Stern Tweets vs. EU Army
Last week, Emmanuel Macron declared the brain-death of NATO and the need for a European army. According to the French president, it’s a miracle the EU exists in today’s world with little military strength, dodgy neighbours and friends like the US.
And he has a point. Donald doesn’t care much for the EU, China’s still working on Black Mirror season 5 and Russia occasionally uses passenger planes instead of clay-pigeons.
Even though the Russian military is mostly held together with hopes, dreams and rusty steel, its readiness to act makes it unpredictable. Other unpleasant neighbours include Turkey, a former prospective member, which is also in the running to become the most unruly dictatorship in the region.
Stern tweets have been the main EU defence in recent times, and even those aren’t always possible.
See, when it comes to foreign policy, EU member states rule by anonymity. So even if 27 member states think it’s a great idea to denounce Saudi Arabia for decapitating a journalist, the Maltese government can keep it from doing so. Wonderful and democratic, but it does mean that even recognising genocides is problematic.
Another problem is that funds would need to be made available for create the army.
Not only have member states become more reluctant to get their wallet out for the EU budget, the funds would probably go to only a few member states. Germany would likely receive most of the EU funds as they produce most weapons and because Belgian life-vests are a hard sell. Meanwhile Victor Orban would use the EU cash to build ice-rinks in Hungary again, which is unlikely to win any wars.
But even if the stars aligned and all 28 member states agreed to build an army, the EU isn’t out of the woods yet. What makes the EU great is also its weakness – diversity.
The Baltic states and Finland want to be protected from mother Russia, Greece wants to put pressure on Turkey and Poland wants to run over rainbow flags with a tank. Meanwhile, the UK and the Netherlands tag along with the US to ‘democratise the Middle East’, and the French are fighting pirates on a remote African island. And that’s before we even discuss what the Germans might want to get up to.
So, unless a Europhile Swarzenegger is going to rule this army without any consultation, the chances of it getting up to anything are slim.
Think playing bridge throughout most of the year in stylish uniforms, interrupted by an occasional peace-keeping mission in Luxembourg to break up a bar fight.
Perhaps a stern tweet was better after all.