The European Union is growing ever stronger. More and more power is concentrated into the hands of unelected bureaucrats. The Eurozone crisis played into the hands of the elite and gave them an excuse to strengthen their hold on the individual countries. I’ve written about all of that before, which is why today, I would like to talk about a new, but related, topic: A common European Army, and why it would be a bad idea.

(Follow me on twitter at @nationstatist)

Many fans of the European Union have been open about the fact that they want the EU to establish a military force. Not in the immediate future of course, but “sometime”. It’s the ultimate dream for eurointegrationists: To finally have a military, so that they can conduct international operations and give Kent – the hometown of Nigel Farage – the District-12-in-the-Hunger-Games treatment it deserves.

Of course, the last part is between the lines stuff.

One could argue against a European Army on the basis of national sovereignity – that’s certainly a valid argument, and the most important reason why I oppose such an army.

However, there is another, almost as important reason: A European Army would not work. And by that, I mean that it couldn’t even fulfill the function that those supporting the army wants it to fulfill; that of an alternative world police, balancing out the military might of the United States.

First of all, such a military would – at current expenditure levels – only have about half the budget of the US military, and the equipment would be much older and less high-tech than that of the US military (many eastern European countries still have military equipment from the Soviet era). Hence, the US would still be the “big dog” in the world – a military won’t allow the EU to take over the title as the world’s greatest superpower. This is based on the combined military expenditure of the European Union.

What is more, that level is likely to fall if a European Army is formed. Ever wondered why most European countries spend so little on defense? It’s because the US spends on defense in our place. We know that the US wouldn’t allow a European country to be occupied, and so there is no need to spend more than symbolic amounts of money on a military.

Now imagine a European Army is formed, replacing the armies of the individual countries. Germany – which is the only country that is still enthusiastic about the European integration project – would have to contribute a lot to this military. France would have to as well. And what would likely happen is that the other countries (possibly with the exception of a few other big ones, like the UK) would realize that they could just freeride on the defense provided by these countries. These countries would have to increase their military expenditure to compensate for the smaller countries decreasing theirs, and needless to say, that wouldn’t be popular with the population in those countries. We – the small countries in Europe – really only keep a military for patriotic reasons + for non-military emergency responses. If the army we’re paying for won’t even specifically defend us and be flying our flag, then trust me, we won’t think it’s worth it.

The second issue is political correctness. Some people are horrified by the thought of a European Army, but myself? It just makes me chuckle. Why? Because I keep picturing old suit-wearing European bureaucrats running around the battlefield trying to direct a battalion of soldiers who weren’t selected for their physical and mental capacity to fight, but instead on race, sexuality, religion etc – who cares about having a functioning army? The most important thing is that the soldiers aren’t disproportionally straight, white, male or any other PC criteria. You may think I’m joking, and maybe I’m exaggerating a little, but seriously: Given how efficiently everything else works in the EU bureaucracy, why would anyone expect an army managed by the same bureaucracy to be any more efficient? Or any less politically correct? The reason why political incorrectness is often more tolerated when it comes to the military is because most armies have long traditions, rituals and a non-PC “culture” that the powers that be (for the most part) don’t want to mess with. If however they were to start an army from scratch, they would definitely insist on the culture within that new army being “modern” – gays would be allowed to serve openly, as would transsexuals (who would be categorized as whatever gender they identified with), 50 % of the soldiers would be women – whether they were qualified or not (note that I have nothing in principle against female soldiers) and so on.

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One final reason why a European Army wouldn’t work: Even if we have an army, Europeans aren’t really keen on dying for freedom. We’re hardly willing to die for our own freedom (that’s why it took so long until the European countries intervened against Nazi Germany), and we’re definitely not willing to die for somebody else’s. And definitely not when it isn’t even a matter of an entire country being occupied – had there been a European Army, and Ukraine been a member of the EU, they would still have lost Crimea. Sure, we may fight back if Russia declares their intention to take over the entire European continent, but we’re not going to risk dying just so a country no-one knows anything about can keep a region nobody’s ever heard of.

Remember, the US extended an open invitation to all democratic nations to join them in Iraq & Afghanistan. Very few did, and those who did, did so only with very limited resources. If Europe didn’t want America to be the world’s policeman, it could join them in policing the world. But Europe won’t do that because we simply don’t care enough about freedom, nor enough about people outside our own country, to do so. And that’s why we should be happy there is a country willing to do the job that we can’t and won’t do. Even if we had an army.

Thanks for reading.

Photo credit: The U.S Army via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

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