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Creating an EU army, the end of NATO?

Today’s security problems in Europe are directly related to NATO’s actions in the Balkans, the Middle East and North Africa after the collapse of the USSR.

Svetlana Maksovic

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An initiative for the creation of EU defence forces has been launched several times, but so far it has not been realized. The EU attempted in the 50’s to establish a military structure through the European Defence Community and the Western European military alliance, but that plan failed. The EU security and defence policy is strategically dependent on NATO, and the forming of a new special military structure was understood as a duplication of competencies and as diminishing of the role of NATO. After the Second World War, a foundation of the security architecture of Europe was set, where NATO has taken a key role. That role became important over time, and along with the enlargement of the EU, the capacity of NATO increased. Most of the EU member States are at the same time members of the NATO organization, namely, only six of the twenty-eight EU member States are not members of NATO. What we must have in mind when we talk about the security of the EU, is that America, as the leading country in NATO, has a key role in the European security. It was the United States that braked the creation of an EU military structure independent from NATO, but also the United Kingdom.

The new European reality

However, some progress has been made. A European Defence Agency was established in 2004 (1), and the Lisbon Treaty established a framework for the military and security cooperation, as well as the possibility for a defence integration within the Union. These steps have resulted in the formation of the battle groups for a “quick response.” These battle groups could be the basis of any future EU army.

After UK leaving the EU, the German Defence Minister, Ursula von der Leyen said: “Britain has been persistently blocking for years all EU proposals on the military. The exit of Great Britain from the EU opens up new possibilities for intensifying military cooperation among the member States.” She pointed out that Germany and France were planning to “take the initiative on future military cooperation.”

Recent decisions of the European Parliament provide the basis for strengthening the defence policy and for a possible creation of an army. In mid-November 2016, the European Parliament adopted a resolution on the European Defence Community (2). According to this resolution, “Europe needs a political will and determination supported by a broad spectrum of appropriate policy instruments, including strong and modern military competences.”

After indications of its new president that the US will redefine the relationship with NATO, and leaving Britain from the EU, the issue of the formation of EU military forces  has gotten a new dimension.

Also, Macron’s victory in the French elections, according to some opinions, should speed up the decision-making on the establishment of the EU defence forces (3). After UK leaving the EU, France remains as the only nuclear power in the EU and is the only permanent member of the UNSC. In addition to this, France is one of the most vulnerable EU countries because of internal ethnic and religious conflicts. The fight against terrorism is the main topic of the French security. It is bad that the French society has a largely distorted view of the causes of the terrorism threat in the country, not understanding its own role in it.

The tasks of the European army

The question is whether the EU army would be able to meet all the requirements of the European security and what would be the role of NATO after the creation of an EU army?

The tasks of the future EU army would be linked to external and internal threats.

The main role of the army is the territory defence from an external armed threat. The first task of the future EU army would be to control and defend the borders of the EU. The destabilization of the Middle East has caused large population migrations from the Middle East to Western Europe which have demonstrated the vulnerability of the EU. Not only the EU did not control the migrants, but there is no intelligence about who is staying in the territory of the Member States, and there is no communication between the member States regarding the potential dangers. The EU countries have not been able to agree on quotas for migrants and on how to distribute the migrants to the different countries.

Organized control and protection of EU external borders require the formation of border troops. In addition, the EU should establish intelligence structures that could handle external, and especially internal threats.

As for the armed external threats, the EU has a special problem with the rise of Islamic terrorism, arriving to the EU from the Middle East via Turkey. However, it cannot be considered as external but as an internal threat, given that terrorist cells act within the territory of the EU. The EU will certainly not be attacked by a conventional terrorist army, but it is realistic to expect that terrorist groups are actively operating within the EU. The establishment of EU borders control will prevent from new individuals linked to terrorism entering the territory, but it will not solve the problem of those who are already in the EU, who have asylum or live in the territory of the EU on other grounds. It is essential that the Brussels bureaucracy stops ignoring real threats and further responding to non-existent threats, which means stopping the creation of conflicts with Russia. Obediently following the US foreign policy, has already placed Europe in a very risky position, but today’s new security problems in Europe are directly caused by such acts. Further continuation of such a policy could cause an escalation of civil conflicts in the European countries or a conflict with Russia, which is persistently supported by Washington. The EU needs a new defence concept, but it is important for this concept to be established on a sound basis and to include not only the United States as a partner, but also Russia.

Nobody needs NATO

Basic internal threats in the EU are linked to an increased risk of terrorism, which has led to new security challenges. NATO army is not trained to fight terrorism, which is why the EU is extremely vulnerable. The question is to which point would the new EU army be trained and how it will deal with new problems. It should be borne in mind that the clashes turned into a new form of struggle, which is also called hybrid war, and it involves the use of not only military competences, but of much more advanced technology, electronic, intelligence, information, etc. In this sense, armies trained for conventional wars, are not qualified for new forms of battle. In order to cope with contemporary challenges in the EU, a highly-trained army specialized in combating terrorism in urban conditions is required.

It is especially dangerous that the terrorist threats in the EU can develop into a civil conflict, mostly in countries that are burdened by ethnic and religious conflicts. In this sense, the most endangered country is France, but also the situation in Germany is not simple. France is a country with a high percentage of immigrants from former colonies since many years, and Germany has a lot of immigrants from Turkey and a large number of migrants who came from the Middle East.

The armed forces of European countries definitely need reforms and modernization, and NATO itself is not able to respond to the new challenges. The European countries spend less money on defence than the US, and Donald Trump’s comments were precisely related to that fact. He also stated that NATO is an obsolete organization, not able to fight terrorism, which was confirmed several times by the absence of reaction to the terrorist acts carried out in many cities in the EU and in Brussels, the headquarters of NATO.

If an EU army was formed, NATO would lose its purpose and won’t be needed anymore. This organization has certainly lost its role with the collapse of the USSR and the Warsaw Pact, because its main task was the defence against the communist threat. Instead of being dissolved after the collapse of the Soviet Union, NATO was then transformed from a defensive alliance into a conquering one. Today’s security problems in Europe are directly related to NATO’s actions in the Balkans, the Middle East and North Africa after the collapse of the USSR.

And finally, one more thing should be said. The political and military power potential of the EU, compared to the superpowers such as Russia, America and China, is negligible and that fact will not change with the formation of an EU army, simply because in the current situation, Europe has no capacity to become a superpower.

Svetlana Maksovic, Centre for Geostrategic Studies – Serbia

Stanje Stvari

References:

  1. https://www.eda.europa.eu/home
  2. http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?pubRef=-//EP//TEXT+TA+P8-TA-2016-0435+0+DOC+XML+V0//HR
  3. http://www.friendsofeurope.org/security-europe/decisions-loom-french-defence-amid-increased-demands/

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Trump Has Gifted “No More Wars” Policy Position To Bernie Sanders (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 148.

Alex Christoforou

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RT CrossTalk host Peter Lavelle and The Duran’s Alex Christoforou discuss how US President Donald Tump appears to have ceded his popular 2016 ‘no more wars’ campaign message and policy position to Bernie Sanders and any other US 2020 candidate willing to grad onto a non-interventionist approach to the upcoming Democrat primaries.

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“Is Bernie Stealing Trump’s ‘No More Wars’ Issue?” by Patrick J. Buchanan…


The center of gravity of U.S. politics is shifting toward the Trump position of 2016.

“The president has said that he does not want to see this country involved in endless wars… I agree with that,” Bernie Sanders told the Fox News audience at Monday’s town hall meeting in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

Then turning and staring straight into the camera, Bernie added:

“Mr. President, tonight you have the opportunity to do something extraordinary: Sign that resolution. Saudi Arabia should not be determining the military or foreign policy of this country.”

Sanders was talking about a War Powers Act resolution that would have ended U.S. involvement in the five-year civil war in Yemen that has created one of the great humanitarian crises of our time, with thousands of dead children amidst an epidemic of cholera and a famine.

Supported by a united Democratic Party on the Hill, and an anti-interventionist faction of the GOP led by Sens. Rand Paul and Mike Lee of Utah, the War Powers resolution had passed both houses of Congress.

But 24 hours after Sanders urged him to sign it, Trump, heeding the hawks in his Cabinet and National Security Council, vetoed S.J.Res.7, calling it a “dangerous attempt to weaken my constitutional authorities.”

With sufficient Republican votes in both houses to sustain Trump’s veto, that should be the end of the matter.

It is not: Trump may have just ceded the peace issue in 2020 to the Democrats. If Sanders emerges as the nominee, we will have an election with a Democrat running on the “no-more-wars” theme Trump touted in 2016. And Trump will be left defending the bombing of Yemeni rebels and civilians by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia.

Does Trump really want to go into 2020 as a war party president?

Does he want to go into 2020 with Democrats denouncing “Trump’s endless wars” in the Middle East? Because that is where he is headed.

In 2008, John McCain, leading hawk in the Senate, was routed by a left-wing first-term senator from Illinois, Barack Obama, who had won his nomination by defeating the more hawkish Hillary Clinton, who had voted to authorize the war in Iraq.

In 2012, the Republican nominee Mitt Romney, who was far more hawkish than Obama on Russia, lost.

Yet, in 2016, Trump ran as a different kind of Republican, an opponent of the Iraq War and an anti-interventionist who wanted to get along with Russia’s Vladimir Putin and get out of these Middle East wars.

Looking closely at the front-running candidates for the Democratic nomination of 2020 — Joe Biden, Sanders, Kamala Harris, Beto O’Rourke, Pete Buttigieg, Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker — not one appears to be as hawkish as Trump has become.

Trump pulled us out of the nuclear deal with Iran negotiated by Secretary of State John Kerry and reimposed severe sanctions.

He declared Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps a terrorist organization, to which Iran has responded by declaring U.S. Central Command a terrorist organization. Ominously, the IRGC and its trained Shiite militias in Iraq are in close proximity to U.S. troops.

Trump has recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, moved the U.S. Embassy there, closed the consulate that dealt with Palestinian affairs, cut off aid to the Palestinians, recognized Israel’s annexation of the Golan Heights seized from Syria in 1967, and gone silent on Bibi Netanyahu’s threat to annex Jewish settlements on the West Bank.

Sanders, however, though he stands by Israel, is supporting a two-state solution and castigating the “right-wing” Netanyahu regime.

Trump has talked of pulling all U.S. troops out of Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. Yet the troops are still there.

Though Trump came into office promising to get along with the Russians, he sent Javelin anti-tank missiles to Ukraine and announced a pullout from Ronald Reagan’s 1987 INF treaty that outlawed all land-based intermediate-range nuclear missiles.

When Putin provocatively sent 100 Russian troops to Caracas — ostensibly to repair the S-400 anti-aircraft and anti-missile system that was damaged in recent blackouts — Trump, drawing a red line, ordered the Russians to “get out.”

Biden is expected to announce next week. If the stands he takes on Russia, China, Israel and the Middle East are more hawkish than the rest of the field, he will be challenged by the left wing of his party, and by Sanders, who voted “no” on the Iraq War that Biden supported.

The center of gravity of U.S. politics is shifting toward the Trump position of 2016. And the anti-interventionist wing of the GOP is growing.

And when added to the anti-interventionist and anti-war wing of the Democratic Party on the Hill, together, they are able, as on the Yemen War Powers resolution, to produce a new bipartisan majority.

Prediction: By the primaries of 2020, foreign policy will be front and center, and the Democratic Party will have captured the “no-more-wars” political high ground that Candidate Donald Trump occupied in 2016.

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Over 200 killed, hundreds injured in series of blasts at Sri Lankan hotels & churches

A series of bombings hit churches and hotels across Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday, killing more than 200 people.

RT

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Via RT…


A series of eight explosions rocked Catholic churches and luxury hotels in Sri Lanka as Christians began Easter Sunday celebrations, with over 200 killed and hundreds injured, media reported, citing police.

The blasts started at around 8:45am local time at St. Anthony’s Church in Colombo and St. Sebastian’s Church in Negombo, a Catholic-majority town outside of the capital. The Zion Church in Batticaloa on the eastern coast was also targeted. At around the same time, the Shangri-La, Cinnamon Grand and Kingsbury five-star hotels were also hit, police confirmed.

Two more explosions happened later in the day, targeting two more locations in Colombo. All attacks appear to have been coordinated.

At least 207 people were killed, Reuters reported, citing police. More than 450 were injured in the attacks.

Alleged footage of the aftermath, shared on social media, showed chaos and large-scale destruction inside at least one of the churches.

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Mike Pompeo reveals true motto of CIA: ‘We lied, we cheated, we stole’ (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 147.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris take a look at a Texas A&M University speech, and subsequent interview, with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

The former CIA Director admitted, ‘as an aside’ to the question asked, that the Intelligence agency he headed up before being appointed as the top US Diplomat had a motto “we lied, we cheated, we stole”…which, according to Pompeo, contained entire CIA training courses based on ‘lying, cheating and stealing.’

Pompeo finally speaks some truth.

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