N6376M
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EU Military Official Suggest Europe Defend Itself

Mon Jan 19, 2004 9:13 pm

SALEN, Sweden, Jan 18 (Reuters) - The European Union's top military official suggested on Sunday that American and European forces should be responsible for their own territorial defence and only cooperate on major crises outside their regions.

Full story http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/STA853854.htm.

# # #

Amen. Bring our troops and our dollars home.

Paraphrasing from a few good men, "they sleep under the blanket of our protection but then criticize the way we do it."

Let's see how long a peaceful European subcontinent can exist without the US military's presence.
 
Sabena 690
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RE: EU Military Official Suggest Europe Defend Itself

Mon Jan 19, 2004 9:27 pm

Sounds extremely stupid.

The US cannot without the EU, but the EU of course can't without the US.

Coöperation is what we need. This sounds more like something from an Euro-centric/nationalist (actually the same disgusting nationalistic reaction as some Americans have).
 
MD-90
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RE: EU Military Official Suggest Europe Defend Itself

Mon Jan 19, 2004 9:39 pm

Sabena 690, let me suggest something crazy here.

Let's say that China and Russia decide to invade Europe (don't ask me why they'd bother, but hey, this is a speculative scenario). You have Chinese manpower and Russian military expertise.

Europe would fold like a wet rag before them if the US didn't intervene. Sorry, but that's the truth. Then again, I guess passing a UN resolution condemning China and Russia would make them stop their invasion, right? They'd have much more trouble taking the U.K., but frankly Belgium would get stomped.

Continental Europe does not need to go the way of Canada. A report was just released that said that by 2015 Canada's military would literally cease to exist. Not a good thing.
 
Sabena 690
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RE: EU Military Official Suggest Europe Defend Itself

Mon Jan 19, 2004 9:47 pm

MD-90: I totally agree with your situation.

I'm very pro an EU-military. We are really 'outdated' when you compare our military with the one of the US. I don't say we have to become totally militarized, but we need a strong coöperation between all EU-countries and a stronger military in general.

For example the war in Iraq: we would be able to support the US in several tasks, but where the latest technology is needed, we would not be able to intervene.

First we need a European military, and this in strong coöperation with the US for general trainings, sharing of techniques,...

Frederic
 
Klaus
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RE: EU Military Official Suggest Europe Defend Itself

Mon Jan 19, 2004 10:50 pm

MD-90, if you´d just bother to actually read the article, you´d see that he merely advocated that Europe should shoulder its adequate part of the burden.

The de-facto-demilitarization of Germany was very much to the liking of the USA for several decades; After all, we were obviously destined to be the battleground should the cold war ever turn into a hot one.

When the planned Pershing II deployment in the early 1980s made it perfectly clear what our position would be in a conflict (namely one half of the country being the target of the new nuclear weapons deployed in the other half), the new peace movement emerged (which ultimately resulted in the founding of the same green party that´s now in government together with the social democrats).

American politicians often paid lip service to the demand for an increased military role of the european countries (mainly in order to reduce american deployment costs). On the other hand, however, the idea of an actual sharing of power that would have been the obvious consequence was always brusquely refused.

So with the end of the cold war and finally the Bush administration´s termination of the former transatlantic consensus, the necessary consequence must be that Europe has to start becoming independent with regards to its defense.

I don´t think that we´ll absolutely need cold-war-style "total anihilation" capabilities; But we do indeed need to assume much more responsibility on the one hand and release some of the burden the US taxpayers had borne for so long.

This would, of course, turn the previously just pro forma partnership into a real, substantial one in time. But based on the still existing common interests I think this is the way to go.
 
N6376M
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RE: EU Military Official Suggest Europe Defend Itself

Mon Jan 19, 2004 11:03 pm

Sabena 690

Why do you believe the US needs the EU - at least militarily? I'm neither agreeing or disagreeing, just trying to understand your point.

-76M
 
MD-90
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RE: EU Military Official Suggest Europe Defend Itself

Mon Jan 19, 2004 11:12 pm

I don't understand your point. Why would the US want to have troops, tanks, planes, and missiles in Germany for all of those years to defend agains Soviet aggression? Surely NATO would've rather had Germany and continental Europe able to defend itself instead of relying on the US?
 
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STT757
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RE: EU Military Official Suggest Europe Defend Itself

Mon Jan 19, 2004 11:37 pm

My personal feelings is that a US Military presence in Europe is not only justified is a neccesity for both the United States and Europe, the United States benefits greatly from having foward deployed assets such as the Ramstein Army Hospital in Germany.

US Soldiers injured in the Middle East/ Southern Asia/ Africa etc are that much closer to high quality medical care, which means by having a Modern hospital available in Germany means American soldiers seriously wounded in places like Iraq or Afghanistan are "hours" closer to modern medical facilities thus saving LIVES!

Also having units foward deployed in Europe means they are closer to "hot" zones where during a crisis they can be deployed much faster than Units in the Continental United States.

The EU benefits from having a large Military presence to boost their secuirty, which does not interfere with European politics and is respectful to their hosts. US Military installations provide good jobs to locals, more and more support work at US Military bases are now done by civilian locals whether in Germany, Italy or Kentucky.

And I can think of worse places to be based while in the Military than Germany, Britain or Itay!

I've spoken with many friends who have served in the US Army, most of which spent time in Germany and they all loved it so much they go back there on vacation even though they are no longer in the Military.

I support the OIF, but I would much rather see US troops "roughing it" from a warm barracks in Germany where the only danger they face is from drinking too much at the local pubs.

BTW..

Even though it's not as large as the US Presence in Europe, many European Countries such as Germany and Britain have bases in the US. Particulary the German Luftwaffe (sp?) have a base at Washington Dulles airport.
Eastern Air lines flt # 701, EWR-MCO Boeing 757
 
Andreas
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RE: EU Military Official Suggest Europe Defend Itself

Mon Jan 19, 2004 11:44 pm

STT757..that is EXACTLY the point!

Does anybody actually believe, that the USA would be a much safer place with all the armed forces stationed at your own borders??? Not really, I hope!

btw: Yes, your spelling of Luftwaffe is correct!
I know it's only VfB but I like it!
 
racko
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RE: EU Military Official Suggest Europe Defend Its

Tue Jan 20, 2004 12:48 am

I also think that having the US military is to the benefit of both countries. STT757 pointed it out very well. The US should just teach their soldiers how to drive before they're let loose on the Autobahn  Smile
 
Sabena 690
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RE: EU Military Official Suggest Europe Defend Itself

Tue Jan 20, 2004 12:52 am

N6376m: what do you prefer: putting the whole American army in America only, or coöperate with the EU for International Security in a multilateral way?

When the EU and US soldiers would train together, we would be able to act much better in a crisis situation. Now something I have difficulties with to say in English... in Dutch we say: om de militairen van zowel de EU als de US op elkaar in te spelen - a litteraly translation to English (hope you understand): to make that EU and US soldiers are played in on eachother.

When something would happen, one coördination for US and EU troops would be possible.

The first thing we have to do now is forming one EU army, and the second things is that aswell the EU as the US invite eachother for keeping big excercices.

Frederic
 
gkirk
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RE: EU Military Official Suggest Europe Defend Itself

Tue Jan 20, 2004 1:00 am

to make that EU and US soldiers are played in on eachother.

Frederic, were you trying to say that European soldiers and American soldiers should team up together? because the above sentence makes no sense at all.

When you hear the noise of the Tartan Army Boys, we'll be coming down the road!
 
JeffM
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RE: EU Military Official Suggest Europe Defend Itself

Tue Jan 20, 2004 1:05 am

Fred,
U.S. and Foreign troops have been training together for decades.
 
Sabena 690
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RE: EU Military Official Suggest Europe Defend Itself

Tue Jan 20, 2004 1:07 am

the above sentence makes no sense at all.

That's what I already feared...  Sad

What I mean: when US and EU soldiers work together often, both sides know what you can expect from eachother, how you react in certain situations, etc etc etc With a lot of training, EU and US soldiers can do missions together without having problems like for example: the one reacts different in situation X like the other, the one uses a different technique in situation Y than the other,...

It's only a vague explanation, but I don't know how to translate what I precisely mean...  Sad
 
Sabena 690
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RE: EU Military Official Suggest Europe Defend Itself

Tue Jan 20, 2004 1:11 am

I want to intensifie that training, Jeff.

Before a good training is possible, we need a joint military first in Europe.

Like this, Poles will be able to work together with French, Spanish and US soldiers in one team under one coördination for example.

Frederic
 
mopac
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RE: EU Military Official Suggest Europe Defend Itself

Tue Jan 20, 2004 1:44 am

U.S. forces would handle high-intensity operations involving terrorism and weapons of mass destruction while Europeans would concentrate on sustained low-intensity crisis management such as conflict prevention, he said.

WTF????

WORLD: "O.K., we have a major WMD detonation... America... go in and clean it up!"
USA: "Europe, did you bring the suits?"
EUROPE: "What???... Ce qui???... Was???... Che cosa???... Que???..."
USA: "&$^%#"
MEXICO: "Aqui, pierna de Santa Ana de la toma." ("Here, take Santa Anna's leg.")
WORLD: .......
EUROPE: "We'll have a beautiful spread laid out on your return. I'm thinking Ham with a fall Harvest theme."


Why do we get the $hitty jobs?
 
ryanb741
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RE: EU Military Official Suggest Europe Defend Itself

Tue Jan 20, 2004 1:53 am

One question I would like to ask is that if there is a EU army and individual nations contribute men and women to that force, what if there is a similar situation to Iraq where the UK, Spain and Italy wanted to provide troops and the rest of the Eu didn't? If for example military EU decisions are made in Brussels and that decision goes agaisnt the will of other nations, surely those nations then have the right to pull their troops out of the EU military and use them as they see fit. For example there would have been no way the UK would not have provided troops to Operation Iraqi Freedom even if the EU had declared it illegal. Isn't this going to be a problem long-term or am I missing something?
I used to think the brain is the most fascinating part of my body. But, hey, who is telling me that?
 
Klaus
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MoPac

Tue Jan 20, 2004 1:57 am

MoPac: Why do we get the $hitty jobs?

Because you´re trampling over everybody else to be first at the scene, whatever the cost!
 
JeffM
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RE: EU Military Official Suggest Europe Defend Itself

Tue Jan 20, 2004 2:03 am

MoPac.... do you really want those guys doing such work? Conflict prevention alone would probably tie them up in a knot..  Big grin
 
N6376M
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RE: EU Military Official Suggest Europe Defend Itself

Tue Jan 20, 2004 2:10 am

Sabena 690 -

I believe that the largest threat currently posed to the US comes from non-conventional sources (i.e. terrorist). Though our President has identified certain nations (the axis of evil) as being threats to the US, only N. Korea has any sort of weaponry capable of threatening the US. Iraq certainly could have served as a destabilizing influence in the Middle East that would have certainly affected US interest - but we took care of that problem.

Clearly, there was great disagreement over the use of force in Iraq and many nations exercised their sovereign right to refuse to participate in the action, with many more sending just token forces. Though there is no way to be certain, I would highly doubt that an EU military under EU (as opposed to individual country) control would actually participate in military actions with the United States against the risks the US faces.

This being the case, if the EU and the US are not going to actually fight together, why should they train together?

Until their is a resolution of the larger philosophical differences between the EU and the US (specifically is the best defense a good offense - like GWB has argued), then the likelihood of the US and the EU conducting any sort of significant military operations together are remote.

Even in the former Yugoslavia, the pretext of a joint NATO exercise was largely superficial as the matter wasn't addressed until the US got involved.

I find it very concerning that the US soldier is constantly confronted with cries of Yankee go home, yet when there's a problem in Europe's back yard, it's the US soldier that has to be the one who leads everyone into battle. I find it hypocritical.

If Europe wants to take control of its military responsibilities - I say let them. I'll be that within 50 years they'll be cries for the US to return.

-76M

[Edited 2004-01-19 18:21:00]
 
N6376M
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RE: EU Military Official Suggest Europe Defend Itself

Tue Jan 20, 2004 2:18 am

Klaus writes:

Because you are trampling over everybody else to be first at the scene, whatever the cost!

How much longer should we have waited in the Balklands before intervening? How long did Europe allow the genocide to occur in its backyard without doing anything to stop it? Please don't talk to me about sanctions. People were dying, your militaries had the capabilities and you stood idly by.

If anyone should have taken the lead to prevent the ethnic cleaning occurring on Europe's doorstep it should have been Germany.

I think that act would have been an excellent way of showing Europe that Germany's previous mistakes have no place in this day and age.

There are two types of crimes, crimes of commission and crimes of omission. Germany committed the former in WWII and was guilty (as was the rest of the EU) of the later in the 90's.

It's always easy to wait and see, but true leadership means that when there is a call to action, you lead and bear the consequences for doing so.

-76M

[Edited 2004-01-19 18:19:20]
 
mopac
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RE: EU Military Official Suggest Europe Defend Itself

Tue Jan 20, 2004 2:19 am

Because you´re trampling over everybody else to be first at the scene, whatever the cost!

Ahhh.... I thought it was because Europe was trampling over everybody else while running away.  Big grin


Seriously though, I think it is high time that Europe bear a bigger share of the burden. I wonder if Europe isn't too comfortable to seriously address issues though. It seems to me that many on the continent are iron clad in their belief that international conflicts resolve themselves peacefully. Nothing would please me more than to see Europe's tether cut.
 
zak
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RE: EU Military Official Suggest Europe Defend Itself

Tue Jan 20, 2004 3:05 am

more and more military spending! yay! bush doctrine applied to europe!
it is quite simple, europe is not threatened by anyone. military power is about one thing: the ability to project power. and europe needs to buildup its ability to project military power to a certain degree.
quit frankly, noone has a higher military capability in europe then the eu countries. china might have endless military power to fight wars on its soil, but very limited global projection capability.
every military today, with little exception smaller parts of the u.s. military, are still structured in the way they were suited for the hot war after the cold war.
that means european military has a massive focus on force projection in a european theater. that is why the european militaries all lack airlift capability.
in contrast, the u.s. has a huge navy and airforce in comparison to the army, due to the fact that the u.s. had to secure the REFORGER (REinFORceGERmany) seaways incase a certain defcon level had been reached from soviet attacks in addition to securing the pacific theater.
the pacific and north atlantic theater both call for massive air and naval power, also airpower is easier projected abroad.
i simply dont think that russia, india, china,japan europe and the u.s. can be taken over by hostile forces in the current situation.
all are able to project power on a local level in a way that an invasion would simply be doomed.
such a situation is totally different from the wars that we have seen since the russian afghanistan(where the chinese ability to deploy massive forces locally forced the current bordersituation because it was obvious that the UN could not counter that).
the 91 gulf war and the current colonization were both rather "easy" victories due to the fact that the emphasis on force projection through airpower is nowhere as good as in a flat desert. on the contrary in vietnam the lack of force projection during airpower caused the u.s. massive problems(which they tried to counter with agent orange etc).
i hope i was able to add few things to consider in the discussion.
10=2
 
N6376M
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RE: EU Military Official Suggest Europe Defend Itself

Tue Jan 20, 2004 3:20 am

Zak,

I'd argue that the US is the only nation that could conduct offensive, opposed military operations against a nation which it didn't share a common border with. The last country to even try something like this without direct US involvment was the UK against the Falklands.

Look just how much trouble they had projecting force over a distance. I've read a couple books on the subject and the common thinking is that if the US hadn't given the Brits the Sidewinder and Argentina have a couple more of its bombs explode instead of being duds, the UK would not have retaken the islands.

I agree with you that China is strong, they might even be able to take Taiwan if the US didn't defend the ROC (though they'd take huge losses on an opposed attack to seize the island).

However, to the best of my knowledge no country other than the US has even the equipment necessary to conduct offensive operations outside it immediate regions.
 
Andreas
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RE: EU Military Official Suggest Europe Defend Itself

Tue Jan 20, 2004 3:25 am

Quote:
If anyone should have taken the lead to prevent the ethnic cleaning occurring on Europe's doorstep it should have been Germany. I think that act would have been an excellent way of showing Europe that Germany's previous mistakes have no place in this day and age.

What an unbelievable nonsense...do you have any idea about size, manpower, equipment etc. of the German military? No, definitely not, because then you wouldn't post such a nonsense. Just in case you forgot, this is the result of WW2, and correctly so: German military is no more able to attack another country. To go to Yugoslavia would have been suicide and would have resulted in a bloodbath. Is that what you would have liked to see?

There are two types of crimes, crimes of commission and crimes of omission. Germany committed the former in WWII and was guilty (as was the rest of the EU) of the later in the 90's.

What a bigot and dirty thing to say for an American. Of course it is true, but just in case you forgot: That same goes for the USA...remember Ruanda? Israel-Palestine? North Korea and its own citizens? Tibet?
Funny how the US of A chose NOT to step in...and YOU are accusing the EU of a crime of ommission?

Wow, talk about double standards!
I know it's only VfB but I like it!
 
zak
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RE: EU Military Official Suggest Europe Defend Itself

Tue Jan 20, 2004 3:25 am

"However, to the best of my knowledge no country other than the US has even the equipment necessary to conduct offensive operations outside it immediate regions."

where did i doubt that?
all i said is that military power is based on the principles of power projection, and that no country would be able to project more power within the european theatre then the eu countries.
i absolutely agree that the u.s. are the only country able to wage war on a certain scale abroad. however that does also have quite the limitations, they just have not shown recently because the engagements done in the recent past were all with ABSOLUTE air superiority due to lack of air defense and/or natural cover.
10=2
 
mopac
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RE: EU Military Official Suggest Europe Defend Itself

Tue Jan 20, 2004 3:38 am

it is quite simple, europe is not threatened by anyone

Now you get it.

Since your not busy... which mess do you want: you can run interference between the Israelis and Palestinians, or you can keep the Al Sa'uds from being overthrown, Korea... that's bound to get messy, China & Taiwan can get hot, what about Africa... you've got some experience there but we'll have to work on your execution, then there's always the "German Factor" hiding in the shadows... must keep an eye on that one, etc...

I suggest starting off with quelling a fundamentalist movement... Indonesia maybe... And presto: Europe's threatened... and hated too, give a call when you get to that point and we'll talk you through it.  Big grin
 
donder10
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RE: EU Military Official Suggest Europe Defend Itself

Tue Jan 20, 2004 3:38 am

What a bigot and dirty thing to say for an American. Of course it is true, but just in case you forgot: That same goes for the USA...remember Ruanda? Israel-Palestine? North Korea and its own citizens? Tibet?
Funny how the US of A chose NOT to step in...and YOU are accusing the EU of a crime of ommission

Germany should have stepped in because the conflict was next door to them!Why should the US have to intervene in areas in Europe?Likewise,Belgium should have dealt with Rwanda.


What an unbelievable nonsense...do you have any idea about size, manpower, equipment etc. of the German military?
The German army has an annual budget of around EU24BN and 285,000 soldiers.Unfortunately,too much of it is of the cold war heavy type so not really of much use today.
 
Andreas
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RE: EU Military Official Suggest Europe Defend Itself

Tue Jan 20, 2004 3:46 am

Donder: That is not what he said...he talked about crimes...and I still believe that it is completely irrelevant WHERE such crimes happen...btw, if I remember correctly, Iraq is not exactly at the USA's doorstep.

German military: Yes that's about the numbers (currently under negotiation).
And what would you think can be done with that...a large part of that number are not professionals but guys who are there because they have to ("Wehrpflicht", not to be found in the USA). This army is just not able to attack another country, or step into a war the size of the one in Yugoslavia. Subsequently Germany didn't start any wars since WW2, and I like it that way...and the rest of the world, too, I guess. Unfortunately a few people found out the hard way lately, that war games are fu..ing expensive, and are now trying to externalise these cost!
I know it's only VfB but I like it!
 
N6376M
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RE: EU Military Official Suggest Europe Defend Itself

Tue Jan 20, 2004 4:41 am

If you don't think that it's criminal for the leading nations of Europe to allow ethnic cleansing to occur on their doorstep, then I think that it says a lot about you. You can attempt to divert attention from the issue, which is these things were going on within a day's driving distance of many European cities, yet the EU stood by.

Please tell me how that same criteria applies to Rwanda, Israel, or Tibet (I have no idea what you are referring to w/r/t the and your citizens part)? When killings were going on in Central America the US tried to get involved and was universally condemned - so much so that our Congress passed legislation precluding the government from acting. Remember Iran-Contra?

The hypocrisy is for many in Europe to condem the US for intervening around the world yet require US intervention before their own countries take action. For the record, I believe that the whole world is guilty of ignoring the autrocities in Rwanda.

So do you want the US to be the policeman of the world or not? You can't have it both ways.

Name for me a single action taken by a European country to alleviate the autrocities in another state that did not involve significant US military forces. Its time you accept the fact that Europe doesn't lead, it follows (and then criticizes those who lead - we call it arm chair quarterbacking in the US).

I could care less about the size of the German army. The point precisely is that the US has been spending billions upon billions of dollars defending Europe and Europe has been getting a free ride. It's time Europeans pay their share or bear the consequences of being up prepared. What do you think the effect of having the European government pay the full cost of their defense would have on the stability pact?
 
FDXmech
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RE: EU Military Official Suggest Europe Defend Itself

Tue Jan 20, 2004 6:24 am

One reasons it would be politically expediant for the U.S. to bring back much of its force structure is grassroot economics. After the Cold War ended, the Pentagon reduced its forces & eliminated and reduced many bases along with its civilian workforce to reflect the new reality. This of course put many military base towns and regions in economic hardship as its main source of revenue and job producer no longer existed. Especially bad as the last years of the Cold War saw dramatic buildups for many bases. The rationale of bringing the troops home to spread the wealth within our own borders will most likely intensify.
You're only as good as your last departure.
 
Klaus
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RE: EU Military Official Suggest Europe Defend Itself

Tue Jan 20, 2004 8:14 am

A few points have been missing from the topic about the balkans war:


a) None of you seem to be aware what the nazi occupation actually meant for Yugoslavia. One of the many low points was the employment of croatian fascist forces under the name "Ustaca" to fight the largely serbian resistance. The long-time yugoslavian president/dictator "Tito" made his fame by still resisting the onslaught of the german and the collaborating fascist troops.

This history is not forgotten to this day, and it helped a great deal to alienate the yugoslavian people from each other when the nation state began to disintegrate.

Bringing in - of all nations! - the german army to "pacify" the conflict would have lobbed a hand grenade into a powder keg!


b) Politically, there actually is some european and specifically german responsibility for the disorderly disintegration of Yugoslavia: When the first regions quickly seceded from the nation, the german Kohl administration with our foreign minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher eagerly declared the german recognition of the separated states and thereby declared the state of Yugoslavia deceased, automatically punching the "remaining" Serbia in the face, which just happened to control most of the Yugoslavian military. There were some who warned beforehand that this couldn´t mean a happy ending...

As far as I remember, it was the slovenian secession that set things in motion back then; A slightly less aggressive and unbalanced approach might have kept a path open to weaken the serbian militarists and to maybe prevent the open war that followed. (PHX-LJU may be able to shed some more light on the matter without escalating the discussion all too much.  Wink/being sarcastic)


c) There is no excuse for a certain group of european military to let serbian militia slaughter the muslim population in Srebrenica. Even though they might have been unable to resist militarily on their own, merely abandoning the population was inexcusable.


d) "Europe standing idly by until the USA came to save the day"?
Well, it´s not quite that simple. It turned out rather quickly that european capabilities - always being kept below a critical limit under the supremacy of the USA - were simply unable to go in alone. I still remember the news during the time; The primary discussion was that the Clinton administration simply refused to deploy ground troops for fear of potential casualties. Which is understandable in itself, but it gave Milosevic and his minions enough time to start a large "ethnic cleansing" campaign while the strategy was still being discussed at length. (Fanatics on the other sides weren´t all that much better, just on a lesser scale.)

Later, US invasion tactics made the re-civilisation quite a bit more complicated than necessary (carelessly bombarding civilian targets, propping up local warlords etc.) and are a lingering liability in the nation-building process to this day.


I simply think it´s inevitable to develop european troops to the point where they would be actually able to deal with such a conflict on their own, while they should still operate under UN mandate wherever possible. Absolutely needing US reinforcements even in such a local conflict cannot be acceptable in the long run if such an outcome is to be avoided in the future. There is no place for a transatlantic rivalry in that regard, but real cooperation becomes difficult when the partners are just too far apart in their capabilities.


MoPac: Ahhh.... I thought it was because Europe was trampling over everybody else while running away.

Cowards wouldn´t choose Afghanistan, of all places, to run to; Don´t you think?

If we would have wanted the "easy way", we would have a) not bothered to engage in nation-building at all and b) certainly tagged along into the Iraq disaster.
 
JeffM
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RE: EU Military Official Suggest Europe Defend Itself

Tue Jan 20, 2004 8:40 am

"tagged along on the tails of the Iraqi Liberation." Disaster is what they had before Klaus...  Big grin
 
Klaus
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JeffM

Tue Jan 20, 2004 8:50 am

JeffM: Disaster is what they had before Klaus...

They certainly had oppression; Now they and the invaders have a disaster on their hands. I´m not sure the civilian and military victims and everyone who´s hoping on the future of a functioning UN would share your enthusiasm. Lies, deceit and intimidation are not a happy perspective for anyone.
 
JeffM
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RE: EU Military Official Suggest Europe Defend Itself

Tue Jan 20, 2004 9:41 am

I think people have been hoping for a "functioning" UN for more then a decade.. Long before the liberation of Iraq.

"Lies, deceit and intimidation are not a happy perspective for anyone." I agree. We are glad to be rid of Clinton, and looking forward to another 4 from George and company. Good point.
 
Guest

RE: EU Military Official Suggest Europe Defend Itself

Tue Jan 20, 2004 9:55 am

Klaus wrote:

"When the first regions quickly seceded from the nation, the german Kohl administration with our foreign minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher eagerly declared the german recognition of the separated states and thereby declared the state of Yugoslavia deceased, automatically punching the "remaining" Serbia in the face, which just happened to control most of the Yugoslavian military. There were some who warned beforehand that this couldn´t mean a happy ending..."

Hans-Dietrich Genscher did the right thing by recognizing Slovenia and Croatia; his courageous move, among other things, means that he will forever be remembered as one of the 20th century's greatest statesmen. Let's not forget that Serbia was the agressor here and began its war of expansion long before Germany's recognition of the two countries. Sure, the leadership of Croatia also bears some blame for antagonizing its Serb minority, but what you are suggesting -- that Germany and the EU should have placated nationalist, expansionist Serbia by not recognizing Croatia and, more significantly, democratic and pro-Western Slovenia -- doesn't make much sense. After all, Milosevic meade it clear on many occasions that he was not willing to compromise or negotiate. The international community made a mistake by not being harder with Milosevic's Serbia; i.e. isolating it early on, and beginning with air strikes as soon as its war of expansion began (keep in mind that this worked many years later).

"As far as I remember, it was the slovenian secession that set things in motion back then."

Slovenia seceded after facing several years of threats, abuse, and intimidation from the nationalist, anti-Western Milosevic regime in Serbia, which came to power in the late 1980s. As an emerging pro-Western democracy, the country decided that it could no longer live in a federal entity being reshaped and redrawn by an opportunist demagogue (who had already abolished two autonomous provinces and was determined to create a Greater Serbia). Slovenia would have never seceded had the situation not turned ugly; conversely, any pro-Western nation or republic would have seen leaving a country in such a abysmal state as the only logical solution. Slovenia did not even have an indiginous Serbian minority, so this wasn't even an issue, as it was with Croatia, which also declared independence following Slovenia's lead. Besides, Milosevic didn't even want to keep Slovenia, and even eventually agreed to let it leave the union; it was the hard-line federal army that started the Ten Day War in Slovenia. Milosevic did want about a third of Croatia; that's how that war began. The notion that Slovenia was the spark that ignited the wars in Croatia and Bosnia is a myth. Sure, Croatia followed Slovenia's lead and declared its own independence, prompting Milosevic to seize its territory at that moment, but Yugoslavia was already collapsing at that time (again, thanks to Milosevic), and could only have been held together by tyranny. In other words, it was Milosevic, certainly not Slovenia, who set things in motion for the wars in Croatia and Bosnia.

For a fair and relatively unbiased analysis of the entire situation, I suggest you read Little and Silber's Yugoslavia: Death of a Nation, known in Europe as The Death of Yugoslavia. I don't agree with everything in it, but it's a great start on this subject.
 
N6376M
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RE: EU Military Official Suggest Europe Defend Itself

Tue Jan 20, 2004 10:06 am

Later, US invasion tactics made the re-civilisation quite a bit more complicated than necessary (carelessly bombarding civilian targets, propping up local warlords etc.) and are a lingering liability in the nation-building process to this day.

So again, Europe doesn't act but when the US does we're criticized for how we did it. I guess it must be fun to sit on the sidelines and second guess those who lead.

I also like the way you spin the fact that Clinton didn't want to send our troops in to resolve a European issue is what allowed the ethnic cleansing to occur. That's beautiful - so its our fault for not acting AND our fault for how we acted.

 
JeffM
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RE: EU Military Official Suggest Europe Defend Itself

Tue Jan 20, 2004 10:09 am

Don't let it get to you N6376m....

They have had the rear sled dog's view for so long...
 
Klaus
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RE: EU Military Official Suggest Europe Defend Itself

Tue Jan 20, 2004 11:14 am

PHX-LJU: Hans-Dietrich Genscher did the right thing by recognizing Slovenia and Croatia; his courageous move, among other things, means that he will forever be remembered as one of the 20th century's greatest statesmen.

I´m not so sure about that.

Without a direct military backup, how much did the diplomatic recognition of the seceded states actually accomplish that could not have been accomplished without at the same time publicly declaring the state of Yugoslavia dead and gone? There are many diplomatic levels to express moral support in such a case (it wasn´t more than that, anyway); I´m not convinced the strongest and irreversible one was the best choice at that time.

The former invaders pacting again with the former collaborators (in the case of croatia) - could the serb nationalists have wished for a stronger propaganda argument? Kicking such an argument out of the fanatics´ hands is not appeasement if it helps get results by weakening their power base sufficiently.

Had there been an actual credible military backup for the diplomatic recognition, it would have been an entirely different matter; But as that wasn´t the case (and Milosevic knew it!), it was merely Germany picking a side without getting our feet wet. I can´t be certain an alternative course would actually have made a difference in the outcome, but so openly playing into the hands of the extremists (even the fanatics on the croatian side felt encouraged!) doesn´t look like a bright idea to me.

Still no question about an ultimate recognition of the new states; But the timing could have made the difference between an ill-timed provocation (to which nationalists will always react with escalation!) and a grudging acceptance of reality, however unloved (if the right amount of pressure could have been applied at the same time with a face-saving exit prepared on the right side).

I´m still not convinced, yet.


N6376m: So again, Europe doesn't act but when the US does we're criticized for how we did it. I guess it must be fun to sit on the sidelines and second guess those who lead.

It came down to military capability, not willingness. And Europe simply couldn´t jump in on its own (the topic of this thread), wasn´t listened to during the preparation of the attacks, but is certainly involved in the "cleanup" after the fact. So yes, I think we should look at opportunities for improvement.

Especially when you´re looking at a pattern that has recurred in both Afghanistan and Iraq and is again contributing to similar reconstruction problems in both countries.

"We" can´t - and usually don´t - claim to be perfect ourselves. But the "shut up - we´re above criticism!" attitude isn´t helpful, either.
 
Guest

RE: EU Military Official Suggest Europe Defend Itself

Tue Jan 20, 2004 12:28 pm

Klaus wrote:

"Without a direct military backup, how much did the diplomatic recognition of the seceded states actually accomplish that could not have been accomplished without at the same time publicly declaring the state of Yugoslavia dead and gone?"

But the recognition in effect declared Yugoslavia, as it previously existed, dead and gone.

"There are many diplomatic levels to express moral support in such a case (it wasn´t more than that, anyway); I´m not convinced the strongest and irreversible one was the best choice at that time."

In the case of Slovenia, the country met all the criteria for recognition. More than 90% of eligible voters voted in favor of independence, it had a democratically elected government, it had a defined territory, etc. If the Baltic states had the right to secede, why not Slovenia? Why were those who opposed the recognition of Slovenia's independence always treating it together with Croatia; after all, since Croatia was the only "disputed" case by late 1991, why shouldn't Slovenia have been recognized alone?

Besides, while Croatia was a different case given Tudjman's nationalistic excesses, as I've said, witholding recognition wouldn't have acomplished anything, buexcept giving additional legitimacy to Milosevic's agression. Milosevic wanted a third of Croatia for his Greater Serbia, regardless of the country's recognition (or lack thereof), and only opression could have held Yugoslavia together. Besides, Croatia also voted for independence in a referendum and the Serb minority, while it had legitimate concerns, had no right to secede from Croatia, as it did not exist as a territorial entity within the old Yugoslavia (their territory was a part of Croatia).

"The former invaders pacting again with the former collaborators (in the case of croatia) - could the serb nationalists have wished for a stronger propaganda argument? Kicking such an argument out of the fanatics´ hands is not appeasement if it helps get results by weakening their power base sufficiently."

I can't see how Germany's refusal to recognize Slovenia and Croatia would have changed the situation in Serbia, which was gripped by nationalistic madness in the early 1990s, not unlike what Germany experienced in the 1930s. Just as Hitler had a specific expansionist plan back then, so Milosevic too had a vision of a Greater Serbia in the '90s, and no diplomacy, or the removal of specific nationalist arguments, could have stopped it; when Hitler got Sudetenland, for example, were the nationalist forces in Germany calmed down? Nope. The only major difference between the two was that Hitler was guided by fanatical nationalism, while Milosevic was really just an opportunist, who sensed that he could have his way by embracing extreme expansionist nationalism.

If you are reffering to the propaganda argument as it existed outside Serb nationalist circles (where, as I've said, it made little difference), forget it; no one else, except a few extreme leftist nuts, believed in those wild theories about Germany's "colonialism" in the region. Only the nationalists, both Croat and Serb, still lived in 1940.

"But as that wasn´t the case (and Milosevic knew it!), it was merely Germany picking a side without getting our feet wet."

But what was the alternative? Being neutral in a conflict between a murderous tyrant and two pro-Western states (one of them admittedly flawed)? What kind of message would that have sent to the world? No, the problem was not in picking a side; the international community (Europe and the US) should have gotten its feet wet from day one, thereby limiting a disastrous war on European soil.

"I can´t be certain an alternative course would actually have made a difference in the outcome, but so openly playing into the hands of the extremists (even the fanatics on the croatian side felt encouraged!) doesn´t look like a bright idea to me."

Again, I don't see how the recognition of Croatia emboldened the Serb extremists. After all, they had resorted to violence well before recognition; sure, they kept mouthing off about the new imperialist Croatian-German alliance, but that was just limited propaganda for domestic use and, as I have argued, it's most unlikely that it changed anything.

"But the timing could have made the difference between an ill-timed provocation (to which nationalists will always react with escalation!) and a grudging acceptance of reality, however unloved (if the right amount of pressure could have been applied at the same time with a face-saving exit prepared on the right side)."

How? I'd really like to know, because Slovenia tried to negotiate with Milosevic for years and couldn't get anywhere. Which reality should Germany have accepted? A Greater Serbia or a failed Yugoslavia held together by opression? How would the war have been prevented?
 
Klaus
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PHX-LJU

Wed Jan 21, 2004 2:29 am

PHX-LJU: But the recognition in effect declared Yugoslavia, as it previously existed, dead and gone.

So how did that on its own actually protect anyone from the fanatics?
As I said, I was always for the recognition of the independent states, I´m just questioning the how and when in the context of the belligerence of the time.


PHX-LJU: why not Slovenia?

I don´t dispute the independence in itself; I´ve already said that before.


PHX-LJU: Besides, Croatia also voted for independence in a referendum and the Serb minority, while it had legitimate concerns, had no right to secede from Croatia, as it did not exist as a territorial entity within the old Yugoslavia (their territory was a part of Croatia).

That´s one of the reasons why it all went to hell: Everybody emphasizing their own rights, not caring what the other group´s rights were. It´s not that simple.


PHX-LJU: I can't see how Germany's refusal to recognize Slovenia and Croatia would have changed the situation in Serbia, which was gripped by nationalistic madness in the early 1990s, not unlike what Germany experienced in the 1930s.

That´s actually my point: Without the clumsy handling of the Versailles Treaty and without many other mistakes and omissions, the Weimar Republic could have survived and may have defeated the nazis. It was a different case in very many details, but even fanatical movements are vulnerable to losing momentum if the other side has the resources and knows what it´s doing.


PHX-LJU: But what was the alternative?

For instance:

- Acknowledging the fundamental validity of the independence, leaving the full diplomatic recognition hanging to leave some room to maneuver.

- Indicating the willingness to help protect the peace and the minorities on both sides. (That one would, of course, have required a credible military threat.)

- Additional economic and diplomatic pressure for substance, the setup of minimal face-saving exits for appearances.

Hindsight and not having the final responsibility always makes it easier to have a clear opinion. But there can´t be much doubt that the whole affair was a big disaster. And I´m just not impressed with what I´ve seen happening back then: Basically, it was a slap on the backs of the seceded regions, leaving them out in the cold at the same time and publicly giving Serbia a kick in the groin.

The sensitivities for potential atrocities and for the legitimate amount of interference with other´s "internal affairs" has changed quite a bit in the meantime; But even so, I thought it was a pretty weak effort.


PHX-LJU: Which reality should Germany have accepted?

You have it backwards: I was talking about forcing Serbia to accept - however grudgingly - that they couldn´t keep control of the periphery against the will of the populations. The nationalists would have been furious, that´s for sure; But giving the general population a clear sense of a heightened risk and of diminished gains in a potential conflict can go a long way in weakening the grip of the fanatics. Without any spoils to distribute, they have a problem.
 
Guest

RE: EU Military Official Suggest Europe Defend Itself

Fri Jan 23, 2004 3:16 pm

Klaus wrote:

"By itself, it did not. As I have argued, it should have been backed up by a very real threat of force. But violence was already raging -- with much of Croatia under Serb control -- when the recognition came, so I can't see how the recognition made matters worse."

"That´s actually my point: Without the clumsy handling of the Versailles Treaty and without many other mistakes and omissions, the Weimar Republic could have survived and may have defeated the nazis."


Serbia was well past the Weimar phase when the recognition came. Since it was already militarily involved in Croatia at the time, you could extend the analogy and argue that it was well after September 1939 on Milosevic's calendar. Serbian nationalism, together with the Croatian equally nationalistic reaction, certainly did not need Germany's recognition to excuse its actions. It simply wasn't a factor, beyond a few rhetorical uses.

"Indicating the willingness to help protect the peace and the minorities on both sides. (That one would, of course, have required a credible military threat.)"

Agreed.

"Additional economic and diplomatic pressure for substance, the setup of minimal face-saving exits for appearances."

With the war already raging, and with Milosevic's determination to pursue a Greater Serbia, this wouldn't have been nearly enough.

"The sensitivities for potential atrocities and for the legitimate amount of interference with other´s "internal affairs" has changed quite a bit in the meantime;"

Even then, the international community should have realized that, the moment Croatia and Slovenia took control of their own borders, the situation ceased to be an internal affair.

"Basically, it was a slap on the backs of the seceded regions, leaving them out in the cold at the same time and publicly giving Serbia a kick in the groin."

Serbia under Milosevic deserved a hell of a lot bigger kick in the groin than it got (it finally received it in 1999). But, as I've said, the recognition did not make anything worse than it would have been otherwise. Military action by the West, on the other hand, would have helped enourmosly.

While Milosevic did not care about Croatia's recognition in late 1991, recognizing Slovenia even earlier that year could have prevented our Ten Day War, because the federal government, at that point, still cared about world opinion.

"But giving the general population a clear sense of a heightened risk and of diminished gains in a potential conflict can go a long way in weakening the grip of the fanatics."

Again, the fanatics were firmly in the driver's seat at that point, with the recognition playing almost no part in their previously planned actions.
 
Klaus
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PHX-LJU

Fri Jan 23, 2004 7:15 pm

We may never know how much external pressure would have prevented the atrocities we´ve seen. But when the only response is diplomatic, it should be much better than merely picking a side and leaning back to watch the events unfold.
 
Guest

RE: EU Military Official Suggest Europe Defend Itself

Sat Jan 24, 2004 12:24 am

Klaus wrote:

"But when the only response is diplomatic, it should be much better than merely picking a side and leaning back to watch the events unfold."

I agree that the international community shouldn't have leaned back and watched the events unfold, but I disagree with the "not picking a side" part. It is true that there was nationalism and intolerance on the Croatian and Bosnian Muslim sides as well, and that it, in some cases, caused local Serbs to rebel, but the fact remains that it was Milosevic's Serbia which actively supported the Serb minority's armed uprising in Croatia. It was the then-Srerbian-controled Yugoslav army that intervened, turning the conflict into a major war which eventually spread into Bosnia. To deny that the wars were started by Milosevic's plans for a Greater Serbia, and to assign equal responsibility to all sides -- even though all sides were guilty of nationalism and intolerance -- is historic revisionism, I'm afraid. After all, it wasn't Croatia, whatever its faults, that occupied Serbian territory, but the other way around. And who knows, without Milosevic's nationalist campaigns of the late 1980s, which scared practically every non-Serb living in the country, it's possible that Tudjman would not have enjoyed the support he ultimately got.
 
Klaus
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PHX-LJU

Sat Jan 24, 2004 12:39 am

At least the croatians, the muslims and the serbs committed major atrocities during the conflict. This automatically precludes the notion that any "side" in the conflict should just have been picked for blind support.

Was Milosevics´ Serbia the primary aggressor? Sure. But that just doesn´t relieve everybody else of all the responsbility for their own actions.

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