International Politics

, Volume 43, Issue 1, pp 93–104

What ‘War on Terror’ are we Talking About? A Response to Alistair Shepherd

  • Felix Berenskoetter
  • Bastian Giegerich

DOI: 10.1057/palgrave.ip.8800134

Cite this article as:
Berenskoetter, F. & Giegerich, B. Int Polit (2006) 43: 93. doi:10.1057/palgrave.ip.8800134


This article critically assesses Alistair Shepherd's conclusion that ESDP is of limited utility in the post-9/11 world. We argue that this view is flawed for three reasons: first, Shepherd's analysis rests on an American-centric interpretation of the ‘war on terror’, neglecting the fact that the European perspective of the current security environment, and how to deal with it, is quite different from the American one. Second, we contend that Shepherd neglects ESDP's development as a tool for both military and civilian crisis management, which leads him to, third, underestimate a variety of activities of the EU and member states aimed at addressing threats of terrorism and WMD proliferation. Building on this criticism, it is suggested that the issue of ESDP's ‘relevance’ should not, indeed cannot be measured by assessing its usefulness for an American-defined war on terror. Rather than asking what the EU can do for the US, we propose that the more substantial question is how the EU is equipped to address the threats of terrorism and WMD proliferation as they appear to Europeans.


war on terror European security European Union transatlantic relations 

Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan Ltd 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Felix Berenskoetter
    • 1
  • Bastian Giegerich
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of International RelationsLondon School of EconomicsLondonUK
  2. 2.International Institute for Strategic StudiesLondonUK

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