US embassy cable - 03BRUSSELS4143

FIRST STEPS TOWARD AN EU USE-OF-FORCE DOCTRINE: OPPORTUNITIES FOR THE U.S.

Identifier: 03BRUSSELS4143
Wikileaks: View 03BRUSSELS4143 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Brussels
Created: 2003-08-28 18:10:00
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL//NOFORN
Tags: PREL PINS MARR MCAP FR IT PL UK DA GM SP NATO UNSC EUN USEU BRUSSELS
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 04 BRUSSELS 004143 
 
SIPDIS 
 
NOFORN 
 
DEPT. FOR EUR/ERA, EUR/RPM, IO/UNP 
DEPT. ALSO FOR S/P - DAVID VAN CLEVE, AND NP/RA - MARK 
FITZPATRICK 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/28/2013 
TAGS: PREL, PINS, MARR, MCAP, FR, IT, PL, UK, DA, GM, SP, NATO, UNSC, EUN, USEU BRUSSELS 
SUBJECT: FIRST STEPS TOWARD AN EU USE-OF-FORCE DOCTRINE: 
OPPORTUNITIES FOR THE U.S. 
 
REF: A. BRUSSELS 3917 
 
     B. BRUSSELS 3210 
     C. BRUSSELS 2769 
     D. BRUSSELS 3263 
     E. ROME 3823 
 
Classified By: USEU PolOff Van Reidhead; reasons 1.5 (b) and (d) 
 
------------------- 
Summary and Comment 
------------------- 
 
1. (C/NF) The draft European Security Strategy (ESS), which 
will be discussed at the September 5-6 informal "Gymnich" 
meeting of EU Foreign Ministers (ref. A), provides the U.S. 
with an early opportunity to engage on this emerging EU 
security doctrine.  Born of the divisions over Iraq, the ESS 
is an attempt to frame the EU debate about how the EU should 
see security, in conscious if incomplete imitation of the 
U.S. National Security Strategy.  An important element is the 
debate about when and under what conditions the EU might 
resort to the use of force.  The ESS also invites discussion 
of the utility and effectiveness of multilateralism with 
regard to international security affairs.  Logically, the 
discussion could require that EU leaders ask the question: 
How much linkage should there be between the UNSC and an EU 
use-of-force doctrine?  In this respect, the ESS could 
challenge the EU to examine closely its devotion to 
multilateralism and the institutional status quo. 
 
2. (C/NF) Comment: This is the very early stage in a 
discussion that could play out over years.  But even at this 
early moment there is value in engagement, with an emphasis 
on developing a shared strategic view.  We recommend a quiet 
dialogue with our friends in the EU (i.e. in the Council 
Secretariat), the UK, Italy, Spain, Denmark and Poland.  They 
 
SIPDIS 
are closest to our views and can provide early warning of any 
move in a problematic direction.  At this point, our interest 
should be avoiding a premature resolution of the ESS debate, 
because a near-term resolution would almost certainly favor a 
strong UNSC role in any EU use-of-force doctrine.  End 
Comment.  End Summary. 
 
-------------------- 
Pushing the Envelope 
-------------------- 
 
3. (C/NF) The 15-page ESS (full text at ref. B; also 
available online at http://register.consilium.eu.int/ 
pdf/en/03/st10/st10881en03.pdf) defines the main threats to 
European security as terrorism, WMD proliferation, and failed 
states and organized crime.  The ESS argues that as a global 
actor, the EU should share responsibility for global 
security, and should be ready and able to work with others, 
especially the U.S., to combat the new threats.  Key to this 
readiness and ability is a credible use-of-force doctrine. 
Our interlocutors have told us that one purpose of the ESS is 
to push the EU toward a discussion of how far it is prepared 
to go in considerations of the use of force.  The discussion 
will be controversial, because the draft implies the 
possibility of resorting to the use of force without full 
multilateral institutional support -- in other words, without 
recourse to the UNSC. (Note: See ref. D for more background 
on the ESS.) 
 
----------- 
First Steps 
----------- 
 
4. (C/NF) As EU High Rep. Solana and numerous senior EU and 
member state interlocutors have made clear from the beginning 
of the drafting process, the ESS is just the first step in 
developing an EU consensus on the parameters of European 
security.  It will represent a set of broad consensual 
assumptions and a flexible framework within which the EU can 
try to construct security policy.  Our interlocutors tell us 
the paper had to be "broad and soft" in order to accommodate 
the widely divergent views held by EU member states on how to 
deal with the threats defined in the paper.  It also had to 
be detailed and comprehensive enough to lend it at least some 
credibility.  But the EU's larger goal was to create a set of 
common principles to reduce the chances of another Iraq-like 
split, not to create an operational doctrine for security and 
defense.  In that at least, the Council Secretariat believes 
it has succeeded. 
 
----------------------------------------- 
An EU "Lesson Learned" from Transatlantic 
Differences Over Iraq 
----------------------------------------- 
 
5. (C/NF) Interlocutors acknowledge that the effort to 
produce a security strategy was sparked by the desire to 
avoid a repetition of the corrosive internal divisions the EU 
experienced over the use of force in Iraq.  During the Iraq 
crisis, the EU was torn apart, and marginalized itself.  The 
crisis was viewed as a debacle for the EU's fledgling Common 
Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP).  The pain -- and 
humiliation -- of the EU's marginalization was felt keenly in 
both Brussels and capitals.  The U.S.-EU relationship 
suffered as member states fought out their Iraq differences 
in public.  The current flurry of CFSP integration efforts is 
the logical solution from an EU perspective.  These efforts, 
among which the ESS stands as a sort of guiding directive, 
will continue as the EU seeks the ability to act with 
consequence when faced with international crises. 
 
------------------- 
But is it Credible? 
------------------- 
 
6. (C/NF) But doing something about the new security threats 
requires at some level consideration of the use of force. 
The ESS posits the need for exactly that.  If the EU is to 
become the international force envisioned by the ESS, then it 
must be able to legitimately use military force.  This is a 
difficult concept for many member states who strongly prefer 
that the EU focus instead on issues such as "addressing the 
root causes of conflict" and shoring up existing 
international organizations and regimes.  These are easier 
for the EU to respond to because they rely heavily on 
civilian instruments and "soft" power, and appeal above all 
to Europe's sense of magnanimity, inclusive universalism, and 
the importance of multilateralism.  For many, the "hard" 
power issue of legitimate military force cuts close to the 
sovereign bone. 
 
7. (C/NF) Moreover, considerations of the use of force 
suggest the controversial possibility of the EU becoming a 
security organization.  In response to our query about that 
possibility, Council Director-General and principal ESS 
drafter Robert Cooper asserted that yes, the EU will become a 
security organization in time.  He argued that that 
eventuality had been evident since the 1998 Franco-British 
declaration at Saint Malo (the bargain whereby France agreed 
to filter European security through NATO while the UK agreed 
to support an EU security identity).  But even Cooper 
acknowledges that giving EU security policy "teeth" through 
the development of a common EU policy on the use of force 
will not be easy. 
 
------------------------------- 
Toward a Use of Force Doctrine? 
------------------------------- 
 
8. (C/NF) As ESS discussions move forward the EU will 
inevitably be forced to address a number of difficult 
questions, with important implications for transatlantic 
relations: How far is the EU prepared to go in articulating a 
use-of-force doctrine?  Will EU leaders adopt a flexible 
doctrine that leaves options on the table and promises force 
credibility?  Or will they define legitimate use of force in 
such a way as to constrain or limit the EU's participation 
except in very narrow circumstances?  How strictly will the 
EU separate humanitarian and military assets when responding 
to complex humanitarian emergencies (ref. C)?  Will members 
want to spend more time defining when force cannot be used 
than in defining a policy that addresses the core issues -- 
i.e. how to deal with countries that do not play by the 
rules?  Specifically, will EU leaders require recourse to the 
UNSC?  Or will they perhaps be willing to take multilateral 
cover under a broader, more flexible body of international 
law?  The answers to these questions will be of critical 
importance to U.S. interests, and will determine both the 
extent and pace of EU evolution as a security organization -- 
a development with important implications for NATO. 
 
---------- 
Next Steps 
---------- 
 
9. (C/NF) Robert Cooper tells us that the EU has taken the 
use of force question as far as it can for now, and will 
devote its near-term efforts to further defining the 
strategy's less controversial aspects.  Toward that end, the 
EU is planning to discuss the ESS at different venues 
throughout the fall.  Between the informal Gymnich 
ministerial on September 5-6 (where the discussion will be 
limited mostly to reaching agreement on the path ahead) and 
the December EU Summit (where a revised strategy will be 
presented to leaders), the EU will convene three small ESS 
workshops.  The first of these will take place September 17 
in Rome, under the aegis of the Aspen Institute.  The 
workshops are intended to further the ESS discussion by 
bringing together representatives from all 25 current and 
future EU member states, plus think tank and academia experts 
(ref. E).  (Note:  Cooper tells us that U.S. academics and 
think tanks would be welcome to attend the workshops if their 
expertise were relevant.)  ESS discussions will also take 
place at the PSC and COREPER levels during the run-up to the 
December Summit.  Cooper anticipates completing the new ESS 
draft by mid-November. 
 
----------------------------------- 
Comment: Opportunities for the U.S. 
----------------------------------- 
 
10. (C/NF) Beyond the "First Pillar" issues of economic and 
social affairs, the EU has not yet reached a stable consensus 
on what it is and how sovereignty will be shared among 
Brussels and national capitals.  This creates both 
frustration and opportunity: frustration because 
understanding and predicting EU behavior is very difficult, 
but an opportunity because this open-ended state of affairs 
invites dialogue.  We cannot yet tell how member states will 
line up on the issue of using force, and we don't see the 
debate ending anytime soon.  But we see three groups lining 
up for the long march ahead: First, there will be member 
states who balk at the notion of using force under any 
circumstances.  These relatively few states -- among whom 
Germany may be emerging as a leader -- will have to be either 
accommodated or circumvented.  Second will be the larger 
group who are not opposed to the use of force per se, but who 
will only want to consider it in the context of a UNSC 
resolution.  Finally, there are countries such as the UK -- 
and perhaps France -- which have already shown a willingness 
to bypass the UNSC when it is in their interest to do so.  If 
the EU is to develop a positive security identity these 
countries should be engaged to ensure that they protect the 
EU's right to act independently of the UNSC. 
 
11. (C/NF) In the case of France, however, we fear that 
engaging too soon and too directly could be 
counterproductive.  The current French administration may 
feel compelled to support a strong UNSC role in European 
security policy, even if it contradicts certain French 
interests, in an attempt to constrain U.S. power and 
influence.  Emboldened by its own recent rhetoric about the 
need to check American power, France might be willing to 
constrain itself, through an EU strategic link with the UNSC, 
in order to constrain the U.S.  Any such linkage would limit 
the ability of our European allies within the EU to act in 
concert with us.  For now, we should let others -- notably 
the UK -- engage France on the need to protect member state 
and EU autonomy with regard to the UNSC. 
 
12. (C/NF) In this context, we believe U.S. interests lie in 
supporting those member states and institutional elements who 
favor legitimating force under a broader body of 
international law, and under new forms of multilateral 
initiatives.  Now is the time to quietly engage our friends 
in the EU on our views of the ESS and any potential for an EU 
use-of-force doctrine.  The UK, Italy (which holds the EU 
Presidency), the Council Secretariat, Denmark, Spain and 
Poland are all good access points.  All are sympathetic to 
U.S. views and are able to influence the debate, some 
considerably.  Our goal should be to prevent any premature 
resolution of the ESS and use of force debates.  The 
political climate in Europe is such that any near-term 
resolution would come down in favor of a stronger UNSC role 
in international security.  Therefore, our goal should be to 
ensure that the debate continues.  And we should take 
advantage of the process to discuss our views of the ESS and 
the potential for an EU use-of-force doctrine during upcoming 
UN and security consultations.  We might also use the topic 
as a thread that we can weave through relevant regional 
troika consultations.  Our interlocutors, including Robert 
Cooper, have said on numerous occasions that the EU would 
welcome such dialogue -- "anytime, anywhere," as Cooper put 
it.  We should accept the offer.  End Comment. 

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