Introduction and summary
The state of European defense is not strong.
The level of Europe’s defense spending and the size of its collective forces in uniform should make it a global power with one of the strongest militaries in the world. But Europe does not act as one on defense, even though it formed a political union almost 30 years ago. Europe’s military strength today is far weaker than the sum of its parts. This is not just a European failure; it is also fundamentally a failure of America’s post-Cold War strategy toward Europe—a strategy that remains virtually unchanged since the 1990s.
Europe’s dependence on the United States for its security means that the United States possesses a de facto veto on the direction of European defense. Since the 1990s, the United States has typically used its effective veto power to block the defense ambitions of the European Union. This has frequently…