Small Wars Journal

A European Army? The Germans and Dutch Take a Small Step

Thu, 02/21/2019 - 1:22am

A European Army? The Germans and Dutch Take a Small Step by Katrin Bennhold – New York Times

… though, the idea has taken on new urgency because of the Trump administration’s threat to withdraw the Continent’s security guarantee if it does not spend more on its defense. At a high-level security conference last weekend, the breach between the United States and Europe burst into the open, leaving many European officials feeling increasingly on their own.

“Everyone is talking about a European army,” Lt. Col. Marco Niemeyer, the German commander of the battalion, said. “We are pioneers.”

Yet if some powerful European leaders are talking more loudly about a European military, the political moment is fraught. Populist parties are surging across the Continent, amid a rising nationalism that threatens European cohesion and has made the prospect of surrendering sovereignty on a sensitive issue like national security even harder. Moreover, the practical challenges to more credible European defense cooperation are immense.


For any progress, analysts agree that Germany, Europe’s biggest and richest country, must do more, including overcome its post-World War II reluctance to lead in strategic matters. The German military already has too few soldiers, too little equipment and faces shortages of just about everything, even thermal underwear, which in some cases is being reclassified as “functional” so that it can be reused by others…

Read on.