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The EU Gets Gangsta: Russia Yawns

German & Luxemborg military experts at the first EU army meeting. (IMG: facadesandpleasantries)

So an interesting to and fro is developing over the concept of creating a Federal Army that would be the military organ of all EU members--a "European Army." The idea came into the public dialog after European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker publicly declared his desire to see such a military organism hatched into existence while conducting an interview with the German weekly Welt am Zontag. Presumably extrapolated out of the existing connection between EU member states participating economically and to greater and lesser degrees politically, Juncker elaborated on the concept:

"A common European Army would show the world that there will be no more wars among the EU countries," he announced proudly. "Such an army would enable us to conduct a foreign policy and a policy of security and to become aware of Europe’s responsibility in the world."

Sure that folks around the world don't shiver at the thought of EU military anger, Juncker is aiming for a new gangsta image:

“Europe’s image has suffered dramatically and also in terms of foreign policy, we don’t seem to be taken entirely seriously.”

Who do you think was among the first wave of notable reactors (no pun intended as you'll see) to his comments? Why, Russia of course! 

Unable to not respond to what he felt was a provocative concept (considering that there is nowhere for this hypothetical EU army to aim its ordnance save eastwards towards Putinland), first deputy chairman of the United Russia faction in the State Duma, Frants Klintsevich proclaimed:

"In the nuclear age extra armies do not provide any additional security. But they surely can play a provocative role," and went on to bemoan the fact that the idea had already met with some support.

He imagined out loud why the idea for a eurocentric army was not imagined back in the tough days where the tension between NATO and the Warsaw Treaty Organization countries were at peak levels. Now, with the iron curtain fallen, he calls the idea perplexing.

"These days, when the Warsaw Treaty is long gone, for some reason there has developed a need for that. One should presume that a European army is seen as an addendum to NATO. And in this kind of situation Western politicians are not shy to accuse Russia of some aggressiveness."

As for the support that Klintsevich indicated the proposition enjoys, the Germans are definitely on board with the idea. German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen snuggled quickly up to the concept:

"The idea of having a (common) European army, in my opinion, has a future," she said.

But wait--is there dissent in the mix? 

Yes, there certainly is, and with no minor player. The Brits took a pass at the idea, saying on Sunday, right after the article came out:

“Our position is crystal clear that defence is a national, not an EU responsibility," said the announcement from a government spokesperson, "and that there is no prospect of that position changing and no prospect of a European army.”

An interesting state of affairs considering the unspoken target for all of this theoretical military fumfering is clearly Russia. You would think that before a union leader went out in front of the entire planet with the very threatening-to-neighbors concept of massive military unification, he would have floated the idea behind the scenes to his potential participant states; for it to have the desired effect, you'd not want one country proclaiming that the idea has a future, and then the other say that there is no prospect whatsoever of the idea taking hold.

And don't you just love the insanity of the Russian response? It is essentially,

"What good will it do you having your French infantrymen walking side by side with German infantrymen in a universal uniform, when we are just going to drop a nuke on them anyway? The concept of them cooking together under a Russian mushroom cloud is very cute, and rather unique. Thanks for the antiquated threat, though."

Of course, smaller, non-nuclear equipped EU countries in general will be more amenable to the idea, while larger, more militarily self-sufficient (and nuclear-armed) states will understandably have no interest--"Why should I drain fully committed resources away from my own country to support an unproven concept?"

Rhetoric--as it sits now, it's all just saber-rattling, tryin ' to look gangsta, and the like. Doubt it's headed anywhere.

Preston Clive