various linkages in this section. Atlantic defense relations is an extensively and thoroughly studied area and the reader will, no doubt, be familiar with the major developments and issues that have been raised; hence, the discussion here will be a rather truncated one. The discussion in this section will be limited to consideration of the linked questions of the ability of NATO to find a new post-Cold War function for itself and the ability of the nations of the EU to develop a role in global security affairs, commensurate with its role in global economics, beyond Europe itself, and the potential roles of Africa and South America in Atlantic security.
4d1. - In the post-Cold War context that was ushered in in 1989, much of the reason for a unified structure under the leadership of the United States disappeared. The prospect of a global conflagration that would engage Europe, North America and at least one other continent lost its immediacy as the Soviet Union became Russia and the Confederation of Independent States and its military capacity was judged to have suffered a substantial deterioration. While the United States has sought to maintain its position as the leader of the western alliance, in both economic and military functions, the nations of the European Union have sought to fashion a new structure that is not only more relevant, in their eyes, to the new global security reality but also more in conformity with the needs of their process of integration, with both its deepening and its enlarging dimensions. The former requires that they pursue more coherent and autonomous EU structures in all spheres of the economy, political decision-making, border security, and collective defense. The defense aspect of this process is most graphically captured by the recent departure in October of 1999 of the Spaniard Javier Solana from the position of Secretary General of NATO to take up the responsibilities of the EU’s first coordinator for foreign and security policy. The latter makes them more enthusiastic than the US regarding the extension of NATO membership to the nations of Central Europe and the Baltic.
While the US has generally supported the extension of NATO membership to selected countries in Central Europe and expansion of EU membership as well, there is a potential outcome that causes considerable consternation in Washington. The problem is the overlapping membership of the various organizations and the implications this has for the US. NATO consists of Canada, the US, and all of the EU members with the exception of Ireland, Finland Sweden and Austria. The Western European Union, created in 1948 as a mechanism for monitoring German rearmament, is comprised of the EU members except the Nordic members, Ireland and Austria. This linkage was made explicit in the Maastricht Treaty on European Union (1992). The extension of EU membership to the Baltic States and the several Central European nations, including among others Bulgaria and Romania, has obvious implications about EU security commitments throughout the region. The US has explicit security commitments to NATO members but if the EU members of NATO in turn choose to make explicit commitments to who knows what countries to the east, sorting this out in a time of crisis and containing unintended US involvement could be extremely difficult.xxvii It is interesting to note that in speeches on the US-EU relationship, senior US officials often discuss NATO and the UE and also the ECSC, but make no mention of the WEU.xxviii This is especially bothersome in light of the difficulty of the EU nations to form a unified, timely and effective response to the conflict in ex-Yugoslavia. In both Bosnia and Kosovo, the US was ultimately forced to assert