BERIL – The European army

The European armyThe head of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, made an interesting announcement a couple of days ago, reviving an old debate in Europe: He said he thinks it is time for the European Union to have an army. Juncker has suggested that given the Russian threat, European states must find a way to create a common army in order to defend andquotEuropean valuesandquot against future aggression.

He wasnand#39t clear about the nature of these andquotEuropean values,andquot but one gets the impression from reading carefully the German newspaper to which he talked that he meant international peace. Juncker supposes that Russia, by its actions — in other words, by sending troops into Ukraine and by absorbing the Crimean Peninsula — has become the major threat to peace on the European continent.

He is probably right. We should admit, however, that Russiaand#39s willingness to preserve its historical zone of influence was predictable.

So, those who claim Russia has become a threat to peace should also ask what European countriesand#39 role was in provoking Russia to act this way. Besides, even though Russia has been very aggressive towards Ukraine, who can seriously think that the Russian army will continue aancing towards Western Europe?Germany has promptly announced that it supported the European army idea, while the United Kingdom has expressed its reservations.

We donand#39t know if Germanyand#39s willingness has shocked Russia, but one can guess it has terribly disturbed Greece. Even though Germany thinks it is a brilliant idea, it is not easy to understand how the European army will defend European values because building a new army often means more war, not peace.

Anyway, is there anyone in Europe who believes Russia will one day attack Western Europe, and when that happens, Europeans will be able to defend themselves? Or maybe there are people who dream about sending European officers andndash Germans, preferably — to help the Ukrainian army on the Eastern front.Therefore, the European army has no chance of achieving anything against Russia, and everything that can possibly be done against Russia is currently being done by NATO.

Moreover, almost all members of the EU are simultaneously members of NATO. Given these facts, one wonders if Junckerand#39s proposal is rather a message conveyed to the Americans rather than the Russians.

In other words, is this a threat directed at the Americans by saying that Europeans may try to replace NATO?Having a joint European army instead of NATO means sending Americans away from Europe. The proposal is probably a response to Americaand#39s policy of trying to cut the links between Europe and Russia So the Europeans are saying: andquotWe may distance ourselves from Russia, but this doesnand#39t mean that we will automatically get closer to the US.

We may very well choose a third way.andrdquoThe United Kingdom quickly announced that defense is a sensitive matter, directly affecting statesand#39 sovereignty.

This was a way of saying that Britain has no intention of abandoning its independence on the matter, thus it will not allow Europe to weaken NATO. Interesting, at a time when Russian fighter jets frequently violate the UKand#39s airspace.

In the 1990s, a heated debate went on in Europe about the Common Security and Defense Policy (CSDP). Some Europeans, for example, proposed a transformation of British bases in Cyprus into European bases by sending French or German officers there.

Anyway, the wars in the Balkans and NATOand#39s interventions have proven how indispensable the US is for Europeand#39s security, so these projects have been abandoned.Europeans seem to forget that every single effort to distance themselves from the US always backfires and as a result, the American presence in Europe becomes stronger This is quite interesting.

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman