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It’s time for the EU to become a global military power – and for the US to stop failing Europe’s ambition on defense.
That’s according to a new report from the Center for American Progress, a Washington think tank that has close ties to the Biden administration.
report goodObtained by Politico ahead of its release on Wednesday urges President Joe Biden to encourage the EU to develop hard-power military capabilities and protect them from EU defense integration by previous US leaders under the guise of preventing them. Calls to drop the decades-long protest. Useless duplicity with NATO – which remains conservative thinking for most US military commanders and even many EU governments.
The report published just 10 days before Biden’s first overseas trip as chairman of the G7 and NATO summit, calls on Washington to force European allies to spend more on their forces to reach 2 percent of NATO’s GDP spending target, while preventing the EU from pursuing initiatives that will save money and prepare to fight will improve. Instead, it says it is left to NATO to coordinate a “hodgepodge” of national forces.
“Europe’s reliance on the United States for its own security means that America actually has” veto towards European defence,” according to reports by Max Bergman, James Lamond and Sienna Ciccarelli. “Since the 1990s, the United States has generally used its effective veto power to block the EU’s defense ambitions. has done.
“This often results in an absurd situation where Washington insists loudly that Europe does more on defence, but then vehemently opposes it when Europe’s political union – the European Union – tries to answer the call. He added: “This policy approach has been a great strategic error – which has weakened NATO militarily, strained the transatlantic alliance, and contributed to Europe’s relative decline in global dominance. “
The report’s findings are sure to attract fierce opposition from some political leaders, NATO diplomats and uniformed military commanders, who believe EU countries fundamentally lack the ability to defend themselves, and Brussels, previously Struggling to develop a common foreign policy ever since, a united military power could never function.
Opponents of EU military integration have long warned that any duplication of NATO’s capabilities, especially in the area of ”command and control”, would lead to a lack of resources needed from the alliance, and would only benefit adversaries, including Russia. Will deliver.
Nonetheless, EU leaders, including French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, have long supported the idea. create an EU army – To improve military coordination and cooperation in Brussels, at least as an aspirational goal.
Not ready to fight
There is general agreement among critics and supporters of EU military integration that the national armed forces in Europe are not up to scratch – especially in germany, the richest and politically most powerful member of the European Union.
On this point, the authors of the new report readily agree. “Today, much of Europe’s military hardware is in a staggering state of disrepair,” he wrote. “European armies are not prepared to fight with the equipment they have, and the equipment they have is not enough.”
But the authors also emphasize that America must accept its share of blame. “This is a European failure,” he wrote. “But Washington has played an important, if appreciated, role in resolving this failure.” And he pointed to unmatched pressure to increase NATO spending – something that Donald Trump did louder and more aggressively than his predecessors – as central to the flawed outcome.
“For more than two decades, both Republican and Democratic administrations have pushed for European capitals to consolidate their national forces in support of NATO,” he wrote. “But this focus on the level of national defense spending, embodied by the 2014 commitment by NATO members to spend two percent of their GDP on defense, simply has not worked. European defense remains weak today, despite a significant increase in spending Has been made.”
The report is likely to attract attention in part because the Center for American Progress is known as a training ground for Biden administration officials, including alumni of dozens of think tank alumni now at the White House, the State Department, the Pentagon and others. are in positions. Government entities.
Neera Tandon, former president and chief executive of the think tank, recently joined the White House as a senior adviser to Biden, a role that could create make him more powerful Compared to director of budget, the position for which she was initially nominated, but withdrew when it became clear that she could not win Senate confirmation.
It remains to be seen whether the report will persuade Biden, a staunch NATO supporter, to change his mind.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has stressed that the allies have made good progress towards the 2 percent target and this has strengthened NATO in the process.
Asked at a news conference on Tuesday about complaints, including from France, that increased NATO spending was draining resources from the EU’s defense programmes, Stoltenberg said NATO was the right place for general spending on military initiatives.
“NATO is the cornerstone for security and defense for all NATO allies, and spending together is a force multiplier, it is an efficient way to spend, and it sends a very clear message to our own population and any potential adversaries. is,” he said. said. “And then, of course, spending together is one way to invest in the bond between Europe and North America.”
Retired General Philip Breedlov, NATO’s former Supreme Allied Commander for Europe, said he was certain that any duplication of EU and NATO capabilities would be a grave mistake.
“If these nations, which are also in NATO, want to spend on their defense, I see that as a good thing, because whatever benefits the EU,” Breedlov said in an interview on Tuesday. NATO will also benefit.” “But there is one very big caveat and it is something we have been saying for a long time, from the Secretary General to everyone else: we should not invest in dual capabilities.”
Breedlov said NATO’s operations in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Horn of Africa have long proved that the alliance can operate effectively without duplicating the current actions of the EU. And he said NATO has a lot of urgent needs — including additional helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft, sensors to help detect and counter ballistic missiles, and especially improved military preparedness — that New spending should be the focus.
“There is still a lot of readiness needed, capacity needs and capacity needs that must be met first,” Breedlove said. “What we don’t need to do is invest money in redundant duplicate capabilities.”
While the report calls on the US to drop its mantra about duplication, it also urges the European Union to avoid overlap and argues that Brussels should take its best path towards becoming a military power, which may potentially involve raising their own armed forces, which the report says could take decades.
“It will be up to the EU to determine a structure that best suits it,” the report said. “But the US must make its support clear to the EU to focus on developing and acquiring new capabilities that will enable Europe to function without the involvement of the US military. Europe must first be within NATO. should not imitate existing capabilities, but instead establish its own core capabilities that complement America’s, empowering Europe to serve as an equal partner in the alliance.
Bergman, the report’s lead author, said in an interview that US politicians and commanders should be open to adopting a new approach.
“We need to get out of this mindset that the EU will be a complication for us,” Bergman said. “There’s a kind of negativity about possible EU involvement, rather than looking at it in a potentially positive way.” He said the current approach encouraged unnecessary redundancies among EU countries.
“Waste and repetition is in the current system, where everyone should have their own full spectrum armies. This is probably not the best use of armies for the EU or NATO,” he said. is theoretical and not based on the pragmatism of the European Union to engage in defense in a realistic manner.
“It would be one thing if you could make the case that the currently structured NATO is fully functioning and the European defense is taken care of, but that is not the case,” Bergman said. “Simply pushing and yelling at member states to spend more on defense … it’s just not a recipe for a stronger Europe or a successful transatlantic alliance.”
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