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For a New Transatlantic Strategic Sequence: In, Near, and Beyond Europe

For a New Transatlantic Strategic Sequence: In, Near, and Beyond Europe

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This policy brief explains that the United States and Europe must balance domestic and foreign concerns in order to cooperate on global security concerns.
This policy brief explains that the United States and Europe must balance domestic and foreign concerns in order to cooperate on global security concerns.

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Categories:Types, Research
Published by: German Marshall Fund of the United States on May 16, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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There are still manygaps to be bridged between theUnited States and Europe interms of strategic thinking andnational versus global outlook,which leave the transatlanticpartners poorly equipped toadapt to new economic reali-ties and their strategic conse-quences. This means that theUnited States and Europe nowface the challenges of recon-ciling their strategic prioritiesin a context where the combi-nation on the powers on bothsides could prove instrumental
in nding answers to the current
geopolitical and economic chal-lenges.
Transatlantic Security Task Force Series
Policy Brie 
For a New Transatlantic Strategic Sequence:In, Near, and Beyond Europe
by Michel Foucher 
German Marshall Fund o theUnited States-Paris71 Boulevard Raspail75006 Paris: +33 1 47 23 47 18E:inoparis@gmus.org
May 2013
Europeans and Americans havereconnected since 2009. Te imageo the United States has improvedin European public opinion, whichapproved o the end o military expeditions in Iraq and Aghanistano the previous administration andthe ambitions o regime change.France was brought back into theold by reintegrating NAO’s mili-tary command, a choice that is now not subject to change. Joint military interventions between Paris, London,and Washington were carried outsuccessully in Libya, and diplomaticpositions are coordinated or themanagement o the current crises inIran, Syria, and the Sahara-Sahel. U.S.authorities are also pressing Europeancapitals to act on an economic revival,which stresses the importance o thetransatlantic market and improves itsco-operation (G20).Is this avorable bilateral contextsince 2009 sucient to agree upona common analysis o the long-termchallenges, to draw a shared hierarchy o priorities, and to sketch a strategy to address them?
Analysis: Are We Living in the SameWorld?
The Dominant Analysis in Europeand France
A major dierence between Europeand the United States is that the latteris keen to explicitly state its view o the world and its geostrategic andgeopolitical goals, whereas the ormerseems unable to do so.
Te 2003European Security Strategy WhitePaper that was partially reconsideredin 2008. For the rest, the only ocialstatements are provided by hal adozen national strategic reviews.In France, the last ocial documenton strategic issues was released as
“Te international and strategic evolu-tions faced by France.
It states thatglobalization will remain the deter-mining process to dene the structureo the international strategic envi-ronment but that, since 2008, NorthArica and the Middle-East have acedstrategic ruptures, the recongurationo the balance o power is speeding-up under the economic and nancialcrisis, and a new U.S. strategic orien-tation is emerging. Te new WhiteBook on deense (spring 2013) takes
1 No new security strategy paper is under considerationat European External Action Service in Brussels. Franceis open to an initiative in the context of the Dec. 2013European Council dedicated to defense issues.2
Preparatory document for the updating of the FrenchWhite paper on defense and national security 
, Feb.2012
Transatlantic Security Task Force Series
Policy Brief 
We are facing a crisis of adaptation to new economicrealities.
stock o the act that “the U.S. will be more selective in theirgeographic priorities since the European continent is not atthe heart o the world strategic conrontation anymore.Beyond ocial analysis, one can assume that the worldtoday is more interdependent, more discordant, and lesscooperative than ever. New state actors are asking or their“place in the sun,” to quote Bernhard von Bulow’s amousspeech in 1897 in Berlin, and not only in the economicsphere. We are acing a great emancipation, a great trans-ormation, in which some emerging countries are eager totransorm their economic and nancial assets into geopo-litical capacities and strategic might in order to becomerecognized centers o power, at least on the long term.
TeWest is a decisive actor in that major change given its hugeinvestments in emerging countries, which benet exten-sively rom more open markets than their own.Economy seems to have taken the lead part in strategy.For example, in April 2012, 2,500 U.S. marines landed inDarwin, Australia, and, unrelated, im Cook, Apple’s CEO,or the rst time visited the Foxconn Zhengzhou ech-nology Park, which has more than 120,000 workers manu-acturing iPhones. Tis bi-national product is designed inCupertino, Caliornia, and manuactured in China, withglobal reach. op Chinese leaders received im Cook. So,which is the main line o present U.S. interests: economicalliance or strategic containment? Both at the same timecertainly. Tis is similar to the phenomena pointed out by Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard when she remarkedthat perhaps China should be contained in the South ChinaSea, but also that Chinas high speed trains were made upo Australian iron ore. Tis contradictory interdependencewas also illustrated recently when ormer Prime MinisterWen Jintao visited the Hannover Messe along with GermanChancellor Angela Merkel, whose country is losing many  jobs in that advanced sector because o the Chinese compe-tition. How should the West engage China? And i we seri-ously consider the orecast that China will overtake Francein the next years to become Germany’s main tradingpartner, what will be the long-term political impact o thissingle act on a relationship that remains central to Europe.China lies at every corner o the world stage. Why do wenot talk more about that in transatlantic meetings?
3 Michel Foucher,
 A battle of maps, Critical analysis of the visions of the world
, FrançoisBourin, 2
edition, Paris, 2011; 3
edition, bilingual (English/French), electronic andinteractive, Oct. 2012, Itunes/Ipad
We are acing a crisis o adaptation to new economic reali-ties. A common perception in Europe is that the Westernmonopole on world aairs is over and that leadership isbecoming relative. But should Europeans continue to over-estimate the geopolitical impact o growth rates in devel-oping countries and thereore underestimate their ownassets? Is “Asia” a mature geopolitical concept or a uzzy one, since there is no political will to reach “unity” in thispart o the world?
The U.S. Analysis
President Obamas introduction to the National Security Strategy document (May 27, 2010) asserts an objective o “national security and global leadership” so that “when weuse it appropriately, our security and leadership is rein-orced.” It also contains an observation that gives rise toa method: “Te burdens o a young century cannot allon U.S. shoulders alone — indeed our adversaries wouldlike to see America sap our strength by overextending ourpower.” Tis means “mobilizing collective action” despite“the shortalls o our international system,” or “Americahas not succeeded by stepping outside the currents o inter-national cooperation.” Te nal sentence is clear: “And ina young century whose trajectory is uncertain, America isready to lead once more.” Te terms in which Washingtonanalyses this global leadership are, on the ace o it, very similar to those used by the major banks and nancialinstitutions, but the administration takes broader criteriainto account, including a geostrategic dimension.Te notion o other centers o inuence” is stressed todescribe the dynamic international environment o whichthe United States is part. Tere is mention o China (whichis encouraged to show responsible leadership on globalissues and to agree to a dialogue on military matters),India (with whom the United States is orging a strategicpartnership), and Russia, whose cooperation the UnitedStates seeks in the areas o non-prolieration and Aghani-stan. However, the U.S. approach is not simply bilateral; itis accompanied by the promotion o multilateral regionalstructures — ASEAN, Asia-Pacic Economic Cooperation,
Transatlantic Security Task Force Series
Policy Brief 
rans-Pacic Strategic Economic Partnership, and EastAsia Summit — to manage the emerging powers.A second category o states — the emerging centers o inuence” — includes other G20 members. Tere is anemphasis on Indonesia, which is acing a series o chal-lenges including climate, counter-terrorism, maritimepiracy, natural disasters, and crisis management, andis amiliar to the U.S. president. Brazil is mentioned interms o its leadership and its desire to overcome divisionsbetween North and South in order to improve bilateral,hemispheric, and global relations. In the Middle East, theUnited States is tied to Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, andother Gul States by security concerns. Lastly, there is aneed to support the Arican continents economic andsocial development including inrastructure and energy,while at the same time keeping a close eye on stability inKenya and Nigeria particularly due to their regional impor-tance. South Aricas inclusion in the G20 will be ollowedby that o other emerging nations.“More actors exert power and inuence. Europe is now more united, ree and at peace than ever beore.
Rela-tions with its European allies are presented as the corner-stone o U.S. engagement with the world and a “catalystor international action” on security (such as the partialreorm o NAO at the Lisbon summit in November 2010)and economic issues. A stronger, more integrated Europemust serve common interests such as the promotion o democracy and prosperity in Eastern Europe, the Balkans,the Caucasus, and Cyprus. Te bilateral relationship withurkey is intended to underpin regional stability. Lastly,Washington means to support the strengthening o Euro-pean institutions to make them more inclusive.Te Washington elite does not accept any representation o a multipolar system in which Russia would be on the samelevel with the United States, with the exception o strategicnuclear weapons because Russia’s GDP is 20 times smallerthan that o the United States. Te United States alsoharbors persistent doubts about the stability o the singleEuropean currency and is extremely watchul o Chinesemilitary eorts that might curtail its room or maneuver atsea and in cyberspace. Tere is no question o being on anequal ooting with other centers o inuence.Why would the United States accept a recongurationo the international system when it is pre-eminent in the
4 National Security Strategy, May 2010.
three elds that orm the basis o power: material pros-perity (a lack o wealth brought down the Soviet Russianstrategy); its strategic reach abroad; and the geopoliticalambition to shape international aairs through the appealo its socio-cultural model, its example, and its dominanceo innovation and ideas? Avoiding any reerence to multi-polarity, the secretary o state would rather talk about a“multi-partner world” that reects the reality o the worldtoday (Council on Foreign Relations, Washington, July 15,2009): “We cannot go back to Cold War containment or tounilateralism. We will lead by inducing greater cooperationamong a greater number o actors and reducing competi-tion, tilting the balance away rom a multi-polar world andtoward a multi-partner world.”Hillary Clinton dismissed ideas o a concert o powers (19
 century) and the balance o power (characteristic o the 20
 century). Her method was to encourage greater coopera-tion between a greater number o actors, both “major andemerging,” citing China, India, Russia, and Brazil as well asurkey, Indonesia, and South Arica. In the nal analysis,the United States reserves the role o arbiter o the mostimportant international issues or itsel.Final point, the reality o growing interdependence o the United States seems either underestimated or hard toaccept. Te United States is oen thought as a relatively closed economy, sucient unto itsel, but that is less thecase than it used to be. Te standard measure o openness,trade in goods and services as a share o gross nationalproduct, has risen rom 21 percent in 1981 to 32 percenttoday. For U.S. banks’ oreign exposure, the gures are11 percent o the GDP in 1991 and 30 percent in 2011.Te globalization o the United States, which has brought
Why would the United States
accept a reconguration of the
international system when it is
pre-eminent in the three elds
that form the basis of power?

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