The poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834) once observed: “So often do the spirits of great events stride on before the events. And in today already walks tomorrow.”1 This could be a fitting maxim for the study of the transatlantic connection, a relationship that is largely constituted by its history, and where changes often remain unspoken for some time before emerging as the new status quo. European security cooperation is a good example of a topic that becomes more confusing when it is simplified. If European defence initiatives are only unfolded along a single dimension – a particular point in time or a single issue area – motives and outcomes become difficult to understand, even illogical.