Bilateralism and Minilateralism are Europe's Secret Strengths

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As a result of the war in Ukraine, policymakers in Europe and North America have scrambled to strengthen defense cooperation in Europe. The headlines inevitably focus on NATO and the European Union. Yet this ignores the reality of how European defense cooperation is actually established, fostered, and solidified. Indeed, the essence of defense cooperation in Europe is a web of hundreds of bilateral and minilateral collaborations. Often, NATO and the European Union work merely as a framework into which European countries upload their existing bi- and minilateral efforts.

To better enhance European defense, policymakers should appreciate the dynamics of these many collaborations. Taking advantage of the current circumstances to build more mini and bilateral ties, particularly where leadership and financial circumstances are most conducive, will strengthen Europe and make its multilateral institutions that much more formidable.
Original languageEnglish
JournalWar on the Rocks
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jun 2022


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