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Germany/France : New EU defence policy

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  • Germany/France : New EU defence policy

    Well, the franco/german plans have been in the pipeline for a while already, there are mainly two reasons why they get priority now : a) The UK cannot veto them anymore as it did several times ( Brexit vote) b) there is widespread understanding in Europe that if there is a US presidency competitor that declares NATO "obsolete" and praises Wladimir Putin, additionally bashes old allies like France and Germany, it would be foolish not to create at least the draft for a european defence policy OUTSIDE NATO :

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/20...-union-defence

    key components include a european military headquarters OUTSIDE NATO, a surveillance and intelligence-sharing system OUTSIDE NATO, developing the "Eurocorps", essentially a franco/german military force, in that also Spain, Luxembourg and Belgium participate to various degrees ( and currently active f.e. in Mali) into -a state of the art- rapid action force under EU command, and greater cooperation in european defence industries.
    How far the competition with NATO goes depends obviously considerably on politics and the course of the next US administration, regardless who leds it. Yet it is noteworthy that the german defence minister explicitly mentioned the UK for having "paralyzed" the efforts so far.

  • #2
    Originally posted by Voland View Post
    Well, the franco/german plans have been in the pipeline for a while already, there are mainly two reasons why they get priority now : a) The UK cannot veto them anymore as it did several times ( Brexit vote) b) there is widespread understanding in Europe that if there is a US presidency competitor that declares NATO "obsolete" and praises Wladimir Putin, additionally bashes old allies like France and Germany, it would be foolish not to create at least the draft for a european defence policy OUTSIDE NATO :

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/20...-union-defence

    key components include a european military headquarters OUTSIDE NATO, a surveillance and intelligence-sharing system OUTSIDE NATO, developing the "Eurocorps", essentially a franco/german military force, in that also Spain, Luxembourg and Belgium participate to various degrees ( and currently active f.e. in Mali) into -a state of the art- rapid action force under EU command, and greater cooperation in european defence industries.
    How far the competition with NATO goes depends obviously considerably on politics and the course of the next US administration, regardless who leds it. Yet it is noteworthy that the german defence minister explicitly mentioned the UK for having "paralyzed" the efforts so far.
    Personally, I think it's time we abandoned all European bases. Europe can take care of itself. I do believe we should have treaties where we defend each other in a time of need but for the most part, there is little reason for us to have any defenses left in Europe.

    ?


    • #3
      For some odd reason (sarcasm here), neither of the two Big Parties in the US has proposed a major scale-down of military bases overseas, let alone getting out of any region altogether.

      Defense and offense based on grinding down large numbers of foot soldiers, was obviously an outdated notion by the time World War I was being fought. Along the same lines, that same war demonstrated the need to develop a strategy of arresting (or kill while attempting to arrest) leadership, rather than win a conflict by the indirect means of mass slaughter. In short, with the advancement of modern weaponry and intelligence, warfare should have evolved into a police action directly against leadership responsible for invading another country.

      There are two reasons (that I can see) why the US has not developed this strategy: Our leaders don't want to ever have their own heads on the chopping block for illegal actions (fe Iraq war part 2). Secondly, our military -and contractors supporting the military- see the "jailed leader" strategy as potentially minimizing the scale of their operations. An effective SWAT operation after neutralizing the palace guard would require a lot more military intelligence and prep, but a much smaller army. That is the horror faced by an ambitious general: A shrinking budget over time.

      If, and only if, the Franco-German defense strategy moves in the direction of an "international SWAT" arrest team, would I see this as a positive step. Using the old strategy of large-scale build-up, large scale draft to support large scale slaughter, would be a step backward. It would fall short of progress by adding a dangerous layer on top of the old NATO, maybe presenting an opportunity for our military-industrial complex to use the "new" Euro-Axis as an excuse to build up forces against a new "enemy". It would certainly not be the first time military or imperial interests invented an enemy, if for nothing else in order to expand their resources for destructive objectives.

      Why government copies the capitalist's strategy of "expand or die" is a mystery to me, but it seems our gov't. is based on a strategy of expansion, rather than improving outcomes.

      ?


      • #4
        Originally posted by OldmanDan View Post

        Personally, I think it's time we abandoned all European bases. Europe can take care of itself. I do believe we should have treaties where we defend each other in a time of need but for the most part, there is little reason for us to have any defenses left in Europe.


        And you would be surprised ( or maybe not) that most Europeans would instantly agree with you. Probably because they are better aware than many Americans that the bases ( by far most, around 20, are located in Germany) have lost their defensive purpose decades ago. The reason why the US Military keeps them up are much rather global military operations and power projection for which their location is strategic. A couple of hours by plane to the conflict zones in the Near/Middle East but far enough removed not to have any major safety issues. Safe for US staff. Excellent infrastructure, logistics hub and usually cooperative authorities etc. There is a reason why the US Africa command (Africom) is located in Stuttgart/Germany or why drone missions are coordinated at Ramstein Airbase/Germany. Furthermore, and under NATO treaties signed during the post-WW II occupation, Germany pays for their maintenance, wether we like that or not, even if the purpose and policy goals of the US mlitary presence has shifted completely since the Cold War days and has little to do with defending Europe (or Germany). If deterrence against Russia was the goal than neither troop levels nor location of the bases would make an awful lot of sense. Not to mention that in nowadays world there would be alternatives to permanent bases ( like pre-positioned weapons f.e.).
        Which is also why a potential president Trump making threats and pledges about "making Germany ( and others) pay (well, we do already) " would be far more likely shown the door -France 1966- style than achieving anything ( also in that sense times have changed). Because like many Americans he appears to share a certain misunderstanding. The franco/german plans have to be seen in that light as well :

        providencemag.com/2016/03/trump-misanalysis-us-bases-europe

        Quote : / The United States would suffer from abandoning its German and other European bases because America would lose its flexibility to respond affordably to global threats. While serving as Commander of the U.S. European Command (EUCOM) in 2013, Admiral James Stavridis explained that Americas European presence gives the U.S. the strategic agility and responsiveness to deal rapidly with 21st century crises and complex contingencies in an environment of unforgiving speed. He also described Europe as an unsinkable aircraft carrier that allows America to project force into various theaters, including Africa, the Middle East, and Central Asia. Moreover, the Heritage Foundations 2015 Index of U.S. Military Strength argued that without forward bases in Europe some U.S. operations would be more expensive and slower.

        Whether using European air bases to airlift equipment into critical regions or launch aerial refueling missions, ports to sealift supplies for various regions or supply ships operating in the Mediterranean, or other bases to keep forward-deployed special operation forces and other troops closer to potential threatsthese bases give the United States superb capabilities to protect its national interests.

        These facilities benefit Americas national interests more than they benefit Germanys defense.
        Last edited by Voland; 09-12-2016, 02:02 AM.

        ?


        • #5
          Originally posted by radcentr View Post
          For some odd reason (sarcasm here), neither of the two Big Parties in the US has proposed a major scale-down of military bases overseas, let alone getting out of any region altogether.

          Defense and offense based on grinding down large numbers of foot soldiers, was obviously an outdated notion by the time World War I was being fought. Along the same lines, that same war demonstrated the need to develop a strategy of arresting (or kill while attempting to arrest) leadership, rather than win a conflict by the indirect means of mass slaughter. In short, with the advancement of modern weaponry and intelligence, warfare should have evolved into a police action directly against leadership responsible for invading another country.

          There are two reasons (that I can see) why the US has not developed this strategy: Our leaders don't want to ever have their own heads on the chopping block for illegal actions (fe Iraq war part 2). Secondly, our military -and contractors supporting the military- see the "jailed leader" strategy as potentially minimizing the scale of their operations. An effective SWAT operation after neutralizing the palace guard would require a lot more military intelligence and prep, but a much smaller army. That is the horror faced by an ambitious general: A shrinking budget over time.

          If, and only if, the Franco-German defense strategy moves in the direction of an "international SWAT" arrest team, would I see this as a positive step. Using the old strategy of large-scale build-up, large scale draft to support large scale slaughter, would be a step backward. It would fall short of progress by adding a dangerous layer on top of the old NATO, maybe presenting an opportunity for our military-industrial complex to use the "new" Euro-Axis as an excuse to build up forces against a new "enemy". It would certainly not be the first time military or imperial interests invented an enemy, if for nothing else in order to expand their resources for destructive objectives.

          Why government copies the capitalist's strategy of "expand or die" is a mystery to me, but it seems our gov't. is based on a strategy of expansion, rather than improving outcomes.


          Well, the EU currently runs 15/16 military/security missions, from training police and military in Afghanistan, till pirate hunting in Somalia, till trying to stabilize Mali and chase armed Islamists in the Sahel desert.

          http://www.eeas.europa.eu/csdp/missions-and-operations/

          What the EU is lacking though is a joint military headquarters and joint military structures, outside rather embryonic stages, like the Eurocorps :

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eurocorps

          Which means that EU military missions always have to be coordinated between the national militaries on a case by case base (coalitions of the willing), which consumes time, energy and decreases effectiveness ( especially if politics get involved).

          That France and Germany are pushing ahead now has mainly two motives :

          1) The UK is not in a position to veto the plans anymore like it has done for decades when military structures OUTSIDE the NATO chain of command where on the discussion table.

          2.) Having a US presidential competitor (Trump) whose rethoric many Europeans percieve as hostile, who openly declares NATO obsolete, bashes key partners and who speaks openly about his sympathies for Wladimir Putin is also seen as a chance : To create the draft for a european defence architecture independent of the US ( seen as necessity for the long-term survival of the EU), without the Brits able to block it and without having to care about american objections.
          That Germany and France are pushing ahead is only logical, since these two will be biggest suppliers of manpower as well as money and technology without doubt. And that they are actually doing it with rather advanced plans shows a certain percieved sense of urgency.
          Yet wether we truly see the beginning of a gradual transatlantic disengagement and the base for a future european military , as some commentators are claiming (in London some political alarm bells went off apparently) depends on the US elections in November as well as the following policy steps on both sides.
          Regarding actual military capabilities one can expect existing supranational structures like the Eurocorps or the dutch/german brigade (SWAT), the first f.e. deployed in Mali and the latter in Afghanistan to be expanded. For bigger military missions the EU will for some time to come still rely on the member states, Joint military structures, headquarters, rules of engagement etc.may change that over time though. For the time beeing Europes main security threats are far rather matters for Special Forces than for aircraft carriers anyway.
          Last edited by Voland; 09-12-2016, 04:31 AM.

          ?


          • #6
            Originally posted by Voland View Post



            Well, the EU currently runs 15/16 military/security missions, from training police and military in Afghanistan, till pirate hunting in Somalia, till trying to stabilize Mali and chase armed Islamists in the Sahel desert.

            http://www.eeas.europa.eu/csdp/missions-and-operations/

            What the EU is lacking though is a joint military headquarters and joint military structures, outside rather embryonic stages, like the Eurocorps :

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eurocorps

            Which means that EU military missions always have to be coordinated between the national militaries on a case by case base (coalitions of the willing), which consumes time, energy and decreases effectiveness ( especially if politics get involved).

            That France and Germany are pushing ahead now has mainly two motives :

            1) The UK is not in a position to veto the plans anymore like it has done for decades when military structures OUTSIDE the NATO chain of command where on the discussion table.

            2.) Having a US presidential competitor (Trump) whose rethoric many Europeans percieve as hostile, who openly declares NATO obsolete, bashes key partners and who speaks openly about his sympathies for Wladimir Putin is also seen as a chance : To create the draft for a european defence architecture independent of the US ( seen as necessity for the long-term survival of the EU), without the Brits able to block it and without having to care about american objections.
            That Germany and France are pushing ahead is only logical, since these two will be biggest suppliers of manpower as well as money and technology without doubt. And that they are actually doing it with rather advanced plans shows a certain percieved sense of urgency.
            Yet wether we truly see the beginning of a gradual transatlantic disengagement and the base for a future european military , as some commentators are claiming (in London some political alarm bells went off apparently) depends on the US elections in November as well as the following policy steps on both sides.
            Regarding actual military capabilities one can expect existing supranational structures like the Eurocorps or the dutch/german brigade (SWAT), the first f.e. deployed in Mali and the latter in Afghanistan to be expanded. For bigger military missions the EU will for some time to come still rely on the member states, Joint military structures, headquarters, rules of engagement etc.may change that over time though. For the time beeing Europes main security threats are far rather matters for Special Forces than for aircraft carriers anyway.
            I don't see Trump as hostile to NATO, he is addressing realities here at home on where we spend our money. This is a WaPo article on Trump's stance and the WaPo is not exactly Trum friendly.

            https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/...shington-post/

            ?


            • #7
              Originally posted by OldmanDan View Post

              I don't see Trump as hostile to NATO, he is addressing realities here at home on where we spend our money. This is a WaPo article on Trump's stance and the WaPo is not exactly Trum friendly.

              https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/...shington-post/
              Supporting non-interventionism is one thing, lies another. From your link : Quote : / "'Why is it that Germany’s not dealing with NATO on Ukraine? Why is it that other countries that are in the vicinity of Ukraine, why aren’t they dealing?"

              The reality ( it is not exactly a secret who negotiated the Minsk treaty and faced down Putin, and no, it wasnt Clinton/Obama/Kerry, none of them was even present at the talks):


              https://www.theguardian.com/commenti...ne-putin-obama

              And no, that is not the only one.

              It has furthermore already been pointed out that Germany would be far less likely to oppose a US military pullout than your own military. ( with a president Trump trying to "make us pay" for something that we pay for already ( post WW II occupation/NATO treaties) that would even be a certainty), Because it is your ability to project force around the world that would suffer far more than our defence ( that the bases havent been part of for the last couple of decades anyway).
              What is far more likely to happen than Allies paying arbitrary amounts of Money for US Military presence is indicated by the OP ( especially if Trump himself calls the troops actually defending their hosts in case in question). Yet wether that would be a truly better deal for the US is at least debatable.

              By the way : The refugee crisis is not an ideal point in time for the US to argue with Germany about money and leadership. Not really.
              Last edited by Voland; 09-12-2016, 06:46 AM.

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              • #8
                The UK says it will veto and bloc any attempt to create an "EU army" or a "European defence union" ( as the Germans and French prefer to call it). Since the UK has not yet presented any concrete ideas or timetables about its EU exit it also still holds veto power and as long as it remains a member, it could do so. Yet since at the last EU summit in Bratislava, Slovakia ( to which the UK was not invited), all european leaders came out at least broadly in favour of the plans, the UKs opposition looks increasingly like rethoric.
                There is of course the possibility that Brits might try to horsetrade their veto in return for concessions in Brexit negotiations that have to start sooner or later, but if badly played, the UK percieved as derailing key european policies while at the same time negotiating its exit could also strain relations further than they are already ( and lead to a more nasty divorce than desirable).
                As of now, the EU commission has been ordered by the member governements to present a draft for non-NATO european defence structures by December ( the date, relatively shortly after the US presidential elections, is not a coincidence) .



                http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk...-a7313081.html

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                • #9
                  I don't understand the UK position on this issue.
                  Why are we so worried that other European nations want to combine military forces so they can act more effectively on national defence?
                  I could understand if they were thinking of going on a global crusade for some unknown reason but they aren't so I can't see a problem in having a force that uses the best abilities of the countries involved as a force multiplier for defence.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Voland View Post
                    The UK says it will veto and bloc any attempt to create an "EU army" or a "European defence union" ( as the Germans and French prefer to call it). Since the UK has not yet presented any concrete ideas or timetables about its EU exit it also still holds veto power and as long as it remains a member, it could do so. Yet since at the last EU summit in Bratislava, Slovakia ( to which the UK was not invited), all european leaders came out at least broadly in favour of the plans, the UKs opposition looks increasingly like rethoric.
                    There is of course the possibility that Brits might try to horsetrade their veto in return for concessions in Brexit negotiations that have to start sooner or later, but if badly played, the UK percieved as derailing key european policies while at the same time negotiating its exit could also strain relations further than they are already ( and lead to a more nasty divorce than desirable).
                    As of now, the EU commission has been ordered by the member governements to present a draft for non-NATO european defence structures by December ( the date, relatively shortly after the US presidential elections, is not a coincidence) .



                    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk...-a7313081.html
                    I don't have a problem with countries signing joint force treaties and agreements, I don't understand why a new group needs to be formed when we already have NATO. Is it just something that is being put together to express displeasure with the U.K.?

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by PeterUK75 View Post
                      I don't understand the UK position on this issue.
                      Why are we so worried that other European nations want to combine military forces so they can act more effectively on national defence?
                      I could understand if they were thinking of going on a global crusade for some unknown reason but they aren't so I can't see a problem in having a force that uses the best abilities of the countries involved as a force multiplier for defence.

                      Well, I think the reason for the british position is : With the Brexit vote it is inevitable that the UK will be sidelined on european politics. Which is not a sign of meanness or disrespect, just an acknowledgement of the facts. Thats the rule of club membership, noone is forced to be in, but you cant vote out without loosing your membership privileges, even if you may regret it. Yet there is another club that also includes most european nations and where the UK continues to have influence : NATO. And there is the suspicion in London that France/Germany may use the establishment of european defence forces that the UK has no influence over (like via NATO) to weaken the latter ( and therefore also the UKs remaining influence in Europe). And that it is no coincidence that this initiative was coordinated between Berlin and Paris after the brexit vote.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by OldmanDan View Post

                        I don't have a problem with countries signing joint force treaties and agreements, I don't understand why a new group needs to be formed when we already have NATO. Is it just something that is being put together to express displeasure with the U.K.?
                        Well, you have a presidential candidate that has more than once called NATO obsolete, called the US defending alliance members in question, praised Wladimir Putin while bashing european allies and pledged to make countries such as Germany "pay" for something that they do already pay for. So even if that should turn to be complete campaign codswallop noone should be surprised that they are creating drafts for a (potential) post NATO world.
                        On the other hand : The EU getting joint military structures, headquarters, budget etc. simply makes sense. The EU runs around 15/16 military missions around the world, it is currently in the process of building its own outer border service and than there are some minor security threats on its eastern and southern flank. Currently all missions have to be coordinated between national militaries and bureaucracies, which consumes, time, energy and efforts. The EU pooling its defence capabilities would without doubt increase the military weight of the Europeans minus Britain. And it would without doubt increase their capabilities to run missions and develop military technology without tapping NATO ressources. Wether the European defence union would actually end up as competing structure to NATO depends on policy (especially in case of a Trump presidency). As to why the UK fights the plans, see above.
                        Last edited by Voland; 09-20-2016, 05:16 AM.

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                        • #13
                          The UK insists "not going to happen" and waving its veto, but also Italy has come out in support of building a european defence structure :

                          http://www.politico.eu/article/itali...ants-security/

                          Which means that also the US may have to take a position sooner or later, since it makes little rational sense to moan about Europeans allegedly free-riding on the US defence budget while at the same time backing the UK into vetoing/trying to derail common european defence.
                          The UK on the other hand is playing a risky gamble, since it will need substantial european goodwill soon, because it cant delay Brexit negotiations forever. ( well, in theory, but not in reality)
                          Vetoing/blocking european policy decisions while not presenting any concrete exit plan or timetable is not going down well, not at all. A far wiser approach would be contributions to work out how european /UK /NATO capabilities could be pooled/coordinated in the mutual interest.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Voland View Post
                            The UK insists "not going to happen" and waving its veto, but also Italy has come out in support of building a european defence structure :

                            http://www.politico.eu/article/itali...ants-security/

                            Which means that also the US may have to take a position sooner or later, since it makes little rational sense to moan about Europeans allegedly free-riding on the US defence budget while at the same time backing the UK into vetoing/trying to derail common european defence.
                            The UK on the other hand is playing a risky gamble, since it will need substantial european goodwill soon, because it cant delay Brexit negotiations forever. ( well, in theory, but not in reality)
                            Vetoing/blocking european policy decisions while not presenting any concrete exit plan or timetable is not going down well, not at all. A far wiser approach would be contributions to work out how european /UK /NATO capabilities could be pooled/coordinated in the mutual interest.
                            If I were King, I would pull all of our foreign forces back to the U.S., with a caveat that we would defend this European joint force if it need be. I would expect the same in return.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by OldmanDan View Post

                              If I were King, I would pull all of our foreign forces back to the U.S., with a caveat that we would defend this European joint force if it need be. I would expect the same in return.

                              And you do realize that US facilities in Europe are things like the United States Africa Command (based in Stuttgart/Germany), the US Army Hospital and Trauma Center ( treating Iraq/Afghanistan vets) in Landstuhl/Germany, or Ramstein airbase/ Germany, host of the US global drone program. Among other things.
                              Facilities that you have always had complete freedom to base anywhere else you like ? You put them there because it makes sense for you. And it is not so much the Europeans, it is your own military that wants it that way ?
                              Anyway : While a debate about leaving the Cold War security structures behind is worthwhile and probably necessary, threats that the US may ( or may not) defend allies under attack ( unless.....) are not making anyone safer. Not us and not you. And not least it weakens your own hand. Why should f.e. Germany accept to pay more for a US military presence that it has no say over, that serves US interests ( and nothing else) and especially if a possible president does not rule out that the US may not defend their host country ? Than building a european defence union linked with NATO/ the US on mutual interests seems to be the more reasonable long-term approach.
                              Ever wondered why Putin endorses Trump ? He may succeed in wrecking something that the Soviet Union never managed.

                              http://www.stripes.com/news/us-afric...rmany-1.206605

                              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Landst...Medical_Center

                              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ramstein_Air_Base


                              And you dont have to believe me :


                              http://edition.cnn.com/2016/04/21/po...heaper-abroad/


                              http://www.factcheck.org/2016/04/u-s...itary-support/


                              https://providencemag.com/2016/03/tr...-bases-europe/


                              Quote : / If America wishes only to defend Europe, there are perhaps better, cheaper ways. Prepositioned weapons and equipment allow the U.S. to quickly fly in troops who could then “fall in” the gear and begin operating without waiting for shipments to cross the Atlantic. Such deterrence should not provoke a significant Russian response or cost American taxpayers as much as permanent troop deployments.

                              Even if America has a military presence in Europe only to defend NATO allies, Germany should be skeptical about paying more for this defense. Not only may the troop levels be insufficient, but there should be considerable doubt over a President Trump’s willingness to defend Europe if shots are fired. Should Trump threaten Germany into accepting an excessive deal, kicking out the Americans—as Charles de Gaulle did in 1966—would be the wiser choice. Instead of spending more on American troops who may not be willing to defend Europeans, Germany could spend resources on German troops who have more skin in the game. Or Germany could focus on what it perceives as real threats, which may not match American perceptions.
                              Last edited by Voland; 09-21-2016, 05:14 AM.

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