Comparison of the Security Strategies of the United States and the European Union: Is There a Common Approach in Combating Terrorism?   [open pdf - 272KB]

"A comparison of the security strategies used by the United States and the European Union shows that their analysis of new threats of terrorism and proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) is similar, as are their stated strategic goals. The main differences between the two entities can be found in the ways in which they intend to counter these threats and achieve their respective strategic goals. An analysis shows that the key differences between the two entities' response to terrorism and WMD are as follows: unilateralism versus multilateralism, preemption versus prevention, and legitimacy of the use of force to achieve strategic objectives. The United States tends to stress 'hard power' and military solutions with the option of preemption and a unilateralist 'go it alone approach.' It downplays the role of the United Nations, the role of Islam, and possible options of civilian conflict prevention. The European Union sees more merit in effective multilateralism and 'soft power' that combines economic, diplomatic, as well as military assets. This approach should allow the European Union to act as a 'robust civilian power.' However, the European Union's credibility as a foreign policy actor will depend on its being able to translate its strategy into plans and operations. Despite the disagreements in this transatlantic relationship, there is an urgent need and a common basis for cooperation in combating global terrorism. Complementarity, not conflict, should be the new transatlantic watchword."

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