November 13, 2009
ESDP (the European Security and Defence Policy), agreed upon at St. Malo ten years ago, and the EU’s own defence force demonstrate the fact that the European Union has become a military and strategic player of growing importance in world affairs. In time, let’s say a few years from now, the 60-year NATO alliance will have outgrown its usefulness in protecting Western interests on its own.
As current developments indicate, it is entirely possible that Asian nations too will endeavour to create in the not-too-distant future a military and strategic alliance of their own, to complement their economic integration plans. When this happens, NATO as the world’s foremost military alliance will effectively have to be replaced with structures capable of accommodating the up-and-coming military alliances : Europe’s and possibly Asia’s.
Viewed in this light, France’s latest moves to reintegrate into NATO’s military structures could prove, if not downright detrimental to ESDP, rather lacking in strategic vision. EU strategic planners, after all, should spend most of the time thinking of how to improve the new European force’s military capabilities and the co-ordination between its various national components. To complement these efforts, European political leaders would do well to concentrate on framing a well-defined common EU foreign policy rather than on selecting this or that person for the top job. When this will happen, Asian policymakers and analysts will take Europe more seriously than it is the case right now.Florian Pantazi