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Junker and Trump: competing visions for Europe

Jean-Claude Junker's call for an EU Army does nothing but hasten the EU's ultimate decline. Trump and a revived America could however, offer southern Europe a ticket to a better future. Here's how.

Hearing Jean-Claude ‘Cogniac’ Junker’s response to Donald Trump’s victory makes one realise that this individual truly is a man for all seasons. He’s totally out of touch all year round. His main way of ‘coping’ with a new US president who wants to put Britain in the front of the queue for trade deals and who has opposed TTIP (which may already be dead in the water), is not to de-centralise the EU and make it a more fair association between partner states; it’s to urgently create an EU army!

There is little political will to do this, even among the states of Europe like Poland and Latvia who have the most radically anti-Russian political agendas. The fact that Russia has no desire to break-up the EU, let alone invade Europe, doesn’t seem to bother the likes of Junker. For him, creating an EU Army is a way to consolidate power while he still can. But it will backfire.

If there ever was a war between an imagined EU Army and Russia,  Russia would win in a matter of weeks. What’s more, I firmly believe that, should such a hypothetical army ever be issued orders to confront Russia or any other power, great or small, there would be mass desertions and in 24 hours a formal surrender would have to be issued.

People in Europe do not generally have a common European identity. They never have and never will. Scores of wars have been fought in Europe over just such issues, whether they be cloaked in grievances over religion, territory or resources.  What people in Europe do want to share in common is general cooperation, ease of financial and trade transactions between countries and the ability to live in small states which are next to each other, without the hassle of border controls. They don’t want hundreds of thousands of refugees (many who lie about their own situation) to share this privilege, however.

They want nothing more. Could one imagine a young Greek man willing to give his life for an EU army, let alone one about to attack a fraternal Orthodox nation like Russia? It would never happen. Furthermore, it is difficult to imagine that systematic difference between France and Germany wouldn’t re-emerge, thus doing the opposite of what the EEC/EU was meant to do, prevent a future war between the two great powers of Europe.

It is also difficult to imagine the Scandinavian countries pulling out of their splendid isolation and offering anything more to an international war effort other than hot air emanating from cold lips.

Donald Trump has rightly said that NATO, if it is to continue, ought to be re-imaged as an alliance against Islamic terrorism rather than one designed to fight Russia. It is well to remember that Trump declared that were he British, he would have voted for Brexit. These aren’t exactly the words that will help Mr. Junker to sleep at night.

To this end, America should not only build trade ties with Britain once she leaves the EU, a Trump-led America should also offer a hand of support to the Mediterranean countries who have been decimated by Brussels and Berlin. America is home to many individuals of Greek and Italian origin, America loves products from southern Europe. As the EU collapses, Trump ought not to go to Brussels and prop up a dying EU as John Kerry recently did. Instead, he should offer economic hope to southern Europe. He should tell Athens, Rome, Nicosia, Madrid, Belgrade  though Serbia isn’t in the EU and may never be) and Lisbon that America is open for business and that their products are loved and welcome.

This is one of the many new opportunities a Trump presidency makes possible. In some ways, I’d like the EU Army to be formed. It would once and for all put to bed the inane notion that there is such a thing as Europe beyond a mere geographical expression, as ironically Bismarck once said about Italy.

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