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OPINION

Europe will hold 'security umbrella' instead of United States

28 February, 2024 Wednesday
20:33

US military dominance in Europe is being dismantled like the archaic Berlin Wall. Brussels will try to hold on to the 'security umbrella'

The famous Pax Americana is drying up. Assistance to Ukraine will soon be coordinated by NATO, and it is the European members of the Alliance who will guarantee the security of the Old World. For the first time since World War II, Europe is becoming a leader on its continent. Well, it is becoming... trying to become one.

Olaf Scholz and Joe Biden blessed the 'restyling' of the Alliance during their last meeting in Washington, and later the idea was tested at the Munich Security Conference.

The 'security umbrella' will be given to European hands by NATO not only to protect the Old World from a possible victory of Donald Trump.

"Even if Biden or another candidate wins in the US, the Pentagon will focus on Asia to support Taiwan and calibrate relations with China. There is a great hope that this year Washington will give Ukraine a multibillion-dollar check to wage war, and then reconsider its policy.”

The removal of the United States from the European security architecture comes as a real shock to Brussels, since the global deterrence doctrine was based on the Pentagon's resources: America has 5,000 nuclear warheads, Russia has 6,000, and only France and Britain possess these weapons in the EU, and they have only 500 warheads each. The strategy is dominated by confusion. Some European politicians want to urgently increase the number of nuclear warheads, while others are against it. For example, Scholz had a fight over this issue with his ministers who were in favor of nuclear technology.

The Alliance is increasingly immersed in discussions about its development strategy. For example, Estonia is going to build 60 fortified bunkers along the border with Russia, Latvia - 1,116, and Lithuania - 2,758. While Brussels supports the idea of an elastic defense: that is, first the territories will be occupied by the invading troops, and then, in more favorable positions, NATO will kick the Russians’ ass. This prospect does not appeal to the younger members of the Alliance.

"On paper, NATO's European future looks very promising: the EU has 500 million people and an economy of $18 trillion. Russia has 143 million Russians and $1.8 trillion, respectively. But there is little reason to be happy: Europe's total defense spending is $380 billion, about the same as Russia's, if recalculated at purchasing power parity.”

The President of Estonia, Alar Karis, has aptly diagnosed today's NATO and the EU: "We measure our success by economic growth and improved social welfare. Whereas Russia uses imperialistic criteria of territory expansion and military power." But European institutions cannot behave as if they were in peacetime.

Germany is a typical example of European security. The country failed to supply Ukraine with the 1 million shells promised for the spring. At best, this will happen by the end of the year. At the same time, European manufacturers export 40% of their shells outside the EU, under non-Ukrainian contracts. When the European Commission proposed to prioritize the supply of Ukraine, the idea was rejected.

"At the same time, arms manufacturers complain that they cannot invest in increasing production due to the lack of promising contracts from national governments.”

You may be surprised to learn that the Bundeswehr is just as lax about replenishing its own weapons: Berlin handed over a lot of shells to Kyiv, 14 Panzerhaubitze 2000s, 18 Leopard 2 A6 tanks, armored vehicles, and it will take years to restore the arsenals.

Sooner or later, Europe will adjust itself to the current wave of challenges. In the meantime, EU leaders are spreading their fears thickly over their own confusion. Mark Rutte, the Dutch prime minister and one of the main contenders for the NATO presidency in the fall, spoke about this 'sandwich' of contemporary politics: "Europe should stop complaining about the possibility of Donald Trump's return and instead focus on helping Ukraine. We have to stop whining, moaning and grumbling about Trump... We have to work with those who are on the dance floor...".

Source

About the author. Orest Sohar, journalist, Obozrevatel editor-in-chief.

The editors don't always share the opinions expressed by the authors of the blogs.

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