European governments are nearly always hesitant and skeptical about incoming U.S. presidents. Perhaps it is simply a reflection of the considerable impact a change in the American administration has in Europe in terms of political, trade and military issues. Usually inflamed by media reports, European publics and to some extent their governments succumb to early stereotypes of new presidents. Jimmy Carter was seen as too moralistic, Ronald Reagan as too simplistic, and Bill Clinton as too narrowly focused on economic issues. For his part, George W. Bush has been seen as too inexperienced and too parochial.
Mr. Bush has undoubtedly taken strong policy posi- tions. Having considered the Kyoto Accords inconclusive about global warming and positively harmful to the American economy, he declined to paper them over but instead boldly rejected them. Similarly, on missile defence he ditched the Clinton administration’s cautious, ambigu- ous approach and opted for a fully funded and broad poli- cy approach, probing all areas and technologies. By not wavering in the face of initial European concerns and fears, the Bush administration has earned respect and as a result diplomatic prestige and leverage. In this article, I want to review U.S. (and Canadian) relations with Europe in four different areas: the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), the European Union’s emerging Security and Defence Policy (ESDP), NATO enlargement and the war on terrorism. I take these up in turn.
Despite criticizing Vice President Albert Gore for using American forces for nation-building, Mr. Bush has not abandoned nation-building in Kosovo and Macedonia. He has kept the United States engaged in the Balkans and as a result, European apprehensions about the new administration’s approach to NATO have eased considerably. In July 2001 as Western governments felt the pressure to medi- ate a settlement between the Albanian insur- gents in Macedonia and the Slav majority, Mr. Bush said: ”œThe cooperation of the United States, NATO and the EU in Macedonia is a model that we can build on in the future … We will not draw down our forces in Bosnia or Kosovo pre- cipitously or unilaterally. We came in together and we will go out together.”
From the viewpoint of promoting NATO-EU and U.S.-European cooperation, which may have been the lead objective in the Balkans in the first half of 2001, Macedonia can be deemed a suc- cess””though whether Western policies and operations will actually promote long-term sta- bility in the FYROM (Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia) is much less certain.
The three main lessons learned in the con- flicts in the former Yugoslavia are that the allies can be effective only if they act early, speak with one voice and are prepared to use force to back up their position. In FYROM, NATO has taken on an early crisis management role in a ”œwell-coor- dinated approach with the European Union”” with discreet, effective backing from the Bush administration,” as Joseph Fitchett put it in the International Herald Tribune. Washington’s envoy, James Pardew, has worked with the European Union envoy François Léotard to bring together the parties to sign a framework for constitution- al change and the disarmament of the National Liberation Army (NLA or UCK) of the guerilla Albanians. NATO did not stay in the background during the early diplomatic phase, as it had in Kosovo. NATO and the European Union were never at obvious cross-purposes, as they were in Croatia in 1991 and in Bosnia in 1994. Rather, a remarkable sense of EU-NATO cooperation has evolved at the highest levels under the direction of EU High Representative Javier Solana and NATO Secretary-General, Lord Robertson. The strong bond of cooperation between the two men has also helped ease, at least for the time being, some of the growing pains and strains between NATO and the EU’s Security and Defence Policy.
Early expectations that the European Union would take the leading role in managing the Macedonian crisis of early 2001 and that the Bush administration would not be forthcoming in military participation have proven wrong.
NATO has maintained its lead role in the area and the Bush administration has played an active part in averting an all-out civil war. While the United States is more reluctant to deploy ground forces, it has provided logistical and intelligence support to such allies as Britain and France. Operation ”œEssential Harvest” was deployed in August 2001. Operating under very conservative rules of engagement, NATO troops began to oversee the voluntary disarming of the Albanian rebels.
Remarkably, given European efforts since the Kosovo crisis to construct a European Security and Defense Policy and an autonomous military capacity, European allies were reluctant to take over from NATO at the close of Operation Essential Harvest. When François Léotard pro- posed in early September 2001 that Europe’s nascent rapid reaction force should deploy in FYROM to protect monitors from the European Union and the Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe, the EU’s foreign minis- ters, including France were, according to The Economist, ”œunited in dismissing the idea as pre- mature … They deemed America’s continuing involvement, through NATO, vital.” In late September, NATO allies agreed to replace Operation Essential Harvest with ”œAmber Fox.” This roughly 1000-strong NATO operation, led by the Germans with strong French participa- tion, was designed to provide the military back- up to secure the safety of the international mon- itors finalizing the implementation of the peace and disarmament accord. If the NATO-EU coali- tion is able to keep coordinated pressure on all parties, Operation Amber Fox could act as a suc- cessful bridge to a political process of inter-eth- nic reform in FYROM.
In previous assignments, Donald Rumsfeld, Condoleezza Rice, Richard Cheney and Colin Powell have all observed various incarnations of the European desire to have more ”œsay and do” in European defence. They cannot help but be skeptical. Perhaps that is why, despite the lack of any enthusiasm for the European Security and Defence Policy in the Bush team, the adminis- tration has not tried to roll back ESDP. Indeed, it appears entirely relaxed about it. It has empha- sized its hopes for close cooperation in planning with NATO and for no unnecessary duplication. President Bush assured Prime Minister Blair at their Camp David meeting in February 2001 that he was comfortable with the British vision of the ”œautonomous European capacity.” At a deeper level, it appears that the Bush administration is holding its nose on the strong ESDP rhetoric and, focusing on military capability, is refusing to be distracted by institutional tinkering in the European Union or even by wrangling between the EU and NATO. In the words of a senior staff member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee: ”œThe desire for more European capa- bility is the bait that gets us on the hook.” There is more concern in the Bush administration with declining European defence budgets than with the potential of a European Rapid Reaction Force competing with NATO.
That is all well and good, but let us not be fooled into thinking there is no problem at all. NATO and the EU have neither a political agree- ment on ESDP nor an agreement on how to work together in military planning and operations once ESDP is fully in place. The various declara- tions of goodwill conspicuously lack details of substantive cooperation.
Slow progress on a NATO-EU settlement has been due partly to Turkey’s objection to the idea that the EU would borrow NATO assets in autonomous operations, and partly to uncertain- ty about whether in the long run the Europeans are going to build a mini-SHAPE (Supreme Headquarters, Allied Powers in Europe) and thus somewhat marginalize NATO’s command struc- ture. There is also a debate about which organi- zation is going to be the front-row crisis manag- er. The future of the NATO-ESDP relationship hinges on agreement between Washington and the major European powers on these three ques- tions, which the Bush administration must obvi- ously address sooner or later.
The problem with Turkey has been that country’s refusal to give the EU ready and assured access to NATO assets and command unless it receives what is for all intents and pur- poses full membership status in ESDP. From Turkey’s point of view this makes good sense. Why abandon or weaken NATO, in which Turkey is a full member, for ESDP, in which only Greece is a full member, and whose operations are likely to be in the areas of strategic impor- tance to Ankara? After receiving guarantees from Europe, and under considerable American pres- sure, the Turkish government finally dropped its refusal in December 2001. However, Greece immediately proceeded to block the EU’s assent to the NATO-ESDP arrangement and may con- tinue to do so throughout its presidency of the EU, which covers the first six months of 2003. For their part, European Union members have naturally been adamant to protect the ”œautono- my of EU decision-making.” In the words of the French Foreign Minister, Hubert Védrine: ”œThe Fifteen are totally open to everything to do with information and consultation, but that cannot mean a country which is not in the European Union taking part in the Fifteen’s decision-mak- ing process.”
It is exactly at this juncture that the ”œnar- rower” EU-Turkey issue reflects the overall prob- lem between NATO and the EU. In terms of mil- itary capabilities and decision-making, the ques- tion is: how much of the NATO-Western European Union agreements can be transferred to the new NATO-ESDP relationship and how much has to be invented from scratch? The Western European Union’s relationship with NATO in the mid-1990s was less sensitive: it was understood that WEU actions would arise from a NATO consensus rather than be strictly autonomous in a political or military sense. Hence the term European Security and Defence Identity or ”œESDI-in-NATO” was used from 1994 until the French and British coined the term ”œautonomous military capacity” at their St. Malo summit in December 1998.
The so-called ”œBerlin-plus” idea was used during NATO’s 50th anniversary summit in Washington in 1999 to indicate that the emerg- ing NATO-EU relationship would follow along the same lines as the WEU and NATO had agreed to in Berlin in 1996. Berlin-plus means EU- assured access to NATO planning and command structures and ready access to NATO assets and capabilities, provided the NATO Council approves the mission. However, after the EU announced at Helsinki in December 1999 its new (Common) European Security and Defence Policy with a new set of institutions and the ”œheadline goal” of creating a rapid reaction capa- bility by 2003, it was soon apparent that EU members were pushing for a new model of NATO-EU consultation and cooperation, and not just an elaboration of the existing WEU- NATO framework. On the ESDP front, most of 2000 was used to create the new institutions such as the Political and Security Committee, a Military Staff and the EU Military Committee. Parallel to the setting up the new institutions, EU members convened a ”œcapabilities confer- ence” to pledge forces and equipment to meet the headline goal of the proposed Rapid Reaction Force. At the same time, EU members negotiated with non-EU members in Europe and with NATO members not in the EU about future relationships between the two organizations, though so far the negotiations have not pro- duced clear results on how they might coordi- nate their decision-making, military planning and military operations.
The fact of the matter is there is no political appetite from either the American or European side for fusing the two organizations. Therefore, in reality what we are looking at are forms of practical cooperation. NATO’s Policy Coordination Group, which was set up to help finalize arrangements with the EU, has looked at a few proposals (including ones from the UK and Canada) and at an International Staff paper on ”œjointness in planning,” including concepts and plans for operations and synchronizing defence planning cycles. By the summer of 2001, not much progress had been reported, and while there were rumours in September that the Americans would soon put out their position, the reality is that after September 11, in the words of a Canadian official, discussion of the subject ”œhas effectively been marginalized.”
After the European Council Summit in Nice in December 2000, the new ESDP institutions have shed their interim status. The Military Staff, all 130 members of it, under a German General, was declared operational on June 11. It has a sit- uation cell which is charged with supplying Javier Solana with proposals to feed into the decision-making process. With the potential to develop into an impartial (from NATO) advocate of a European approach to specific crises, the sit- uation cell integrates civilian and military assess- ment and action in EU crisis management. It is revealing, one American observer noted, that EU governments are sending their best and brightest political and military officers to these new insti- tutions rather than to NATO.
The North Atlantic Council and the Political Security Committee (known by its French acronym COPS) have agreed to at least six regu- lar joint meetings per year. This alone will great- ly enhance transparency and make the agendas more complementary. But, unlike the North Atlantic Council, the Political Security Committee of the EU is not the final decision- making body for ESDP. Alhough it is likely to turn into the central steering committee for preparing the Council’s decisions, the General Affairs Council of the European Union (with defence ministers if needed) makes the final decisions on ESDP. This General Affairs Council incorporates other actors and interests beside the new ESDP structures, including from the Political Committee (PoCo) and the Common Foreign and Security Policy, and from the Commission. To reassure NATO, the understand- ing is that the General Affairs Council will not make decisions that have not been ”œprepared” at the Political and Security Committee level and are thus transparent to NATO allies.
It is interesting that during the first half of 2001, Canada seemed more keen on finaliz- ing a clear EU-NATO military relationship than the Americans. Defence Minister Eggleton gave quite spirited speeches on the subject, first in Paris to the WEU Assembly and then in Munich at the so-called Wehrkunde Conference. In these, he expressed Canada’s gravest concern that ESDP developments might actually ”œdetract from” NATO’s decision-making and operational capacity, and in an implicit warning, he left open the possibility that Canada would veto the transfer of NATO assets to EU operations if it felt insufficiently consulted. In the words of a Canadian defence official, ”œwhat we are looking for is greater transparency and predictability which is derived as much from agreed proce- dures as pragmatically arrived at practical arrangements.”
At the same time, the Canadians hedged their bets by doing something the Americans need not and would not consider: they sought a separate bilateral agreement with the EU allow- ing Canada to participate in ”œautonomous EU operations.” Given the strategic compatibility between Canada’s peacekeeping functions and the (W)EU’s ”œPetersberg tasks”””humanitarian and rescue tasks, peacekeeping and combat tasks in crisis management including peacemaking”” Ottawa apparently could foresee scenarios in which NATO as a whole might not act, but Canada would wish to participate in EU-led operations. Indeed, such an option is now on the table as the EU is preparing to take over the UN’s role in policing Bosnia and Canada has expressed its interest in participating. No doubt Canada is trying to multiply some of its options (and multilateral fora) with the intent of gener- ating positive political and trade linkages with the EU. It also obviously wants to articulate its view that in some contingencies Canada may act with the EU rather than with the United States.
Putting this contingency into a political accord has proved a rather rough journey for Canadian diplomacy. In the Helsinki annex, Canada was listed with ”œother interested states” such as Russia and Ukraine, and below aspiring EU members from Central and Eastern Europe, which hardly seems fitting for a founding mem- ber of NATO. After some diplomatic activity, Canada’s interest was specifically recognized in the ESDP provisions agreed to in Portugal in June 2000. Remembering the humiliating exclu- sion from the ”œcontact group” during the Bosnian crisis, Ottawa wants to have a better standing than mere consultation in a committee of ad hoc contributors. It wants meaningful par- ticipation (i.e., decision-shaping power) in the day-to-day decision making of such operations and a share in the command positions of such an operation if troop or police numbers warrant. Canada has also been asking to have a perma- nent liaison officer at the EU Military Staff in order to be apprised earlier of EU thinking on cri- sis management. Diplomatic rumour has it that this position is now forthcoming. Given the months of lobbying it took by Canada, this episode has not been a confidence-building exercise between Canada and the European Union.
During the biannual meeting with the EU leadership (Presidents Jacques Chirac and Romano Prodi) on December 19, 2000 in Ottawa, the two sides agreed on a regular con- sultation schedule for Canada on ESDP matters. In their joint declaration, Ottawa did not insist on the standard NATO phrase on EU autonomous operations (”œwhere NATO as a whole is not engaged”), but, no doubt assenting to the French wish, noted merely ”œthe North Atlantic Treaty Organization … will continue to play an essential role in crisis management.” More substantively, the EU and Canada agreed that: ”œWhen the Union will begin formal exam- ination of an option that calls upon NATO’s assets and capabilities, special consideration will be given to consultations with Canada. The European Union and Canada agree to continue their dialogue to finalize the modalities for con- sultation with Canada and its participation in operations led by the European Union.”
The two parties also agreed to quarterly meetings ”œto discuss the full range of security and defence issues of mutual concern, including, inter alia, emerging conflict situations, measures for conflict prevention, and military, police and civilian cooperation in peace support opera- tions.” Quarterly consultations will give Canadian decision-makers a good idea what direction the EU is taking.
Since 1994 the Republican-controlled Congress has strongly encouraged the polic of NATO expansion. It has been skeptical of the Wilsonian terms in which the Clinton adminis- tration tried to ”œsell” its enlargement policy, but as noted by Peter Rodman, former security ana- lyst with the Nixon Center and now a senior official in the Pentagon, in its advice and con- sent to ratification of NATO enlargement the Republican-controlled Senate added a strategic rationale””preventing the re-emergence of a hegemonic power in Europe””without with- drawing Mr. Clinton’s rhetoric.
The Bush administration has indicated its strong support for consideration for all countries ”œfrom the Baltic to the Black Sea.” A push seems to be under way to admit in principle Slovenia, Slovakia, Romania, Bulgaria and some or all of the Baltic states at the NATO Prague summit in November 2002. The order of entry and the timetable are still being negotiated. The first two countries would provide geographical continuity and could be added at little cost. One senior U.S. military officer quipped that Slovenia was ”œjust another Luxembourg with mountains,” while if Slovakia had had a stronger democratic record, it could have been added in the first round in 1996. Bulgaria and Romania played very helpful roles during NATO’s war with Serbia, thus already providing what NATO demands, namely that new members must not only be consumers but also producers of security. The admission of the Baltic states is most controversial. Opinion has always been divided on the Baltics. Support is growing for at least one Baltic state, if only to break, in Zbigniew Brzezinski’s words, ”œthe taboo against Baltic membership.”
Conventional wisdom had it that the Baltics could not make it in the next round, and, given Moscow’s abiding aversion to former Soviet republics joining NATO, may actually be more suited for EU than NATO membership. But after September 11, with increased American-Russian cooperation against terrorism and with an American initiative to bring Russia itself much closer to NATO, the Baltics are no longer consid- ered a long shot. Although the European Union has short-listed Estonia for its next wave of expansion, Lithuania is further advanced in its ”œmembership action plan” for accession to NATO. The admission criteria to both NATO and the EU are almost identical. Both demand aspi- rant members to display democratic stability, respect for minority rights and a market-based economy. Where they differ is on assessing the practical implications of these principles in the areas of greatest importance to each organiza- tion. NATO concentrates on the peaceful resolu- tion of territorial disputes and civilian control over military policy and forces. Indeed, before admitting the last three members, NATO officials were active in negotiating the ”œBalladur Plan” (also called the European Stability Pact) whereby states such as Hungary pledged peaceful resolu- tion of border and minority questions that may have cross-border ramifications. In 1999, major European countries and states in southeastern Europe formalized a process to facilitate that region’s integration into the EU and NATO in the aftermath of the violent dissolution of Yugoslavia. The stability pact, to which Canada and the United States are signatories, promises ”œEuro-Atlantic integration” to all the countries in southeastern Europe. The pact is making slow progress, however, and former Yugoslav republics such as Croatia will likely have to wait for another round before being admitted to both organizations.
It was widely understood, though nowhere codified, that Polish, Hungarian and Czech entry into NATO would also facilitate each’s entry into the European Union. With the EU now pledged to add as many as seven new members in 2005, the time frame for NATO to help pave the way for newcomers is very narrow, though given the rising level of EU-Russia and NATO-Russia coop- eration, the EU and NATO may not have to worry quite so much about the geopolitical implications of who gets in first.
Despite its reputation for unilateralism, the Bush administration can be expected to consult more thoroughly with key allies than the Clinton administration did before its sudden announcement on enlargement in 1996. The management of Russian concerns will again be key. Russian-American relations appear to have improved after the September 11 attacks, although Vladimir Putin seems to drive a much harder bargain with Washington than Boris Yeltsin and may therefore not be prepared to drop his opposition to Baltic membership in NATO. There is speculation that the U.S. deci- sion to make deep cuts in its strategic nuclear arsenal and the need to work together in the war against terrorism will lead to much closer Russia- NATO cooperation and by implication less Russian resistance to NATO enlargement, even despite the American abrogation of the ABM Treaty. It is expected that at the Prague Summit in 2002, American officials and the NATO polit- ical staff will push to start a concrete process, including a firm completion date, to admit new members that are ready in terms of military secu- rity criteria. At the same time, aspirant countries are likely to face increasing demands on their qualifications, not least from the U.S. Senate, on how they can contribute to NATO’s counter-ter- rorism capability.
Though NATO invoked its collective defence clause on September 12, the involvement of the alliance as a whole in the military operations against the Al Qaeda network has been limited. The American government, not NATO or the UN for that matter, led the military action against the Taliban and beyond. Still, NATO solidarity was more than symbolic. The American approach in the war against terrorism has been to work bilaterally with several allies, rather than collectively through the North Atlantic Council. Nor was NATO’s command structure used. Given the security leaks that took place during the Kosovo campaign, the painful American- European arguments over bombing targets and the uneven distribution of capabilities the allies have to offer in the war against terrorism, this seems a prudent course. Even so, as was also the case in the Persian Gulf War, NATO’s way of doing things in terms of interoperability, com- munications and training will be the bedrock of any joint operations. Moreover, the United States asked and received NATO AWACS support over American (and Canadian) skies and enhanced intelligence cooperation, access to military bases, and over-flight permission. As well, allies committed resources in the Eastern Mediterranean and in the Balkans to free up American (and British) assets to join the war against the Taliban.
NATO’s future role in the fight against terrorism is uncertain. Lord Robertson declared that the September 11 attacks have reinforced the logic of NATO’s main tasks: nation-building in the Balkans, enlargement, partnerships with Eurasian countries and with Russia, and the Defence Capabilities Initiative (DCI). The latter was begun after the Kosovo war to increase European investment in sophisticated military equipment. Charles Grant of the EU-friendly Centre for European Reform has already con- cluded that the Americans are unlikely ever to use NATO again ”œto manage a serious shooting war.” He also predicts that NATO will transform more quickly now into a political organization which allows for closer relations with Russia. In the past, Article Five appeared to be a barrier to Russian membership of NATO: West Europeans did not find the prospect of an obligation to defend Russia’s Asian frontier appealing. But now that Article Five has been seen to involve a fairly loose political commitment to mutual defence, rather than one that is absolutely bind- ing, Grant argues that that barrier is lower.
Grant’s predictions may be premature. There is no doubt that the military activities in and around Afghanistan have again highlighted how far advanced U.S. forces are in relation to their closest allies (the United Kingdom partially excepted). None of this is new to NATO. Nor is the accompanying grumbling in Europe about a lack of American consultation. The French, as usual, are most concerned that the ”œhyper- power” fighting ”œhyper-terrorism” will do all the planning and fighting and leave the Europeans to do the humanitarian work afterwards””in the words of a French policy-maker, to ”œwash the dirty dishes.” But NATO has proven resilient to many challenges in decades past. The cohesion among the allies even when interests and capa- bilities diverge is truly remarkable. The challenge now is to adapt NATO quickly to the new threat and to build upon its military structures a gen- uine capability that serves both the United States and the European allies in the areas of joint threat assessment and response.
In what sounds like a grim, Machiavellian for- mula, the war against terrorism may offer a much-needed infusion of energy into the North American-European defence relationship. European security faces strong centrifugal forces, some in terms of strategic interests and the capa- bilities gap, some in the form of festering dis- putes. The fight in the mid- and late 1990s against Milosevic’s brutal ethnic cleansing re- forged NATO. After years of hesitation and inco- herence, it managed to act decisively. But with Milosevic in jail, new divergences have emerged. The Bush administration has put a premium on military renovation at home and is focused on threats outside Europe. High-end European mili- tary capabilities are not going to improve very quickly despite the genuine political change wrought by the ESDP. ESDP-NATO disputes over mandate and bureaucratic power are out of sync with actual European capability.
On the other hand, President Bush has been careful not to break the common European- North American approach in the Balkans, while Canada, though stretched to the utmost in terms of military resources after deep military cut- backs, has maintained a large contingent in the stabilization force in Bosnia. This does not guar- antee success, of course. Macedonian media reported last August that the Albanian guerillas were handing over their ”œmuseum arms” and storing their fighting arms for a later showdown. The more than 8000 machine guns, mortars and rocket-launchers gathered by late September could probably be bought back by a senior Albanian Mafioso in a few weeks. Still, for the time being NATO and the EU remain united.
On yet another sensitive aspect of NATO relations, September 11 will not diminish the American determination to develop missile defences, whether to protect forward-deployed troops or to secure homeland defence. The Bush administration’s announcement that it will abro- gate the ABM treaty means European-American relations on this major U.S. initiative will remain strained, and European participation in it likely limited.
Like Kosovo before it, the war against ter- rorism offers NATO a chance to retool and refo- cus. The challenges remain formidable. Extreme solutions are unlikely. Senators Joseph Biden and Richard Lugar have mused about ”œre-dedi- cating” the institution of NATO to the global war on terrorism and to ”œcountering” weapons of mass destruction. This remains a non-starter. All major European states were lukewarm at best when Secretary of State Madeleine Albright pushed this line in 1999. With the possible exception of the United Kingdom, European states do not want to take NATO out of Europe. From a military viewpoint, none except Britain can operate in such far-forward deployed are- nas. On the other side of the spectrum, many American military and civilian analysts are skep- tical that NATO can offer U.S. forces any value added in military terms. Turning NATO into a global military organization will not work. Dropping NATO because of the capability and interoperability gap will not be in American long-term interest. Hence, cautious initiatives on both the military and diplomatic front are needed.
Stanley Sloan, long-time Congressional advis- er on security issues, offers one practical possibili- ty: create a NATO ”œcounter-terrorism combined task force.” Thus NATO might provide a structure to make an inventory of counter-terrorist assets and operations. It could help with intelligence sharing and analysis. Building on the Combined Joint Task Forces concept of the early 1990s, it could add partner states to the effort and work closely with the new European security and defence structures. Maybe the Task Group should include Russia from the start and have flexible planning and command arrangements, drawing ESDP structures and SHAPE closer together.
On the diplomatic front, the war against ter- rorism offers an opportunity for advancing the relationship between ESDP and NATO, on the one hand, and Russia, on the other. EU leaders have already agreed to a schedule of monthly consultations between the Political and Security Committee and Russia. At the same time, Russia- NATO relations have also progressed. European and North American allies naturally remain sen- sitive about the ”œautonomy” of their own deci- sion-making process and do not want Russia or any other non-member to have a veto over NATO actions, so Russia’s longstanding desire for ”œequality” with NATO in vital security decisions in Europe is unlikely to be fulfilled. Moreover, concern remains that rapid NATO enlargement and close Russian integration into NATO busi- ness will turn NATO into a smaller Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, with lots of talk but no capacity to act. Given this reluctance, a NATO-ESDP-Russia Task Force on counter-terrorism may offer a useful venue for testing the waters on closer cooperation.
NATO developments after September 11 have affected Canada’s defence directly. The Bush administration has less patience with mul- tilateral solutions that do not address the imme- diate threat the United States believes is posed by possible follow-up terrorist attacks. It has made clear that it will not simply live with the potentially lethal combination of weapons of mass destruction and terrorist-friendly states. It was wise on the part of Ottawa to send Canadian troops to fight alongside American forces around Kandahar after the British initiative to form a peacekeeping force in Kabul failed to provide Canada with a meaningful role. Unlike the last two decades of the Cold War when Washington winked at Canada’s meagre military effort, the current administration has no tolerance for Canadian security weaknesses. The current defence review begun in Ottawa should make cooperation and interoperability with the Americans our main priority.