Europe Moves Away from US to Become Independent in Terms of Defense Capability

You’re looking at the world’s next superpower, a United States of Europe complete with its European Army, courtesy of Germany’s Fourth Reich.

 

 

The idea to create a European defense structure independent from NATO had been floated for some time. It was a topic for discussions but no concrete steps have been taken to make it come true. It appears to be changing now after US President Trump apparently made no mention of Article 5 or collective defense during the May 25 NATO summit to stun his European allies. «Trump Leaves NATO» was the Carnegie Endowment’s assessment of the event. No such thing ever happened before. It provides a powerful incentive for the Europeans to push ahead with plans to convert the words into deeds. German Chancellor Angela Merkel urged Europeans “to take our destiny in our hands” and warned that the United States was no longer a reliable partner. Her words marked a turning point.

The first thing German, French defense chiefs did right after the summit was to launch a joint initiative to create a European security force. The Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) is at the core of the effort. PESCO is a mechanism allowing willing countries to launch joint security projects without requiring all EU member states to agree or participate. The Initiative has been supported by the EU executive branch of power.

On June 7, the European Commission proposed a new common defence fund to reverse billions of euros in defense cuts to let governments club together to develop and buy new helicopters and planes at lower costs, also opening the door to new drones, cyberwarfare systems and other hi-tech gear. The measure would help Europe stand alone as a global military power while the ties with the US get more strained.

The EU executive is mobilizing €39 ($43, 8) billion by 2027 to support the joint development of military capabilities. Together with national contributions, the Commission expects to mobilize €5.5 ($6, 2) billion per year after 2020. National governments will identify jointly with the European Defence Agency what military capabilities should be prioritized.

The European Union’s defense fund idea, which still needs to be approved by governments and the European Parliament, is part of an emerging network of proposals that EU leaders are set to consider at a summit in Brussels on June 22-23. The European Union is setting up a military headquarters – the Military Planning and Conduct Capability (MPCC) – for training missions abroad. It wants to make it easier to use its EU battlegroups that have never been put to action.

The 13 battalion-sized battle groups were envisioned as small, collective defense forces ready for rapid response to developing crises anywhere in the world. Declared fully operational in 2007, they have never deployed due to political and financial considerations. In 2013, European leaders drew up plans to send a battle group to the Central African Republic to help avert the developing civil war there but the UK strongly opposed the idea to make it be swept under the rug. The plans will be revived when Estonia assumes the rotating presidency of the Council of the EU on July 1. The Estonian government says one of its main priorities will be securing common funding for the battle groups. Today, the nations comprising each battle group cover their own costs.

The meaning is obvious – the EU must develop the capability to carry out its own military operations without Americans. Allocating military resources to an independent European structure will greatly weaken NATO. But the idea of a European military independent from the US is gaining traction. If the idea goes through, arrangements could allow Norway, a NATO member outside the EU, to contribute, while Sweden and Finland, EU members outside NATO, might find an EU alliance preferable to one that crosses the Atlantic.

In the past, EU members have been dragged into conflicts, like Afghanistan and Iraq that had no relation to European security in order to demonstrate solidarity with America. If implemented, the European defense concept will allow to give priority to European, rather than transatlantic, security interests. For instance, creating a EU border force to counter the refugees’ problem. Europe is facing multiple threats in its strategic neighborhood, while the US is moving to Asia. Better relations with Russia would be an additional bonus for a EU security alliance independent from US-dominated NATO. United by common threats to the European continent, the two could more easily reduce tensions and mistrust.

With the US and Europe apparently going separate ways, NATO will be weakened and a new pattern of European security will emerge. This process has been launched and it’s hardly possible to stop it.

Full article: Europe Moves Away from US to Become Independent in Terms of Defense Capability (Strategic Culture Foundation)

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