On May 19, Foreign Policy published its biweekly “It’s Debatable” column featuring Scowcroft Center Vice President and Senior Director Matthew Kroenig and Emma Ashford assessing the latest news in international affairs.

In their latest column, the pair extensively debate the role of the United States in European security, citing the long-established and substantial impact of the US in maintaining the transatlantic security alliance. Should the US continue to lead the transatlantic alliance while encouraging European states to increase contributions? Or should the US adopt a “hands-off” model to better focus on the rising threat of China?

Only the United States has the power and the widespread feeling of goodwill from within Europe to lead the transatlantic alliance. It should continue to provide overall vision and coordination. Only Washington can provide strategic deterrence against Russia. And I also think that European states should provide more of the nuts and bolts of the conventional defense, from aircraft to tanks to personnel, etc.

Matthew Kroenig

A division of labor within NATO in which European states carry most of the burden – and do most of the work in practical terms – of deterring Russia, defending themselves, and securing Europe’s frontiers, while the United States takes a more hands-off approach to focus on Asia but is available to provide resources and aid if a major crisis requires it. That’s a true partnership, and it’s where I believe the United States and Europe have to go if the transatlantic relationship is to continue to thrive.

Emma Ashford

Related Experts: Matthew Kroenig