Brussels-based central military command to be operational within months
‘Never believe anything until it has been officially denied,’ they use to say in days of the Soviet Union. Today, the same is apparently true for the European Union. After years of official denials, E.U. has announced its plans to build a unified military command in the Belgian city of Brussels — a move set to take NATO’s European partners away from the existing transatlantic alliance. Germany’s state-run ARD broadcaster called it an “attempt to transform European Union into a real defense union”.
Just last year in the run-up to the Brexit vote, U.K.’s Deputy Prime Minister and pro-E.U. campaigner Nick Clegg blasted U.K. Independence Party’s (UKIP) leader Nigel Farage for misleading the voters on the issue of a proposed E.U. Army ahead of the referendum, saying Farage was spreading a ‘dangerous fantasy that is simply not true.’ That ‘dangerous fantasy’ is now coming true.
The German media coverage tried to paint Brexit vote and the election of President Trump as the triggers for this sudden pan-E.U. military consolidation, but the facts of the ground tell a very different story. As early as May 2016, NATO officials were accusing France of neglecting its commitment to NATO by diverting resources to build an E.U. Army. To counterweight Germany’s influence within the E.U., France was positioning itself to play a greater role in a future E.U. Army.
Germany is equally hawkish on building E.U.’s military muscle. Last month, Roderich Kiesewetter, a leading German MP from Chancellor Merkel CDU party, called for a “European nuclear deterrence” which would rely on British and French nuclear arsenal, and be bankrolled by Germany.
Berthold Kohler, the editor of Germany’s leading newspaper ‘Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung’ went even further and asked Germany to build its own nuclear arsenal as President Trump’s election victory has casted “doubts over America’s nuclear guaranty” and the “French and the British arsenal were too weak at this point “.
‘E.U. gives a go ahead for military headquarter,’ Germany’s state-run broadcaster ARD reports:
E.U.’s foreign and defense ministers have given a go ahead for setting up a military headquarter for the Union. In future the operations will be coordinated from Brussels. (…)
“In my opinion the common security and defense policy is an area that can unify the European Union,” says CDU’s [Germany’s Christian Democratic Union party] E.U. defense expert Michael Gahler. In other areas — such as the question of refugees — we are divided. (…)
The new headquarter for the E.U.’s foreign military missions is a visible sign of an attempt to transform European Union into a real ‘defense union’. The command centre in Brussels is expected to be operational within months and would initially be dealing with EU’s military training missions abroad. These missions include Mali, Somalia and Central Africa. [Author’s translation]
Armed with nukes or not, German military, or Bundeswehr, has bigger short-term problems at hand. Bundeswehr is running short on fresh recruits since Merkel government abolished the general conscription 6 years ago. Now Merkel government wants to open up the army for non-Germans in order to deal with this immediate shortfall, a move bitterly opposed be Germany’s military high-command.
If the intent behind ending the conscription was to lift the standard of the Bundeswehr, German government has glaringly missed the target.
Since 2007, German Military Intelligence has investigated more than 300 active duty soldiers on suspicions of having Islamist links. So far, nearly 30 former Bundeswehr soldiers are known to be fighting within the ranks of ISIS in Syria and Iraq. Currently, over 60 active duty soldiers were under investigation for having Jihadi connection. In April 2014, German newspaper Handelsblatt reported that until recently German army did not carry out backgrounds checks on soldiers handling sensitive combat equipment. The screening was only limited to soldiers accessing classified material.
If Europe’s demographic trends keep going south and the Islamist infiltration of their armies carries on, Europeans might have to worry about their own conventional and nuclear arsenal than any threat from the outside.
Watch British politician Nigel Farage slam the idea of an E.U. Army (European Parliament, March 2015)
[Cover image courtesy Seeker Daily, YouTube]