In This Review

Debating European Security, 1948-1998
Debating European Security, 1948-1998
By Willem van Eekelen
SDU Publishers, 1998, 371 pp

Van Eekelen has spent nearly 40 years in public service, culminating in his tenure as secretary-general of the Western European Union from 1989 to 1994. In that role he reinvigorated a moribund organization intended to coordinate military activities by the Western European states. In essentially an extended memoir of his tenure, van Eekelen relates historically significant accounts of the gulf and Yugoslav crises. Despite his best efforts, however, the role of the WEU remains unclear. Once it seemed the appropriate framework for out-of-area operations by NATO countries, but that rationale has dwindled. More depressingly, this confirmed and dedicated European concludes that Europe cannot create its own security system, not for lack of capability but lack of will. The old continent will thus, in van Eekelen's view, continue to rely on American leadership, even in such obviously European problems as the Bosnian war.