Staying on the theme of a military’s true purpose, the EU is rushing forward with plans to create an army now they’re free of Britain’s long-standing objections:
An EU army moved a major step closer today as 23 member states signed up to an historic pledge to join forces despite warnings it could undermine Nato.
Poland demanded the new organisation not be ‘competitive’ with Nato before signing up to the plan. The agreement is set to be finalised at next month’s meeting of EU leaders.
To be honest, I think there is absolutely no chance any EU army would be competitive with Nato: the latter is basically the term used for an American army fighting off invading Russians (or, more recently, meddling on Russia’s borders) and there is no way in hell any soldier marching under an EU flag is going to fight Russians. They may put on a nice parade as Russia occupies a Baltic State or two in a hastily-agreed ceremony marking “joint sovereignty”, but that’s about it. They pretty much admit as much here:
The EU can also bring its political and financial weight to bear on security challenges, such as the use of development aid in Africa, where Nato has no real foothold.
By which they mean they can document tribal massacres as they occur.
EU officials insist this is not just bureaucratic co-operation, but real investment that will help develop Europe’s defence industry and spur research and development in military capabilities that the bloc needs most.
Under Pesco, EU countries will commit to increase military spending, but not to specifically adhere to Nato’s bottom line of moving towards 2 per cent of gross domestic product for defence budgets by 2020.
Even assuming this money materialises – a big assumption – note what they want to spend it on. Not main battle tanks, attack helicopters, artillery, or heavy-lift aircraft but R&D. I doubt they’ll even manage this: whatever dribble of money actually gets allocated will be swallowed up by sprawling, squabbling bureaucracies with the rest going to French and Belgian defence companies to protect jobs.
To explain this, one needs to understand what this army is really for. The first deployment of an EU army in an action involving a weapon larger than a rifle will be within the EU’s borders and the enemy will be people the EU considers citizens. This is an EU army after all, and its first role is to protect the interests of the EU – and by that I mean the political body that sits in Brussels, rather than citizens of the member states. If they need to go and shoot some uppity civilians to maintain their grip on power that’s what they’ll do, and indeed I suspect that’s what this army is really for.
My only surprise is that Hungary and the Czech Republic signed up to it. You’d have thought they’d see the dangers of this a mile off, but apparently not. Time will tell if they come to regret it.