The US on Tuesday warned the European Union not to use its deepened military cooperation as an excuse to protect Europe’s defense industry. “We do not want this [cooperation] to be a protectionist vehicle for the EU,” said the US ambassador to NATO, Kay Bailey Hutchison. Washington is “going to watch carefully because if that becomes the case then it could splinter the strong security alliance that we have,” AP quoted her as saying. Twenty-two EU nations are also members of the US-led NATO alliance. Last year, EU leaders agreed to jointly develop or purchase military equipment like drones. The US, however, is concerned the bidding process might exclude US firms.