Wednesday, April 02, 2008

The EU, NATO and Nicolas Sarkozy - Apr 2

French President Nicolas Sarkozy's rise has not gone unnoticed by us Bible scholars particularly as it concerns Europe. Daniel gives us this prophecy of a kingdom that has at least partially arrived:

After that, in my vision at night I looked, and there before me was a fourth beast—terrifying and frightening and very powerful. It had large iron teeth; it crushed and devoured its victims and trampled underfoot whatever was left. It was different from all the former beasts, and it had ten horns. (Daniel 7:7)

The move towards greater military integration is the third step that the EU is about to take (the first being economic and the second political). France's move to re-join NATO represents a giant leap forward in end-time prophecy.

Johnny Cash

Nicolas Sarkozy Speaking in London

EU, NATO: Sarkozy's European Defence Plan
April 2, 2008


French President Nicolas Sarkozy not only wants to return France to NATO’s fold — he also wants to bring the European Union and NATO closer together. His plan for European defense involves close cooperation, rather than competition, between the European Union and NATO. If he can drum up support for his plan at the current NATO summit, Sarkozy will be in a much better position to earn support from EU members during France’s EU presidency in the latter half of 2008.


French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s vision for future defense relations between the European Union and NATO has become clearer in recent days. In addition to France’s reintegration as a full member of NATO’s military command (a topic to be discussed at the April 2-4 NATO summit), Sarkozy will seek support, especially from the United Kingdom and United States, for bringing the European Union closer to NATO. He hopes to convert the old dream of an autonomous EU army into a specialized European force operating in tandem with NATO.
In the past, Europe has suffered from two divisive impulses that weakened its collective security. On one hand, European countries recognized the absolute need for protection provided by the United States and its creation, NATO. On the other, many countries felt a desire for self-reliance and freedom from U.S. interests. France, under the leadership of Jacques Chirac, hoped to take advantage of this latter impulse of U.S. resentment by creating the European Security and Defense Policy (ESDP), which was to rival NATO as Europe’s defender while serving as an instrument of French power.

Now Sarkozy is redefining Europe’s security and defense strategy in a distinctly post-Gaullist and post-Chirac way.

He first signaled a break from previous French policy when he announced that he would bring France back into NATO as a full member. (France withdrew from the integrated command structure in 1966, though it increased participation under Chirac.) Some NATO members might grumble that France is a Johnny-come-lately, but most will be happy to have France back in the fold.

In addition to rejoining NATO, Sarkozy’s administration has devoted press time to proclaiming France’s partnerships with the United States and United Kingdom as “beacons of freedom” in the world. With Germany’s reunification and resurgence spurring competition, France is attempting to realign its interests with the Anglo-American alliance. Because France is a formidable military power on the Continent, European defense is an area where it can strengthen ties with its Anglo allies while one-upping Germany. Also, by the same means, France can send a clear message to Russia about European self-sufficiency.

But such an alliance means France must revise its concept of European defense. An independent EU army that is both financially sustainable and strategically effective is highly unlikely to develop. The European Union currently sustains troops in Bosnia and Chad and will soon rotate troops into Kosovo to replace U.N. peacekeepers. But these forces have strictly defined missions, little flexibility, minimal rapid deployment capacity and few resources. To build a coherent and enduring fighting force for all of Europe would require funds that no EU member has to spare. And as they stand, few EU armies could make a significant contribution to a pan-European army in terms of materiel and personnel. Of 300,000 troops available from NATO members, 290,000 are already committed. Sarkozy realizes these inherent limitations for the European Union’s defense structure and has therefore conceded that the ESDP cannot — and should not — rival NATO for military dominance.

But Sarkozy expects some returns for his renewed devotion to NATO. After Sarkozy’s recent talks with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, it is clear what Paris wants from London in exchange: British support in transforming the old dream of an independent EU army into a special European component under NATO’s aegis. In particular, France needs British approval to build a European military command headquarters on the Continent.

The advantages of a coordinated EU-NATO defense policy are manifold. First, member states of both organizations would be able to consolidate their military spending. (Only a few members are spending NATO’s recommended minimum 2 percent of gross domestic product on defense.) They would also avoid the costly redundancy of paying for the upkeep of both NATO and the ESDP. Moreover, all parties — even countries such as Turkey, which are involved in NATO but not the European Union — will save money when the European Union and NATO stop intentionally obstructing each other, as when France interfered with NATO’s attempts to acquire transport aircraft, for example.

But the most significant advantage of a closer EU-NATO partnership would come from uniting the European Union’s trade policy and civilian policing capabilities with NATO’s military might. The combined efforts of these two organizations would be considerably more difficult for countries from Sudan to Iran to resist.

As compensation for France’s return to NATO — especially in the interest of building a unified Western power capable of reaching the farthest corners of the globe to intervene economically and militarily — the United States will probably agree to assist Sarkozy in creating a European substructure within NATO.

Inevitably, major budgetary problems will challenge France’s plan for EU defense. But if Sarkozy and his ministers succeed in drumming up support at the ongoing NATO summit in Bucharest, Romania, Paris will be in a much better position to cajole EU members in July, when it takes over the rotating EU presidency. Then Europe can begin bridging the chasm that has divided its defense structures for decades.

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