Germany last week
European Commission President Jean Claude Juncker’s call for the creation of an “EU army” has received strong support from the German government. The mainstream parties in the German government, as well as the German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen from the Christian Democrats welcomed Juncker´s initiative.
Juncker was advertising the “EU army” in German media: “With its own army, Europe could react more credibly to a threat to peace in a member state or in a neighboring state,” he told the German newspaper Welt am Sonntag. And then he came to the point: “A common army among the Europeans would convey to Russia that we are serious about defending the values of the European Union.” In reality Juncker doesn´t advertise a “European Army” – he campaigns for an anti-Russian alliance.
Perhaps this is precisely the reason why the US administration seems to find it acceptable. In the past when European leaders had similar ideas of an independent European defense organization, Washington created one obstacle after the other. The reason is clear: The US leadership did not want to have competition against the NATO structures on the European continent. The idea that Europe could become an independent geopolitical player caused a headache in Washington. Charles de Gaulle´s plan to create an independent European defense failed already in the 1950s – also because of the trans-atlanticist lobby in West Germany by that time.
But today the cards in Europe are being shuffled anew. Juncker doesn´t even think about an independent defense structure – he simply wants to make the NATO armies in Europe more effective and less expensive by merging them. The NATO leadership is not even questioned, so Washington approves.
And Germany? All the established German political parties expressed their support for Juncker’s anti-Moscow army. Even the Greens, the party with roots in the so-called “Friedensbewegung” peace movement, applauded Juncker´s army plans. German Green MP Jan Philipp Albrecht posted the following tweet in that context: “I support @JunckerEU in building an #EU army, IF it means the termination of all EU Member States' armies and is controlled by @Europarl_EN.” One especially wonders how German “pacifists” can turn into army fans within a few hours, because no institution was, within the last decades, so much under political attack like the German Bundeswehr.
The so-called “Bundeswehr-Reform” had the aim of lowering the costs for the army and turning it from homeland defense into a global intervention force. The reform was to reduce the size of the Bundeswehr from around 240,000 soldiers to a professional army of 170,000, and it was the German soldiers who suffered most from these reforms' ruinous cuts. German soldiers who were deployed to Afghanistan reported that they had to buy parts of protection gear at their own expense.
In 2011, after 50 years, Germany abolished compulsory military service. This was done not by the Greens, but by the “conservative” defense minister Karl-Theodor von Guttenberg.
With the end of compulsory military service the Bundeswehr had to impose other means for recruitment. Officers visited schools and universities to advertise “jobs” in the army. But in that moment the Bundeswehr faced a large campaign conducted by the same political forces cheering today for Juncker´s EU-army plans. Green-left circles formed the campaign for “military-free” schools against informational events of the German army. Three of those schools received the prestigious “Aachen Peace Prize” in 2013.
Previously it had been illegal to refer to soldiers of the Bundeswehr as “killers," as part of the legal protection against defamation of the army, but in 1995 the Federal Constitutional Court of Germany officially permitted it.
For decades the real “enemy” of the German army has been neither the Afghan Taliban nor Somali pirates – it is the German defense establishment itself and the German political mainstream.
This is the dirty little secret behind the enthusiastic applause for Jean Claude Juncker’s call for the creation of an “EU army” coming from all sides of the German political spectrum. His approach includes three important points:
1)In the end the full abolishment of the unloved child, the Bundeswehr, connected to the transfer of responsibility to Brussels' EU administration.
2)An important step towards the so-called “European integration” which means, in reality, transferring sovereign rights to Brussels to create an “EU super state” – the planned “United States of Europe.”
3)The guarantee that the “EU army” will be under NATO command, which means, in reality, under Washington command.
Juncker´s “EU army” will be in the end nothing more than a economically more efficient NATO unit, and German soldiers will be on the front lines.