A symbolic step toward real EU defense

This may well be one of the more significant events of 2003.

At their summit meeting in Brussels this month, Europe’s leaders decided to establish an autonomous European military planning element, independent of NATO. It will now come into existence despite powerful opposition by the Bush administration. This should be a lesson to Washington about how not to deal with its allies, and Washington would do well to absorb the lesson, because the future development of European defense and its relationship with NATO are deeply interconnected with the extent of the power and influence the United States can exert on Europe.

The writer, Frederick Bonnart, is editorial director of NATO’s Nations, an independent military journal.