In order for the EU to ensure that the US will reinvigorate its longstanding investment and partnership under their new administration, strategies that bring coordination without loss of individual decision making and allow a balance to continue to maintain sovereignty and autonomy are needed.
The weakness of EU not attaining a high level of their own security and defense is that they must rely on the resources of their Member States individually and this does not allow proper problem solving from lack of combined vision and resources.
The US investing again in a collaborative effort with the EU and other actors will benefit the EU by having an influential member of the collaboration to gain partnership with other actors as well.
To aid with this process, a recommendation of convergence that is based on a common recognition of threats and strategic preferences and ambitions as well as innovation within a multipolarity and competition of power among major actors is needed. This will bring the US back into a vibrant partnership with the EU and allow an environment that will bring an effort for an alliance to create Power Centers between EU, North America, UK, CEEs, NATO, and the UN.
Context and Statement of Policy Issue
In an effort to explore and recommend how the EU and its Member States can ensure that the US reinvigorates their partnership and long standing investment, especially in the area of security and defense under a new administration, there are central features to the policy issue.
Biden’s transition to inherit the administration is said to be the most difficult since Roosevelt in the 1930s and is being referred to as a “plastic moment”. Along with this transition, there are major changes in the balance of power among States. Challenges that go beyond any one major actor or power. There are large uncertainties of the role of the main actor(s) notwithstanding the previous administration of the US that has given the US an unsteady and erratic reputation as well as the EU finding itself in a post-Brexit environment with the UK.
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Under the new administration, the US has incentive to earn the ability to position as a primary actor once again but will need to focus on a strategy of cooperation. The current system of International Relations is seemingly becoming questioned, unstable, and uncertain and Member States feel a sense of vulnerability and extra pressure. The need for more security is a definite issue but there have been consequences of NATO enlargement to European security. NATO enlargement would highly reorder European security as a whole. Contradictory policies have diluted European strategic cohesion and overburdened European military while expanding commitments to their allies.
There is a need for Europe to have more security alongside NATO but in a way that will compliment NATO and not add challenges for further security needs.
Brexit caused the EU to lose 40% of their defense resources and 20% of their military. There are many immediate and forthcoming risks to the EU as a major actor within the realm of security as well as other areas within foreign policy.
China, as a growing power, has the attention from all major actors and all see the need to re-invent stronger prior relations with allies and partners. China’s Road and Belt Initiative in 2013 and 17+1 strategy in 2012 (then 16+1) has proven to be a successful strategy and has the potential to be an overwhelming advantage of power and control.
There is a direct interest from the US due to the perceived successes of China’s Belt and Road Initiative with CEE countries. In July 2009, a petition was signed by 17 CEE countries to the US under Obama asking that the US not forget their countries. Under the Trump administration, a stance to return to CEE region with a strategy focused eastward was resumed and obvious interests and repeated visits to the CEE region were taken into effect beginning 2017. The geopolitical importance of the CEE countries has the attention of all major actors worldwide.
Both the US and Europe are in a time of division, probably the most divided since WWII, due in large part to the US pulling away under the Obama administration and highlighted even more in a visible non-cooperative attitude under the Trump administration. The need for a cooperative, strategic approach to combat and maintain power issues from encroaching actors is felt strongly today as remembered at the end
of the Cold War, but there is an underlying sense of threat to autonomy felt as well with the impeding competition that is shown largely from advances of China as a major actor.
The EU and US are complimenting each other in many ways but are also in direct competition over military sales to the East Asian region and this would need to become a cooperative area in the future.
Common risks facing all major actors are risks within cyber domain, critical infrastructure and security risks in fragile regions, global security, organized crime, climate change, health care and overcoming the current pandemic and economic recovery, instability, trade and investment, innovation, lack of International order, weakened acts of cooperation, loss of diplomacy, decrease of multilateral organizations, humanitarian crisis, terrorism, and migration.
A collaborative approach could become an area of positive gain without loss of autonomy if all were able to see that “a strong, prosperous, and united Europe is arguably America’s most important ally and an effective partner in advancing the post-war order”.
Review of Current Policies
Currently, the US still has a strong economy and military and with a fresh administration it is possible to still have the capability to draw on alliances and mobilize coalitions in countries. This ability sets the US apart from Russia and China, and can reinvigorate the relations, Internationally, in a stronger way than before. The US will need to prove themselves more than just with relief aid and celebratory appearances to regain a consensus of positive reputation world-wide after the previous administration.
China has the advantage of rapid growth, an “underdog” positioning, and a current vibrant economy. China poses a high power challenge to other actors with their 5G technology and global health strategies.
The US sees the CEE region as strategic and probable to give leverage to contain China and Russia shown in 2017 as they supported and joined the Three Seas Initiative and pressured the CEEs to exclude Huawei 5G construction from China. Russia is still a competitive adversary coupled with an ambition to retaliate from the felt shame of the Cold War period and desires to intimidate other actors on a global scale.
The New Start Agreement Treaty is set to expire in February 2021 and would need the new US administration to renew it and allow its extension to give further security with nuclear weapons. This will also benefit the US/Iranian relations that are not only filled with nuclear weapon issues but others as well due to influence from other actors, namely Russia.
Currently, the US would need to move from a Trump “major pressure strategy” to a Biden “potential for cooperation strategy” and would need to reinvigorate their commitment and verbiage in order to have a strong partnership with the EU.
The unilateral approach has not proven successful for the US with China but a move towards a transatlantic/transpacific partnership, as the focus leans domestically with the pandemic health and economic recovery, seems to be the current outlook for both the US and the EU.
With regards to security, there have been failed attempts for a European army throughout the years and the past defense has been military and political integration at the center.
Following The EU Global Strategy (EUGS), the Common Defense and Security Policy (CDSP) along with the Lisbon Treaty in 2013-2015 have brought about a liberal world order that has united Europe under the assumed protection of the US and NATO. Even though this atmosphere was largely tested under the Trump administration, it has proven to stop previous rivalries and prevent future world wars. Europe has given way to become even more dependent on the US for their security due to choosing US military corporations as partners to rearm their armies and has partially blocked the desired outcome for strategic autonomy for Europe.
The European Defense Action Plan (EDAP) in 2016 was a way to combat and for the EU to maintain their interests and principles. The EDAP included new goals and initiatives for Europe to take more responsibility for their own security and defense as well as financial aspects, through the European Peace Facility, to help strengthen Member States’ defense capabilities, and measures to bring areas of cooperation in the EU-NATO Joint Declaration in 2016.
A weakness of the EU not attaining a high level of their own security and defense is that they must rely on the resources of their Member States, individually, and this does not allow proper problem solving from lack of cooperation and combined resources.
According to Ronald Kline, the power of the state is known by the population along with the territory, economy, and military power multiplied by the strategy and political will. According to Kline’s outlined formula, the military power is one of the defining elements of the State’s strength and for Europe this has been highlighted by NATO’s collective security system and the protection of the US but it has prevented EU autonomy in many ways.
The EU and the US have many similarities in their security policies although the EU has shown greater cooperation with regards to dialogue between EU and major actors within Asia, including China, Japan, South Korea, and North Korea than the US has.
The EU has worked alongside Canada for the EU Foreign and Security Policy (EUGS) in 2016. They work well together already within NATO as an example of how the EU has shown consistent dialogue to promote “effective multilateralism” throughout the years.
There is also a precedent of past cooperation from the UK and Member States of the EU as we have seen between the UK and Spain in the NATO Very High Readiness Joint Task Force of 2014 and with the UK and France in the Lancaster Treaty of 2010.
According to a study regarding strategic vision and threat perception of States, by Cornelia Baciu, there is a 70% similarity between the UK and the EU regarding security and defense policies, post-Brexit. This shows large overlaps in defense and security foreign policies between the EU, US, UK, and Canada and gives great opportunities for security cooperation.
The EU has previously displayed six forms of cooperation with third parties that set a precedent for future opportunities of security cooperation including the Framework Participation Agreement (FPA), European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP), Migration Compacts, Political Dialogues on counter-terrorism, cooperation with hosting countries and potential candidate countries as seen in the Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA) as well as cooperative missions between Canada and the EU regarding the Western Balkans resulted from a signed FPA in 2005.
There are also overlaps in foreign policy with regard to countries within CEE that are members of NATO and have shown cooperation and like-minded thinking on a variety of issues and occasions.
Presentation and Review of Alternative Policies
I would like to present and review alternative policy options by region. The first being the EU and then followed by alternatives that could be taken by the US if acting alone. Then I will present alternatives that could be taken by all actors in their various roles.
The EU would have the option to rebuild with a stronger EU and NATO coalition in an expansion of the current NATO in order to focus on security issues more adeptly. This would allow European allies the act of taking larger responsibilities and executing their own security missions to prove capabilities of defenses. The EU and NATO have stressed the need to partner but the needed development will be more effective if it is a defense that compliments NATO rather than one that competes with it and one that contains a way to manage the common maritime, nuclear, and daily threats. NATO enlargement could stabilize Central and Eastern Europe but has the potential to undermine other aspects within European security in the process.
The EU has the option to detach from NATO completely to show desired autonomy and sovereignty and to form a true European army that reduces their reliance on both NATO and the US.
For the future of global multilateral relations, as we focus on the Social Political Economic Challenge, all major actors will need to recognize the limitations of the US and its influence in order to see the potential of the power of collectively rebuilding. The EU has the option to narrow the differences between the EU and the US regarding taxation, regulations, geopolitics, concerns with data privacy and climate change. Although this option would cause the need for many added policy initiatives as it aims to become a more significant power than the other actors are currently.
Another option for the EU is to take advantage of the non-uniformity of the CEE countries’ interdependence to compete with actors that challenge the US objectives. The EU could use the precedent of the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) from 2017 and European Intervention Initiative (EI2) as a guide to engage third countries within agreements regarding security.
In order to display the need of a cooperative effort and partnership for the EU with the US, I would like to review options that the US could also take with regards to security policy changes if acting alone.
The US has the option to take a less superior stance and allow Europe a more assertive stance to absorb greater risk with regard to security, technology, economy, and the current situation of the pandemic.
The US could also narrow the differences between the US and the EU regarding taxation, regulations, geopolitics, concerns with data privacy and climate change. These options would give the US an advantage to show a visible cooperative stance and strategy under the new administration.
The US has the option to take a strategic position to reorient relations with China by working with Europe to narrow their differences within foreign policies, to restore the confidence in transatlantic relations, and show a cooperation with Europe to address leverage that China is gaining. The US is bent to protect themselves with regard to security by ensuring that there is expanded NATO and geological scope of securities but placing boundaries to not allow alternative European securities competition with NATO in the process.
The US also has the option to detach from NATO completely to show a desired autonomy and sovereignty backed by defense and military capabilities.
With regard to all major actors the options could have limitless possibilities. It would be vital and a show of great strength to reinvent stronger prior relations with partners and allies. This will also show the need of a cooperative strategy for the EU.
Most citizens of the countries of major powers desire to be responsibly engaged in foreign policy but to have a positive outcome that betters their lives domestically. Major actors can strengthen foreign policy and standing as they strengthen domestically with health and economic recovery from the current pandemic and they work to strengthen and revitalize their relationships with their allies by showing greater respect and burden sharing.
A comprehensive approach regarding diplomacy, humanitarian policies, trade, and security and defense is one of the options for the policy alternatives. The more that the US and Member States of the EU share the same goals, the more favorable the outcome, combining both soft and hard powers.
Actors could take advantage of large overlaps in security policies and gain the potential for security cooperation in areas that already lean in those aspects. Major actors could address collaboration from various perspectives regarding legal, historical, aspects with current contributions, social dynamics, future relations, areas that currently overlap, known strategic interests and common threat perceptions, geopolitical contexts, and current pandemic challenges.
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These factors influence strategic collaboration based on a common set of interests and in turn will preserve individual decision making within a balanced partnership while still allowing sovereignty and autonomy. This would allow a way to maintain a vigilance to cooperative strategies to compliment NATO, UN, and multipolarity without the loss of autonomy for any of the major actors. They would gain a balance needed to retain interests within the economy and open market tactics, using market power to safeguard each countries’ objectives and goal oriented policies as well as the attention focused on the global migration crisis as it spans as a growing humanitarian crisis where all major actors should be compelled to relieve and assist.
European security is known to be transnational because of the interdependence of their various societies. It gives necessity to the sharing of strategy, cooperation, and intelligence amongst its Member States.
The future security of the EU depends highly on further integration including intelligence, common securities and defense issues with regard against common threats advancing on multiple levels of power. All actors are in need of a restored world-wide hope and strategic influence through collaborative efforts and visionary leadership giving assurance to allies first as a means to gain strategic partnerships.
In order for the EU to ensure that the US will reinvigorate its longstanding investment and partnership under the new administration with President Biden, strategies that bring coordination without loss of individual decision making and allow a balance to continue to maintain sovereignty and autonomy are needed. The US investing once again in a collaborative effort with the EU and the other actors will benefit the EU by having an influential member of the collaboration to gain the partnership with other actors as well.
To aid with this process and recommended policy initiative, a convergence that is based on a common recognition of threats and strategic preferences and ambitions as well as innovation within a multipolarity and competition of power among major actors is needed. This would bring the US back into a vibrant partnership with the EU and allow an environment that will bring an effort for a new alliance between EU, North America, UK, CEEs, NATO, and the UN.
It is my recommendation that the EU begin discussions first with the US and then with the actors to follow in an effort to organize a multiple and strategic Power Center Alliance between EU, North America, UK, CEEs, NATO, and the UN.
The UN could serve as a neutral party to all actors with regard to conflict resolution and accountability to honor the alliance. This would build a web of alliances to make global influence possible as well as compliment the enlargement of NATO. This would also generate a cooperative alliance with visible effects that show transformation possibilities that give reinvigorated and stable collaborative policy initiatives to maintain and better world-wide security and defense.
Due to the many overlaps between the goals and policies of these actors, a cooperative approach between these actors is not only possible but probable if strategic vision was shown and the threat of the loss of autonomy was dismantled.
In order to bring these actors together, everyone would need to have a “seat at the table” and build a collaborative, strategic alliance that benefits all areas of power and foreign policy to allow a common center of power to effectively combat adversarial actors that have directly opposed vision and ideology with the actors within the Power Center Alliance. A viable method of communication and proposal of initiative could be done with a representative from each region or entity nominated by the UN and accepted by each actor with a pursuit of a cooperative strategy in mind.
This would build complimentary and coordinated strategies to add leverage in order to effectively maintain security against major actors of adverse vision and strategy, namely China and Russia. This would allow all to recognize the power of rebuilding together in order to restructure a competitive and cooperative strategy as a solution for staying ahead of adversaries in all major areas of power and foreign policy.
Bringing the CEE countries into this alliance allows a guarded boundary in both opportunities with democracy as well as borders for maritime, railway, and nuclear advantage regions. China has posed a clear threat to these borders using their Belt and Road Initiative within the 17+1 borders. Allowing the CEE countries to be a part of the Power Center Alliance would allow direct influence from like-minded actors and a structure that gives a democratic foundation for the CEE countries.
This would also give an independence and gateway for stronger autonomy within the EU as current and potential countries with goals of ascension to the EU could become more timely and likely approved with direct influence, partnership, and funding.
NATO’s mission would be extended in a collective defense while bringing aboard many of the 17 countries included in the 17+1 initiative. NATO’s maneuvering capabilities would be further protected with this addition of an alliance of maritime and railway borders of allies. This would create additional obstacles for adversaries and a way to better guard against high risks as it gives alternatives to the incentives offered to the CEE countries from both China and Russia.
The CEE countries would have an alliance and no longer feel a question of whose side they are on at any given time of conflict as well as a greater incentive to make efforts to allow ascension within the EU for prospective countries. There are many benefits across a variety of policy initiatives. Some of the strongest benefits would be that of political dialogue, democratic foundation, combined funding opportunities, maritime and railways opportunities and boundaries, investment and trade, combined efforts and resources to address the migration crisis, humanitarian needs, addressed organized crime, and a cooperative approach to bring hope and recovery post pandemic for economic and democratic gain.
The alliance could be further strengthened on a regular basis throughout the years in utilizing upcoming summits to reemphasize individual commitments. As with all policy initiatives, an agreed amount of time would be needed for the alliance to bring strength and strategic cooperation to gain effective ground against adversaries and then a set deadline would need to be determined to renew the alliance and extend the timeline as deemed necessary by all actors.
As with any foreign policy issue needing change, resolution, and re-imagination, this recommendation would have its risks but the cooperative nature and produced alliance would far outweigh the limited risks involved.
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