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Saturday, July 9, 2016

NATO versus the EU?
NATO versus the EU?
Graham E. Fuller (
9 July 2016
The NATO summit is over. Most Americans unfailingly believe NATO generously serves EU interests.  Yet many Europeans don’t see it that way. They fear that NATO actually undermines a balanced Europe. Is it NATO with the EU? Or NATO versus the EU?
The two organizations  were created by different states for differing purposes and with differing goals; indeed, some might say partially incompatible goals.
The EU vision was to bring European peoples, states and countries—at bloody war among themselves for long centuries—to renounce war as a instrument to solve European problems, to find common cause, and to cooperate in a common economic endeavor. It is an exceptional aim—the first time in human history when multiple states have freely yielded up significant elements of national sovereignty in order to partake in a common project.  
Yet the US has always felt geopolitical ambivalence towards the EU. Washington in principle applauded the ideal—a unified, peaceful and prosperous continent. But it also understood that the formation of the EU created a new counterweight that could hinder American ability to dominate politics on the European continent. For America, it was NATO that was a far more congenial and useful mechanism than the EU. NATO focused on Washington’s primary agenda—checking the Soviet Union in a global struggle. To the extent that the EU strengthened that goal, fine; but to the extent that the EU weakened European resolve to stand against Russia, it was much less desirable. NATO was American’s creature, the EU was not.

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