tv Inside Story LINKTV December 29, 2021 5:30am-6:01am PST
fense strategy of its own? there are more calls for a united military power. can the europeans survive without nato and the united states? this is inside story. ♪ hello and welcome to the program. the idea of the common defense has long been debated among european leaders. the block has historically relied on the nato alliance and
the united states for military action. after the taliban took over afghanistan this year, the mass evacuations that followed, questions arose about the european union's ability to drive its own defense policy. on monday, the hungarian prime minister was the latest leader to call for a common defense force in europe. he was holding talks with the fight -- french president during a summative east european leaders. >> first, we both love our countries. second, we both work for strengthening europe. finally, we will agree on the fact that europe needs strategic at tommy. there are three notions we see fitting. i will share this with the president. we believe there's no economy without a european defense industry. there's no it on to me without our own nuclear energy capability. there's no it on any without subs -- self-sufficiency and agriculture. anchor: urszula had also highlighted the need for the block to step up its
military capabilities in order to be able to confront security threats and global crises. >> the european union is a unique security provider. there will be missions where nato or the united nations will not be present but we're sure -- europe should be. you could have the most advanced forces in the world but if you are never prepared to use them, what use are they? what has held us back until now is not just a short form of capacity. it's the leg of political will. anchor: let's take a closer look at how much you government spend on defense. a recent european defense agency report showed the block spent to record $225 billion last year, a 5% increase on 2019. there was a fall in joint investment. the continent spent 11% of their total equipment purchases in
cooperation with other eu governments. despite the lack of cooperation, the block still plans a joint military force of up to 5000 troops by 2025 to deploy during emergencies. ♪ let's bring in our guests now to talk more about this. in washington, d.c., we have a cofounder and director of the global public policy institute in berlin. in brussels, a director of the center for russia, europe, asia studies. joining us from oslo, professor of international relations at the university of southeastern norway. good to have you all with us. if i could start this by asking, does a european defense force makes sense strategically? >> thanks for having me. of course, it makes strategic sense in the medium-term.
the question is, how to make it the reality? what are the realistic next steps? there's a lot of political talk about european strategic at tana me and sovereignty. even the hungarian prime minister pretended he is a grid -- great advocate of this and fully in line with president macron, that he's in favor of strengthening europe. on the rule of law and other issues, the prime minister undermines europe. what she said is not just a question of capabilities or capacity but of political will. that's true. we need political will to really up our game. europe does spend quite a bit on defense. it needs to pool and share and get out of this national defense industry, really work towards a europewide defense industry, strengthening its innovation
base and really working toward that. i think this direction could become a reality. the important thing is not to talk just about distant, unrealistic goals for the time being. talk about concrete steps to invest in concrete capabilities as europe. anchor: what do you see as the motivation for a europe defense force? >> we see with macron, he will have the eu rotating council presidency. he's running for office in france. he's really pushing the strategic at tana me narrative. this is something that he has been long to profess. he mentioned about two years ago that nato was framed. france has been seen as a real
pushing. there are two ways to look at this. one could be that europe is stronger and does more burden sharing. it would be more useful to nato. for the last 30 years, there's been this idea that there's is a peace dividend. as you mentioned earlier, there's been so much money spent but has it used wisely? what about capacities? there's big issues in gas and logistics and basic communications among eu mentor -- member states. i think strengthening europe and having a strengthened pillar within nato would be hugely beneficial, especially since we are not only facing russia anymore. we are facing russia, china, south korea. the europeans need to be fair -- far more active and use their funding more carefully. we've talked about battle groups. they've never been used.
there's a lack of a political will and there's a sense that many times, europeans like to arbitrage. tensions between the u.s. and china. we need to have everyone on the same page. with the recent democracy summit that biden held, he's trying to get everyone involved. or bond was not invited to this. it's interesting that macron reached out to him at this recent summit held there. let's see how things turn out. anchor: we mentioned about the rapid collapse of the government in kabul and the takeover that the tele-pan raised questions about the european union's ability to drive its own defense policy. do you think that's the only thing that's driving this? >> no. i think there's a lot of international changes as well as internal. obviously, if macron -- the u.s.
is in relative decline, becoming less reliable. so this is something that macron also alco. europe has to be able to take care of itself and not rely too much on the u.s.. however, the focus in the areas they want to develop suggests, in terms of defense, it suggests that the defense is an initiative to become less reliant on nato which means to have more independence from the united states. the focus on nuclear energy is to have less reliance on russia. this fits within what the eu has defined as strategic economy, that the eu should have more influence but be less dependent on others. this also has an application for the internal dynamics. this is a french proposal. the eu has led with germany and france at the center.
france is obviously the weaker part. germany is the economic center. in the eu, that strategic autonomy and nuclear energy shifts the power more towards france, putting it in the center of the eu as opposed to only germany. i think there's an initiative to reposition the eu's place in the world but also reorganize the power structures within the eu itself. anchor: we heard ursula vonda lyon saying that there needs to be more of a political will to do this. you touched on this in your earlier answer. where does that political will come from? france, germany? does it come from elsewhere in the european union? what form does the political will take? >> i think large member states need to lead by example.
we talked about a more unified, stronger european defense industry. if the smaller countries get the impression that this only means that their companies will be swallowed by german or french companies, that's not a very sustainable model. germany and france need to lead by example, make offers to smaller countries. also in terms of building capabilities in terms that are come from entry, not every country needs to have every capability. the larger countries need to invest in their own military capabilities. and then make offers to the smaller countries on where to cooperate. i think the real burden is on the larger, more economically
and politically stronger member states to really lead by example. smaller countries don't have the impression that president macron's talk about european sovereignty is mostly about france and less so about europe. anchor: we heard the hungarian president talk about what he said was strategic autonomy when he was referring to the european defense force. what exactly does that mean? do europe and the united states have different definitions of that? >> you hit it on the head exactly. i attended a conference in brussels, people were flown in from all over europe to attend a special think tank can't -- congress. after one full day, we were waiting for her to wait up so i turned to my left and asked the german next to me, do you know
what strategic economy means? they said no. i turned to the right and asked the french person and he said no. the idea of strategic economy is very ambiguous. the french have a view of it, as we've been discussing. those in the vault -- baltics are concerned about this narrative. people almost coming to blows at this conference about strategic economy. those who are closest to russia feel the most worrisome about these threats. they fear that maybe france would not really come to help them in case there was any sort of invasion. i think it's not lost on the european audience that macron, who is going to be having the eu council rotating presidency, he is trying to get the message across to the central eastern europeans that they had an event take place there. he's their man.
there's a great deal of skepticism from those members. with the eu, 27 eu member states, some of them are neutral. those in central and eastern europe are very dubious about friends having this type of separate identity outside of nato. i think that he was trying to build a bridge towards them. i think this is a huge problem. you have different french leaders and nato has been around for over 70 years. i think there are habits of cooperation, yes. it needs to be fine-tuned and approved. there's huge other areas, it would be difficult for the europeans to replace. for example, cyber as well as space. nato has these capacities. i think a more useful thing for europe would be better overall. we also see, it's not like china is far away. we are seeing china penetrating europe more through daily cyber attacks, through the arctic. we have russia rattling sabers
outside of the ukrainian border. europe has a lot to think about. in addition to that, we have issues and tensions in covina, the whole balkans. it's in a difficult situation. europe really has to get very serious about this. to pick up on a previous point, macron will push the nuclear aspect. this is also a problem in the franco german engine. the green party, which is now part of the coalition government, is not keen on nuclear. it's unlikely that they are going to see it as a sustainable resort which macron wants to have it identified as. for this green strategy of the you, it's unclear if nuclear will be considered a green type of fuel. i think that there are problems already. the new coalition germany --
power in germany. we are seeing cracks in the relationship between france and germany. anchor: what would the european defense force look like if -- do you? >> it would probably be somewhat weak. they say that the french are a leader with no one who wants to follow them. i think that's quite a good description. a lot of the eastern european countries would be hesitant to pursue this strategic economy because it means getting more independence from the united states which means a week nato. a lot of them have put their best -- bets on nato membership. again, this is part of the problem in europe. it's becoming very divided in terms of interest. i think for many, they view that nato is part of the problem. every single pan-european
security agreement from the helsinki accords to the charter of paris in 1990 two the established -- had this concept of indivisible security at its center. nato expansionism has effectively violated all these principles of indivisible security which has been the found -- foundation of pan-european security. now we are having the collapse of pan-european security architecture. that's why we are having conflict with russia. the benefit of having more of an eu army would be, it is less threatening to russia, given that nato is deemed to be the main threat to russia. with a reduced role for nato, it could alleviate, reduce some of the tensions in europe. an eu army on its own would be somewhat, it would not be very effective given that it is the united states that is carrying the brunt, the main member of
nato. it would be a very different european security architecture. in my opinion, it would be less need for military, given that the relations with russia would be much better. obviously, it would be a much less efficient luke perry as well. anchor: let's talk more about this relationship with nato. is there a risk that the european defense force might undermine nato? what sort of role would it play that is different to their organization? of course, there are a lot of countries -- there's a lot of overlap there in terms of member countries that are already part of nato. >> exactly. exactly. there's no contradiction between stronger european capabilities and a strong nato. as long as the u.s. wants that. it's very easy to imagine europe
building up more capabilities and making them useful within nato by carrying more of its own weight, in terms of deterring russian aggression and not just relying on the u.s. for this. as long as nato was viable, as long as the u.s. is able and willing to underwrite european security, more capabilities will also make nato stronger. that's not at all a contradiction. at the same time, it's a hedge against the possible future in which the u.s. no longer underwrites european security. and a very clear future in which the u.s. is much more focused on the indo pacific theater so that europe needs to take care of relations and its neighborhood, especially with russia by itself. glenn has a very funny reading of history and relations with
russia where europe and the u.s. are the only, the kremlin in the cards if we only disarm dissolve nato. history tells a very different thing, different story. of course, we need to take the kremlin's own threat perceptions seriously. this very funny, strange, peculiar reading of history that you offered. anchor: let's get his response to that. >> yes, no. i did not say that nato needs to be dismantled. nato was affected when it did very little. throughout the cold war, it was effectively a power promoting the status quo. that's the defensive alliance seeking to deter the soviet union. after the cold war, nato has become a revisionist power.
it is now expanding its invading other countries with u.n. mandates. under this new nato, the revisionist nato, i think it's destabilizing. it's the main source of tension and conflict in europe. the dividing alliances are also making europe as a continent less relevant. if you impact to its original mission to be a status quote power, it could be a source of stability in europe. however, this is what they are trying to negotiate now between moscow and washington. that's different from saying that nato has to be dismantled. >> if nato was the problem, if it were the only problem, why did president putin choose to invade crimea after ukraine signed deal with the european
union? it was not nato that was the problem. it was the deal with the european union. >> to a large extent, because of tactics. it can see what is coming down the road. nato started with expanding to a couple countries. now it just keeps expanding. obviously, the u.s. has stated its intention of dragging ukraine into nato, even though a small minority want to be part of nato. furthermore, they did not simply sign an agreement with the eu. there was a coup backed by the united states and the eu. because of this, the russians reacted, by holding onto its naval base in crimea. again, if the west had not backed a coup in ukraine, if nato hadn't threatened to expand into ukraine, russia would have never taken back crimea. anchor: i would want to give the last word on this to teresa
farren. >> i think it's always important to try to understand how the russians see the world. it's different from most other people. i think that status quo, season crimea, 14,000 people have died. the idea that nato is changing the status quo, the evidence is there on the ground. as we see moscow rattling sabers outside of ukraine, it six really worrisome. they are using that as a way to try to change the agreement. the agreement was signed, codified that nato could expand. it's a reading of history, it's a change of tone. i think the countries that have joined the eu and nato, the baltics, are glad that they have. they are watching what russia is doing, nibbling away at ukraine, threatening it. what happened in georgia, what might happen in moldova. these are all worrying signs for these countries.
that's why they want to see nato. of course, damming by faint praise. when putin said he supports the eu having this type of military, it shows that they want to get rid of nato and they realize that the eu would be weak and disorganized and it would be very variable. depending on who is on office and would be willing to invest. it would be a long time. there's been a lot of money sent. there's a lack of capacity. i think that would be prudent stream, to have the eu do this. i think that clever minds, macron has notched it down amid -- bit in his beat -- speech last week. they are more realistic. they understand that it is not burden sharing, it is burden shutting. thank you so much. anchor: thank you. we will have to leave it. we are out of time. thank you to all three of you for taking part.
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