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Atlantic Loyalty, European Autonomy. Belgium and the Atlantic Alliance 1949-2009. Egmont Paper No. 28, March 2009

Coolsaet, Rick. (2009) Atlantic Loyalty, European Autonomy. Belgium and the Atlantic Alliance 1949-2009. Egmont Paper No. 28, March 2009. [Policy Paper]

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    [From the Introduction] Myths colour the past and Belgium’s history in NATO is no exception. Contrary to what is often thought, the Cold War did not start when the Second World War ended. The war coalition against Nazi Germany was to hold out for several more years and give rise to a number of international initiatives, which all the allies would endorse, with the establishment of the United Nations at the top of the list. Only in 1947 did the war coalition turn into confrontation and a cold war. Misperceptions, incompatible security designs and ensuing diverging interests between the United States and the Soviet Union had reinforced each other and finally transformed the former allies, both of whom had been crucial in the defeat of Nazi Germany, into new geopolitical adversaries. In those first post-war years Belgium emerged as a convinced supporter of Western European defence arrangements under British leadership. Only in 1947 did Belgium gradually discover a privileged partner in the United States, though initially only at the economic and financial level. It would take till the summer of 1948 before Belgian diplomacy shelved its post-war project for European defence and signed up to an Atlantic alliance. In the decades that followed, Belgium proved itself a loyal NATO partner. Nevertheless, the good relations between Brussels and Washington did not prevent profound crises disturbing the calm now and then. Moreover, unlike some other member states, Belgium was to make its own original contribution to détente between East and West.

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    Item Type: Policy Paper
    Subjects for non-EU documents: EU policies and themes > External relations > EU-US
    Countries > Belgium
    Other international institutions > NATO
    EU policies and themes > EU institutions & developments > institutional development/policy > historical development of EC (pre-1986)
    Subjects for EU documents: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Series and Periodicals: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Annual Reports: UNSPECIFIED
    Series: Series > Egmont : Royal Institute for International Affairs > Egmont Papers
    Depositing User: Phil Wilkin
    Official EU Document: No
    Language: English
    Date Deposited: 15 May 2009
    Page Range: p. 56
    Last Modified: 15 Feb 2011 18:11

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