February 5, 2009
A new, dynamic transatlantic security partnership is crucial if the United States and Europe are to address the growing list of global security challenges that neither can manage separately, according to a new report from the RAND Corporation and the Bertelsmann Stiftung.
While U.S.-European relations have suffered in recent years, the change of presidential administrations in the United States provides an opportunity to overcome these divisions. Central to a partnership will be a mutual commitment to the projection of stability and the anchoring of emerging powers in multilateral institutions supported by a strong commitment to the international rule of law.
The report, Revitalizing the Transatlantic Security Partnership: An Agenda for Action," urges the creation of a new architecture founded on strong U.S. involvement in NATO, NATO-European Union relations aimed at promoting and projecting civil-military security beyond the Euro-Atlantic area, and a U.S.-EU security relationship that assures the protection of both parties.
"Over the next 10 years the United States and Europe face a daunting array of challenges -- the Israeli-Arab conflict, Afghanistan, Pakistan, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and an increasingly assertive Russia, among others," said report co-author Stephen Larrabee, who holds the Corporate Chair in European Security at RAND, a nonprofit research organization. "These new global and political challenges will demand closer cooperation between the United States and its European allies."
The report is based on a series of discussions in 2008 involving nearly two dozen U.S. and European security experts. The group examined future U.S.-EU security challenges in the context of the election of a new American president, defined the substance and parameters of a new security partnership between the United States and Europe, and crafted an "agenda for action" for the new partnership.
Among the first recommendations: President Barack Obama should meet early in 2009 with key European leaders, as well as the Czech presidency of the European Union and NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, to define key common priorities.
"The Obama administration has the opportunity to dramatically shift the dynamics of the relationship between Washington and Europe," said co-author Julian Lindley-French of the Netherlands and United Kingdom defense academies. "It can provide the decisive leadership to consult closely with its European allies with the goal of establishing concrete solutions to enhance Western security."
The report details 13 challenges a new transatlantic commitment must address: Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, Russia, Asia, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, Arab-Israeli conflict, terrorism, homeland security, NATO enlargement, global poverty, reforming international institutions, and energy security and climate change.
"It is strongly in the American interest for the new U.S. administration to support the emergence of a coherent strategic Europe that expands and extends a NATO-compatible European Union role through a revitalized Common Foreign and Security Policy from the EU," Larrabee said. "The rationale is quite simple; a stronger and more strategically capable Europe will be a better ally."
The report, "Revitalizing the Transatlantic Security Partnership: An Agenda for Action," is available at www.rand.org.
The Bertelsmann Stiftung is a private, nonprofit foundation. In keeping with the longstanding social commitment of its founder, Reinhard Mohn, the Bertelsmann Stiftung is dedicated to serving the common good. Its work is based on the conviction that competition and civic engagement are essential for social progress.