We should not be surprised by this European effacement, this relegation to the rank of secondary players when what is at stake is security on the continent. The Trump era has certainly accelerated awareness in Europe of the need for strategic autonomy, for EU sovereignty in matters of security. Emmanuel Macron played an important role in this awakening. He was right, despite a form of brutality in form, to underline the « brain death » of NATO, which is struggling to reconfigure itself and deal with its own contradictions, such as the ambiguous role of Turkey (note, Erdogan’s silence on the current crisis…).
But that being said, the Europeans remain incapable, in an agile and united way, of putting very specific proposals on continental security on the table. America continues to be the only destination address. An example: Emmanuel Macron said that Europe should be an actor, a participant, in the discussions on strategic security on its soil: which missiles, which range, which number, etc? However, since last summer, we have remained in a classic framework, where the United States informs its allies about the discussions with the Russians in Geneva.
Russia clearly wants to deal one-on-one with the United States. Historically, strategic arms control issues have always been addressed and resolved within this framework. In addition, such a format enhances the prestige and Russian influence, which do not weigh heavily when we look at the reality of the Gross Domestic Product of the great powers. The United States, they try to distinguish the files. They want to extend the dialogue on arms control, conducted since July in Geneva with the Russians, but which is necessarily a long-term effort. For the rest, they advocate in-depth consultation with the NATO allies and the Europeans.