Coronavirus drives American army out of Europe

Analysts at the influential German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP) called for NATO to be protected from the coronavirus. Berlin is frightened by the possibility that, under the pretext of a pandemic, the United States will decide to withdraw American troops from Europe. And then the Europeans will have to make a choice in the conditions of the economic crisis between guns or oil.

Coronavirus drives American army out of Europe

Analysts at the influential German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP) called for NATO to be protected from the coronavirus. Defense News has published an article by DGAP experts in which they express concerns that the dire consequences of a pandemic could prompt European governments to close their eyes to strategic security for the sake of an immediate economic recovery.

“If European governments decide to cut defense spending as a result of the current crisis, this will be the second major blow in a decade,” they write. – Defense budgets have just begun to recover to the level that preceded the 2008 crisis, but there is no possibility. Significant problems still exist at the national and EU and NATO levels. Over the past two decades, European armies have lost about a third of their capabilities. At the same time, the situation of the threat intensified as a result of the openly hostile Russia and growing China. ”

The thesis about “openly hostile Russia and growing China” was nasty and deceiving before, and today it needs even more decoding. Because it can mean different things. The German Council on Foreign Relations has recently released a lot of materials where facts are ascertained and forecasts are made regarding the future of the world, which is changing the coronavirus. “But what if Beijing offers Italy and Spain a generous Chinese“ Marshall Plan ”tomorrow? – German experts are wondering.

“Have we thought about what happens when one company after another faces bankruptcy?” This seems to be not about defense, but actually it’s about defense, only the threats are different, tanks and missiles cannot cope with them. In the DGAP report “Deterrence and Protection in the Times of COVID-19,” the coronavirus is indicated as the main enemy, and Moscow and Beijing are mentioned more out of habit. Two positions are noteworthy. First: “Europe cannot take a tough stance against Russia in the east and neglect the south.” Second: “The United States remains a source of uncertainty.”

These are two serious challenges. To reflect them, you need money, a lot of money. And where to get them? If the European Union decides that it can no longer rely on Washington in the defense sector, then European countries will have to – and in any case – seriously increase their spending on security. Of course, the European Union can save a little. But for this it will be necessary to revise the priorities of strategic security.

The EU’s refusal to perceive Russia as a danger, an exit to a new concept of cooperation with Moscow in the spirit of the proposals of French President Emmanuel Macron will make it possible not to multiply military groups, not to stamp European tanks, missiles and aircraft. By the way, this would also ease the burden on the Russian military budget. However, there is a second component, which the experts of the German Council on Foreign Relations have identified as a potential “Chinese Marshall Plan”. It will have to be reflected already by direct investment of financial resources, for which Berlin, as you can judge, is not ready today and what is not configured for. And it would have been okay only in Italy or Spain. Beijing can begin to operate in Central and Eastern Europe, using the countries of the region as “proxy centers” of its influence.