Transatlantic Security Task Force Series
Can there be a division of strategic labor between the UnitedStates and Europe regarding possible future military action inthe Middle East and North Africaand, if so, what should it look like?
sel-deense capabilities in light o China’s growing power(especially the smaller countries o maritime SoutheastAsia); and the coordination o U.S. and European responsesto human rights abuses in China and Chinese support orother repressive regimes in the developing world.
Tere are obviously a number o pressing questionsregarding Iran, including what to do i present eorts toapply diplomatic and economic pressure ail to deect itrom its nuclear ambitions, how to respond i it succeedsin testing a nuclear device, and what to do in the event o a preemptive attack on its acilities by Israel. Given the notinconsiderable likelihood that Iran will, in act, go nuclear,it is important also to look urther down the road. How can the possible knock-on eects o such a development becontained so as to prevent, or at least to slow, the urtherspread o nuclear weapons? What will be the implicationsor the United States and Europe o a world in which thereare two or more, hostile nuclear weapons states acing oneanother in the Middle East, South Asia, and potentially Northeast Asia as well?
Dealing with Islamist terror groups has obviously been amajor preoccupation in both the United States and Europeor the past decade. Te necessity o meeting this dangerhas, on balance, been an inducement or greater transat-lantic cooperation. errorism may have passed its peak,but the nature and extent o the threat going orward areunclear. While the ability o terrorist groups to mountlong-distance operations against targets in Europe and theUnited States appears to have diminished in recent years,the pending withdrawal o coalition orces rom Aghani-stan could result in the re-emergence o sae havens romwhich such attacks could be planned and launched. Jihadistgroups have been working with some success to gain otherootholds in “ungoverned spaces” around the Horn o Arica. It is possible that the revolutions associated withthe Arab Spring could bring governments to power thatare either unwilling or unable to crush terrorist organiza-tions with the same brutal efciency as the regimes they replaced. And the potential or more instances o “home-grown” terrorism in both Europe and the United States isunclear.
Governments and private entities in both Europe and theUnited States, as well as other parts o the world, are now subject to massive, ongoing cyber intrusions and attacks,many o them originating rom China, Russia, and otherparts o the ormer Soviet empire. Te advanced industrialdemocracies would seem to have strong shared interestsin developing common policies and techniques or dealingwith this problem, yet such cooperation appears to lag arbehind the evolution o the threat.
As the United States turns a greater portion o its strategicenergy and attention towards Asia, Europe may have totake on an increasing share o the responsibility or dealingwith security challenges in its own back yard. But (as willbe discussed below), likely deense budget cuts will urtherdiminish the ability o European nations to project signi-cant increments o military power beyond their own ron-tiers. Recent operations in Libya could be the model orthe uture, but they may also turn out to be the last gasp o more than hal a millennium o overseas European adven-turism. Can there be a division o strategic labor betweenthe United States and Europe regarding possible uturemilitary action in the Middle East and North Arica and, i so, what should it look like?
Despite its maniold demographic, economic, and politicalproblems, Russia remains a orce to be reckoned with, i only because it still has nuclear weapons, natural resources,and a desire to be seen as a world power. Can Europe andthe United States cra a common strategy or dealing withRussia? How should they prepare to deal with attempts by Moscow to coerce or even re-conquer some o the nationsin its “near abroad”? Might it be possible in the long runto draw Russia back to the West, weakening its present,increasingly unequal, alliance o convenience with China?