In This Review

The EU and Military Operations: A Comparative Analysis
The EU and Military Operations: A Comparative Analysis
By Katarina Engberg
Routledge, 2013, 232 pp

Do not be daunted by this book’s thick prose, which reflects the author’s background as an experienced European diplomat with a doctorate in the field of peace and conflict studies. Engberg’s analysis challenges the conventional wisdom about European defense policy. To explain why Europe is not more active militarily, many observers point to interstate disagreement, a lack of adequate defense materiel, and the absence of centralized EU institutions. This book explodes those myths. In fact, the major European states rarely disagree, let alone block one another, and the greatest constraint on their action stems from sensible and prudent caution, often due to local conditions in the places where they seek to intervene. Moreover, European shortages of military materiel arise mostly because European forces are already active in so many places -- including Afghanistan, Lebanon, Libya, and numerous African countries. Finally, although EU defense cooperation could be improved, it is remarkably well suited to its major role of backstopping the UN, NATO, and ad hoc “coalitions of the willing.”