Germany’s Foreign Minister Calls for a Common European Army

Germany’s Foreign Minister Calls for a Common European Army :frowning:

May 12, 2008 | From
All Europe combining militarily would create a formidable military and political force.

Many were shocked on May 9 at the size of a Russian Victory Day parade, the greatest display of Russian military power since the collapse of the Soviet Union. As great as Russia’s military might is, however, the combined military might of Europe has the potential to be greater.

The European Union has a population almost 3½ times the size of Russia’s and a gross domestic product over 1,200 percent greater than Russia’s. The only reason Russia is currently considered a greater military power than Europe is that Europe’s military resources overlap and are divided 27 ways.

The combined military spending of all 27 EU member states in 2007, according to the European Defense Agency (eda), amounted to $308 billion—second only to the $752 billion spent by the United States. The fact that this money is being spent by 27 different nations on 27 different national militaries, however, dilutes the cumulative effect of these expenditures. Logistically, this represents an enormous waste of resources.

Probably never gonna happen so whats with the :frowning: ?

Well - THAT took my mind off China for about two minutes!:wink:

I had figured that was likely to happen, I have even discussed this with some of my German friends. What the European Union is becoming is the United States of Europe…now with a common currency, possibly a common military.

What I would welcome most about this is less reliance in the rest of the world on the United States, let Europe, which has a bigger ecnomy than the US pick up more responsibility and cost.

The United States is unfairly expected to be “Big Brother”, and thern condemmed for it.

It is my impression that NATO forces were once pretty capable of united action, and might still be. So it’s not hard to believe the EU could do it. But it’s hard to picture real political unity supporting military action other than action that is clearly and obviously self-defensive.

The U.S. “authority system” is such that the federal government preempts state decisions about military action. If the federal government decides to engage in military action somewhere, Texas, for example, cannot opt out of it. In the EU, France, for example, could.

To my knowledge, the only military action ever undertaken by NATO that was not purely defensive of a member state was Kosovo. Perhaps even there, some of the European states thought it self-defensive in some way to humble Serbia.

But as long as member are able to opt out of military actions, it’s hard for me to believe a unified EU military could be much of a force in the world other than to defend itself. Consequently, it’s difficult for me to believe it can have any kind of positive restraining effect on aggressive states when the “action” is not in Europe. Even in the U.S., it seems dissent in matters of war increasingly induces paralysis. Politicians can, in John Kerry’s famous words “be for a war before being against it”, making consistent unity of military purpose (whether one believes in a particular action or not) difficult to achieve and maintain.

Therefore, it seems to me a unified EU military would not, from the U.S. standpoint, be either a help or a hindrance in global power politics. It’s nice to think of a European power to help counterbalance the growing military power of, say, Russia and China, but it seems to me the reality is nowhere near being there, and is inherently improbable.

I think that it all would depend on a number of factors, especially the question of EU relationships with Russia – after all, economically-speaking, there may be some inevitability of some kind of membership or ‘associate membership’ for the Ukraine, Byelorussia, and, even, the Russian Republic itself.

Similarly, there is the pressing question of the potential membership of Turkey.

These moves would extend the EU’s borders and physical interests, to areas far more problematical than currently is the case.

In considering those situations, the question of common defense may be a very pressing issue.

Such things are possible, of course. But the sovereignty of the participating states still seems a barrier to me. Just going in, how is Germany, for instance, going to think of the possibility of becoming involved in some squabble with China in the Russian Far East?

Ein Drang Nach Ostern not thought of since Mackinder’s ‘Heartland Theory’!

The problem is that the EU countries are wedded to Russia by the questions of energy (already dependent) and raw materials, so how things play out over the next few decades is inevitably rather complex.

A similar problem arises over the immediate candidate, Turkey, which would take the EU to the Middle East . . .

They’re contradictions to commonly felt feelings in member countries but they’re not problems that are going to go away and the stability of Russia is something that the EU will have to try to ensure, whatever happens.

The article sounds like some good material for the Jack Van Impes in the world.

Hard to picture how the Turkey situation will be resolved. Turkey is no more a true “part of Europe” than Japan is part of the U.S., perhaps less so, if that’s possible. How does one picture “defending” Turkey by sending an EU force into northern Iraq, or to defend some kind of irridentist mess in Hatay? Turkey is almost like a “NATO stepchild” of uncertain parentage that Europe found in its extended family.

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