Saturday, 7 June 2008

Paper Tiger Alert! 'Army' for EU Proposed!

Well why is this idea so naff? Two reasons it will cost taxpayers a fortune, secondly it will never be an Army as most European countries will not fight anyway. Look at the weak willed German commitment to NATO, that is so apparent in Afghanistan for instance. In Afghanistan German helicopters will not fly after 5pm (gives the Taleban the night off) and their troops will only fire in self defence. Thus Taleban leaders in their area have relative immunity. In Afghanistan the burden is borne by UK, US and Canadian troops. Anyway the story from the BBC is here.

Call for EU to build its own army
By Mark Mardell Europe Editor, BBC News

European soldiers already act under the UN banner in Kosovo
An influential Polish member of the European parliament has called for the EU to develop "hard power" and spend more money to build a European army.
Foreign affairs committee chairman Jacek Saryusz-Wolski also wants the European parliament to have the final say on deployments under the EU flag.
The French have said beefing up the EU's military capability will be a key part of their six-month presidency.
The BBC has been told their plans also include a new EU military headquarters.
Other items on the French list of proposals involve calling upon all EU countries to increase spending on defence to meet a new target of perhaps 6% of Gross Domestic Product.
More aircraft
France's leadership of the EU will also include a push for the creation of more rapid reaction forces to enable Europe to collectively undertake three simultaneous missions.
They also want more helicopters and aircraft to be made available for missions.
The big problem is finding countries that want to contribute... troops and helicopters to real missions
Mark Mardell's blog
The EU will not officially comment until the proposals are unveiled by French President Sarkozy in two weeks' time.
The head of the German army, Gen Wolfgang Schneiderhan, told the BBC that Europe needs to be able to react to crises.
"Working together with Nato we can improve the ability of both organisations to tackle the threats that face our world," he said.
The plans are likely to prove controversial in many countries, including Britain, where there is reluctance towards any move to a European army.
In Ireland there are concerns about neutrality, while in Germany there are worries about any policy that could go beyond a peacekeeping role.

Further background and comment on this story can be found on the BBC journalist Mark Mardells blog.


Phil BC said...

Maybe the 'weak-willed' German commitment to NATO has something to do with widespread opposition of the German people to military adventures overseas?

Paul said...

Thanks for dropping by Phil. Actually the German people are weak willed and it is such feeble mindedness that will make them a priority target for Al Qaeda but that is a separate subject. I will acknowledge as I feel you do that the German people do not want their soldiers to fight, it appears they will never fight no matter what. On the one hand that is a cultural changeover since 1945 that we should be glad of but now I feel it is out dated and a convenient excuse for moral cowardice and hypocrisy. Why hypocrisy? Well NATO protected Germany at considerable expense to the citizens of the UK and US; from the Soviet threat for over 40 years. As a result Germany is now a unified modern democratic nation. What payback does Germany give to NATO? With troops in AFG who will not operate in anywhere but the most benign environment. Or by not allowing their helicopters to fly at night (gives ‘em the night off I suppose). All this while for NATO UK, US and Canadian troops do engage the Taleban and take the casualties. Such a feeble posture will not protect German citizens from attacks by Al Qaeda rather Al Qaeda will sense weakness and enhance their attempts to attack a weak and misaligned link.

What does gall me however is that Poland has sent troops to Afghan's south. The same brave people who have suffered so much Germany. They certainly know that freedom does have a cost and they will pay it. Germany won't they'll happily let others pay the cost for them. I have lived and worked in Germany, I admire their culture but on the international stage pulling their weight is required.