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Old 19th Feb 2018, 05:36
  #15 (permalink)  
Ecce Homo! Loquitur...
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Peripatetic
Posts: 10,115
Storm Clouds Over Munich

......”Europeans, who comprise the majority of Munich’s participants, offered a vague, often confused picture of how they view their security priorities.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker spoke grandly of making Europe “weltpolitikfähig,” coining a German word for making the EU a true global political player. German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel echoed Juncker’s call for a more robust European security policy, saying that “as the only vegetarian in a world of meat-eaters we will have a difficult time.”

Juncker’s remarks betrayed the difficulty of realizing that ambition. “We must emancipate ourselves, but not from NATO and not from the U.S.,” he said. From whom (or what) Europe needs to free itself and why wasn’t clear, but Juncker’s comments underscored the dilemma Europe faces when it comes to security: The region is almost entirely dependent on the United States.

After Brexit, 80 percent of NATO spending will come from non-EU members.

While Europeans have made much of recent initiatives such as a defense pact known as the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO), they remain modest in scope. When it comes to increasing spending on defense, progress has been glacial. In Germany, where spending more on arms is particularly sensitive due to the country’s history, the government plans an annual rise of only €250 million in the coming years. That’s a pittance compared to what would be necessary to revive Germany’s battered armed forces, which are struggling to keep basic equipment, including helicopters and tanks, in operation.

The German posture, despite persistent pressure from the U.S. and some European capitals, is unlikely to substantially change. “For Berlin to really spend more, there would need to be some kind of event,” a German government adviser said, referring to some form of military attack.......
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