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Forward Procrastination? Afghanistan’s Lessons about Europe’s Role as a Security Provider


If the St Malo process implicitly carried potential to develop European ‘strategic actorness’ and some European security autonomy, throughout the Afghan experience Europeans have, despite occasional opt-outs, largely converged around a role of complementing the US’ security leadership. With respect to the Europeans’ collective presence in the international security arena, the rhetoric of ‘shaping’ global events seems to have given way to a rather passive-reactive attitude vis-à-vis Europe’s security concerns, and the Afghan case exemplifies this dynamic. The combined lack of ambition and capability in member state and EU security contributions makes one wonder if the Europeans’ security role is really about offering solutions to the fires on their southern and eastern surroundings, or rather about ‘forward procrastination’ and reactive containment.
Keywords: Transatlantic relations, Afghanistan, European security