Even as the scars of the economic crisis and the siren call of populist politicians tempt them to turn inwards, governments must reaffirm the value of the Atlantic Alliance.
Russia has been conducting troop exercises on Ukraine’s border. But an invasion would not trigger a NATO military response—and probably not even strong economic sanctions.
During his trip to Europe, U.S. President Barack Obama has tried to rally his European counterparts to form a united front against Moscow’s annexation of Crimea.
Without a big push by Berlin, Paris, or London to tackle strategy, threats, and the future of the transatlantic relationship, a strong European foreign policy will remain elusive.
The debate over the long-term direction of the European political experiment will take center stage in 2014.
At December’s European Council summit, European defense topped the agenda for EU leaders. One key issue under discussion was pooling and sharing of military capabilities.
The existing debate on defense in Europe focuses on spending cuts in times of crisis. Defense cannot just be about budgets, but also means safeguarding certain values and norms.
Turkey’s planned new canal and a missile defense system both send the message that Turkey will go its own way, swiftly and irrespective of the country’s international environment and commitments.
Despite areas of potential friction between Berlin and Washington, the fruitful transatlantic relationship of the last seventy years looks set to continue after Germany’s election.
If Europeans refuse to consider force as a last option to support diplomatic efforts, analysts believe that the European Union’s foreign policy will be toothless.