The Trump administration has challenged several core pillars of the traditionally strong relations between Europe and the United States. In addition to divergent views and policies on trade, tariffs and climate change, pressure on European allies to spend 2% of GDP on defence has increased dramatically since Trump took office. The future US defence commitment and presence in Europe could become contingent on European defence spending.

These developments may very well drive new transatlantic wedges that severely undermine solidarity and US security commitments. In the worst case, Europe may have to rely on a NATO with limited US involvement. It is unlikely that the USA will ever formally leave the Alliance, but it could choose to commit far less resources than today. Despite recent initiatives aimed at strengthening the EU’s security and defence measures, the Union is unlikely ever to assume the collective defence role of NATO. Defence of Europe may have to rely more on ‘the European NATO’ than before – or, alternatively, on stronger bilateral ties with the USA and specific individual European countries. As since such scenarios can no longer be dismissed, the time has come to begin asking how an alternative security and defence framework might look.

What can a European NATO plus Canada do alone to defend Europe? What measures might most effectively strengthen today’s weak and fragmented defence structures in Europe? May we expect inter-ally competition to strengthen their bilateral ties to the USA, should it disengage from NATO? Should Norway focus on hedging against the risks entailed in various future scenarios, or reinforce the current defence strategy instead?

At this 20th anniversary of the Military Power seminar, NUPI invites you to ponder an uncomfortable future scenario where solutions like greater Nordic defence cooperation, a more bilateral world, or the potential new role of key countries like Germany will be discussed. There will be contributions from international and national experts, Norwegian decision makers, and ample time for discussion and reflections. 

The seminar will be live streamed on NUPI's YouTube channel: