The Use of European Military Power

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

It would be far fetched to argue that Europe, whether under the umbrella of the European Union or through the independent action of nation states, would ever return to early 20th century levels of expenditure on defense. Yet European states, particularly Great Britain and France, have never completely relinquished military power, or the willingness to deploy it in service of their strategic interests. Most recently, France intervened militarily to support its allies in Mali. Great Britain has persistently served as a prominent partner in U.S.-led military coalitions, not least through its significant involvement in Iraq. Most interestingly, perhaps, Germany has been slowly but gradually developing its military capabilities, with the ongoing support of the international community. The question is therefore less whether Europe will possess significant military power; it is already a military player through the armed forces of some of its members. Rather, one should ask how, and under what conditions, this power–even if not as considerable as it was historically, or compared to the U.S.–will be brought to use.