Merging NATO and the EU

Paul Hockenos, editor of Internationale Politik-Global Edition, argues in an intriguing Spiegel piece that the United States should rethink its relationship with NATO and instead focus on the EU.

In my New Atlanticist piece “Should Obama Abandon NATO for the EU?,” I argue against his false dilemma and point out reasons why it benefits the United States to work with both institutions.  I propose a better (but equally implausible in the short term) idea:

Perhaps one day we’ll merge NATO and the EU, creating a North Atlantic Union or some such.  It only makes sense to have the two largest economies remove barriers to trade and travel within their zone and there would certainly be an efficiency created by the merger.   Of course, that only makes sense if the EU decides to pull back from its ambitions to be a United States of Europe and instead decide that it’s better off as a cooperative among sovereign nation-states who share common values and interests but yet sufficiently distinct cultures to make full merger undesirable.

Comments and suggestions welcome.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. sam says:

    Not sure what this bodes for any EU-NATO intergration, but France is rejoining NATO 43 years after Le Grand Charles decamped. Any thoughts, James?

    BTW, love this from the foreign minister:

    “We took part in all the Nato operations in Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, without taking part in drawing up the plans,” the foreign minister, Bernard Kouchner said this week.

    “France cannot carry on being the only film-maker who is not invited to the script development.”

    Cinema Politique de la Realite, n’est-ce-pas?

  2. DC Loser says:

    France technically never left NATO, only its military command structure. It maintained its political participation, but withdrew its military forces from the military command structure. What they’re doing now is to reintegrate their military back into the NATO structure.

  3. James Joyner says:

    France technically never left NATO, only its military command structure.

    Right. But they’re currently reintegrating more fully.