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AerospaceFan
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Will Europe Have A Unified Military?

Sat Feb 11, 2006 12:45 pm

What do you think are the odds of Europe's having a unified rapid reaction force? I seem to have read that there are already the beginnings of one.

Right now, Europe seems to be associated with NATO for its continental defense, but perhaps soon that alliance will be only one aspect of its overall military force structure.

Thanks in advance.
 
dl021
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RE: Will Europe Have A Unified Military?

Sat Feb 11, 2006 1:30 pm

They currently have a unified command structure under NATO. If one nation is attacked they all are attacked (along with the US, Canada, Iceland and Turkey for non-European nations) and each sector is commanded by different officers from the various nations. Right now, in NATO, US forces are operating under Italian commanders, Germans are commanding French troops, and Dutch soldiers are getting high with Belgian ParaKommandos (just kidding).


Will the merge into one big army without independent national command structures? Not in the next 50 years. It'll probably happen eventually along with a common government that replaces the current national governments completely, but for now they are trying to digest the loss of sovereignty they were not really expecting from the merging of the currency and dealing with the repercussions of trying to have the European constitution supercede their national ones....there's more to do.
 
AerospaceFan
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RE: Will Europe Have A Unified Military?

Sat Feb 11, 2006 1:51 pm

That's a very reasonable analysis, and I can easily agree that national sovereignty will remain a barrier to further integration.

I can't say that I object to the current arrangement relative to NATO, as it certainly appears to have worked for decades.

An aside: Upon reflection, this thread may need to be moved to the Non-Aviation Forum, as I've just realized that my originating message doesn't relate strictly to military aviation. I probably should have posted it there to begin with. My apologies to all concerned.
 
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kc135topboom
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RE: Will Europe Have A Unified Military?

Sat Feb 11, 2006 9:14 pm

I can see it now.....the Luftwaffa merged into the RAF, flying French built Marage 2000s, With Spanish commanders, speaking Italian, operating at Norwegan bases.  Wow!
 
pelican
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RE: Will Europe Have A Unified Military?

Sat Feb 11, 2006 9:26 pm

DL021 You're right about a unified European military, but this has not so much to do with a EU rapid reaction force.

Quoting AerospaceFan (Thread starter):
What do you think are the odds of Europe's having a unified rapid reaction force? I seem to have read that there are already the beginnings of one.

Yes the EU or at least the countries which didn't opt out have began to form a rapid reaction force. The ERRF has already accomplished a mission in Macedonia and is currently operating in Bosnia - were it has taken over the SFOR mission from the NATO. But as far as I know it hasn't reached 60.000 troops yet.

pelican
 
TheSonntag
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RE: Will Europe Have A Unified Military?

Sun Feb 12, 2006 12:21 am

Will Europe ever have a unified military?

Never.

Would it be needed?

Of Course!

Could you imagine a French military under the sole command of the EU? Or a British one? I cannot. I agree that it certainly is needed, but I doubt it will ever happen. However, there are certain wise steps which have been taken already, like the SFOR mission being under EU command now.

So maybe in 50 years from now the situation will be better...

Michael
 
SWISSER
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RE: Will Europe Have A Unified Military?

Sun Feb 12, 2006 5:12 am

Quoting TheSonntag (Reply 5):
I agree that it certainly is needed, but I doubt it will ever happen.

Well the Belgian military is reforming to go under an almost complete logistic army with only a few percentages of today's "attack" force.
Several A400M's where ordered to justifie this and I believe only weeks ago some sort of multi purpose transports where ordered for future assistance in Congo and other African nations where Belgium "still" has ties.

I hear in Brussels much talk lately for a unified EU army.
let us hope the "big kids" don't spoil it again as with the constitution!  Wink
 
Klaus
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RE: Will Europe Have A Unified Military?

Sun Feb 12, 2006 5:58 am

Quoting DL021 (Reply 1):
Will the merge into one big army without independent national command structures? Not in the next 50 years. It'll probably happen eventually along with a common government that replaces the current national governments completely, but for now they are trying to digest the loss of sovereignty they were not really expecting from the merging of the currency and dealing with the repercussions of trying to have the European constitution supercede their national ones....there's more to do.

That's a rather common misperception among people who can't wrap their head around the fact that the European Union is a completely new kind of supranational entity.

Trying to cram it into the conventional idea of a nation state will never work.

a) The EU will pretty certainly never "replace" the national governments. It is and will remain an additional level of subsidiarity on top of the local, regional and national ones. There is no need, no interest and no advantage in merging separate nation states just because conventional thinking can't cope with the idea of a supranational political structure.

b) The €uro hasn't affected any nation's sovereignty in any significant way. Most european countries had a stable currency before, and they have one now. Recklessly fiddling with the currency to cover up holes in one's economic policies has never really worked anyway.

c) The European Constitution deals with fundamental human and civic rights which are shared among all member nations anyway, gives more power on european matters to the European Parliament, makes the Council voting rules viable again and beyond that primarily formalizes and streamlines the relationship the European Union has to the national and regional structures below it. All of this is right now a huge mess of separate treaties and accords which are increasingly cumbersome and are increasingly holding everybody back. There is no "supercedence" happening to any significant degree. The constitution will come, it will probably just undergo some tweaking and minor modifications.

d) It is absolutely inevitable to have shared military infrastructure with the challenges that are likely to happen. No european nation needs its troops to fight any of the other ones any more, so pooling at least a part of the member nation's military resources is only efficient and sensible. It is obvious that no troops could be deployed without their respective national government's approval (that will not change), but otherwise it is a necessary and welcome development. Why waste resources on inefficient parallel structures where they could be pooled to the same political effect but at much lower budgetary effort?
 
halls120
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RE: Will Europe Have A Unified Military?

Sun Feb 12, 2006 6:15 am

Quoting Klaus (Reply 7):
a) The EU will pretty certainly never "replace" the national governments. It is and will remain an additional level of subsidiarity on top of the local, regional and national ones.

But under the now-stalled EU Constitution, weren't the national governments slated to lose certain elements of their sovereign power?

What is the status of the Constitution at this point?

Quoting Klaus (Reply 7):
No european nation needs its troops to fight any of the other ones any more, so pooling at least a part of the member nation's military resources is only efficient and sensible. It is obvious that no troops could be deployed without their respective national government's approval (that will not change), but otherwise it is a necessary and welcome development. Why waste resources on inefficient parallel structures where they could be pooled to the same political effect but at much lower budgetary effort?

I agree. Unlike some, I think the idea of a unifed Euopran defense force is a good idea.
 
dl021
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RE: Will Europe Have A Unified Military?

Sun Feb 12, 2006 6:29 am

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 3):
the Luftwaffa merged into the RAF, flying French built Marage 2000s, With Spanish commanders, speaking Italian, operating at Norwegan bases.

Well, we kind of have that now. NATO has a common language already, English, and it's a requirement for commanders to speak English for joint operations.

Quoting Klaus (Reply 7):
That's a rather common misperception among people who can't wrap their head around the fact that the European Union is a completely new kind of supranational entity.

Wow...you have difficulty speaking to people without being condescending, don't you? Perhaps it's not that I "can't wrap my head around" that idea, but it's that I don't find it plausible that people in our lifetime are going to go for it unless their group has supremacy, or at least veto authority.

Quoting Klaus (Reply 7):
The €uro hasn't affected any nation's sovereignty in any significant way. Most european countries had a stable currency before, and they have one now. Recklessly fiddling with the currency to cover up holes in one's economic policies has never really worked anyway.

Well, the French recently caused a stir within the community by bending the rules (breaking them actually) by refusing to perform in a manner they deemed detrimental to their economy. This caused some serious concern amongst nations that don't feel like they could have gotten away with it.

Quoting Klaus (Reply 7):
The EU will pretty certainly never "replace" the national governments.

My point exactly, at least for now, which makes it impossible for a unified command structure or military to operate. If a nation pulls out and they have a critical element not duplicated elsewhere then the whole shebang is screwed.

Quoting Klaus (Reply 7):
There is no need, no interest and no advantage in merging separate nation states just because conventional thinking can't cope with the idea of a supranational political structure.

Once again, you place opinion as fact here by interjecting your opinion about why nations and people are going to act a certain way, and you do it insultingly. Basically it appears that you are saying that anyone who doesn't think your way is limited in their intellect. I disagree with that premise.

Quoting Klaus (Reply 7):
All of this is right now a huge mess of separate treaties and accords which are increasingly cumbersome and are increasingly holding everybody back. There is no "supercedence" happening to any significant degree. The constitution will come, it will probably just undergo some tweaking and minor modifications.

The constitution will not constitute a superstate or a federal government that has authority over the individual states. The basic question of the thread is whether the Europeans will have a unified military. I say not anytime soon if at all, because nations will not be willing to sacrifice sovereignty.

Quoting Klaus (Reply 7):
It is absolutely inevitable to have shared military infrastructure with the challenges that are likely to happen.



Quoting Klaus (Reply 7):
It is obvious that no troops could be deployed without their respective national government's approval (that will not change), but otherwise it is a necessary and welcome development.

As far as merging military functions to avoid duplication, as I earlier pointed out that's impractical since individual nations who have a unique capability will have de facto veto power over everyone else and be able to block action by refusing to participate.

There has already been some evidence of this since the Bosnia and Kosovo actions. A unified European command would also be hamstrung by double commitments to NATO, and by the fact that European nations rely on the US for capabilities they don't have enough of to perform on their own...i.e. commo, transport, amphib capability, air power, etc. All the militaries are designed to function in coordination with the US, and that's a budgeting fact that European MODs must face whenever they plan for anything.

Quoting Klaus (Reply 7):
Why waste resources on inefficient parallel structures where they could be pooled to the same political effect but at much lower budgetary effort?

See the above answer. Parallel structures are wasteful, but being prevented from engaging in military operations your nation deems critical to it's own interests because a partner nation that has critical and unique capabilities refuses to participate is worse than wasteful, it's damaging to your own interests. It's silly to think that all of Europe will believe that their interests are being served equally to the point that unanimity is possible in most cases.
 
halls120
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RE: Will Europe Have A Unified Military?

Sun Feb 12, 2006 6:40 am

Quoting DL021 (Reply 9):
Wow...you have difficulty speaking to people without being condescending, don't you?

Klaus is one of the most intelligent and interesting posters on Anet. I enjoy his posts, even when I disagree with them. Unfortunately, a huge dose of condescending behavior comes with his posts, as you have correctly observed. I've become accustomed to just blocking it out.
 
TheSonntag
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RE: Will Europe Have A Unified Military?

Sun Feb 12, 2006 7:21 am

Quoting Halls120 (Reply 8):
But under the now-stalled EU Constitution, weren't the national governments slated to lose certain elements of their sovereign power?

I would say no. The EU constitution virtually only writes down which is the legal status today. The European Court of Justice has developed so much caselaw already (which is accepted by all states) that this national power already is lost. The EU constitution does not lead to the loss of more sovereignity, something many people unfortunately neither know nor appreciate.

Even the most EU critical person should say yes to this constitution, as it actually makes the existing legal basis more transparent. The sovereignity was, in fact, already lost decades ago.
 
AeroWesty
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RE: Will Europe Have A Unified Military?

Sun Feb 12, 2006 8:01 am

A unified military will take centuries to come about, because there's still too much involvement by individual nations in the lands that were former colonies. I just couldn't see an "EU Army" running about into the Congo or the Falklands. Maybe that's a good argument for a merge, but doubtful to come about until the continental powers detach themselves from their historical worldwide realms of interest, if that ever happens.
 
pelican
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RE: Will Europe Have A Unified Military?

Sun Feb 12, 2006 8:10 am

Quoting DL021 (Reply 9):
A unified European command would also be hamstrung by double commitments to NATO, and by the fact that European nations rely on the US for capabilities they don't have enough of to perform on their own...i.e. commo, transport, amphib capability, air power, etc. All the militaries are designed to function in coordination with the US, and that's a budgeting fact that European MODs must face whenever they plan for anything.

As far as I know the EU has already (altough limited) a unified command structure in order to operate missions on their own. I guess one purpose of the ERRF is to become more independent of the US, which would be beneficial for the US and the EU. And a combined budget would be (I don't say it'll become reality soon) would be more than sufficient to finance all kinds of capabilities.
The actual state is - of course - far from beeing a unification. However, there is already a consolidation ongoing, which leads EUropean nations to cut back some capabilities in favor for extending other capabilities. The EUropean defence structure becomes also more efficient. How it will look like in the end I don't want to predict.

pelican
 
dl021
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RE: Will Europe Have A Unified Military?

Sun Feb 12, 2006 8:16 am

Quoting Halls120 (Reply 10):
Klaus is one of the most intelligent and interesting posters on Anet. I enjoy his posts, even when I disagree with them.

I agree that he's smart, and his posts are usually interesting to read even when I disagree. I just wish he'd drop the patronizing attitude and assume that his readers are smart enough to figure out what's important in his posts without spelling it out for us (using all those bolds and italics to let us know what it is we should be thinking).

Quoting AeroWesty (Reply 12):
A unified military will take centuries to come about,

I don't think it'll take that long, dude. I believe it'll come in the next 100 years since I believe that Europe will be forced to unite politically in the face of growing competition from other parts of the world. They'll have to merge or be absorbed by others (either by proxy or in fact).

Quoting AeroWesty (Reply 12):
there's still too much involvement by individual nations in the lands that were former colonies.

That's a bit overblown. The current level of involvement in former colonies is usually due to the desires of the former colonies.

Quoting TheSonntag (Reply 11):
The EU constitution does not lead to the loss of more sovereignity, something many people unfortunately neither know nor appreciate.

Yes, it has led to the EU deciding the prices of cheese in England, and the wording of laws in Spain. Sovereignty is lost when you accede to a higher power.
 
AeroWesty
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RE: Will Europe Have A Unified Military?

Sun Feb 12, 2006 8:21 am

Quoting DL021 (Reply 14):
That's a bit overblown. The current level of involvement in former colonies is usually due to the desires of the former colonies.

Not overblown at all. Doesn't matter which direction the impetus to place troops abroad comes from, the desire to maintain strong ties remain.
 
SWISSER
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RE: Will Europe Have A Unified Military?

Sun Feb 12, 2006 8:25 am

Quoting Klaus (Reply 7):
d) It is absolutely inevitable to have shared military infrastructure with the challenges that are likely to happen. No european nation needs its troops to fight any of the other ones any more

That is applaudable!
It's indeed the primary reason the EU exists! Never war again!

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 3):
I can see it now.....the Luftwaffa merged into the RAF, flying French built Marage 2000s, With Spanish commanders, speaking Italian, operating at Norwegan bases.

Don't worry, Language is not a barrier in Europe!

Quoting DL021 (Reply 9):
The EU will pretty certainly never "replace" the national governments.

My point exactly, at least for now, which makes it impossible for a unified command structure or military to operate. If a nation pulls out and they have a critical element not duplicated elsewhere then the whole shebang is screwed.

I only speak of what I do know and that is that joint opertions between The Netherlands and Belgium have been operating a long time, Most of them air force related on SAR, but also tactical missions etc.
And I guess there is a huge difference between a miltary command and a political command concerning co-operation.
Speaking again of what I do know, the Belgian Navy never ever has denied a request for a mine sweep mission because that is what they do the best. either for EU or NATO, I think every force could develop a speciality and be deployed when needed, same as the forces are deployed in states of the USA.

Quoting DL021 (Reply 9):
There is no need, no interest and no advantage in merging separate nation states just because conventional thinking can't cope with the idea of a supranational political structure.

Once again, you place opinion as fact here by interjecting your opinion about why nations and people are going to act a certain way, and you do it insultingly. Basically it appears that you are saying that anyone who doesn't think your way is limited in their intellect. I disagree with that premise.

I agree with your reaction on it DL021, but I personally agree too with Klaus,
we don't need a european empire, we are too different due to our long history to become one and I' am glad we still are different!
It has never worked in our region, someone always will feel opressed in a way.
Also the current structure the EU is, I know I can perfectly start a business in Italy and France without any limitations for me as a Belgian, I can even keep my bank in Brussels without paying any transfer sums and all in the same currency, isn't that already great?
Even I remember we had to do a control at the border between France and Belgium, now only a symbol and some old cabins remember those days but are now replaced by a huge blue plackard with 12 yellow stars on it! I love that sign!

[Edited 2006-02-12 00:29:23]
 
frequentflyer
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RE: Will Europe Have A Unified Military?

Sun Feb 12, 2006 8:49 am

Quoting AeroWesty (Reply 12):
A unified military will take centuries to come about,

Disagree. The seeds are already here today. Look at the economic integration progress since the treaty of Rome and the golden days of ECCS ("CECA" in French, European Community of Coal and Steel). You can anticipate a similar cycle for military integration. Cost savings, a by-product of integration, are huge in military matters because it enables multiplying the ability to intervene (close or far, lots of material/quick deployment etc...)and we are talking Billions of $ or Euros rather.

Quoting AeroWesty (Reply 12):
still too much involvement by individual nations in the lands that were former colonies. I just couldn't see an "EU Army" running about into the Congo or the Falklands

I could. It actually might be even easier to manage.

Quoting Klaus (Reply 7):
There is no need, no interest and no advantage in merging separate nation states just because conventional thinking can't cope with the idea of a supranational political structure.

Klaus stop being condescending please. What you say is often interesting, however careful with the choice of words...
I disagree. You might wanna think that at times people think outta the box.

Quoting DL021 (Reply 9):
Quoting Klaus (Reply 7):
That's a rather common misperception among people who can't wrap their head around the fact that the European Union is a completely new kind of supranational entity.

See above comment. (!) Take it easy! Besides, do not forget that the same people you indict are actually part of the structure you are referring to. And aware of it with varying degrees.
 
TheSonntag
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RE: Will Europe Have A Unified Military?

Sun Feb 12, 2006 8:55 am

Quoting DL021 (Reply 14):
Yes, it has led to the EU deciding the prices of cheese in England, and the wording of laws in Spain. Sovereignty is lost when you accede to a higher power.

Read my post again. It is not the EU CONSTITUTION which introduced this, it was already done before. The current law already is supranational, this is something which is not introduced by the constitution, it will just be clarified by the constitution, which is a good thing, because this actually helps clearing things up, thus reducing constitution. The rule of direct effect is already in effect for more than 30 years.
 
AeroWesty
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RE: Will Europe Have A Unified Military?

Sun Feb 12, 2006 9:00 am

Quoting Frequentflyer (Reply 17):
It actually might be even easier to manage.

That's the problem, really. Imagine Thatcher having to go to a committee to reclaim the Falklands, or force her war to be "managed" from outside. Thank you for that chuckle.  Smile

The nice thing about this part of the debate is that we'll all be dead by the time anything such as a full military integration is accomplished, so there'll be no finger-pointing about who came closest to predicting when it'll happen.
 
TheSonntag
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RE: Will Europe Have A Unified Military?

Sun Feb 12, 2006 9:32 am

Quoting TheSonntag (Reply 18):
thus reducing constitution

reducing confusion I wanted to write, of course...
 
pelican
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RE: Will Europe Have A Unified Military?

Sun Feb 12, 2006 9:37 am

Quoting AeroWesty (Reply 19):

The nice thing about this part of the debate is that we'll all be dead by the time anything such as a full military integration is accomplished, so there'll be no finger-pointing about who came closest to predicting when it'll happen.

Just as a side-note was there even one further attempt to unify EUropean forces since the EDC? Me thinks not. And nobody is planning to do so. The current approach is to define some capabilities (like the Petersberg tasks) which should be at the disposal of a EUropean command structure. Those capabilities will be provided by national forces.

pelican
 
Klaus
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RE: Will Europe Have A Unified Military?

Sun Feb 12, 2006 10:41 am

Well, thanks for both the various praise and criticism! Big grin

I'm just about fed up with the 500st repetition of the same tired clichés so my temper was a bit shorter than usual. No personal insult was implied, just criticism of the argument. But I stand by the substance of my post.

The EU is not comparable to any nation state and it will not turn into one, nor would that be necessary or desirable. It has no precedent in history, it sets the first precedent.
 
eilennaei
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RE: Will Europe Have A Unified Military?

Sun Feb 12, 2006 11:27 am

Quoting Klaus (Reply 22):
The EU is not comparable to any nation state and it will not turn into one, nor would that be necessary or desirable. It has no precedent in history, it sets the first precedent.

It is a system that has a bit of everything, including a constitution that is both voted down and not voted down; a Parliament that is actually not a Parliament, and contantly switches between two locations. (There are considerable facilities at both.); A Government that is not a government, but called Commission (non-elected). Whenever there's trouble, and there often seems to be, especially if the people don't vote the right way first, we see a lot of different conferences (official and "extra" ones.) I don't want go to into details about some of the auxiliary forces like the Council of the Municipalities and Regions and the Council of Europe, and the EUs own judicial system in general.
It is the first precedent of a total mess for a government. Joe Public will not have a clue, and this I feel is the EUs basic idea as well, to keep him out of the way while our grand future is being perfected by the Avant Garde.

And hey, we even have this one:
"The Council has a President and a Secretary-General. The President of the Council is a Minister of the state currently holding the Presidency of the Council of the European Union; while the Secretary-General is the head of the Council Secretariat, chosen by the member states by unanimity. The Secretary-General also serves as the High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP). The Council is assisted by Committee of Permanent Representatives (COREPER) ......[goes on] (Wikipedia)
 
Klaus
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RE: Will Europe Have A Unified Military?

Sun Feb 12, 2006 11:42 am

It's easy to bitch about the imperfections of the current state of affairs, but the constitution was exactly aimed at improving that.

Transitioning from the earlier committee-of-national-governments to something more closely resembling an accountable democratic structure is not an easy task, but giving more power to the parliament and establishing a firm and much easier understood foundation is obviously the right step.
 
AerospaceFan
Topic Author
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RE: Will Europe Have A Unified Military?

Sun Feb 12, 2006 12:00 pm

This has turned out to be a very educational thread. I just want to thank everyone for their contributions.

I'm also glad there was confirmation of my recollection that there exists a European rapid reaction force.
 
PSA727
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RE: Will Europe Have A Unified Military?

Sun Feb 12, 2006 12:59 pm

Even though there are many nations flying under the EU flag now. National
interests over EU interests will always prevail. Look at the UK and their
hesitation to abandon the Pound Sterling in favor of the Euro currency. Or
Italy's views towards the consolidation of the banking industry with cross-
border mergers and acquisitions. Or better yet, how no nation wants to give
up their flag carriers, even though some are bleeding to death and would be long gone if they were not subsidized by the state.
And let's not forget the past when it comes to military joint-ventures. The
British relying upon the French in 1940 did not go so well, as did the Germans
relying upon the Italians in 1942-1943. So maybe things are better left as they are. Besides who and where does the
European Union want to invade and go to war with? Or more importantly, who
are they afraid of invading them? After all, wouldn't this be more for defensive
purposes anyway?
 
TheSonntag
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RE: Will Europe Have A Unified Military?

Sun Feb 12, 2006 1:57 pm

Quoting PSA727 (Reply 26):

One could say the history of European cooperation was a history of its failure and that is the best reason why we really need european cooperation.

There certainly are a lot of problems with European integration, and there also comes a lot of rediculous laws from Bruxelles, like for example the rule that the allowed precision tolerance for gas station will be decreased from 0,1% to 1 % so that all countries have the same standard. That means German gas stations who had a limit of 0,1 % will be allowed to get worse machines, which, of course, will be in their favour, so that the car driver in the future will get 99 litres instead of 99,9 when he fuels up and pays for 100litres of gas.

This is just one example of things which certainly are not helpful for a positive view on Europe. It is common sense that the European standardisation tends to adopt a standard which hurts nobody, thus bringing down quality standards in the highest developed countries in the EU.

However, all these justified criticisms must not create the impression that the EU isn't needed, the contrary is true. I have a lot of friends from my Erasmus study year (an exchange programme for students in Europe, best thing I ever did), and despite the differences inbetween us (we were from almost every country in Europe) there certainly was a common identity. I also met exchange students from Canada and the USA, and they were nice and friendly, as well, but they certainly had a distingushable different attitude on things than the Europeans had. This does not mean one side is better than the other, but it means that there are really a lot of things which unite people in Europe.

My point is, when you look back in history you will notice that already after WW1 some people in France like Aristide Briand wanted to re-integrate Germany in a European cooperation, but instead of that, national interests prevailed. Therefore, nationalism grew stronger, something which contributed to WW2.

After WW2, people like Adenauer and de Gaulle did things right. They started with an economic integration, but the real background always was more than that. The EU is more than a pure economical project, however one can also argue that this economical project is one of the contributing peace factors: Rich people don't tend to kill each other. There are some conflicts in Europe, as well, but generally since most states got richer, these conflicts mostly made progress towards a peaceful solution.

The European process shall continue, but this does not have to result in the United States of Europe, in fact, I think it isn't even desireable. Europe has more than 20 languages, 2000years of different history, this cannot be put together by forging an artificial state.

The biggest problem with Europe is that it is a project carried by academics. Already in the 50s students were demonstrating for the removal of borders between France and Germany, wanting a Federal European state. However, the "average" person in Europe often sees the EU as an evil body trying to make stupid regulations and killing jobs. The positive sides aren't well regarded, therefore the European institutions lack democratig legitimation, a big difference to the national states.

Compare this to countries: Every American identifies himself with the USA. Every French person identifies himself with France, every Dane with Denmark and so on...

I doubt that we will create such an European feeling. The average German who lives in Dortmund lives there all his life, flies once a year to PMI to get drunk and meet other Germans and doesn't speak another language. The average Brit flies to Greece to meet other Brits and get drunk there, so even in holidays the nationalities are strictly divided. Only a small percentage is taking exchange studies.

This isn't negative, it is a fact, and when we accept it, we can nevertheless get a Europe where the nationalities get along well and cooperate more...

I went a little bit off the track, but to summarize: The past showed Europe must cooperate, but there is a huge difference between whats desireable and what people feel.

If European integration is to succeed, national feelings of the people in Europe must be taken into account and accepted. Therefore I see an European Union only with national memberstates which retain their souvereinity.

What does this mean for an European military? I think the approach which is done right now is good. NATO already showed that militaries from many states can work together well under a shared command structure. I see a similiar approach viable for Europe.

Michael
 
Klaus
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RE: Will Europe Have A Unified Military?

Sun Feb 12, 2006 2:30 pm

Good post, Today!

But despite the usual bitching (which is going on nationally, regionally and even locally as well in different forms), I still see a growing acknowledgment of people actually feeling european. Many people are wearing Donald Rumsfeld's would-be insult "old Europe" like a badge of honour, and many others do notice that Europe actually means something positive when they're travelling within the continent or abroad.

It would be asking too much to expect everybody to be deliriously happy all the time, but a common european awareness (in addtion to everybody's other affiliations) does appear to grow, even if it's a slow and uneven process...
 
ME AVN FAN
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RE: Will Europe Have A Unified Military?

Sun Feb 12, 2006 7:24 pm

Quoting AerospaceFan (Thread starter):
Europe seems to be associated with NATO for its continental defense, but perhaps soon that alliance will be only one aspect of its overall military force structure.

it is to be kept in mind that inside the E.U., Ireland, Sweden, Finland, Austria and Malta are NEUTRAL countries. Outside the E.U. but inside Europe there are more neutral countries. So that a military alliances will be restricted to countries which are BOTH EU & NATO members. And there will NOT be much agreement about a single supreme commander, unless he is a person with triple nationality, and grand-parents from four different nations, and lives in another country.
 
pelican
Posts: 2431
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RE: Will Europe Have A Unified Military?

Sun Feb 12, 2006 8:39 pm

Quoting PSA727 (Reply 26):
Or more importantly, who
are they afraid of invading them? After all, wouldn't this be more for defensive
purposes anyway?

The same question could be asked for the USA...

Quoting TheSonntag (Reply 27):
After WW2, people like Adenauer and de Gaulle did things right.

As much as I admire de Gaulle, I have to say his politics are one reason why the EU is still in such an ambivalent state. He always oposed supranational institutions and prevented the EDC from becoming reality. Without him this thread would probably not exist. He clearly doesn't belong to the fathers of the EU (I know you didn't state this) unlike Pierre Mend�s-France and Robert Schuman.
BTW good post, especially your comment about Erasmus - I've noticed a similar thing, although I've to say the students from some of the new Eastern-central EUropean countries are also different.



Quoting ME AVN FAN (Reply 29):

it is to be kept in mind that inside the E.U., Ireland, Sweden, Finland, Austria and Malta are NEUTRAL countries. Outside the E.U. but inside Europe there are more neutral countries. So that a military alliances will be restricted to countries which are BOTH EU & NATO members. And there will NOT be much agreement about a single supreme commander, unless he is a person with triple nationality, and grand-parents from four different nations, and lives in another country.

These states might be neutral, but at least some of them take part in EUropean military operations. So their neutrality doesn't seem to hinder them. Even Switzerland takes part in some missions (at least in one).

And what should be the problem of a single supreme commander? The NATO has such thing for ages. This would be the smallest of all problems.

pelican
 
ME AVN FAN
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RE: Will Europe Have A Unified Military?

Sun Feb 12, 2006 10:10 pm

Quoting Pelican (Reply 30):
These states might be neutral, but at least some of them take part in EUropean military operations. So their neutrality doesn't seem to hinder them. Even Switzerland takes part in some missions (at least in one).

And what should be the problem of a single supreme commander? The NATO has such thing for ages. This would be the smallest of all problems.

pelican

I can happily agree in most aspects, as the military co-operation is very active with almost all European countries. So that peace-keeping military actions might well be done on a pan-European level. Switzerland takes part in a variety of missions, and Austria and Sweden in even more. BUT, partaking in a kind of military PACT is a different matter. The point about the C.I.C. is debatable.
 
TheSonntag
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RE: Will Europe Have A Unified Military?

Sun Feb 12, 2006 10:31 pm

Quoting Pelican (Reply 30):
As much as I admire de Gaulle, I have to say his politics are one reason why the EU is still in such an ambivalent state.

You are certainly right, the empty chair policy and his other actions didn't really help the european integration, but seen at which time all this happened I would say the positive things prevail nevertheless...
 
NoUFO
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RE: Will Europe Have A Unified Military?

Sun Feb 12, 2006 11:31 pm

What Europe needs first is to defragment European defense industry modeled on the success of EADS. It's difficult to understand that each nation still develops its own assault rifle, UAV, tank, submarine or even aircraft carrier.
Speaking of EADS, it's also hair-raising that, with Gripen, Typhoon and Rafale, three different fighter aircraft are now in service. Overcoming national interests to protect the local defense industry would be a first step.

Then we indeed need a European Constitution (this time a much smaller brochure intelligible to all) that is setting the borders and guidelines for military interventions.

Third would be the introduction of a European Security Council that would act as a permanent advisory board for the future European Foreign Minister.
Not only should it be ready to quickly react against the background of a (potential) crisis, but it should also represent a common European voice.

This would be a proper and at the same time necessary fundament for joint European forces.

The good thing is that first steps have been taken to fulfill all three criteria:

- The still heavily fragmented defense industry is on the verge of restructuring, and bi- or multilateral agreements concerning the development of arms are the norm today.

- The European Constitution is probably Europe's weak spot. However, with the possible exception of the Britons, I don't see Europeans opposing a constitution in general nor did they protest for the sake of protesting. Instead, it was the monstrous nature of the first attempt that repelled people, probably together with a diffuse fear for lack of direct representation.

- The European Security Council is another aspect that needs to be addressed in the future European Constitution: One voice for each member country or a Electoral College similar to that in the USA? What we already have, however, is the Committee on Foreign Affairs which I consider a predecessor of the future Security Council.
 
Klaus
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RE: Will Europe Have A Unified Military?

Mon Feb 13, 2006 1:14 am

Quoting NoUFO (Reply 33):
Instead, it was the monstrous nature of the first attempt that repelled people, probably together with a diffuse fear for lack of direct representation.

No. Both failed referenda were dominated by domestic dissent with their respective national politicians. It had next to nothing to do with the constitution itself.

Especially a "lack of direct representation" would by cynically funny as a reason - the constitution did exactly improve on that by taking power from the indirectly elected/delegated commission to the directly elected parliament.

Most protesters didn't even know what it was all about. I'm quite okay with the fact that Germany does not have this kind of referenda as they are obviously abused for blind populism where they do exist.
 
NoUFO
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Joined: Tue Apr 17, 2001 7:40 am

RE: Will Europe Have A Unified Military?

Mon Feb 13, 2006 1:40 am

Quoting Klaus (Reply 34):
Especially a "lack of direct representation" would by cynically funny as a reason - the constitution did exactly improve on that by taking power from the indirectly elected/delegated commission to the directly elected parliament.

Most protesters didn't even know what it was all about.

Hence the attribute diffuse.

Quoting Klaus (Reply 34):
No. Both failed referenda were dominated by domestic dissent with their respective national politicians.

That's not my understanding. It's true that Chirac's TV address did not help to resolve doubts, but all three major parties were in favour of the constitution, and I can not recall the French protesting against almost all French politicians by rejecting the proposal. In that case, a wannabe despot like Le Pen would have more or less been the only politician, the French considered "trustworthy", which was certainly not the case.
 
Klaus
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RE: Will Europe Have A Unified Military?

Mon Feb 13, 2006 1:54 am

Quoting NoUFO (Reply 35):
I can not recall the French protesting against almost all French politicians by rejecting the proposal. In that case, a wannabe despot like Le Pen would have more or less been the only politician, the French considered "trustworthy", which was certainly not the case.

But that is pretty much what happened; If you had followed the news back then you knew.

It was a coalition of socialist dissidents, labour unions and national chauvinists who called for "sending a message" to their detached national leaders. At total disregard to the actual topic and at the expense of all of our futures.  gnasher   crazy 
 
halls120
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Joined: Sun Jun 05, 2005 3:24 am

RE: Will Europe Have A Unified Military?

Mon Feb 13, 2006 2:01 am

Quoting Klaus (Reply 28):
It would be asking too much to expect everybody to be deliriously happy all the time, but a common european awareness (in addtion to everybody's other affiliations) does appear to grow, even if it's a slow and uneven process...

What I notice as I travel around Europe is the uneven prominence of the EU flag. In some countries, you see it flown on a equal basis with the national flag, while in other countries it is rarely seen.

Sort of like the display of national flags here on Anet.

Quoting Klaus (Reply 34):
Most protesters didn't even know what it was all about. I'm quite okay with the fact that Germany does not have this kind of referenda as they are obviously abused for blind populism where they do exist.

In other words, the ignorant masses need to be told what is good for them and what isn't?

One of the reasons California leads the US in developing innovative public policy is that in the California Constitution, the people have a right to a referendum. It keeps the legislature on its toes, IMO, despite the occasional excess it produces.
 
Klaus
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RE: Will Europe Have A Unified Military?

Mon Feb 13, 2006 2:09 am

Quoting Halls120 (Reply 37):
In other words, the ignorant masses need to be told what is good for them and what isn't?

People voting in a referendum won't take on any responsibility. Elected officials will have to. Having frequent referenda is not a panacea for perfect democracy, it is very often a lever to bring down political discourse to the lowest common denominator, leaving policies to populism.
 
NoUFO
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RE: Will Europe Have A Unified Military?

Mon Feb 13, 2006 2:32 am

Quoting Klaus (Reply 36):
But that is pretty much what happened; If you had followed the news back then you knew.

Sorry, just like you (I think) I'm a stubborn, ruthless, liberal high-horse-intellectual who uses to follow the news.

There was this likewise diffuse fear the constitution would help spreading a so called neo-liberal understanding of economics and social welfare, whereas the constitution would in fact have strenghtened the welfare state.
If I recall correctly, ATTAC was in opposition, but not the French socialists, and whether or not splinter groups encouraged voters to give more prominent politicians a warning has got little to do with the actual outcome. They are splinter groups for a reason, most people simply ignore them, that's why the hardly make it into the parliaments.

Quoting Halls120 (Reply 37):
What I notice as I travel around Europe is the uneven prominence of the EU flag. In some countries, you see it flown on a equal basis with the national flag, while in other countries it is rarely seen.

That's correct, although I would say the flag is not flown on a truly equal basis. Let's take the Reichtag Building, the seat of the German Bundestag/Parliament. You can see the European flag together with the German one in front of the building, but never on the roof of it. This is a symbol saying that the parliament is German.
 
Klaus
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RE: Will Europe Have A Unified Military?

Mon Feb 13, 2006 2:40 am

Quoting NoUFO (Reply 39):
If I recall correctly, ATTAC was in opposition, but not the French socialists, and whether or not splinter groups encouraged voters to give more prominent politicians a warning has got little to do with the actual outcome. They are splinter groups for a reason, most people simply ignore them, that's why the hardly make it into the parliaments.

It wasn't just a splinter group but a very sizable part of the socialist basis, led (among others) by Laurent Fabius, former prime minister and senior party official.
 
civ4b2fan
Posts: 40
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RE: Will Europe Have A Unified Military?

Mon Feb 13, 2006 2:44 am

I just think people are thinking too much. France with their drive to perserve their military and culture would never agree to such a thing
 
Klaus
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RE: Will Europe Have A Unified Military?

Mon Feb 13, 2006 2:47 am

Another example that clichés are almost always wrong: France and Germany have already formed a franco-german brigade which is an obvious precursor for larger shared structures.
 
NoUFO
Posts: 7397
Joined: Tue Apr 17, 2001 7:40 am

RE: Will Europe Have A Unified Military?

Mon Feb 13, 2006 2:56 am

Quoting Klaus (Reply 40):
It wasn't just a splinter group but a very sizable part of the socialist basis, led (among others) by Laurent Fabius, former prime minister and senior party official.

Aghh  crazy  he splitted the Socialist Party, true, but Fabius never urged voters to cast a warning against other politicians. His intention was probably to position himself for the next presidential election.
That said, the Socialists were in favour of the constitution. Those who were not, opposed it due to the aforementioned fear for welfare cutbacks.
You, on the other hand, said arguments against the constitution had next to nothing to do with the proposal itself.
 
Klaus
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RE: Will Europe Have A Unified Military?

Mon Feb 13, 2006 3:07 am

Fabius and the others used it merely as a tool in the domestic political debate. Fabius is primarily moving for leadership of the socialist party, everything seems to be secondary to that.
 
NoUFO
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RE: Will Europe Have A Unified Military?

Mon Feb 13, 2006 3:22 am

This still does not explain the alleged "dissent with national politicians", since Fabius is one of those "national politicians". He criticised the lack of French representation, the volume of the proposal and said it would undermine the welfare state.
This all has got to do with the proposal itself, not with dissent with other prominent politicians, no matter if he used his opposition as a vehicle to promote himself.
 
NoUFO
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RE: Will Europe Have A Unified Military?

Mon Feb 13, 2006 3:23 am

Ahem, we have hijacked the thread, I'm afraid and I have to go back to work anyway. So long.
 
Klaus
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RE: Will Europe Have A Unified Military?

Mon Feb 13, 2006 3:35 am

Fabius and others were riding the wave of criticism of policies which are actually french policies, not european ones. And it obviously bugs him that he's just a second tier functionary, not a party leader or in public office.
 
andaman
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RE: Will Europe Have A Unified Military?

Mon Feb 13, 2006 5:43 am

NATO has been a hot issue in Finland lately. In officially neutral Finland the army has been rather busy co-operating with NATO and the army itself is NATO-ready.
Finns don't always feel very comfortable sharing the long border with Russia, but the politics are afraid to offer the NATO option as the majority of Finns don't want NATO, because of USA mainly.
 
eilennaei
Posts: 1003
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RE: Will Europe Have A Unified Military?

Mon Feb 13, 2006 10:56 am

Quoting Andaman (Reply 48):
NATO has been a hot issue in Finland lately.

The whole discussion in a smokescreen. The decision has already been made. Since the people in polls do not want NATO directly, it will be smuggled into their minds piece by piece with the aid of the EU "fast action force" that somehow will end up being Nato-lead. Then, why not "simplify" some of the routines "that already exist" and join NATO properly.

BTW the official "NATO-OTAN" acronymised name for the defence union translates into Finnish as: "NATO -- I'LLTAKE[IT]". An Omen?

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