European Union: Global Security Actor or Paper Tiger?

European Union: Global Security Actor or Paper Tiger?

The future direction of European defense is at a crossroads. On the one hand, the NATO experience in Afghanistan has cast into stark relief the limits of European military capacities, not only at the operational but also at the political levels. On the other hand, the recently enacted Lisbon Treaty offers important new opportunities to improve European defense capabilities, especially at the institutional level. If the European Union is to establish itself as a credible security actor on the global stage, European governments will need to improve the way they work together on defense. But the biggest obstacle they face is overcoming the persistent lack of political will to do so.

Afghanistan Highlights European Shortcomings on Defense

In a recent speech about the future of the transatlantic alliance, U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates told an audience filled with military officers from NATO's 28 member countries, "The demilitarization of Europe -- where large swaths of the general public and political class are averse to military force and the risks that go with it -- has gone from a blessing in the 20th century to an impediment to achieving real security and lasting peace in the 21st century."

Keep reading for free!

Get instant access to the rest of this article by submitting your email address below. You'll also get access to three articles of your choice each month and our free newsletter:

Or, Subscribe now to get full access.

Already a subscriber? Log in here .

What you’ll get with an All-Access subscription to World Politics Review:

A WPR subscription is like no other resource — it’s like having a personal curator and expert analyst of global affairs news. Subscribe now, and you’ll get:

  • Immediate and instant access to the full searchable library of tens of thousands of articles.
  • Daily articles with original analysis, written by leading topic experts, delivered to you every weekday.
  • Regular in-depth articles with deep dives into important issues and countries.
  • The Daily Review email, with our take on the day’s most important news, the latest WPR analysis, what’s on our radar, and more.
  • The Weekly Review email, with quick summaries of the week’s most important coverage, and what’s to come.
  • Completely ad-free reading.

And all of this is available to you when you subscribe today.