While the prevailing perception of EU Member States of NATO is that cooperation with the US under President Trump has become close to impossible, there is still no alternative to engaging. International solutions of consequence will hardly be sustainable without the US. How can EU/NATO Member States and the EU engage effectively with the US on workable international solutions? Policy is applied analysis that inevitably infers from theory in response to the question: what works? Therefore, policy is an intervention, as therapy uses the term, and theories are cognitive tools. Policy and therapy are comparable because both work through discourse to effect change by cognitive restructuring. Therefore, psychological theories offer cognitive tools for designing a strategic discourse as policy intervention. A model for cognitive behavioural therapy and a theory on identity can innovate theory and make policy more effective.
Current US political controversies mainly boil down to conflicting US identity stories. Foreign policy issues are an extension of competing domestic group identities and derived domestic issues. The domestic political process does not consider foreign policy issues on their own merit. As a result, current US foreign policy of unilateral confrontation causes some serious risks and costs to US interests.
The states now seen as adversaries, such as Russia and Iran, have comparable identity stories that are in a similar way dysfunctional. Stories of confrontation bestow assets in a domestic power struggle while undermining international solutions. A new European strategic discourse should avoid identity stories but seek cognitive restructuring of grand strategies by proposing within the EU/Russian Permanent Partnership Council a comprehensive multilateral conference on the new regional political order in Syria and Iraq. This proposal can emulate the most successful cognitive restructuring of a grand strategy ever, the process led by Willy Brandt and Egon Bahr in West Germany in the 1960s and 1970s leading to the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe.European Foreign Affairs Review