EU External Polcy

A European Union defense force is a bad idea

French President Emmanuel Macron is foolishly dreaming of a European Union defense force — in his mind, hopefully, established by 2020. Made up of military units from various EU members, the force would be separate from the NATO alliance which already encompasses much of the EU.
Why is this such a bad idea? European militaries are already underfunded, poorly-equipped, and inadequately-supportive of NATO. By throwing money at a separate EU defense force, this project would only further weaken Europe’s security while failing to accomplish anything important that NATO couldn’t already do.

Even then, it’s clear that the European Union has no intention of investing in the capabilities that would enable an EU defense force to operate effectively alongside NATO. Instead, Macron and Merkel want to show independence from the United States and use this project to assert the prestige of a European super-state.

But the spending commitments don’t match the reality.

As I’ve outlined, Macron just cut defense spending by slowing down the procurement of much-needed new equipment. Similarly, Germany continues to ignore NATO’s target of 2 percent of GDP spending on defense, instead allocating just 1.3 percent of GDP.

The under-investment shows. Its military operations in Mali prove France can handle a limited foreign military operation, but that’s about it.

Germany’s situation is far worse. As German defense expert Thomas Wiegold has noted, Germany’s equipment deficit is extraordinary. Many of its tanks, mechanized vehicles, and artillery systems are either broken or in repair workshops. Worse is the condition of German airlift (flying troops and equipment into battle), and helicopter forces. So many of those units are out of action that Germany lacks the ability to project force anywhere outside its own borders.

And Macron thinks his EU defense force could one day contest a Russian invasion? Give me a break.

Yet if the EU defense force project is a joke for Europe, it’s a problem for the United States. That’s because the U.S. military continues to bear an undue burden for ensuring competent NATO capabilities. By now pursuing an expensive bureaucratic framework outside of NATO, the French and Germans are re-allocating money that is desperately needed to strengthen NATO. As a result, the U.S. will continue carrying the outsize burden for European security.

Utilizing his good relationship with Macron, President Trump should make clear his concerns about the EU defense project.

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Jane Davies
Jane Davies

Since when did any bad idea thought up by the Brussels idiots stop them from going ahead?

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