EU Aims to Boost Defenses in Response to Russia Threat
Tensions between Russia and the EU have escalated in the last few weeks, causing military experts to evaluate if European troops are really ready for deployment.
According to military planners, only a few thousand of the one million European troops would be able to be rapidly deployed.
The U.S. is also planning to ramp up its military readiness with over 30,000 more troops and additional naval ships and aircraft.
“Trump’s blunt demands that Europe should spend more on defense rather than count on America to protect the Continent via NATO — combined with the U.S. president’s mixed messages about his commitment to the Atlantic alliance — convinced many leaders they had to increase their military budgets,” writes Politico.
With that being said, the EU is feeling the pressure to be better prepared and is planning to increase its defense spending significantly.
“The lack of security has become one of the primary concerns of Europeans again,” said Nathalie Tocci, a special adviser to EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini.
This means the EU is launching plans to be able to move troops and equipment in a hasty manner.
“We must be able to quickly deploy troops either within the EU or rapidly launch military operations abroad and to do so we need infrastructure that is fit for purpose,” said Violeta Bulc, EU transport commissioner to reporters.
“Officials want to create a “military Schengen zone” similar to the EU’s civilian passport-free travel area by simplifying customs checks and bureaucracy that currently cause hold-ups for NATO forces and vehicles trying to cross borders,” writes The Nation. “Top NATO commanders say the changes are essential if Europe is to have a serious deterrent to potential Russian aggression, warning that cumbersome checks are hampering their ability to move resources quickly.”
Currently, depending on the country, moving equipment and ammunition can’t be done quickly enough.
“If you want to take a military truck with general cargo into Italy you only have to give 48 hours notification, whereas in other countries you have to give up to 14 working days,” said Elisabeth Braw of the Atlantic Council think tank.
Even with these changes, NATO would not be able to handle an invasion.
“Even the proposed NATO rapid-reaction reinforcements aren’t designed to win a large-scale conventional invasion by Russia. They are meant instead to be deployed if Moscow attempts a creeping annexation of NATO ally’s territory. The nightmare scenario for the alliance: that such an incursion occurs when the U.S. has committed its ready forces, such as the Fort Bragg, N.C.-based 82nd Airborne Division, to a crisis in Asia,” writes the Wall Street Journal. “Building up NATO’s ready forces would put more teeth in the alliance’s recent deterrent efforts. Front-line allied troops in place would slow any incursion by Russian forces, and the quick and sustained reinforcement of those forces with aircraft, ships and troops would confront Moscow with a choice: withdrawal or a high-cost conventional war.”
Author’s note: NATO’s only purpose has been to defend against the Soviet Union, and now Russia. So, how can they not be ready? They outspend Russia 3 to 1. Has the EU leadership been asleep at the wheel the last few years? What’s the point of having so many troops if you can’t rapidly use them when you need them? Trump is insisting they step it up. The media is focused on Russia, but Russia is not the most powerful enemy, nor is the country likely to attack. China is far more powerful at this point and they are quickly enhancing and modernizing their military. When you look at military expenditures- U.S spends $611. Billion, Russian spends $69 Billion, China spends $215 Billion, and the EU spends $243 Billion. China’s spending has been tremendous in the recent years and with the Silk Road project, the country wants to become the No. 1 world power and will do whatever to do so.