In earlier geopolitical posts, I established that any perceived rivalry between the US and the PRC did not occur as the product of happenstance. A variety of other historical factors throughout the 20th century played a role in ensuring that such a rivalry would become tenable in the 21st century. During the height of the Cold War, when the world order was still bipolar, there were only three potential rivals capable of challenging the Americans and Soviets. And apart from China, Germany and Japan were the other two competitors, although their overall capabilities were reduced significantly after 1945. This was briefly the case during the 1970s, 1980s and even early 1990s, when it seemed to American observers that Japan, Germany or both were beginning to surpass the economic and financial hegemony of the US. The Death of Bretton Woods, the European Economic Community (precursor to the EU), US trade deficits, Globalization, early forays into Automation and the broader Cold War itself gave credence to those observations.
However, these same observations overemphasized the clout of the German and Japanese economies, neglecting the military potential that came with wielding such economic power. It is true that Germany and Japan can still be considered as economic rivals to the US, but they are no longer potential military rivals. After all, the two countries are still bound by some international treaty arrangement that prevents them from fielding any armed forces capable of projecting power beyond their immediate borders. They were made to accommodate the Jeffersonian ambitions of the Empire of Liberty in some form or another. Where Germany and Japan lack the military capabilities they once had, China continues to maintain its military and economic powers, thereby allowing a sizeable number of American observers to conclude that China represents an emerging enemy to the US.
There is another dimension to this geopolitical discussion that needs to be addressed, and it has everything to do with the EU/NATO itself. The European Union, it should be stressed, is an elaborate Free Trade Agreement presided by a pseudo-state of technocratic bureaucrats. This technocratic bureaucracy is not completely elected by the nations of Europe nor is it determined to foster true diversity in the political-economic sense. Anyone who joins the EU/NATO has to be willing to accept the adoption of Parliamentary Democracy, the Market/Mixed Economy, the loss of financial sovereignty by adoption of the Euro, and all the laws and regulations that come with EU membership. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization on the other hand acts as the military force designed to deter any European nation from opposing the EU/NATO militarily. In actual practice, NATO is a military alliance designed to enforced the terms of this elaborate Free Trade Agreement in the interests of the Jeffersonians’ Empire of Liberty.
Any true Eurosceptic, convinced that the nations of Europe should control their own political-economic destinies, must realize that any opposition to the EU is tantamount to opposition to NATO. The two are inseparable from each other. Meanwhile, the idea of trying to build a “European army” beholden to the EU will lead to further integration in the EU within the realm of national defense and police. It would also not be a suitable way of abandoning NATO, rather it would provide additional Perverse Incentives for its perpetuation. These conclusions are supported by one of the two major countries that play a dominant role in the EU.
Germany, despite its lack of military capabilities and NATO membership status, does have immense influence in the EU, albeit it cannot govern the EU alone. It has to govern the EU alongside its western neighbor, France, which also has its own strategic interests. Post-1945 France, the Fifth Republic, is currently the sole EU/NATO member-state with membership on the UN Security Council and wields sovereign control over its own nuclear weapons, two things which Germany lacks. Even so, neither Germany nor France appears content in governing the EU together without realizing that the two nations have fundamental disagreements over how Europe should be integrated. I have reasons to doubt that, should a “European army” be allowed to form, the French will be less willing to ‘share’ its nuclear weapons with Germany, whose access to nuclear weapons is limited to those which US is allowed to store in American military installations in the German-speaking world. I am also skeptical of the idea that France will somehow subordinate its own national security interests to that of the EU. This was certainly the case during the 1960s, when Charles de Gaulle was entertaining the idea of a more independent France that still recognized the need for cooperation among European nations.
I would love to explore this topic further in a future post. Once I have found more information to develop my own conclusions and work from there, I will definitely share later on. For now, consider this to be an introduction to my views on the topic.