As Gerhard Schroeder posited last week, NATO is passé. It has served its purpose, one overtaken by world events and a “New Europe”, comprised of both old West and East Europe, should develop its own independent military capability.
“Old Europe”, struggled to rebuild itself following WWII, while under threat from Soviet hegemony and was protected by the NATO shield under the leadership of the United States. NATO was the bulwark against communist expansion in West Europe and it did its job well. It protected both Western European and US economic interests. Under the circumstances of the war ravaged European economies, it fell to the US to finance and lead the alliance, a benefit to both parties.
Now that the Soviet threat to Old East and West Europe, no longer exists; there is no necessity for American leadership of what should be a European military alliance. Nevertheless, the United States balks at and opposes every attempt by the Europeans to cut the umbilical cord. As Mark Joyce, of the Royal United Services Institute, put it, “What the Americans fear is that the Europeans will develop a weapons capability that operates independently of NATO and could eventually emerge as a competitor to the United States.”
That pretty well sums up the American global strategy – keep the world dependant, or at least thinking it is dependant on the United States. The United States wants to maintain its pre-eminent position in world affairs; that is precisely the reason the Europeans should develop into a full fledged economic and military competitor to the United States, and craft their own foreign policy independent from the US one.
This will be difficult, considering the lack of global political and economic clout it presently wields, but if Europe were to build a stronger alliance with an India-China axis, it could be done. Neither bloc presently is strong enough to stand up to the US, but together they could forge a significant power base. The biggest single obstacle is the lack of internal cohesion in the EU, particularly with a US sycophant, the UK, in its midst.
One way to circumvent this problem is for countries more apt to oppose US policies, such as France, to build stronger bilateral ties to the China-India axis. France is already working in this direction with commercial agreements and joint military exercises with both India and China. Russia, becoming increasingly fed up with America’s meddling and moralizing, is also making overtures to both India and China with a view to forming an alliance of contiguous nations to thwart United States global designs. If the EU as an entity continues to bend to the will of the US, there needs to be more such activity on the part of individual nations. EU countries can help fill the technological gaps in China’s military and industry; they will in turn benefit from trade with what is becoming the world’s biggest market and ally themselves with a bloc that wields global political, commercial and military power. Russia with its huge oil reserves, can supply badly needed petroleum to both China and India and benefit economically from those sales and sales of military equipment. By binding itself politically with China and India, Russia also stands to regain some of its lost leverage and national pride.
Europe (456 million), Russia (144 billion), China (1.3 billion) India (1.1 billion) – a population of 3 billion, just under 50% of the world total, ten times that of the United States. With the exception of Russia, each constituent part larger than the United States. Truly a powerhouse in the offing.