Will Europe fight for democracy and freedom?
The United States has military personnel stationed in Europe. Historically, there are good reasons for this. Still, there will be no American “boots on the ground” if Putin’s aggression continues. So if Russia continues to escalate its aggressions without crossing into NATO territory, what will Europe do?
Some European countries are members of the EU, others are not. Some European countries are members of NATO and not of the EU. Some European countries are members of both the EU and NATO and some European countries are neither members of the EU, nor NATO.
What happens if Putin invades another European country that is not a member of NATO, as was the case with Ukraine? What happens if Russia invades a country like Moldova? The US probably will not fly in, so maybe it’s time for a European army considering that small countries will not be able to defend themselves against a Russian invasion. Who should join such an army?
Europe cannot count on the US being willing to send soldiers to fight on the battlefield. Americans are fed up fighting wars for other nations – paying with the lives of their young men and women and receiving contempt for their fight for freedom, a core value for the nation. So what should Europe do in the future – surrender to Putin and his army and the Wagner soldiers and let them smash and take over countries and territories – or take up the fight?
Russia has more than 830,000 active in the military. A dictatorship like Putin’s can maneuver quickly, conscript its population into military service, and generally force the population to march to the beat of crazed, power-hungry leaders. It is not quite that simple in a democracy – and it becomes even more difficult if several democracies have to reach an agreement. The rules of the game for totalitarian states and democracies are different, the starting point is such that the EU army project risks dying at the negotiating table, while one Eastern European state after another is incorporated into Putin’s dreams of a great empire.
A colonial past, divergent feelings towards America, internal disagreements – the challenges between the European nations are great. Past negotiations between EU countries have given us an idea of how difficult it is and how long it takes to agree – just look at how long it took to agree on the appropriate size and shape of cucumbers and apples. I dare not think how long it would take to agree on what the European army uniforms should look like, who would make them, and other quite basic military decisions.
I am well aware that most Danes get nervous tics at the mere thought of war in Europe. The Europeans have – at least on the western side of the continent – been spared war for decades.
I grew up with a parent generation believing in chanting “make love, not war,” and that disagreements can be resolved if we just listen to each other. But maybe it’s time to face reality, however unpleasant it may be. Perhaps it is time to be able to defend the European continent, including the European countries that are not NATO members?
Putin has a dream of uniting the former Soviet countries, it is naïve to think that he will stop with Ukraine. Europe cannot count on the United States coming to their rescue if a non-NATO member state is invaded. Perhaps it is time for Europe to face the realities and come to terms with the fact that freedom comes at a cost – also on the battlefield.
Europa har brug for at kunne forsvare sig selv – men er en stærk europæisk hær realistisk?
Vil Europa kæmpe for demokrati og frihed?