Edited by James Sperling
Chapter 9: Europe
In terms of security governance, Europe is unusual. With the possible exception of North America, it is the only region of the world that can be decisively said to constitute a security community – a group of states within which war is so unlikely as to be off the map of serious political consideration or policy drivers. Europe also has, in NATO and the EU, probably the world’s strongest regional security institutions: within the frameworks of these two international organizations the countries of Europe have gone further in developing defence, security and foreign policy cooperation than any other region of the world. These two core features of contemporary European security are historically striking. Up to 1945 the normal historical pattern of international interaction between European states was that of security competition, balance of power politics, shifting alliances and periodic major war – the very opposite of the security community and the enduring international institutions that now define European security. In much of early twenty-first century Europe, broadly the region defined by borders of the EU, war between states is inconceivable – a truly fundamental change in the continent’s international politics. This does not mean, however, that war and the use of force are no longer part of European international politics as a whole.
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