The establishment of an "independent defense force" has recently become one of the most concerned topics in Europe. Because it is a very important matter for Europe, and it will also have a vital impact on the most important "baseline" of US-EU relations in the Western world.
At present, after the French and German leaders showed their clear support for the establishment of the "European Army", the European Commission also issued a statement on 15 th saying that it was very happy to see France and Germany show their support for the establishment of an independent European defense force; on the same day, another important European country, Spain, also expressed its support for the establishment of the "European Army". The attitude is positive. So, can the European army, which has been shouting for decades, really become a reality?
In my opinion, there are three obstacles that are hard to overcome in order to build a European army of its own in Europe.
First, the strong obstruction from the United States. Mark Long was previously the best European ally leader to "engage privately" with Trump, because Mark Long pursued a diplomatic strategy of "speaking as you can, but leaving room for interaction". Therefore, when Trump announced his withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement, Marklong's criticism of the United States did not make the relationship between the two worse. But only this time when he proposed the establishment of a "European Army" to Mark Long, Trump was so angry that we can see that this is the "red line" of the Americans.
Establishing an independent national defense force and promoting the construction of European independent defense will eventually make Europe a "European Europe", while France relies on Europe to become the "third power in the world" after the United States and the Soviet Union, which is one of the core contents of "de Gaullism". Mark Long put forward the idea of returning to "de Gaullism" and got rid of the embarrassment of relying only on the United States in military security, which made the United States have a deep sense of pain. After all, in the eyes of Americans, since the end of World War II, the United States has helped Europe rebuild, invested a large amount of military expenditure to help Europe resist the military threat of the former Soviet Union, and enabled Europe to achieve economic development without having to pay a large amount of defense funds. This helps to understand why trump will "insult" the US. It is conceivable that the United States will not allow Europe to "derail", and Europe's position as the focus of the United States'global strategy has not changed.
Second, it is difficult for Europe to co-ordinate itself. For the establishment of an independent "European Army", the view within Europe itself is very split. In the past, European powers such as France and Germany were keen on it, while other countries looked on coldly. This kind of heat and cold has not changed yet. Moreover, although Germany, which has the strongest economic power in Europe, has expressed its support for France's proposal to establish a "European Army", its popularity within Europe has been poor in recent years, which reflects the other European countries'contribution to Germany on the issue of refugee crisis and European public expenditure (including NATO military expenditure). Dissatisfaction. Coupled with the fact that the UK is still in the EU system, the demonstration effect of its opposition can not be ignored.
Finally, military spending is a big problem. According to the current statement of France and Germany, the establishment of the "European Army" is not in contradiction with NATO forces, and they can be promoted in parallel. However, from a realistic point of view, maintaining the two security forces requires two military expenditures to ensure the operation of military forces. This is undoubtedly a big problem for European countries. For example, in 2017, the United States accounted for 70% of the total military expenditure of NATO countries, while France, Britain and Germany were the three countries with the largest military expenditure in Europe, but they only hovered between $55 billion and $45 billion, and the rest of Europe was even fewer.
Therefore, it is doubtful whether the big European countries are willing to really "bleed". Other countries have no money and no will. Negotiations on the establishment of a "European Army" are likely to linger for a long time, and ultimately no more. (the writer is the director of the center for European Studies of the International Fund for research, and former ambassador abroad)
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