Europe’s security challenges and transatlantic relations

Çilkoparan, Hidayet
This thesis seeks to analyse the European Union’s current security structure, by taking into account the roles of the United States of America (USA) and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), and then to explore potential implications of the changes in transatlantic relations. Since World War II, NATO, under the leadership of the USA, has been serving as the main security provider for Europe. Although NATO’s relevance was questioned after the end of the Cold War and the dissolution of the Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact, the Alliance, by re-visiting and re-defining its mandate and roles, has been able to remain important. NATO has offered Europeans multiple advantages. First, by relying on huge US investment in defence industries, including nuclear capabilities, European countries have been able to save significant resources and invest them in other areas. On the other hand, Europe’s efforts and initiatives undertaken since the 1990s to develop its own defence capabilities and achieve strategic autonomy have achieved some progress but have not been able to produce an alternative to the NATO deterrent. US President Donald Trump, who acts on the basis of a vague doctrine called “America First”, has been questioning the necessity for continuation of this model. US insistence on adherence to the requirement that every NATO member should spend 2% of GDP for defence, causes tensions and disagreements within the alliance. In addition, the USA and the EU increasingly pursue differing strategic interests and objectives. Under these circumstances, the main question, which this thesis seeks to answer, is as follows: “Has the changing nature of Transatlantic relations influenced the EU’s search for strategic autonomy?”
Citation Formats
H. Çilkoparan, “Europe’s security challenges and transatlantic relations,” M.S. - Master of Science, Middle East Technical University, 2018.