Europe’s New “Indispensable Nations”
BERLIN – After the shock of the United Kingdom’s Brexit referendum and Donald Trump’s election as President of the United States in 2016, this will be a decisive year for Europe.
Upcoming parliamentary elections in France, Germany, the Netherlands, and possibly Italy will decide whether the European Union will hold together, or whether it will disintegrate under the neo-nationalist wave sweeping the West.
Security guarantees are not just a matter of military hardware. The guarantor also must project a credible message that it is willing to defend its allies whenever necessary. Thus, such arrangements depend largely on psychology, and on a country’s trustworthiness vis-à-vis friends and foes alike. When that credibility is damaged, there is a growing risk of provocation – and, with it, the threat of escalation into larger crises, or even armed conflict.