In This Review

The Third Option: The Emancipation of European Defense, 1989-2000
The Third Option: The Emancipation of European Defense, 1989-2000
By Charles G. Cogan
Praeger, 2001, 200 pp

The best account so far of the European Union's push for an autonomous defense capability. Led by the French, this effort was long stillborn due to American opposition and resistance from the United Kingdom and Germany. That stalemate changed in the 1990s, when the Europeans' poor performance in the Persian Gulf War, Bosnia, and Kosovo -- along with U.S. antipathy toward using ground forces in Kosovo -- goaded the EU to think harder about defense; in 1998, British Prime Minister Tony Blair became a vocal advocate as well. French President Jacques Chirac, Blair, and like-minded Europeans argued that the EU needs its own defense to increase its influence within NATO and to deal with problems unlikely to inspire U.S. commitment. Cogan's analysis of this evolution is thorough, but the aftermath of September 2001 may soon require a new edition. The new focus on the global fight against terrorism has slowed down the march toward a common European defense, which was already handicapped by a lack of funds. Blair has turned his attention back to the Anglo-American relationship; the antiterrorism campaign has marginalized NATO; and the Bush administration seems less tolerant than Bill Clinton was of European defense autonomy. The emancipation of European defense may well be delayed once again.