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60 YEARS OF PEACE IN EUROPE

IS THE ERA NEAR ITS END?

 

European Security in a nutshell

"Security in Europe will be damaged if we leave the EU and unity amongst other EU nations is disrupted"! A bold statement, but one that can be validated.

Terrorism has attracted much discussion over past months. More than 25 years have elapsed since I was personally involved and there will have been many developments in information sharing. However, one factor; reliance on human nature, will not have changed and its importance cannot be over-emphasised.

Security against terror is of vital importance, but of even greater significance is maintenance of peace. Those who witnessed the devastation remaining in London and even worse in the Ruhr Valley, ten years or more after the end of WWII, or have been in more recent conflict zones, will need no further reminder.

In simple terms, the EU’s contribution to maintenance of peace in Europe has been this:

Natural enemies in, or aspiring to join the EU, have put aside differences to pursue a common purpose.

The striking lesson in validating 'common purpose' as a tool for peace is the sudden outbreak of hostilities in Yugoslavia on the death of Tito.

As a cohesive nation under Tito, arguably the first European Union, common purpose inter alia, fostered peace among the severely disparate Yugoslav nations. When the cohesive alliance ended, so did peace. The same logic can be applied to the EU which has several nations that are certainly not natural allies. A propensity for conflict among European nations has been regularly demonstrated over the centuries. More so than almost any other region of the world.

NATO is a currently a powerful force that relies very heavily on the US contribution for funding, with few other nations meeting their obligations. Trump will force that issue to the extent that no previous President has.

It's a deterrent force, but it's also a reactive and not an initiating force. Its defensive not offensive and does not intervene ahead of conflict. It has virtually no role in the maintenance of peace and good relations between EU members. It does not prevent local conflict, it is a kind of auditor in that it turns up after the conflict to sort out the resulting mess.

There is no doubt that during the cold war NATO was instrumental in preventing Soviet aggression but it's also true that NATO's contribution to the period of peace between European nations was mostly restricted to the simple fact that some of the member nations were also members of the EU. Friends with a common purpose. Today's security is born out of alliance and friendship and not isolationism.

There are a lot of things in the EU that need reforming, but sixty years of peace alone would be worth every disadvantage the biggest Eurosceptic could list.

Should war break out yet again in Europe, Fox, Gove, May, Johnson and Co will not be in peril any more that their fortunes are in peril from Brexit. Others meet the cost of their folly.

American Election Update

With the election of Donald Trump as POTUS from January 2017 Europe is more perilous than for half a century. Europe can no longer rely on NATO and participation of the US in deterrent of conflict. Effectively we are back where we were a hundred years ago. America may take an interest in peace in Europe, but at a time when it suits their interests.

Trump shares much of the 'America First' philosophy of Theodore Roosevelt. When WWII broke out, his attitude was that it was not America's problem. It was a skirmish thousands of miles away from which the USA was distanced by an ocean and economic self-sufficiency. The 'special relationship' was, as it is today, just a little one-sided.

Whatever the declared policy of Trump, he's demonstrably a loose cannon. No prudent organisation would entrust their peace and security to such an unpredictable ally. The inevitable consequence is more rapid development of the EU Military Force which now makes total sense. Such must result in diversion of funds from NATO to support the new force with isolationist Britain becoming the only defenceless nation in Europe. Britain becomes the Atlantic North Korean clone sought by Brexiteers.