Accession Number:



Security without the United States? Europe's Perception of NATO

Descriptive Note:

Journal article

Corporate Author:


Personal Author(s):

Report Date:


Pagination or Media Count:



For nearly 60 years, Europe has benefited from Americas willingness to view European security as part of its own and to extend the umbrella of extended nuclear deterrence over it. During the Cold War, it was the United States above all that prevented war in Europe, in particular in the form of a nuclear first strike, which the Soviet Union had planned. After the end of the Cold War, it was again the United States that restored peace in Europe when it decided, working within a NATO framework, to put an end to the Yugoslavian wars of secession and to lay the groundwork for the peaceful reordering of post-Soviet Europe by means of NATO expansion and the Partnership for Peace program. This Pax Americana in Europe broke down after the United States began its war on terror following the attacks of 11 September 2001. This prompted anew the question that had already arisen once, at the end of the Cold War, about the future of NATO and about Europes security without U.S. involvement. This same question arises again with the arrival in office of the new Obama administration, for, in spite of the likely return to multilateral foreign and security policies, it cannot be ruled out that President Obama, like George W. Bush, will look upon European issues as largely settled and perceive his primary interests as lying in the Middle East and Asia. To answer the question of whether Europe can provide for its own security without the aid of the United States, we must first take a look at long-term developments, for in facing current crises one can only turn to the means at hand, namely NATO and the European Union. We can discern four long-term developments that can perhaps lead to crises and conflict demographic displacements, shortages of essential resources, revolutionary advances in industrialization and technology, and climate change.

Subject Categories:

  • Government and Political Science
  • Psychology
  • Military Forces and Organizations

Distribution Statement: