New US defence doctrine puzzles European allies

The Bush administration’s new National Security Strategy is perceived as an attempt to maintain the US military hegemony by Washington’s European allies.

The United States has changed its Cold War strategic doctrine of deterrence and containments by declaring willingness to attack potential enemies before they strike. The new National Security Strategy could be put into practice against the so-called rogue states who sponsor terrorism or develop weapons for mass destruction.

Defence analysts warn that this preemptive strategy increases the danger of unexpected consequences and retaliation. It could also encourage other governments to bypass the United Nations and launch unilateral attacks against their enemies. There is also a possibility that countries fearing a preemptive strike would develop stronger deterrent weapons, such as nuclear, chemical and biological weapons.

According to an EU diplomat, the strategy shows "very strong desire to maintain military hegemony". "It is a document produced at the moment of US supremacy - political, economic and military, but it also has to be seen in the context of the 11 September strikes against US territory which underlined the vulnerability they never had before," according to an EU diplomat in Brussels.

EU officials are disappointed by the fact that the US National Security Strategy mentions Europeans allies only as "partners in opening the world trade". "Europeans think they are more to the Americans than merely trade partners," according to an EU official. EU officials also regret that the document does not mention the Kyoto agreement on global warming and gives very little credit to the global development agenda, although it does mention development aid.

There is also some concern regarding the trouble spots mentioned by the National Security Strategy, such as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, where EU and US policies differ.


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