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Between Europeans and Americans, there is no misunderstanding but differences

Drums at the IHEDN meetings (© NGV / B2)

(B2)" With the United States, there is no misunderstanding, but differences of opinion » explained Nicole Gnesotto during the IHEDN meetings. For the former director of the EU Institute for Security Studies (and current president of the IHEDN Board of Directors), the situation has completely changed since the fall of the wall. “ The United States does not view Russia in the same way as Poland or France. For example, they do not perceive the annexation of Crimea as a threat ". Certain threats seem to have disappeared on the other side of the Atlantic: “ the Red Army is not going to invade Poland or Germany ". Europe is no longer of vital interest to American security. They have other priorities: the security of Israel, the “containment of China”, securing maritime routes.

For Nicole Gnesotto, there are two kinds of possible attitudes.

1° Denial. " Some Europeans are currently in a kind of denial. They do not want to believe that the United States can be dangerous for Europeans [because they do not have the same interests] or that the security environment deteriorates. They persist in believing that Brexit will not happen. They believe that nothing should be done to prevent the United States from losing interest in Europe…. »

2° The burst. A "healthy reaction". Europeans must fill this absence from America, “ this uncertainty, through great strategic voluntarism ". Which is not an easy task. To do this, the French must resist three temptations. Firstly, it is not a question of making France a European policeman. Certainly France has capabilities, almost all capabilities, but the objective is more psychological than military. It is a question of creating a collective policeman, of convincing Europeans to be able to intervene in external conflicts. Nor is it a question of saying that France intervenes and that the others pay. If that's the goal, it's not even worth trying. It's a failure in advance. Finally, it is not a question of replacing NATO but of being able to replace it just in case, of making up for its absence.”

Nb: A fundamental question at a time when the United States is more than uncertain about its policy and Turkey is evolving in a not very positive way – it is a “quasi dictatorship” according to Nicole Gnesotto – and in a sense often contrary to the European interests.

(Nicolas Gros-Verheyde, in Paris)

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).