viernes, 16 de septiembre de 2016

Armata Brancaleone

Como se preveía, la creación de unas fuerzas armadas europeas, al margen de la NATO, ha sido recibida con escepticismo por numerosos analistas. Ocurre que para que tal cosa ocurra la dirigencia europea debería tener claridad de objetivos, unanimidad de criterios y firmeza en las decisiones. Ninguna de estas tres condiciones existe ni existirá en el futuro próximo, motivo por el cual la idea no pasa de ser un pucherito ante los chicos del Imperio. Acá van tres notas aparecidas recientemente en el sitio web Sputnik:

Título: EU Defense Proposal Doomed to Fail Due to 'Lack of Autonomy, Dependency on US' 

Texto: Commenting on the recently-proposed EU Defense Union, borne of a Franco-German initiative, which is set to top the agenda of the upcoming EU Summit in Bratislava, Russian political scientist Dmitry Danilov reviews its potential sustainability and possible value to Russia. 

French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian and his German counterpart Ursula von der Leyen filed a proposal to EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini to set up the bloc's collective defense, including a new military HQ and swifter deployment of overseas missions, for "more effective protection of the citizens and borders of Europe.

"The initiative is set to decrease Europe's dependency on the US and NATO and to boost the bloc's military might. The project is set to top the agenda of the EU Summit in Bratislava, which kicks off on Friday, September 16. 

Dmitry Danilov, head of the European Security Department at the Institute of Europe of Russia's Academy of Sciences, has reviewed the potential sustainability of the proposed project. In his interview with the Svobodnaya Pressa (Free Press) news website, the political scientist noted that the proposed initiative "runs parallel" to NATO policies in Europe, hence Europe will be forced to adhere to NATO strategic security directives, which in turn, answer the interests of the US. 

"The EU has advocated joint EU-NATO cooperation in such spheres, among others, as cybersecurity and the fight against hybrid threats. Both spheres fall under Article 5, the principle of collective defense of NATO’s founding treaty," the expert said. "Thus the EU actually loses its strategic independency as it is obliged to act within the strategy of the alliance," Danilov explained. 

Even though, he said, those are the same very countries which are NATO member states and potential members of the EU Defense Union, what is meant here is specific differentiation of labor between EU and NATO. To be able to build up its own defense, Europe should have autonomy. 

However, it is binded to NATO agreements and therefore unable to set up its own project, the expert explained. "Europe lacks autonomy and has to align with the policies pursued by NATO. It means that it's forces are guided by the US leadership," he said. 

Danilov further said that the current US leadership however is questionable due to its vague security policy at times during the presidential race. He defined this year as "the year of instability and uncertainly" for the US and urged Europe to act on its own. "On the one hand, Europe has got a chance to make more or less independent decisions," he said. 

"On the other, it is still limited in its decisions by external circumstances," he noted, adding that if Europe makes any decisions on its autonomy without agreeing them with the US, there is high risk that such decisions will be extremely problematic. 

Speaking about what impact the proposed initiative and the processes within NATO could have on Russia, the expert noted that it is not entirely favorable. "When, back in 1999, Europe was debating on its security and defense policies, its attitude towards Russia was quite positive," he said. 

At that time Europe regarded Russia as a political counterweight to the NATO-orientation of Europe. 

Russia, in its turn, never regarded Europe from a military point of view, taking into consideration Europe's limited military capabilities and low chances of its military re-orientation towards Russia. 

Since then the situation has changed. Judging by the outcome of the NATO Summit in Warsaw there is a feeling, he said, that European security and defense projects have become more intertwined with NATO policies, which are outlined by the US. 

The US policies towards Russia can't be called constructive as they are clearly negative, the expert said. This attitude is being projected on the policies of international organizations, such as NATO. 

The alliance is being re-oriented for the containment of Russia. Hence the EU is unable to stay clear of the strategy defined by the US. 

"If previously we were encouraging common approaches between Russia and the EU in the spheres of security and defense, now it becomes more and more problematic. 

Largely because the EU has lost its autonomy," the expert finally stated.


Título: US to 'Do Its Utmost' to Hinder Set-Up of Independent European Army 

Texto: On Wednesday, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker delivered his annual State of the Union address where he suggested that the EU needs a military headquarters to work towards a common military force; political scientist Peter Schulze told Radio Sputnik who will be the fiercest opponents to this idea. 

Two days prior to the EU Summit being held in Slovakia's capital Bratislava, which will gather 27 EU leaders, minus the UK's Theresa May, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker delivered his annual State of the Union address. Speaking in Strasbourg, he touched on a number of issues, including the need for a single military headquarters within the European Union to work towards a common military force. 

"Europe can no longer afford to piggy-back on the military might of others or let France alone defend its honour in Mali," the European Commission president said. "We have to take responsibility for protecting our interests and the European way of life." 

He stressed that lack of military cooperation means EU countries waste between €25 bln ($28bln) and €100 bln ($112bln) per year on separate military missions, even when they happen in the same country or city. To tackle the problem, the European Commission President proposed the creation of a single headquarters for military operations, a permanent structure which will enable Europe to "act effectively" and to set up a European Defense Fund to "turbo charge" research and innovation in the European defense industry. 

Peter Schulze, Professor of political science at the Georg-August-University in Goettingen, Germany explained to Radio Sputnik what obstacle such a unified European military structure will have to overcome. "There is enormous competition between NATO and the idea of a European army," he told Sputnik. 

"The political decision-making power in NATO, namely the US, Washington will do everything possible to hinder the development of an autonomous independent European army structure." 

The political scientist also explained that there is a conflict of interests within the EU itself. There are more than two blocks in the EU, at least three or four blocks, he said, and there is a broad distinction between the ones who want to deepen the integration process and the rest. The block which advocates the integration is the one between Paris and Berlin and possibly Rome joining this "kind of club" in the future. Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi was invited as the third partner to "this axis or community" between Paris and Berlin. 

Other member states are very much reluctant against such a development, the expert noted. Among such states is the so-called "Trans-Atlantic block": the Baltic States, Poland, Romania, Denmark and Sweden. 

"Britain is out, but this kind of Trans-Atlantic block will do everything to hinder any deepening of the political processes of integration and will be absolutely opposed to the defense and security policy as the common policy of the EU," Schulze said. "They are putting their security interests solely on NATO. So, we have a kind of cacophony of interests in the EU at the moment.

"Besides, he added, there are Mediterranean countries which are in the hidden conflict with the Eastern countries or Central Eastern countries. "So, the EU is a very strange animal at the moment," the expert concluded. 

He further said that even though it doesn't mean that the EU is going to be dissolved, all the countries have to come with "a kind of a coherent concept" out of this crisis. There will be "kind of a restructuring of the EU in the future," he said. 

However, he said it won't be a European military structure. "A European army can only be an army which carries two hats on its head," he said. "This means a NATO hat and the European army hat. The European army would have its own headquarters and general staff and things that belong to this kind of structure," he explained. 

However when it comes to military operations, then they would borrow units for operation from NATO and vice versa. "To have a double structure is too costly and it would fly against the interests of most of the Trans-Atlantic member states especially in Central Europe and Scandinavian area," he explained. 

Meanwhile the US bases in Europe will remain in place unless the US would voluntarily want to withdraw from Europe. It won't happen, the expert said, as they are "the insurance for Washington to have an impact, to have a linkage to the European politics and to influence them from within." 

The bases, he said, will not do any harm unless there is escalation of the Cold War rhetoric. However, inter-state war in Europe is "unthinkable", he said, because it will immediately go nuclear and this would mean the end of Europe. 

Hence, he stated, US bases on this continent are a lot less dangerous than in other areas of the world.


Título: European Army a 'Political Challenge to Security Architecture of Western World'

Texto: As leaders gather for the EU Summit in Bratislava where they are set to discuss the recently-proposed initiative to create EU defense union, one Serbian military analyst tells Sputnik that the US will never accept a strong European partner within NATO as it is a political challenge to the security architecture of the whole of western civilization. 

Commenting on the recent suggestion of European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker to set up a single military headquarters within the European Union and further work towards a common military force, military analyst from Belgrade Aleksandar Radic told Sputnik that the proposed idea might become a unifying factor for the block, which it can demonstrate to the world. 

He said that the future European army could use the template of the Franco-German Brigade, a special military brigade of the Eurocorps of the European Union, founded in 1989, jointly consisting of units from both the French and German armies. This particular template could be applied in cooperation with NATO, it will be some kind of a parallel unit within the alliance. 

"Despite the effective implementation of the European ambitions, NATO simultaneously poses a serious obstacle on the way to the creation of a European army, as from a political point of view it will lead to the reconsideration of the role and the major tasks of the alliance," the military analyst told Sputnik. "We could even imagine the incorporation of the EU army within NATO structure but it would be the US and certain Eastern European countries which rest upon Washington, who would strongly oppose the idea," he added. 

Commenting on the economic aspect of the idea that it would save Europe money otherwise wasted on separate military missions,  Aleksandar Radic said that this was just an excuse, as throughout the last decade the European countries have considerably reduced the percentage of their gross domestic product (GDP) spent on defense needs. He added that if compared to the money spent on funding the military 25 years ago, recent military spending has decreased by a half. 

"However the most serious issues with the creation of the EU army lie not in the economic but in the political sphere," the expert said. "It is absolutely impossible to imagine that Washington would agree to a strong European partner within NATO as this can alter the security architecture of the whole of western civilization," Radic explained. 

The expert also pointed out that if agreed upon, the creation of the European army is a long-term project. Its final set-up might take decades, however formally it might be established in any suitable political moment. "Decades are needed to set up a solid, clear idea which will unite all the [European] armed forces. However the cooperation within NATO would be the best basis for establishment of such a defense union," the expert finally stated.

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