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Alzoc

European Union common defense thread

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This shall be the general dump thread for anything related to common EU defense.

 

I found this 2017 document of the European Commission on general reflections on the future of the common European defense, and realized that we had no thread where it seemed relevant.

 

Contains some interesting figures on military spending put in perspective with the US

Although I don't know how the hell they come with a number of 4 different destroyers/frigates for the US (and the pictures show aircraft carriers, and everything but MBTs for both the EU and the US)

 

Also if it seem apparent that EU citizens ask for more security and military spending than ever, I personally find it's shame that it's mostly because of immigration and terrorism rather than a will for more EU influence in the world although I guess it was supposed to be expected (especially when respondents were asked to pick their two main concern among the list).

 

The document finally propose 3 different scenari (a, b and c) with increasing cooperation between member state.

I hope that we will at least manage to achieve the goals of the b scenario and it seem reasonable to do so within the next decade or so.

C scenario would be ideal but seem unachievable yet within the current institution (The EU doesn't have enough power for that and can be too easily blocked by a minority of member states).

 

Anyway it seems to be the perfect time to build up European defense now that the UK is out (they were always opposed to it afraid that it would collide with NATO) and that some major member states are pushing for more integration (Germany, Italy, France and Belgium among others).

On the other hand several country have major governance problems like Germany and Italy which will have a weak government due to inconclusive elections (basically they have to form coalition governments without a large majority).

Also European elections are coming in 2019 and depending on the results it could strengthen the current dynamic or completely put it to a halt.

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It would be nice to see all the countries of Europe come together like the USA (somewhat sovereign states answering to a larger central body, with a combined military and economy), but that will most definitely not happen. It’s kinda sad really, a combined EU would be quite a formidable global force. 

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1 hour ago, Mighty_Zuk said:

I assume Germany would the strongest supporter of such a move. I heard they are planning to double their tank force and service a whole platoon.

 

^^

 

More seriously, Germany, France, Belgium and Italy are traditionally extremely pro EU country and they all cooperate on armament program and in operations.

 

However, there is one big problem with Germany which is that they have been extremely traumatized by WWII and by the Nazi (rightfully so) and so their public opinion often take an anti-militarist or at least non-interventionist stance.

We've had an operational Franco-German brigade for  2 decades now but in practice it is impossible to engage it since the German parliament is extremely reluctant to send forces in live operations.

 

Another major problem for Germany is that the availability of their material is always rock bottom (at the beginning of this month only 10 out of their 128 Eurofighters were available for example).

But that's a problem where having common material can help (since you can pool the maintenance which will cost less improving the reliability).

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6 hours ago, Lord_James said:

It would be nice to see all the countries of Europe come together like the USA (somewhat sovereign states answering to a larger central body, with a combined military and economy), but that will most definitely not happen. It’s kinda sad really, a combined EU would be quite a formidable global force. 

 

Give it time, it wasn’t really until the US civil war that the federal government asserted its dominance.

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5 hours ago, Ramlaen said:

 

Give it time, it wasn’t really until the US civil war that the federal government asserted its dominance.

 

Does that mean Germany has to start another world war? 

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10 hours ago, Sturgeon said:

 

1280px-Flag_of_the_United_States.svg.png

 

Can't deny that it is the case for now^^

 

But there is a need to get out of this situation since there is no guarantee that the US will remain well inclined toward the old continent in the long run, Trump presidency made that very clear.

Or rather it reminded that fact to those who conveniently put that though in the back of their head.

 

https://i.ytimg.com/vi/_yxAYDtg2_A/maxresdefault.jpg

 

Right now the commission is trying to see how to bypass American sanctions concerning Iran.

They activated this old regulation, originally created as a negotiation tool regarding the Cuba embargo, today.

Basically it forbid any EU  bank or company to comply with US court rule regarding that matter

It will be the first time that it will be put in action but that's more of a declaration of intent than a practical tool.

 

The only practical way is to cut the dollar out of loop by renegotiating all the contracts in euro and making them go through the ECB which would be the next step if negotiations fails.

It most likely won't work for large scale international company since the US could always decide to target them with a roundabout way but it could work for small to medium size company which don't do a lot of business with the US.

 

 

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So what happens when military allies enter a trade war?

 

Let's watch & see! 

 

PS @Alzoc  Are you aware what happens to countries that 'drop the dollar'?  If not maybe you should check out Muammar Gaddafi's handy guide to getting the living shit bombed out of your country and a bayonet shoved up your ****!

 

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7 hours ago, Sgt.Squarehead said:

So what happens when military allies enter a trade war?

 

Let's watch & see! 

 

PS @Alzoc  Are you aware what happens to countries that 'drop the dollar'?  If not maybe you should check out Muammar Gaddafi's handy guide to getting the living shit bombed out of your country and a bayonet shoved up your ****!

  

 

Well the goal is not to enter a trade war with the US since quite frankly it would damage both sides seriously:

 

Spoiler

http://www.sankey-diagrams.com/wp-content/gallery/x_sankey_217/dynamic/us2015_trade_remake3.png-nggid041251-ngg0dyn-0x0x100-00f0w010c010r110f110r010t010.png

 

Just that this time around pulling out of the Iran deal was a pretty stupid move and goes against our interests on top of that (both economical and strategic).

So if we have a chance to avoid having the US dictating us our foreign policy this time around, I'll take it.

 

We are just talking about bypassing the sanctions here by simply contracting in euro.

The dollar is de facto the international currency since it's stable, there is a lot of currency available and that it's linked to big economy. But if the US keep pissing off all it's major trade partners at the same time (China and the taxes, EU and the tax + the Iran sanctions,  Refusing to sign the new NAFTA) they might say to kindly fuck off at some point.

In a polite manner though^^ (you don't openly show the middle finger to a military powerhouse)

 

As for cutting the dollar out of the loop completely (in general), we are not there yet.

Like I said it's not possible do it on a large scale for now since when you need a large amount of money from a bank, the dollar is the most available currency and thus the US holds the reigns on most international trade.

Small scale you can do it since they won't be a lot of currency involved.

 

Right now the share of the € in international trade is only about 25% while the $ sit about 64%. The $ share is steadily decreasing and the € share steadily increasing so if things keep going that way the US will lose it's uncontested top position sooner or later.

And that's the end goal, to achieve a relative parity with the US and China in the long term. Relationships are in general much healthier when both party are on equal footing. And there is no way for European countries to get there without pooling our resources, otherwise we lack the critical size.

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Europe does need to get it's act together for security quite badly but there are many hurdles in the way, particularity in what the function of a united military will be.

 

From what I've read on the matter in geopolitical circles;

 

France wants an EU army that will act as a counterweight to USA but also perform similar interests, so that would mean EU units fighting jihadists in North Africa or far abroad elsewhere, non-state actors, hybrid warfare etc, that is something many others in the EU do not want to be involved in.

 

Germany is allergic to any military action save a direct attack on Europe by a nation state, Germans anti-military stance is something that has bled into the European project itself given Germany's grip over the EU institutions and bureaucracy. Really the best you could hope from Germany would be to only contribute money and technology & they stay a back seat partner in a unified EU military like some of the smaller member states. Germany at the centre core of an EU military is a terrible idea & a recipe for inaction were the force will have it's hands tied behind it's back then blindfolded.

 

The Eastern Europeans (Poland and others) are in favor of a unified military but, such a force would be used to discourage Russia or Turkey from getting any ideas and would only be used to protect the EU homeland no far abroad action, but it would also actively repel migrants from the borders (using force), this is something the likes of France/Germany will never agree too (well so long as their political establishments stay in place). Also such an EU army command structure should be in Eastern Europe not Western and to be fair they have a point, any EU military should be kept as far away from Brussels as possible to remain an effective fighting force.

 

The UK establishment is fundamentally opposed to any EU army and will do whatever it can to undermine this, the UK does not want any hard power in Europe that will eclipse it though that's going to happen anyway given the terminal decline the UK military is in and the British public has no stomach for the funding required to counter that decline. This is why the UK has made defense deals with Poland and is now cozying up to Turkey an increasingly aggressor to Europe.

 

The UK leaving the EU is a very good thing in this regard as they are one of the major obstacles but will still try to act as a spoiler.

 

Some of the smaller countries are in favor & others are borderline useless. But then you also have situations like Greece who in the aftermath of the migrant crisis refused to allow EU frontex border patrol agency to operate in Greece citing sovereignty even though they were supposed to be helping secure Greece's own border.

 

The EU itself, no-one in the security/military space trusts the EU, it is riddled with no borders bleeding heart liberals who care more about rolling out the red carpet then actually defending Europe, at least that's the perception. I'm inclined to agree with that and it would take a lot of initiatives that would require dialing back liberalism in order to win that trust among those who take security seriously.

 

The Eastern Europeans would be better off forming their own unified military then possibly roping in more friendly countries like Italy & Austria ignoring France/Germany until they can no longer resist on their terms (if they want in).

 

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@Carscan

 

That's a fairly good description of the current issues (although they are others and it's not always as clear cut as you present it) and everybody will have to put water in his wine to make it work.

Obviously it will require some sovereignty transfer to the EU parliament and/or the commission and that will be a major hurdle as well (not everybody is ready to accept that).

 

For me the main priority right now are standardizing and increasing the operational and financial efficiency, which is one of the reason for the common defence fund.

Standardized equipments are obviously cheaper to acquire and maintain and makes operational integration much easier.

 

The other main priority is to create and/or incrementally increase decision making capabilities of the EU institutions.

Even if they are not functional due to political reasons for now, it will be much easier to increase their power in the event of a crisis than starting from zero in a panic.


As for the Eastern country forming their own military alliance and "forcing" Western country to ultimately join in, I'm inclined to think it will be the other way round (if this kind of event happen that is) since most of the money comes from western Europe (but I'll admit that I'm biased on this one).

But the idea of a few core country cooperating to be later joined by the others on a voluntary basis and at different levels of involvement is certainly one practical way to make things move forward.

 

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