A European Defense Force

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  • by Anup Shah
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A leaked version of the Pentagon's 1994-1999 Defense Planning Guidance report advises that the United States "must seek to prevent the emergence of European-only security arrangements which would undermine NATO ... Therefore, it is of fundamental importance to preserve NATO as the primary instrument of Western defense and security, as well as the channel for U.S. influence and participation in European security affairs."

Forgotten Coverage of Rambouillet Negotiations1, Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, May 14, 1999

The Kosovo conflict has highlighted the US superiority and control of NATO, much to the dismay of many Europeans. Since at least 1998, the European Union has been thinking of its own defence force, the European Security and Defense Policy (ESDP) and the accompanying 60,000 strong European Rapid Reaction Force, which would not be a part of NATO. This has drawn some warnings from the US telling the EU not to consider this.

However, while the EU can justify a path forward which does not involve being dominated by the United States, yet another regional defence force is questionable. Given that the goal of this defence force is meant to be the usual rhetoric (uphold democracy, promote peace etc.), then once again, as with the existance of NATO, this must be questioned. It would be less wasteful of resources, for example, to strengthen the United Nations, a more international organization than a European defence force could create. Like the US, various EU nations have said that they cannot (or will not) provide additional funding to the United Nations (but are willing to blame it as soon as things go wrong). And yet, it is somehow easy to contribute to a European force of larger size?

For more information, you could start at the following:

  • EU - Can imperial policies and wars be avoided now?2 Pressinfo #110, January 3, 2000, TFF (The Transnational Foundation for Peace and Future Research).
  • The Militarisation of the European Union: A civilisational mistake3, Pressinfo #107, December 7, 2000, TFF (The Transnational Foundation for Peace and Future Research).
  • Gloves Come Off in U.S.-EU Defense Dialogue4, Tomas Valasek, Volume 4 Issue #48, December 7, 2000, Center for Defense Information.

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Foreign Policy — Projecting Power

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