranean, there is no such joint European approach toward the United States. The same applies to the United States, where it is all too easily and often assumed that European allies can be counted upon to stand by Washington's side. But, now that the Cold War transatlantic glue has long dried up, a different cement has to keep the Alliance together. This new cement needs to consist of a common concern and interest in a united effort for global governance. The following suggestions are offered on how this may be achieved.

American Power (“Hard” and “Soft”)

America's military dominance is beyond dispute. The United States has no equals, not even serious challengers in this respect. But, the time when power was derived only from the barrel of a gun — however sophisticated and laser–guided — is gone. Richard Haass, the U.S. State Department's Director of Policy and Planning, wrote earlier that the United States should assume “the role of international sheriff, one who forges coalitions by posses of states and others for specific tasks.”31 But, this American sheriff will be in need of many a loyal deputy, and his authority will only be accepted if he is perceived to work for the common good, and not for limited, short–term U.S. self–interest. For the United States to establish its authority, it needs its “soft power,” i.e., the political and cultural assets that make it attractive to outsiders — ranging from the still vibrant “American Dream” to the pull of Britney Spears and McDonald's — as much as its “hard power.”32 Without its “soft power,” America's “hard power” would be less accepted and most likely even violently rejected.

The United States needs to acknowledge the importance of its “soft power,” and make it work to its advantage. This has now dawned upon the U.S. State Department, which has started to work more consistently on America's image abroad. In an effort to fix some of its “soft power” problems, in October 2001 it appointed Charlotte Beers — the former chairman of the advertising agencies J. Walter Thompson and Ogilvy & Mather — as the new Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs. Just as the Pentagon has enlisted the help of Hollywood's creative thinkers to brainstorm both possible scenarios that future terrorist attacks might take and solutions to these attacks, Beers has asked former Madison Avenue advertising colleagues to help her rebrand and “sell” Uncle Sam to a hostile Muslim world. In America's new struggle for sympathy and support across the globe, media, public relations, and marketing specialists are no longer a side–show to hard–nosed, classic power politics and diplomacy. As Secretary Powell defined American diplomacy: “We're selling a product. That product we are selling is democracy.”33

This is a crucial struggle for the United States to win. But, its efforts should not be simply focused on “selling democracy.” It should make an effort to sell to all of Europe the idea of “the West” as a viable and even pivotal concept. Not doing so will sow the seeds of mistrust and concern, which will undermine the legitimacy of the U.S. sheriff and will, over time, make the formation of a Western “posse” against future security threats unlikely. However, if the United States takes Europe seriously and gives the EU the credit and voice it deserves, on the basis of its historical record and economic value for America's prosperity, much is to be gained.

Europe's Practical Contribution

Most of the work required to keep the transatlantic relationship afloat and relevant will have to come from “Europe,” both in its institutional guises as the EU and NATO, and as a joint effort of all European countries that consider themselves a part of “the West.” Three guidelines for future policy are of importance.

First, Europe should not only criticize the United States for real and imagined mistakes, but should offer practical alternatives, that may even be acceptable to Washington. Europe has to make a better case for its policy approaches toward, for example, Iraq and clarify what other options are available versus outright military intervention. Europe should work harder to influence the policy shaping process in Washington, supporting the factions and arguments that are in its own interests. All too often, the United States and Europe have the same objective and goal in mind, but differ substantially on the preferred road to get there. Like the United States, Europe would prefer regime change in Baghdad, but as long as the EU does not have a credible, alternative “rogue state” plan, complaining about U.S. unilateralism and interventionism  vis–à–vis Iraq will just not do. Europe will lose whatever is left of its influence in the United States if it gets the reputation of being just another “Mr. Nyet,” however undeserved such a reputation may actually be. This means that “Europe” has to adopt a more geostrategic outlook and be willing to engage in security issues that are beyond its own direct political horizon, including issues ranging from North Korea and Taiwan to the Middle East and the still unresolved question of dealing with so–called “failed states” (like Somalia, Yemen, etc.).

Europe needs to establish itself as a credible and useful ally of the United States working toward a generally shared goal

Second, Europe must work harder to clarify that the issues at stake go beyond petty intra–Alliance policy differences, and may well determine the future of transatlantic relations for the decades to come. Critics of NATO have “cried wolf” for many years and we have become accustomed to an up–and–down Alliance. Yet, for reasons indicated above, the emerging transatlantic gap is becoming too wide and deep for comfort. Unless the transatlantic divide is bridged, irreparable damage may be done to the effectiveness of “the West” as a  political actor, affecting not only NATO, but also other crucial institutions where western states dominate the agenda (such as the WTO, the IMF, the World Bank, and the G–7). It should be clear that this would have a detrimental effect on the United States and Europe, both economically and politically.

Last, Europe has to convince America that its efforts to shape a credible CFSP and ESDP — both of which are required for the EU to take on more responsibility in the foreign policy, security, and defense areas — are not meant to “balance” America in any way, but are mainly to establish Europe as a credible and useful ally of the United States working toward a generally shared goal, but occasionally taking different routes. At times friction and modest disagreement will occur, but such a strong European voice is required to keep “the West” both dynamic and credible to the rest of the world. Europe has to think for itself and be honest in its relationship with the United States. The result, inevitably, will be a more balanced NATO and a United States willing to listen to its traditional allies, not with aversion and displeasure, but as the useful and constructive voices that they are, or at least should strive to become.


1 An earlier version of this paper was published as Europa en de Pax Americana. Het transatlantisch bondgenootschap in de schaduw van morgen, The Hague: Netherlands Institute of International Relations “Clingendael,” April 2002.

2 European Commission President Romano Prodi, statement on the attacks against the United States, Brussels, September 12, 2001.

3 NATO Secretary General Lord Robertson, “Attack on Us All: NATO's Response to Terrorism,” Atlantic Council of the United States, Washington D.C., October 10, 2001.

4 Charles Krauthammer, “The Axis of Petulance,” The Washington Post, March 1, 2002.

5 Quoted in Jonathan Freedland, “Patten Lays into Bush's America,” The Guardian (Manchester), February 9, 2002.

6 International Herald Tribune, “France  Upbraids  U.S.  as 'Simplistic',” February 7, 2002, and Die Welt (Berlin), “Wir sind keine Satelliten,” February 12, 2002.

7 U.S. President George W. Bush, State of the Union Address, January 30, 2002.

8 Ronald Dworkin, “The Threat to Patriotism,” The New York Review of Books, February 28, 2002.

9 Paul D. Wolfowitz, lecture at the 38th Munich Conference on Security Policy (Wehrkunde Tagung), February 2, 2002.

10 Irwin Stelzer, “Bush Turns Away from the Weaklings of Europe,” The Times (London), February 19, 2002.

11 Time Magazine, August 4, 1997.

12 The New York Times, “Powell says U.S. is Weighing Ways to Topple Hussein,” February 13, 2002.

13 The Guardian (Manchester), “U.S. Targets Saddam,” February 14, 2002.

14 Thom Shanker, “Pentagon Sees Attack on Saddam Next Year,” International Herald Tribune, April 29, 2002.

15 Final Communiqué of the Ministerial Meeting of the North Atlantic Council, Reykjavik, May 14, 2002.

16 Quoted in “Solana Seeks to Soften Europe's Anti–U.S. Tone,” International Herald Tribune, February 20, 2002.

17 Jean-Marie Colombani, “Nous sommes tous Américains,” Le Monde (Paris), September 12, 2001.

18 Quoted in Peter Beaumont and Ed Vulliamy, “Armed to the teeth,” The Observer (London), February 10, 2002.

19 Senator Richard G. Lugar, “Lugar says NATO Must Join War on Terrorism,” January 17, 2002. Online: accessed, January 2002,

20 NATO Secretary General Lord Robertson, “NATO–Russia Cooperation in Combating Terrorism: A Good Idea Whose Time has Come,” keynote address to NATO Defense College, Rome, February 4, 2002.

21 Gordon Adams, “Convergence or Divergence? The Future of the Transatlantic Defence Industry,” in Simon Duke, ed., Between Vision and Reality: CFSP's Progress on the Path to Maturity, Maastricht: European Institute of Public Administration, 2000, p. 180.

22 Chris Hables Gray, Postmodern War: The New Politics of Conflict, New York: The Guilford Press, 1997.

23 NATO Secretary General Lord Robertson, “NATO: Enlarging and Redefining Itself,” Lecture at the Royal Institute of International Affairs, London, February 18, 2002.

24 Quoted in “Transformation Postponed,” The Economist, February 16, 2002.

25 Senator Richard G. Lugar, “NATO after 9–11: Crisis or Opportunity?” March 4, 2002. Online: accessed, January 2002,

26 Colin S. Gray, “Strategy in the Nuclear Age: The United States, 1945–1991,” in Williamson Murray, MacGregor Knox and Alvin Bernstein, eds., The Making of Strategy: Rulers, States, and War, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994, pp. 593, 597.

27 Josef Joffe, “Who's Afraid of Mr. Big?” The National Interest, No. 64, Summer 2001, p. 52.

28 Roy Denman, “Trans–atlantic Trade: So Much is at Stake,” International Herald Tribune, January 19, 2001.

29 The Economist, “Transatlantic Tensions,” May 1, 2002.

30 See Joanna Apap, “Common European Instruments to Tackle Terrorism,” CEPS Commentary, September 2001. Online: accessed, January 2002,

31 Richard N. Haass, The Reluctant Sheriff: The United States After the Cold War, New York: Council on Foreign Relations Press, 1997, p. 6.

32 Joseph Nye recently (re)defined “soft power” as “the ability to get others to want what Americans want.” In Robert O. Keohane and Joseph S. Nye, Jr., “Introduction,” in Joseph S. Nye, Jr. and John D. Donahue, eds., Governance in a Globalizing World, Washington, DC: Brookings, 2000, p. 8.

33 Foreign Policy, “Brand U.S.A.,” No. 127, November/December 2001, p. 19.

About the Author

Dr. Peter van Ham is a Senior Research Fellow at the Netherlands Institute of International Relations “Clingendael,” The Hague, and Adjunct Professor at the College of Europe in Bruges, Belgium.

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