GLOBSEC, BRATISLAVA April 12 – US attention shift from Europe to Pacific and Asia is real and it is here to stay, agreed the panellists at the GLOBSEC conference in Bratislava. Although the transatlantic partnership remains central to the US, the narrative evolving in Washington recently considers Europe to be the matter of the past while Asia is being the matter of the future.
This is the consequences of reduced military spending of the US restrained by the monetary realities as well as the consequence of the continuous and strengthening economic challenge posed by China. Also, growing military and defence spending of China poses another challenge to the US interests in the West Pacific. The question is if and how the Europeans are going to cooperate with the Americans in the Pacific area.
GLOBSEC Participants remain rather pessimistic about the successful development such opportunity because while Europeans concentrate on their immediate neighbourhood, they neglect the big power game in Asia. Thus, for NATO to continue to work properly, the European leadership ‘from behind’ is needed. Europeans cannot continue to rely on the US to finance, resource and act without the European contribution.
This will, in the words of one of the panellists, separate boys from men in Europe, although it seems rather uncertain what the number of men in Europe is. It does not mean that NATO will not be active, but the panellists expect that more operations of the type of Libya instead of the type NATO leads in Afghanistan will occur in the future. Panellist also mentioned Russia who is seen as a spoiler in this big power game, but its role and cooperation will be needed for the successful exit strategy of the Alliance from Afghanistan.