NATO and ESDP - Roommates or Rivals?

University essay from Lunds universitet/Statsvetenskapliga institutionen

Abstract: Are NATO and the European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP) destined to be roommates or rivals? The transatlantic relationship between the EU and the United States permeates this question, which is examined by three theoretical approaches. Firstly, a realist perspective is used to answer: What are the national interests of the four pivotal states regarding the ESDP and NATO? For France, the ESDP strengthens the EUs military muscle and acts as a counterweight to US hegemony. Britain favours a more Atlanticist approach with NATO as the prime military actor. Germany lies between the two, and the US, which first made restrictive demands on how the ESDP should develop, is now increasingly sceptical about the results. Secondly, a liberal perspective is employed to find out what results have been achieved: Which institutions and economic concerns are involved? Institutionally the ESDP has developed its Battle Groups, while NATO has established a Response Force; but economically there is still a capabilities gap between the EU and the US. Thirdly, a constructivist perspective is used to examine the security strategies of the EU and the US: How do they differ? They identify the same threats, but differ considerably in the way they plan to counter these threats. The EU emphasises soft power measures, while the US emphasises hard power measures.

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