Thursday, June 26, 2008
The World Needs Europe's Nations, Not The EU.
The interplay between this blog and europhile Grahnlaw rolls on, with a suitable combination of mutual insult and admiration. Today Grahn mentions Security as a key requirement for a future Europe.
The problem with Europe's current defence profile is that it is being generated by the bureaucracy with no input or support from the 'demos'. The lack of democratic accountablility suits many European 'citizens' as they can shrug their shoulders and say that whatever military decisions are taken, are nothing to do with them. Troops can be sent to fight wars, but the countries are not invited to partake in the wars, only their armies.
It is one way to organise things.
The problem is that without popular support, the countries are not deploying enough troops to win the wars they are engaging in, and are not providing them with sufficient equipment, or moral support.
This weakness is no doubt visible to 'competitors' who are surging their military expenditure, at the same time building formidable military cultures, notably Russia and Iran.
The problem with Europe's lack of dialogue between its governments and its peoples about military and strategic affairs, is that an imbalance of military power between Europe and potential competitors is growing. This is very dangerous.
Dependence on the USA is not going to be effective as a longterm strategy, when America is already facing overstretch in the Middle East, and could soon also be facing challenges to her power in the Far East. Europe is going to have to pull her weight.
War and strategic interplay is a game of resources. By allowing Putin to build formidable military power, and Iran to arm herself and her proxies,while Europe sits locked in an EU-minded time warp, enjoying the supposed end of the cold war, new dangers are being created.
A new culture based on information about the strategic imbalance in the world, with respect and investment being made in military potential is the only way for Europe to ensure there is a secure future for her civilisation to survive and prosper.
The trouble with locking up the nations in the Lisbon process, where traditional national loyalties might otherwise have enabled a sense of survival to generate and face down military threats, is that decision-making becomes too remote. Leaders don't talk to their electorates about what is going on, and so people are left increasingly ignorant and uninvolved.
The EU is all about looking at Europe, when really Europe is fine anyway. It is democratic without the EU, economically successful without the EU, and it could be militarily successful without the EU. All the time and efforts of the national leaders are going into this black hole called the Lisbon Treaty, as, if it is successfully ratified, power will be gone from the nations.
That enables the current set of national leaders to call themselves leaders without the need to provide any leadership, or engage with their own peoples. They are detested as a result - notably Gordon Brown and Nicholas Sarkozy, both recording record lows in popularity since polling began - or they are entirely impotent as is Angela Merkel, now confined to a role as the national football coach. For the political and strategic health of the nations, this is a disaster. (not to mention that Sarkozy and Merkel are barely on speaking terms)
Only through managing the nations, can anything be done. The armies are loyal to their nations, and the peoples function as nations, giving support or otherwise to the views and decisions of their leaders. By removing power to Brussels, the nations will erode, and a Soviet winter will descend. To compete in the world, peoples' minds need to be alive, informed and ready to act to meet whatever threats and opportunities the world generates.
Lisbon is going in exactly the wrong direction. Only the nations can save Europe, but unlike in the past, the nations of Europe need not be fighting each other. After bitter past experience they should now be ready not to lock themselves up in a political game of fearful centralisation, but to confidently project democracy and freedom outwards to the world.
The EU is not the route to the future. It stands right in the way. For the world to prosper, Europe needs to let go of her past fears, and move to a new freer confidence. Germany is ready, and the other peoples of Europe are ready, as polling shows. The EU is not what the world needs, an undemocratic fearful power bloc, anxious about its whole existence, but confident independent nations cooperating to make the world a better place. This is what must come from the collapsing structure that is the EU today. And the subject of Security should be first on the list for the new faster-growing more confident Europe of Nations.