Though it has been perceived as a hubristic assertion of the American unipolar moment, Madeleine Albright’s oft-quoted description of the US, in the 1990s, as the “indispensable nation” was partly borne of the defensive concern that this characterization was now open to question.1 Albright seemed to recognize that the supremacy and relevance of the US needed to be reasserted, in a world now supposedly post-historical, orphaned of the Soviet colossus that had made American co-equal predominance selfevident. In other words, the Secretary of State did not only mean to insist that the US was indispensable: but that it remained so. Though not restricted to it, Albright's point applied primarily to the European theater and the transatlantic alliance. Her concern that the US might no longer be perceived as the indispensable nation among European capitals was plain to see when she famously fulminated a shortlist of red lines (the “three D’s”) that Europeans ought not to cross as they developed an autonomous European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP), in the wake of the December 1998 St Malo summit.2 Albright feared that ESDP might have a deleterious impact on the Alliance; in other words, it might precipitate the end of the indispensable role of the US in Europe. The same paradigm permeated the theological pronouncements of US Ambassador to NATO, Nicholas Burns, when he later described the EU’s security policy as “one of the greatest dangers to the transatlantic relationship.”3