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The United States and De-Europeanization: The US Impact on EU Security and Defence Policy Cooperation

Michael Baun, Dan Marek

What is the impact of the United States on European security and defense policy cooperation? Arguably, the US security guarantee in the postwar years enabled European economic and political integration, by enhancing mutual trust among European states and allowing limited resources to be directed away from security and defense purposes, while at the same time it removed the need for closer (more autonomous) European security and defense cooperation. Successive US administrations have also discouraged closer European defense and security cooperation - some more actively than others - out of fear that it would duplicate or compete with the US-led NATO. The existence of NATO and the US security guarantee also influenced the foreign policies of European states and the development of European foreign policy cooperation more broadly. However, the new US President, Donald Trump, has openly expressed doubts about the continued usefulness of NATO (as well as anti-EU sentiments) and the desire for improved US relations with Russia. If such sentiments are translated into actual policy, what might be the impact on European security and defense policy cooperation? Would the withdrawal or devaluation of the US security guarantee lead to increased EU defense and security policy integration, in an effort to compensate, or might it actually spur "de-Europeanization" in the security and defense (and foreign) policy fields due to increased uncertainty, lower levels of mutual trust, and the desire of European states to "hedge their bets"?

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