We have seen in History several tipping points in a birth of any state. In many of them a sort of Armed Forces have been involved in one or in another sense to build a nation: as a form of taking independence from a colonialist country, as a way to preserve the national identity or a mean to oppress the population in favour of an elite or regime. No doubt, Armed Forces stands as the first and the last line of defence, not just in the use of force but in support of certain values to keep alive and to create, overall in the beginnings, the very basic idea of common identity as a group. The identity of a nation lies in the national Armed Forces, so that its values and its personal traits are reflected in its ways and it represents the country in front and next to other foreign Armed Forces.
This institution is the highest guarantee of safety as long as there were other Armed Forces around, and it looks that this status quo will remain for a while.
If we think in a European Union as a country, the thought of a European Army necessarily follows. There is no nation state without proper Armed Force behind it. Although this idea is not new, none of the attempts in this direction have been fructiferous in the sense we want.
Ever since the forties, at the end of the World War II, any initiative among the European countries to create an initiative to join forces among the European Nations has been abducted by the United Stated, prone to compete against the Soviet Union throughout European soil. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization is the prime example of this. I do affirm the North Atlantic Treaty Organization is not the solution nowadays but the problem instead.
NATO as supranational institution avoids the creation of any European Army because twenty two of EU State Members belong to this organization. With the excuse of duplications we are not making our own Army to defend our own interests, even if being a European Nation, like the U.S.A. does, we may be keeping on with this old treaty. Instead of defending our interests we defend interests of an organization with a lost point: NATO lost its enemy years ago when the Soviet Union Collapsed. There is no point of keeping a tool with no use at all, even if once there was, there are current needs for Europeans beyond NATO and beyond foreign interest with nothing to do with EU’s. Such as the safety and protection of EU borders, action in foreign scenarios in order to avoid terrorist attacks in European soil or the participation in peace-keeping mission are only few examples where a European Armed Force may intervene to defend our interest. In the meantime, our partners from the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, very wisely on their part and always allies, try to justify NATO through “the war on Terror” or the nuclear threat to continue with its influence in Europe. Even though the fact is that they need more NATO than we do, not in order to deploy more powerful military capabilities but to justify military actions in front of the International Community. In the other hand, the effect in foreign affairs would be intense and extend with an Army of our own capable to act abroad and trough multiple scenarios, accomplishing multiple missions, as any capable Armed Force would. Diplomacy turns into something qualitative different if there is an implicit threat of force, even if only exists inside the mind of our interlocutor. Quiet coactions have been always a recursive solution all along the History.
Of course, the incipient European Army would not be used immediately, not at least in open conflicts as conventional defending force but, alternatively, as a message to likely confronting countries. We can see the best example in our Russian neighbour: would they behave the same performance if we were able to deploy our own Army, an US independent one?
One cannot help but see that those all too familiar voices which are prone to see as an unacceptable the movement towards a European Army come from the other side of the ocean. There are some voices against any action against saving resources from NATO rows. Some make their choice for the half way by promoting a joint European command but sharing a rejection for a European Army. They forget that where there is an EU common head making decisions there is already a seed that has been planted for an EU Army in due course. A very different discussion is whether this joint command would be able to make effective decisions. Both models, a joint command or a complete EU Army, would need an effective way to decide. The UN Security Council way is not the example that should be followed. This example remains as a paradigmatic reminder of something to avoid if someone would start an institution to keep security somewhere. On a political level, of course, there should be discussion and dialogue throughout any action, but in no case it should not lead to give the minority the right of undermine a democratic decision, due to the opposing interest each decision-maker has around the world. This UN Security Council model has led to many blocked situations in the past. In this More-united-Europe an organism to decide in defence and security affairs should be born in the Parliament and decided through votes in any foreseeable possible scenario.
Reducing costs in states members through European Armed Force.:
Although this idea of creating a EU Armed Forces, as explained, seems to be quiete removed in time, if we were to drop nationalist and regionalist positions perhaps better suited to other eras, we would see that it is the most suitable course of action to confront new challenges in the years to come. As far as we know, Armed Forces are required in every country, either if it wants to keep a role in the international scenario, or to keep the life style of its citizens. The creation of this institution should not be a step to avoid.
Beyond any conviction in terms of values and needs of an EU Army, there is the realistic point of view of being able to pay it. It leads to our next point to deal with.
In the next intervention in this Think Tank we will provide data on how this project would reduce cost in every state member as the consequent and reasonable point to follow in favour of the constitution of a stronger European Armed Forces.