Europe as a Secondary Theater? Competition with China and the Future of America’s European Strategy

Strategic Studies Quarterly - Perspective, Spring 2021

By Luis Simón, Linde Desmaele, LTC Jordan Becker


Competition with China has become the main lens through which the United States looks at the world. How will this affect US strategy in Eu- rope? First, Washington’s increased focus on China leaves fewer US re- sources available to influence security developments in and around Europe. This compels US policy makers to seek ways to preserve a favorable regional balance in Europe that require less of the United States. Second, Sino- American competition is leading Washington to view its transatlantic rela- tionships in terms of how they affect its position relative to China. As the Euro-Atlantic area becomes less central to US grand strategy, global—and particularly China-focused—considerations will play an increasingly im- portant role in the context of the transatlantic relationship.