European Strategic Autonomy: Balancing Ambition and Responsibility

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Publication Date November 2018
ISBN 978-2-36567-937-4
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For decades, Europe has been trying to chart a path away from the military competition and strategic rivalries that brought it to ruins so many times in history. Many European countries have prioritized normative and commercial power over military power to further their interests, and chosen to rely on the United States through the Atlantic Alliance to protect them from neighboring threats. While this choice may have seemed reasonable in the post-Cold War, it is insufficient to protect Europe against the various threats it faces and might face. Over the past years, its immediate neighborhood has seen the resurgence of Russia’s strategic and military ambitions, protracted civil wars in Syria and Libya, and multiple terrorist campaigns. Within both the EU and the Alliance, the rise of populism threatens to weaken dramatically political cohesion and solidarity at a critical time. Donald Trump’s attitude and statements as President of the United States have renewed European concerns about Washington’s long-term orientations and interests in Europe. The two pillars on which European countries have been overwhelmingly relying for their security, the Atlantic Alliance and the advent of a strong norm-based international order favoring multilateralism, have thus both been deeply shaken.

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