European militaries can not tie their shoelaces without Uncle Sam
The Saker is our regular contributor. This article also appeared at The Vineyard of the Saker
You probably have heard of the European attempt to reacquire some relevance: the proposal to create a “European Union Army”. In part, this is, as an attempt by the Europeans to show that they matter, that they can do something by themselves, that they are not completely US lackeys.
This might also be a reaction to the crazy statements of General Philip Breedlove, the Commander of the U.S. European Command and the Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) whose inflammatory comments even got him a full-length rebuttal in Der Spiegel (There are even rumors that the Europeans want Breedlove sacked).
Whatever may be the case, the idea of some kind of European Army is hardly a new one – we already had the Franco-German Brigade and the Eurocorps. That is all very well, but only on paper. The reality is that nobody in Europe has any money to pay for the future EU army. But even worse is that even inside NATO the European contribution is almost negligible.
First, take a look at this graph showing the financial contribution made by each NATO member state in 2013:
Clearly, the US pays the lion share and, if we add it’s European poodle (the UK), the “Anglo share” becomes even bigger. But that is not the full story.
Let’s take the next two (and pretty much only other) relevant countries, Germany and France. Not only is their financial contribution very small, their national armies are a total mess. Russia Insider has just posted an excellent survey of the condition of the German military, to which I would only add this article entitled “L’armée française n’a plus un rond et le moral à zéro” (The French military ain’t got a penny and its morale is down to zero) which comes to similar conclusions about the French military.
What about the rest of NATO you might ask?
They are even a more pathetic joke than France and Germany. The only real military left over is Turkey’s which will never agree to participate to such a force and which will probably not be invited anyway (there is a reason why the Europeans never let “then Muslims” inside the EU to begin with!).
Then we are left with a few semi-decent air forces and navies, but with no real combined-arms capabilities. Finally, all of Europe has always depended on the USA for intelligence, in particular battlefield intelligence. So even these air forces and navies are, in reality, totally dependent on Uncle Sam.
Which leaves us with the Central European clowns like Poland or Lithuania. To see what they could realistically “contribute” you can just think of the Georgian military in 2008, which was fully trained and fully equipped by the very same folks who are now training and equipping the Central Europeans.
The reality is that nobody in Europe can afford anything besides hot air and that all the European militaries are good for is wholly unconvincing sabre-rattling as recently shown by Norway or NATO naval forces in the Black Sea (any vessel in the Black Sea is an easy target for the Russian military) and even though that will not frighten or “deter” a Russia which has no hostile intentions to begin with, it will contribute to the worsening of relations as shown by the recent Russian decision to dump all CFE activities.
This latest initiative, far from showing any kind of European awakening, is yet another proof of the utter lack of statesmanship on the part of the Eurobuffoons in power in Brussels and the EU capitals. A far more convincing display of power and dignity would be to dare to simply say “no” to something demanded by Uncle Sam.
But that, alas, ain’t gonna happen anytime soon.