Article published by the Gatestone Institute, 14 November 2016. © Richard Kemp
Since Donald Trump’s election, media-fuelled panic has engulfed Europe, including over defence and security. We are told that World War III is imminent, that Trump will jump into bed with Putin and pull the US out of NATO. Such fantasies are put about by media cheerleaders for European political elites, terrified that Trump’s election will inspire support for populist candidates in the forthcoming elections in Germany, the Netherlands and France.
In fact, it is the EU, not Donald Trump, that threatens to undermine NATO and the security of the West. In recent days, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, his foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, and German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen have suggested that Trump’s election should give greater impetus to a European defence force.
This has been an EU aspiration for many years. Citing Trump is just a cynical pretext for speeding it up. It is already well advanced and has gained greater focus since the UK’s decision to leave the EU. The EU army is a vanity project, seen by many European leaders as a necessary instrument of the ever-closer union they desire. Speaking at a meeting of the European Defence Agency in Brussels the day after Trump’s election, Ms Mogherini suggested that the EU needs ‘the full potential of a super power, in the field of defence and security.’
To the economically atrophied EU, a defence union also has the potential for enormous financial savings. The intention will be to aggregate national military capabilities under what will no doubt be described as rationalization and efficiency. This will bring swingeing cuts to European defence capability. It will also severely reduce flexibility and the redundancy which is so vital to military forces that have any expectation of combat in which attrition and multiple simultaneous threats might occur.
The byzantine EU bureaucracy, combined with timidity in so many European nations, will ensure its army could never be deployed in anger. An EU defence union will also present a direct threat to NATO, competing for funds, building in duplication and confusion, and setting up rival military structures. In her speech, Ms Mogherini even spelt out the need for a single EU headquarters for military missions, which she likened to SHAPE, the NATO command centre. (more…)