the broken umbrella

Security Cooperation Europe & the United States

webinar on 3 February 2021

The end of the Cold War did not lead in the immediate post-Cold War period to fundamental changes in the U.S.-centred alliance systems in either Europe or the Asia-Pacific region. Despite concerns about a possible reduction in America’s defence commitments in the wake of the disappearance of the shared Soviet threat, throughout the 1990s and until the mid-2000s European states made minimal efforts to diversify their security dependence on the United States. In the Asia-Pacific region, strategic uncertainties associated with a rising China and the related absence of collective security mechanisms ensured the continuity of the U.S.-led bilateral alliances, also known as the “hub-and-spoke” security system.

Regional fears of possible U.S. disengagement in the post-Cold War era were initially about Washington’s political willingness. However, America’s relative decline has gradually turned the question into that of U.S. ability to sustain its security commitments, as well as a matter of alliance burden-sharing. The perceived Russia threat, especially in the Eastern part of Europe, and the perceived China threat, notably in Asia’s maritime domain, have raised European and Asian “abandonment” concerns, respectively.

This webinar introduces the topic of the postponed international workshop The Broken Umbrella: Shifting Security Architecture in Europe and the Asia-Pacific, starting from an analysis of the EU-U.S. relations in the light of the recent presidential elections in the United States. A second webinar with focus on the relation with the Asia-Pacific region will be scheduled in spring, while the workshop itself has been rescheduled for 21-22 October 2021.

Date & Time

Wednesday 3 February 2021
2.00 – 3.30 p.m. UTC+1
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Online via Zoom.
How does it work?


Free entrance.
Please register online in advance.


2.00 p.m.

Intro by moderator Tom Sauer, Professor Research Group International Politics, Department of Politics, University of Antwerp

2.10 p.m.

Europe’s Role in the U.S. Grand Strategy Debate: Can Strong Transatlantic Security Ties Be Restored?

Keynote lecture by Stephen G. Brooks, Professor of Government at Dartmouth

This lecture will examine how Europe fits into the ongoing U.S. grand strategy debate between those who want America to pull back from its overseas security commitments versus those who favour retaining a globally engaged security posture. A key focus will be on identifying why Europe has long been seen by many U.S. analysts as being a less than ideal security partner and what actions European countries can now take to enhance America’s long-term willingness to maintain a strong security presence on the continent.

Stephen G. Brooks is Professor of Government at Dartmouth. He has previously held fellowships at Harvard and Princeton. His research examines two topics: U.S. grand strategy and how economic factors influence security affairs. He is the author of four books: Producing Security: Multinational Corporations, Globalization, and the Changing Calculus of Conflict (Princeton, 2005); World Out of Balance: International Relations and the Challenge of American Primacy (Princeton, 2008), with William Wohlforth; America Abroad: The United States’ Global Role in the 21st Century (Oxford, 2016), with William Wohlforth; and Political Economy of International Security (Princeton, forthcoming). He has published many articles in journals such as International Security, International Organization, Foreign Affairs, Journal of Conflict Resolution, Journal of Politics, Perspectives on Politics, and Security Studies. He received his Ph.D. in Political Science with Distinction from Yale University, where his dissertation received the American Political Science Association’s Helen Dwight Reid Award for the best doctoral dissertation in international relations, law, and politics.

2.45 p.m.

Response by Sven Biscop, Director of the Europe in the World Programme at the Egmont Royal Institute for International Relations in Brussels and Professor at the Ghent Institute for International Studies (GIIS) at Ghent University

3.00 p.m.

Discussion & Q&A

3.30 p.m.

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Free entrance, but online registration is mandatory!

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Prinsstraat 14
B-2000 Antwerpen
Tel. +32 (0)3 265 49 60
Fax +32 (0)3 707 09 31