The EU's Military Ambitions and the UK

Charles de GaulleCharles de GaulleIt is a tradition that a nation, such as the UK, reserves the right to defend itself. So to do this it has armed forces and may, or may not, form alliances with other nations. If we look at recent trends, we see that since the formation of the United Nations at the end of the Second World War, the membership of the United Nations has more than doubled. It now recognises and admits almost 200 nations. This, according to Niall Ferguson of Harvard, is in direct contrast to the situation prior to the First World War, then 83% of the world's population lived in 13 confederations or major groupings. Now, I'm suggesting that a large number of small and independent nations is likely to give more, not less, stability to a region.

And so to NATO. This is not a confederation in the way that the EU is. It is a treaty between independent nations. It is a precise treaty in both aims and structure. It allows for the will of a nation to prevail. Remember when President Charles de Gaulle in a fit of Gallic pique forced NATO out of France? For NATO life went on as before, it was France that took a detour. Contrast the pragmatic nature of NATO to the EU concept of 'an ever closer union', or acquis-communautaire. One is an extremely successful alliance, the other a rather corrupt and incoherent jumble of ideals and thrusting ambition. No wonder then that the EU establishment is ambivalent about NATO. It has become fashionable in certain circles when talking of Europe and her wars, to trot out the following quote: “the EU has brought peace to Europe”. This is an absurd remark. Yet, awarding the credit for peace in Europe Nato logo Nato logo post World War Two to the EU is commonplace, this ignores the fact that NATO is successful because it is based on the collective wish of fully independent nations.

After the Second World War the 'new' Germany needed to defend itself from the Eastern Bloc and Russia. The USA had been very generous to Europe during the war, and post war they saw the need for German security and the German Armed Forces did, in the immediate post WW2 period, use some US sourced equipment. However, for some Europeans, a re-armed Germany was a problem. The solution to this problem was a Franco-German alliance, much as we see today, and an European Army. Also, this army was not to rely on externally derived equipment, this was part of the quest for independence, and this for some Europeans was and still is another way of expressing their anti-Americanism. Time moves on, and, if you accept that since the fall of the Berlin Wall the invasion of Europe by Russian-led forces is not going to happen, then there are some awkward questions, like: “what is the European Army for?" and “who is it going to fight?" As it will no longer have to fight on 'home soil', repelling the Russians, a great deal of the very expensive equipment designed for that war is both modern and dated. Berlin Wall Berlin Wall Modern because it is now being delivered to the forces. And dated, or outmoded if you prefer, because it is designed for a war that will not now be fought. We are all familiar with the saying the 'wrong kind of snow'. The spectre of the UK military forces stuck with overpriced, ineffective equipment to use in 'the wrong kind of war' is not funny. Some of this equipment has a poor record with the UK Forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Those who would seek to combine the military forces of the EU member states have responded to this basic problem of identity facing the European Army in classic style. They have shifted the goal posts! No longer is the EU army for the defence of Europe, it is a Rapid Reaction Force. It is to be the world's policeman. This does not solve the problem. The words rapid and European Union do not naturally go together. It has been, so far, a thirteen year wait for the EU to sign off its accounts, with the end still not in sight; yet this is a task that the corner shop must do annually. For the EU is an organisation where it would seem time stands still. The real reason for an EU Army? It is a giant cuckoo, it will consume everything the defence industries of Europe can make. It will do so in the typical 'virtuous' circle of the EU, the ultimate rigged market.

Gendarmes du monde rapidesGendarmes du monde rapides And the high costs for all of this will be carried by the taxpayers; first those of the participating countries, those hosting the defence industries, and then, when taxes are harmonised across the whole EU, by everyone. The vast cost of all this will have an effect on your lives, as taxpayers you are in the fiscal equivalent of the front line, you will pay. As mentioned above, on the subject of Nato, France under de Gaulle took a detour. Now Sarkozy is the driving force. Part of his task is to talk to US President George Bush and mention both the EU Army and NATO. I have read and re-read as many of the reports of this latest Sarkozy visit to the US as I can find,and what a jumble it is. If you think that 'in Europe but not ruled by Europe', the Tory Party chant, is daft, then you will have trouble with Sarkozy and his thoughts. For he seems to be saying that he wants France to be in Nato, but not in Nato, but in the EU Army instead, or perhaps as well. So should the Americans beware of Frenchmen bearing gifts? Maybe, but my sympathy goes to the French taxpayers, for they should beware of their President talking tosh. For what if he wants them to pay for the EU army and a slice of NATO? They would complain, giving Sarkozy the ideal platform to call for tax harmonisation within the EU to make things 'fair'. This double duty for France would mean more work for EADS, the European Aeronautic Defence and Space company. This is a consortium of European based industries, that France is, by general reckoning, trying to dominate. Then, to offset the burden falling on the taxpayers the EU based defence industries could sell their products world-wide to 'approved' governments. But approved by whom? Then the weapons could 'leak out' from the original government's control and end up being used in small local conflicts, and how to deal with those? We'll send for the Rapid Reaction Force, the world's policeman. And off we go again, just like International Rescue, except the work of Gerry and Sylvia Anderson was more believable!

However, for readers who would wish for more on this subject, then go to here.