July 1, 2006
Countering Terrorism Across the Atlantic?
Differences in strategic vision and concepts of security are central to the U.S. and European Union (EU) approaches to counterterrorism. While the United States conceives of a war against terrorism, Europe does not. As a result of different perceptions of the threat, both sides of the Atlantic take divergent approaches to homeland security. Europeans tend to favor the use of a law enforcement strategy over a warfighting approach. Meanwhile, the U.S. administration believes that a quasi-militaristic, overtly proactive, and highly vigilant stance will serve as the best deterrent to future attacks. By their own standards, Europeans are doing more to counter terrorism since September 11 and even more since the attacks in Madrid (March 11, 2004) and in London (July 7, 2005); by U.S. standards, these measures sometimes appear inadequate. As a result, there are significant transatlantic divergences on the best methods for halting the spread of terrorism.