Thursday, 21 September 2017

HN: Europeans lack will to keep unity when faced with threat

ČTK |
26 May 2017

Prague, May 25 (CTK) - The Europeans are mainly missing readiness and the will to maintain unity face to face with a threat, whether it is represented by the sly and experienced Russia, or the treacherous Islamic State organisation, Martin Ehl writes in the Czech daily Hospodarske noviny (HN) yesterday.

However, two newcomers to a three-hour dinner of the heads of state and government of the NATO member countries in Brussels today, U.S President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron, have been steering the Alliance to one sole goal: the Europeans will have to take care of themselves in a longer time span, Ehl writes.

Particularly the Baltic countries can confirm that nothing better than NATO is now available to ensure the security of democratic Europe, Ehl writes.

He writes that even though Trump has back-pedalled on his rhetoric, it is still true that he challenged the fundamental rule of the past 70 years according to which the U.S. active participation in ensuring Europe's security is one of the fundamental U.S. national interests.

Macron approaches the issue from the other side. He has appointed European federalist Sylvie Goulard defence minister by which he made it clear that he wants to somewhat separate the future of French and European defence from the future of NATO, Ehl writes.

He writes that there are quite a lot of reasons to doubt the meaningfulness of NATO.

The Russian threat in itself evidently does not play the allies' unifying role any more as the stances of Western politicians as well as the public have shown even though it was the reason to establish NATO and the Russian aggression in Ukraine in 2014 made the Alliance return to its roots, Ehl writes.

The military-political alliance is not destined to fight terrorism, even though it invoked its Article 5 on collective defence after the terrorist attack on the United States on September 11, 2001, Ehl writes.

He writes that the Alliance is slowly adapting to new threats, such as cyber attacks.

The European Union has started to be more active in the field of joint defence in the past 20 years. But the Europeans do not have a sufficient quantity of sufficiently deterring weapons or interlinked communication systems, Ehl writes.

However, Europe may have any number of European commands, it may have joint tank and aircraft projects and spend billions on them. But until the Europeans are capable of expressing their joint will for security, NATO will remain irreplaceable even with a reduced participation of the United States, Ehl writes.

He adds that NATO's importance will mainly rest in being a guarantee of the ability to take a joint stance on threats because unity is often a good deterrent.

ms/t/pv

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