75624 - Strategic reciprocity

Ν. Lygeros

The Europeans wanted, of course, to ensure that the United States would automatically come to their assistance. This was clear from the beginning. They knew what they had done in WW I and WWII and they had already felt the threats in the Ante Cold War era from the Soviet Union. The problem for the US wasn’t their positions. They were obviously positive. The problem was the US public opinion. Their concerns were about its reaction. That the US should keep the right to have a free decision. The act to defend a member country would be left to the judgment of the members. They didn’t want to depend on a declaration of war or a military commitment by a member. But America was also thinking of another important point. The US might also need assistance in the future. They said that at that time, in 1949, the Western European countries were more exposed to direct Russian attack than North America was. But in a decade, it could be possible to see the first shock of an aggressive attack against the industrial centers of North America. The idea was certainly strange for Europeans but not after the first attacks on the american soil.