From an article by former French foreign minister Jean Franc ois-Poncet in the first issue of Atlantic Focus, a publication of the Atlantic Institute for International Affairs, Paris: The creation of a "European pillar" is once again a matter of intensive debate as a consequence of the Reykjavik summit and the likely withdrawal of cruise and Pershing missiles from Europe resulting from a U.S.-Soviet agreement. What is leading the Europeans, and in particular the French and Germans, to return to the idea of the "Europeanization" of defense in a more precise, concrete way is the underlying sense that the U.S. defense commitment to Europe will be reduced in the near future and Europeans will have no other choice but to take over military responsibilities, to the extent that is necessary, from their American allies. . . .

The construction of a European pillar has to be a long-term task. A wave of the magic wand will not just make it appear. A sudden shock will not miraculously remove the difficulties discussed above. While it is both logi-cal and necessary that Europe ac-quire a more autonomous defense, itselaboration will be slow and labo-rious.

Moreover, it is obvious that such a development cannot be achieved in opposition to Washington, but rather as a result of close collaboration with the United States. And it can only happen on condition that the Americans do not use it as an alibi for disengagement from Europe. Should a disengagement occur, there would be a rush ofEuropeans to Moscow to negotiateguarantees of security no longer afforded by alliance with the United States.