Shock as Opportunity

BERLIN (Own report) – Thanks to Donald Trump’s electoral victory, Berlin sees its opportunities for pushing for the creation of EU military structures and possibly European nuclear armed forces growing. Wolfgang Ischinger, the influential diplomat and Chairman of the Munich Security Conference, is “hoping” that the “Trump shock” has “dramatically increased” the willingness to militarize the European Union. Last week, the European Parliament adopted a resolution that includes setting up an EU Operational Headquarters, establishing a “political leadership” for EU military operations, and raising the military budgets of all member states to at least 2% of their GDP. EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security, Federica Mogherini, continues to promote the idea of an “EU superpower.” Leading politicians and commentators are beginning to pick up the idea, previously launched by a number of experts, of the EU developing its own nuclear military forces on the basis of French and British nuclear weapons. However, for this, the French and British arsenals would be insufficient, according to a suggestive article published in one of Germany’s leading opinion-forming dailies.

Agreement through War

Last weekend, the Chair of the Munich Security Conference, Wolfgang Ischinger, once again contributed to the current campaign to accelerate the establishment of joint military forces within the EU. With an eye on the numerous, hardly controllable crises rocking the EU, Ischinger demands that Berlin’s “ultimate objective” be “to maintain the EU” and “prevent Europe’s further disintegration.”[1] For this, the vigorous promotion of the militarization of the EU would be helpful – along the lines of the old concept of distracting from internal crises with aggressions abroad. According to Ischinger, EU countries must agree to a “European defense union with tightly enmeshed armed forces” and “a consolidated procurement and armaments system.” In this way, “a great deal of money could soon be saved and considerable supplementary combat power generated.” The objective is “to finally do the job right to bring the EU – also militarily – into the 21st Century,” advises the Chair of the Munich Security Conference. “Germany must insist on the EU becoming a global player in an insecure world.”[2]

“We are the West”

At the same time, Ischinger expressed the “hope,” that “through the Trump shock,” “willingness” for the accelerated militarization of the EU could have “dramatically grown.” The “West” label could serve as the identifying feature of a future, more combative EU. “For my children’s generation,” the 70 year old said, it will not “be possible” to see US President-elect Donald Trump as the embodiment of the “western set of values.” “We are The West now,” declared Ischinger. Berlin and the EU must “now take on the responsibility for the ideas and values of the West.”[3] However, it should be kept in mind that the EU “without the Alliance and the American nuclear umbrella” currently “cannot be defended.” The United States is still “needed, even with this president.”

Demands on Trump

Because of the provisional military dependency, Berlin and Brussels should make every effort to have influence on Trump as quickly as possible, explains Ischinger. Once he is inaugurated, on January 20, the US president’s course “will be set” and he “will be unable to change his positions without loss of face.” Ischinger pleads for the EU to present “a common position paper” with demands on the US administration, “containing our most important ten or fifteen expectations.” This approach is aimed at the tighter consolidation of the EU. Ischinger also addresses the formation of an “informal EU group of four or five,” “which can talk to Washington” – similar to the recent Berlin summit, when President Barack Obama met with the five largest EU countries’ heads of states and governments.[4] The integration of the seriously crisis-stricken France and Italy permits the German government to effectively steer political decisions, while, simultaneously masking its predomination, and avoid resistance to an alleged EU leadership group.

Militarization Campaign

Strategic Autonomy

EU Nuclear Forces

While EU foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, enticingly makes reference to the EU as a “superpower”[10] to bolster hegemonic ambitions, aimed at establishing a tightly enmeshed EU armed forces, German politicians and commentators are beginning to envisage the establishment of EU nuclear forces. Following similar pleas advanced by German foreign policy experts,[11] Roderich Kiesewetter, foreign policy spokesman of the CDU/CSU parliamentary group in the Bundestag, demanded that Berlin convince Paris and London to provide a “nuclear umbrella” for the EU. Kiesewetter said he had already made this proposal in the USA, prior to the elections, but found an open ear only since Trump’s electoral victory.[12] The nuclear umbrella would be costly, but could be financed “through a joint European military budget due to begin in 2019.” An editorial in a leading German daily raises the question of a European “nuclear deterrence capacity” – for which “the French and British arsenals … would be insufficient.”[13] The commentator, however, does not explain which country should lend a helping hand. One could assume that he is not considering small EU members, such as Luxembourg.

Full article: Shock as Opportunity (German Foreign Policy)

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