Waging Modern War - The Future of the Atlantic Alliance

Term Paper (Advanced seminar), 2002
22 Pages, Grade: 1,0 (A)


Table of Content


1. The Problem

2. State of Affairs
2.1 The European Perspective
2.2 The American Perspective

3. The Balkan Wars
4. Towards a European Security and Defense Policy
5. Modern Warfare and the Atlantic Alliance
6. The Bush junior Doctrine


1. The Problem

Having been a soldier of the SFOR Peacekeeping Mission in Bosnia and Hercegovina I could witness and experience the role, which the United States play not only militarily in Europe. During the Kosovo campaign this engagement reached a new magnitude, probably unprecedented since the Second World War. Yet, the German Foreign Minster JOSCHKA FISCHER attested in his famous speech at the Humboldt University in Berlin that decisions of historical importance turned the faith of Europe in favor of its peoples: First, the reasoned inference of the United States and not to withdraw from the conti- nent. And second, the courage of the main actors and former aggressors on the continent to reconcile their interests, and hence to begin a process of integration1.

The commitment of the United States in Europe supported the process of the European integration. Yet, the Europe Union proves to be a successful experiment, culminating in these days in the introduction of the €-currency. Though traditional representatives of the nation-state abandoned voluntarily some of the core characteristics of elementary sovereignty, the European Union develops on the side of the U.S. slowly towards a new dominion of world politics and power. In the field of foreign and security policy the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) provided above all the ground for common measures in and around the periphery of both actors. The so far best example in this re- gard is publicly considered concerning the Gulf war in 1991. Though, NATO did hardly play a significant role, the Alliance sell its engagement there as a great success2.

Assumed that at least the policy makers on both sides of the Atlantic share common values and traditions. Yet, the emancipated European community acquires increasingly a status, which at least gives the opportunity to conduct foreign policy on its own. Si- multaneously, the region evolves in a serious competitor of the U.S., eventually cha l- lenging or even rejecting the will of the American partner in the Atlantic Alliance. However, bearing in mind the proficient progress of the European community regarding its economic and civil maneuvers, the EU proved twice in the recent years that it could not cope with security matters in front of the European fortress. Twice, during the full- fledged war in Bosnia and Hercegovina - when European the Common Foreign and Se- curity Policy was just emerging in the Treaty of Maastricht - and in the course of the erupting Kosovo crisis, the Europeans relied heavily on the military potential of the in- creasingly estranged partner in the Alliance. Europeans called for assistance, Americans provided them. There seem to be no obvious reasons for such an engagement, since the Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty was not affected so far. But what drives the American taxpayer and sovereign to commit it’s country’s resources and people to an exercise, which takes place thousands of kilometers away, and which additionally serves the competitor or even rival on the other side of the Atlantic.

Thus, I want to focus on the particular problems concerning the anyhow afflicted and cooled down relationship between the U.S. and the Europeans*. Due to the uncertainty the U.S. and NATO’s engagement in Afghanistan is faced - and, presumably, will be faced for some time - the Alliance’s inconvenience shall be elaborated in regard to its efforts on the Balkans. Alternatives to activities, which are now carried out on the common ground of the Treaty’s commitment, may appear and shall be later part of the discussion.

2. State of Affairs

Frustration on both sides of the Atlantic emerge from Europeans concerns of Americans behavior, not only conducting war around the world, but also in regard to the problems in the Middle East, and its attempts to contain the United Nations. United States, in contrast, blamed Europe of their continued reluctance to agree to more equitable burden sharing, to being soft on certain perceived anti-Western regimes, and hence undermin- ing Americas system of sanctions3. However, frustration and irritation could pragmati- cally best be prevented by an increased tendency of the United States to act unilateral. On the other side, moral hazard could affect the European Union since it may ever pre- sume being able to rely even from the today’s perspective on NATO, and thus on United States’ commitment and interest. Europe’s way of thinking may be confronted with an unexpected turn in U.S. foreign policy, devoting much less importance to Europe. This happened exactly in the days after September the 11th. The evolution of transatlantic relationship began already before this very date, initiated by factors inside and outside the European Union and its int egration process.

2.1 The European Perspective

It is a widely perceived matter of fact that the WEU has ever been a dead letter, while the OSCE lacks the own military instrumentality. According to the Treaty on the Euro- pean Union, the WEU stays formally outside the Union. Article 17 TEU asserts that the WEU may serve “providing the Union with access to an operational capability”. And:

* The term Europeans shall refer not only to the Member States of the European Union, which commit themselves to the NATO as well.

“The Union will avail itself of the WEU to elaborate and implement decisions and ac- tions of the Union which have defense implications”. Further, in the case military ac- tions for EU crisis management deem to be necessary, it should be taken in considera- tion that the utilization of the WEU through the EU request not less than 25 steps of consultation. The paper tiger of the WEU will then rely on the resources of NATO, since it has no efficient military means on its disposal4. The dependence on and the final approval through NATO make the obvious lack of factual Common European Defense efforts evident.

After two World Wars, the process of European integration was inaugurated in order to accomplish an enduring structure for peace on the continent. Accordingly, a sole Euro- pean security policy was not envisaged, hence the nation-states regained their strength while insisting on their sovereign rights of autonomous decision making concerning foreign and security policy. European integration was easier to accomplish, feasible and more beneficial in regard to an economic attempt to rapprochement. The political will of the EC/EU’s Member States to deepen their integration - and the imminent crisis in Bosnia - brought about the establishment of an European institution first time providing the sui generis body5 with some characteristics typical for sovereign states. The Com- mon Foreign and Security Policy hence constitutes the EU’s demand for means to ac- complish and exercise a European foreign policy. The European community, conscious about its economic potential, increasingly emancipates itself in its external political re- lations.

Yet, a significant decline in the perceived role of the U.S. in Europe may be revealed. KISSINGER identifies the roots of the estrangement of the allies: During the Cold War, the European integration was urged through the U.S. as a method to strengthen the At- lantic Alliance. Only a healthy economic foundation provides the ground for a stable political framework. However, many of the former advocates of this kind of policy- making see the process of integration as a means of creating a counterweight to Ame r- ica. The distinctive feature of the European Union military force, which - elevated by the problems the EU ran in during the Balkan crises - will set up by 2003, is to create a capacity to act outside the framework of NATO6. Apart from establishing a European Army to bring about another sovereign characteristic for the emerging European State and identity, Europe probably feels threatened, so by a migration movement in front of its fortress. Most of the European states confess to be immigration country. This is par- alleled by the imminent demand for the compensation of declining indigenous work force in the next decades. However, a unique migration policy of the EU had not been established yet7. Huge migration movements - not only from the Balkans but also from the former colonies, etc. - are commonly assumed to threaten the inner stability and se- curity (via problems of the labor market, social security system, etc.). Though, the EU build strict barriers concerning migration, any conflict in its periphery may indirectly destabilize the economies. Additionally, this may have continued repercussions con- cerning the foreign and security policy8. However, the crises in Bosnia and in the Kosovo mark the change within the Atlantic Alliance form a system of collective defense to a system of collective security9. Hence, neither willing nor able to duplicate the military structures of NATO, the Europeans first time were faced with the cold burden-sharing demand from the side of the U.S. In contrast, the United States, factually the only player capable to provide the necessary militarily means, frequently proclaimed their gradual withdraw from the continent. This was also due to the fact that the U.S. Congress increasingly restricts the U.S. engage- ment and ambitions during the Clinton Administration. NATO thus is “first and fore- most a military alliance”. Its purpose is predominantly to prevent “the reemergence of a hegemonic power confronting Europe”10. Simultaneously, the emerging identity of the CFSP brought about a reassessment of Europe’s attitude towards the role of the United Nations11. A not minor important issue - hence gaining politically weight since Septem- ber the 11th - is the advances of rapprochement of the Atlantic Alliance towards Rus- sia. Due to sheer geographical and historical facts, Russia feels more comfortable in doing reciprocally business - and declaring the “marginality of the organization”12 - with the European camp of the NATO members.

The European states confirm in the Treaty on the European Union “their attachment to the principles of liberty, democracy and respect for human rights and fundamental free- doms and of the rule of law”, and hence, are emphasizing to share common values with the U.S., the facts mentioned above persuade the Atlantic relationship towards a some- how vague association. This appears much more surprising since the Europeans are quite aware of their toothlessness and sometimes confused foreign and security policy - which became apparent during the Kosovo crisis13. When, not earlier than the end of 2003, the European Rapid Reaction Force might have been set up, most of the potential crises in the near periphery deem to be solved or at least frozen. However, the relation to the U.S. will ever be the decisive fact for the establishment of European world poli- tics. So far the EU will be a superpower put in hold14. Yet, the ESDP is not responsible for the divergence between U.S. and European forces, but it could aggravate the prob- lem15.

2.2 The American Perspective

Domestic forces predominantly run America’s policy. It may be assumed that this is much more applicable for the country’s foreign policy. Though, the President has a wide say in matters of foreign and security policy, the Congress, potentially limiting the financial means, applies its own interpretation of the particular situation16. However, Jefferson’s Empire for Liberty 17, apart form its internal disputes, ever strove for a free hand conducting its external relations in political and economic matters. Thus, the proc- ess of European integration served form the perspective of the U.S. to stabilize not only the EU area, but also most of Central and Eastern Europe after the end of the Cold War. NATO provides the best protection against military blackmail from any quarter of this region18. To put it in other words: “NATO and EU enlargement will … remove a vari- ety of east-central European states from Russia’s sphere of influence”19. KISSINGER, however, assures that the domestic politics drives back American foreign policy, while the Congress is not only legislating the tactics of foreign policy but also seeks to impose a code of conduct on other nations by a plethora of sanctions - hence applying its own foreign policy20. Yet, policy-making of the United States in regard to its external affairs is conducted in a much more disconcerted way than it may be perceived commonly. According to recent polls George W. Bush enjoyed in December 2001 an 86 % backing of the American people. Since September the 11th the consent even increased. However, Bush’s advisers


1 Fischer (2000).

2 NATO (1998), p. 70.

3 Everts (2001), p. 5.

4 Jopp (2000), p. 230.

5 Shaw (2000), p. 107.

6 Kissinger (2001), p. 47.

7 Angenendt (1999a), p. 847.

8 Angenendt (1999b), p. 89.

9 Rühl (2000), p. 528.

10 Congressional Record (Senate)(1998).

11 Fischer (1998).

12 Rogosin (2002); Rogosin is head of the Foreign Committee of the Russian Parliament.

13 Europäischer Rat (1999), p. 37.

14 Weidenfeld/Algieri (1999), p. 889-893.

15 Schake (2002), p. 14.

16 Shell (1998), p. 224-225.

17 Schweigler (1998), p. 397.

18 Kissinger (1994), p. 823.

19 Motyl (2001), p. 104.

20 Kissinger (2001), p. 35.

Excerpt out of 22 pages


Waging Modern War - The Future of the Atlantic Alliance
Jagiellonian University in Krakow  (Centre for European Studies)
America, Europe and the World in the 20th Century
1,0 (A)
Catalog Number
ISBN (eBook)
File size
479 KB
NATO transatlantische Beziehungen ESDP, transatlantic relations
Quote paper
Heiko Bubholz (Author), 2002, Waging Modern War - The Future of the Atlantic Alliance, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/5541


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