The article explores the evolution of British, German and French defence policies since the end of the Cold war, interrogating the links between dynamics of policy convergence and bilateral cooperation. It draws conclusions that run against the assumption that international institutions foster the resemblance of national policies.
I reproduce the abstract below:
“What are the prospects for trilateral concord among Britain, France and Germany in terms of defence policies? Would more institutionalised links among them lead to more convergence of their defence policies? To answer these interrogations, this article investigates the relation between policy convergence and institutionalised cooperation, in particular by studying whether and when one is a prerequisite to the other. First, this article examines the extent to which these countries’ defence policies have converged since the end of the cold war based on several indicators: their attitudes towards international forums, their defence budgets, the structure of their armed forces and their willingness to use force. Second, we study each of the bilateral relations between the three states to qualitatively analyse their degree of institutionalisation and the convergence of their defence policies. This article concludes that contrary to the arguments of many discussions, think-tank reports and political actors, there is no evidence that institutionalised cooperation leads to policy convergence as far as defence is concerned.”
It is a short article, part of a symposium discussing European security policy. The idea of the symposium was initiated by an article by Cladi and Locatelli arguing that the European Union is basically bandwagoning with the United States. This article triggered a reply by Benjamin Pohl, who instead argues that the EU is neither balancing nor bandwagoning, but that European security policy is driven partly by a shared liberal consensus, and partly by diverging national preferences and priorities rooted in idiosyncratic political cultures.
The symposium, which brings together the contributions of Felix Berenskoetter, Tom Dyson, Trine Flockhart, Adrian Hyde-Price, Jens Ringsmose and myself, discusses these two perspectives.
I reproduce below the abstract of my own article:
Tools of classical strategic analysis support distinctive explanations for the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) of the European Union. Looking at the articulation between ends, ways, and means offers a perspective on the CSDP that is different from the approaches usually favoured by European Union specialists or even security studies scholars. In particular, it is argued here that the CSDP is no strategy, and little more than an institutional make-up for the lack of strategic thinking within the European Union. First, I show that the CSDP is not European security, and that the EU security policy is astonishingly absent from the security challenges facing Europe. Second, I argue that this situation stems from a lack of a political project within the European Union. I refer to the classical distinction made by Hans Morgenthau between pouvoir and puissance to show that, short of a political project, we will not see a strategic CSDP any time soon.
I co-authored with Bastien Irondelle (Sciences Po Paris) a book chapter on the French strategic culture, published in a collective book entitled Strategic Cultures in Europe.
This is the first book adopting a common framework to compare the strategic cultures of all of the EU member-states. The product is then theoretically sound and empirically extremely rich, and should be of interest to anyone working on european security issues.
The book can be ordered on the editor’s website.
I posted on Kings of War a short analysis of the French intervention in Mali. You can read it here.
I published a book chapter (in French) in an edited book entitled “Thinking About Collective Violence”, edited by Cynthia Salloum and Benjamin Brice.
The book is a collection of essays by historians, political scientists and lawyers trying to grasp the different forms of collective violence (religious violence, war, genocides…).
My own contribution focuses on the concept of strategic culture, and tries to provide a balanced assesment of its analytical usefulness.
The book can be ordered here, and is also available as an ebook.
I published a chapter in a collective book on military adaptation.
My own research focused on British military adaptation during the Afghan campaign (2006-2011), but there is a serie of fascinating chapters (some in French, others in English) on XVI° century warfare, counter-insurgency, the French experience in Afghanistan or military adaptation in EU operations (among others). This collection of chapters offers a large view on the processes of military adaptation.
I hope you will find it of interest.