by Jakub Grygiel
Many in Europe seem to fret over the solidity of the American commitment to their continent. Every personnel move in the current administration, every tweet and interview, and every rumor is analyzed for signs of a weakening of U.S. security guarantees, and thus of NATO. In itself, such a daily agonizing in European capitals is a symptom of a deep insecurity born out of weakness. An insecurity that is not easily assuaged even by facts on the ground—the continued and increased U.S. military presence in Europe, the money and resources expended by Washington on Europe’s security, the discussions on the need to adjust the basing structure in the continent in order to reflect current security needs, the willingness of Washington to impose costs on the main threats to Europe (Russia, Iran, and increasingly, China). It seems that regardless of what the U.S. does, it will have to prove constantly its devotion to Europe’s security.
European fears of a dramatic U.S. retreat from Europe are not justified. The U.S. is not abandoning Europe and its allies. And NATO is here to stay with the United States at its foundation.
By origins, geopolitical necessity, and design, the United States remains a European power. These three features are deeply ingrained in American grand strategy and, arguably, some have been strengthened by the current administration in Washington.
Originally published on 30 January 2019 at The American Interest.
Jakub Grygiel, Ph.D. is associate professor at The Catholic University of America.