defensive capability


Feature photo: Defense in Africa (2010)

Immediately after the Second World War, the free Europeans spoke out unconditionally in favor of transatlantic cooperation and placed themselves under the protective umbrella of the United States of America; also the Republic of France, which to this day does not want to admit this. And immediately after the collapse of the Soviet terror regime, many of Russia's former satellite states also tried to come under this umbrella as quickly as possible.

The institution explicitly created for this purpose, the organization of the North Atlantic Treaty, which is better known by the acronym NATO, was initially supported by all member states with a high personal and financial contribution. Due to the fact that the USA was not only the largest economic power and the largest partner in terms of population within this organization, but was also increasingly being pushed into the role of a hegemon by everyone, whether a member or not, which incidentally also corresponded to their own self-image , the lion's share of the costs, resources and, last but not least, the soldiers to be kept ready lay with the Americans.

As the threat situation to the Europeans became increasingly defused in the mid-1980s, they began to increasingly reduce their own defense expenditure or use it for other purposes; The keyword propagated at the time: peace dividend.

As a result, and because the rest of the world wasn't so peaceful, the United States, willy-nilly, had to step in and further increase its own defense spending and spending. To date, all efforts by the USA to have the Europeans share in these costs or at least to adapt their own defense budgets to the given reality have remained in vain.

What would happen if the Europeans thought better of themselves and wanted to use their own strength to oppose the ever-increasing aggression, and not just on the part of the Russian Federation?

I maintain that no European state alone is able to achieve an independent defense capability, let alone be able to successfully assert itself against an aggressor. Furthermore, I argue that, due to today's technologies and networks, this would not be possible even if a state were to devote all of its resources to defense. Furthermore, I maintain that this would not be possible even with a united Europe and its combined resources and capacities! It is not for nothing that NATO was founded after the Second World War, and today's conditions are even more difficult than they were 70 years ago.

Irrespective of the fact that Europe can only be defended in close cooperation with its transatlantic partners, Europeans should bear the following in mind. Firstly, the human resources – young Europeans willing and able to work – are only sufficient if all states distribute their existing citizens to a common organization; each for himself, at least in terms of personnel, no longer gets a single operational and thus also sustainable division together. And even with a joint body of personnel, the Europeans would have to decide whether, in the medium term, they would prefer robotisation of the armed forces or external staffing.

Secondly, in contrast to our American partners, we Europeans have given priority – and rightly so, in my opinion – to the social aspect of our own ability to defend ourselves. As a result, we can only ensure viable defense capability if we not only pool our financial resources in this area, but also ensure that defense spending is used exclusively and transparently for defense expenditure in the future. Continued misappropriation of defense funds or underfunding of defense budgets ultimately leads to such high expenditure that this undesirable development can only be reversed at the expense of social budgets.

Thirdly, it is finally time for us Europeans to be true to our own principles and put our own military into the service of "national defence"; this of course includes the defense of the alliance and missions on behalf of the United Nations to restore world peace. Europeans do not practice power politics, nor is “war a continuation of politics by other means” for us!

European armaments policy must finally submit to this principle. Armor is not the same as arms production and trade. Armament is therefore not an export-oriented branch of the economy. Armament is the process of ensuring that friendly and allied forces are equipped with the best possible weapons, machinery and equipment, and everything else those forces need to defend Europe and its allies with as little damage as possible. This means that this best possible equipment and armament may not be exported! It is therefore imperative that armaments are summarized in the largest possible framework (I again recommend NATO as a frame of reference) in order not only to achieve the best possible efficiency but also corresponding sustainability, and this always in the sense of being affordable for all budgets .

"If we aren't willing to pay a price for our values, then we should ask ourselves whether we truly believe in them at all."

Barack Obama, The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream (2006: 68)

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