Impact of U.S. Foreign Policy on the European Security Architecture

Claus Günther © BDI

Political decisions in Washington have a direct impact on Germany and Europe. There is still great uncertainty throughout Europe given the new administration’s contradictory remarks on foreign and security issues. However, the United States remains a central pillar of the transatlantic security architecture, as Claus Günther (CEO Diehl Defence) emphasizes in his interview.

Mr. Günther, is NATO obsolete?

Out of the 28 current alliance partners, only five are adhering to the agreed target of spending two percent of their gross domestic product on defence. The United States’ demand for sharing the burden of providing international security more fairly – in other words a larger European contribution – is neither new nor unjustified. We would all do well to interpret the term "obsolete" not as superfluous but rather as "in need of reform". Ultimately, it is up to us to underpin the geopolitical significance of NATO and thereby strengthen the political and military dimension of the European security architecture.

Do we need a stronger Europe to tackle security and defence issues?

Europe needs to take up more responsibility for security and military affairs. That includes not only increasing the defence budget but also dealing with security and defence-related policy issues at the EU level. However, we need to accept that the EU is only as strong as its members allow it to be. It is not so much a question of ability but rather a question of will.

The pronouncements by U.S. President Donald Trump present a challenge for the European security architecture. We should interpret the signals from across the Atlantic as an opportunity – an opportunity for Europe to shape a common and ambitious foreign and security policy.

Claus Günther is CEO of Diehl Defence Holding GmbH and Chairman of the BDI Committee for Security.