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Donald Trump assumed office in January 2017, committed to revamping US foreign policy and putting ‘America First’. The clear implication was that long-held international commitments would be sidelined where, in Trump’s view, the American interest was not being served. NATO, in the crosshairs of this approach, has managed to ride out much of the criticism Trump has levelled against it. Written off as ‘obsolete’ by the American president, it has fared better in the Trump era than many commentators had predicted. NATO exemplifies a tendency in US foreign policy, which pre-dates Trump, where open criticism stops short of abandonment. This pattern has continued since 2017 and indicates a preference for voice over exit. As such, it suggests that Trump’s foreign policy is not always as illogical as many have assumed. Logic is borne of institutional context: Trump has chosen to articulate voice where institutionalisation makes exit unviable. Institutional resilience in general and NATO’s case specifically has a wider relevance, both for transatlantic relations and international order.
In securitisation theory (ST) little attention has been paid to how actors undertake securitisation collectively. The empirical focus of that theory has also, paradoxically, neglected the military-strategic sector and with it regional security organisations like NATO. Such an oversight is worth correcting for three reasons. First, NATO is constantly engaged in securitisation across a range of issues, a process that reflects an underappreciated recursive interaction between the Alliance and its member states. Second, the Ukraine crisis has resulted in Russia being explicitly identified as a source of threat and so has triggered a successful collective (re)securitisation by the Alliance. Third, a framework that demonstrates NATO’s standing as a securitising actor has potential relevance to other regional security organisations. This article discusses and amends ST in service of an approach that permits securitisation by actors other than the state, in this case NATO. A model of collective securitisation is presented and then applied empirically to the post-Cold War desecuritisation of Russia and its subsequent resecuritisation following the annexation of Crimea. The implications of resecuritisation for the emergence of a self-reinforcing security dilemma in NATO-Russia relations are also considered.
The American attentive foreign policy elite's perceptions of Italy as a foreign policy actor appear inconsistent with Italy's global role. The paradox of Italy's global status as a middle-power and the absence of status within the American foreign policy community raises three questions: What role should we expect Italy to play in American foreign policy calculations given its structural position in the international system? What role does Italy play in aiding or hindering American foreign policy objectives within the transatlantic community? Is there a disjunction between the American elite's subjectively low expectations for Italy as a foreign policy actor and Italy's objective importance for the successful realisation of American foreign policy objectives?
This article compares European Union (EU) burden-sharing in security governance distinguishing between assurance, prevention, protection, and compellence policies. We employ joint-product models and examine the variation in the level of publicness, the asymmetry of the distribution of costs and benefits, and aggregation technologies in each policy domain. Joint-product models predict equal burden-sharing for protection and assurance because of their respective weakest-link and summation aggregation technologies with symmetric costs. Prevention is also characterized by the technology of summation, but asymmetry of costs implies uneven burden-sharing. Uneven burden-sharing is predicted for compellence because it has the largest asymmetry of costs and a best-shot aggregation technology. Evaluating burden-sharing relative to a country's ability to contribute, Kendall tau-tests examine the rank-correlation between security burden and the capacity of EU member states. These tests show that the smaller EU members disproportionately shoulder the costs of assurance and protection; wealthier EU members carry a somewhat disproportionate burden in the provision of prevention, and larger EU members in the provision of compellence. When analyzing contributions relative to expected benefits, asymmetric marginal costs can largely explain uneven burden-sharing. The main conclusion is that the aggregated burden of collective security governance in the EU is shared quite evenly.
German unification in 1989 raised the spectre of German hegemony in post-cold war Europe. In this article, I demonstrate that Germany lacks the structural power consistent with European hegemony or dominance; that there is little evidence supporting an appreciable gap between Germany's structural power and foreign policy ambitions; and that apparent symptoms of German hegemony, particularly the process of institutional emulation in Central and Eastern Europe, reflect other international processes and incentives emanating from the state system itself. This reassessment and downgrading of Germany's relative and absolute power resolve the paradox of German structural power and German reluctance identified by others. But this alternative narrative raises another more important question: why is Germany treated as a potential or even aspiring hegemon in Europe? The answer to that question is located in the interconnected legacies of Auschwitz and the occupation regime. This joint legacy constitutes an important part of the historical context within which we frame our assessments and judgements of German power; explains the frequently unwarranted exaggeration and suspicion of German power; and demonstrates how the past can function as a powerful prism though which we interpret the intentions, ambitions and capabilities of a state.
The end of the Cold War and the transformation of the Yalta security system generated a debate about the survivability of the postwar institutions of security, particularly NATO. This debate is too narrow in its focus. We argue that security has two mutual constitutive elements, the political-military and the economic. The interdependence of these two elements of the future security architecture raises a set of interrelated questions addressed in this article: What are the economic elements of security? How have the changes in the European state system affected the prospects for the institutionalization of security cooperation, broadly defined? Does a stable security architecture require the parallel construction of the economic and military institutions of security?