Transition in the Middle East, the ongoing effects of the global financial crisis and the United States' rebalance to Asia are key trends that will have an impact on transatlantic relations and European defence. As US priorities shift, a common European 'grand strategy' could encourage the development of a shared vision to help Europe order its priorities and begin to respond to the new, post-austerity context of world politics and shrinking defence budgets.
Will these changes be enough to quicken Europe's currently shrivelled strategic thinking? In any scenario, given its relative weight and role as an interlocutor with the US, the United Kingdom will remain vital to any developing European security and strategy agenda, although its broader relations with the European Union will complicate this relationship. How it proceeds will also help to define the boundaries of this nascent European security order.
This article charts these key global trends, relates them to current debates in European security and strategy and maps opportunities and constraints faced by Europe and the UK in developing a grand strategy in an increasingly 'American-lite' European neighbourhood.