“Faced with uninhibited adversaries, Europeans should better assume the use of power”

Tribune. Neoconservative political scientist Robert Kagan argued that Americans and Europeans did not share the same worldview, the first “Being from Mars”, the seconds “Of Venus”. While the United States assumes the conflict, the European Union (EU) would be in denial of its “Strategic competitors”. Since 1950, Paris has strived to create a “Hard power” European Union, associated with a common security and defense policy (CSDP) and a strategic autonomy project. The recent results of this policy – defense funds, capabilities, monitoring of the Libyan embargo – are overestimated when it comes to containing strategic competitors such as Russia or China or, as General de Gaulle said in Minister Alain Peyrefitte, of “Dissuade” a competing ally like the United States, however. Europeans are struggling to shake off a reluctance to use coercive power. Faced with uninhibited adversaries employing hybrid levers, military and non-military, they would nevertheless benefit from better assuming it.

A purpose that is more economic than political

A common defense presupposes common interests, a shared understanding of the adversary, military planning and the concerted acquisition of capabilities used collectively. This articulation exists in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), which constitutes, according to the European treaties, an organization for the defense of Europe. The progress of the CSDP serves a purpose that is more economic (finding outlets for industry) than political (ensuring the security of Europeans in the face of a threat).

The objective of an internal market for defense goods is also struggling to materialize, because no member is ready to sacrifice their industry, even uncompetitive, which does not encourage the EU institutions (Commission and Court of Justice) to exercise their powers in this area. States allocate little European Defense Fund (EDF) resources to programs deemed strategic with regard to their security interests. Voluntarism is not enough to change this state of affairs because, with or without Trump, there is neither the appetite of the Twenty-Seven to do so, nor a common vision of the threat. The diagnosis of ” brain death “ of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) [par Emmanuel Macron en novembre¬†2019] troubled Europeans, who still regard American military might as theultima ratio of their security in the face of a threat assessed today as mainly of state origin.

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