Geopolitical Change, Grand Strategy and European Security

The EU-NATO Conundrum
Luis Simon

European countries have much in common. They are geographically and culturally close and they all face the problem of relative weakness vis-à-vis larger actors. However, while their many similarities lead them to cooperate, their geopolitical differences and specificities translate into conflicting priorities over how to arrange the terms of cooperation. European security is hence defined by a powerful tension between conflict and cooperation. And Europe's most powerful countries largely delineate the mechanics of such tension. By examining the interplay between geopolitical change, British, French and German grand strategy and the evolution of NATO and the European Union's (EU) Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) between 2001 and 2010, this book seeks to shed light on the nature and evolution of European security. Only by examining the grand strategies of Europe's most powerful countries can we get a sense of their interests. However, in order to properly grasp the nature and evolution of such interests we must observe how they play out at the level of specific debates. Very often, it is only when it comes to organising the specific terms of cooperation that conflicting priorities can be properly appreciated. Herein lies the importance of the EU–NATO conundrum. Throughout the 2001–2010 period, NATO and CSDP remained the best thermometers of the powerful tension between conflict and cooperation that defines European security. This book is thus fundamental reading for students, academics and practitioners with an interest in European security, geopolitics, NATO and CSDP.