New European Missile Defense System - A Harbinger Of NATO’s Collapse

Fuad Muxtarlı Analysis 13 November 2019
New European Missile Defense System - A Harbinger Of NATO’s Collapse

Like political and economic disagreements among European nations, defence-related issues are also sending out cracks in the attitude of NATO member nations.

On November 10, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said: “We (Europeans) will jointly develop weapons systems in the future, including projects of military aircraft and tanks.”

Solidarity with the German chancellor immediately appeared at the level of the European Union. Thus, the EU approved a project to create own air defense and missile defense system with space components (TWISTER) to repel the latest generation of air threats, the final statement of the EU Council at the level of defense ministers said.

The TWISTER system project was included in the list of 13 new military projects adopted as part of the EU Structural Military Partnership (PESCO) program. The Timely Warning and Interception with Space-based Observation Components project was approved on 12 November 2019. France, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands and Finland will take part in its implementation, the document says.

On 2 August 2019, the United States unilaterally and definitively withdrew from the Treaty on the Elimination of Intermediate-Range and Shorter-Range Missiles (INF Treaty), accusing Russia of violating it. We should recall that all these statements appeared immediately after French President Emmanuel Macron spoke about NATO’s brain death.

By the way, the French president also spoke about the possibility of creating a European army. That is, all these statements about the "death of NATO", as well as the manufacturing tanks, planes and air defense systems, are made for a reason.

Frankly speaking, it is wrong to consider NATO “dead” at the moment. Not in vain, many leaders of NATO member countries strongly disagree with Macron. But the fact that centrifugal processes in this military unit are intensifying cannot be denied. If the leaders of the leading European countries of NATO, including Germany and France, make such statements, it means that things are going badly in the alliance.

We should recognize that these centrifugal processes began with the appeal of US President Donald Trump to NATO members to increase the amount of the contribution to the alliance’s budget. Serious contradictions between Washington, which plays a major role in NATO, with the rest of the organization, especially with Germany and France, were already revealed.

Trump’s arguments about the possible dissolution of NATO caused even greater panic among European NATO members. It was on these days that rumors began to be circulated in the European press about Europe’s desire to create its own army. In one form or another, the chancellor of Germany and the French president began to confirm this.

In European capitals, it was not without reason that they began to believe that the current U.S. president did not know what he was doing. More precisely, they understood that the head of the White House would under no circumstances take into account the interests of European states. These thoughts began to dominate the minds of European leaders even more when Trump announced that the United States would withdraw from the treaty on intermediate- and shorter-range missiles.

After all, it was obvious that America was thereby substituting the Old World. Well, Russian President Vladimir Putin, in response to the US withdrawal from the treaty, said that if America places its missiles in Europe, then European countries may be at risk of retaliation.

The construction of a European missile defense is a necessary measure on the part of the EU in response to the dictates of Washington. Neither Germany, nor France, nor many other NATO members are ready to follow Uncle Sam in the wake of foreign policy. More specifically, Europeans are tired of playing the role of America's satellites.

Therefore, they are now trying to form their own foreign policy doctrine, which is different from the foreign policy of the U.S., striving for world hegemony. And, of course, the main component of this Brussels doctrine will be to ensure its own European security through the creation of new weapons, including anti-aircraft, anti-missile and even space systems.

However, all this is clearly a harbinger of the imminent "demise" of NATO with all the ensuing consequences. The phone call comes after Macron claimed last week that a lack of U.S. leadership is causing the "brain death" of NATO and said the EU must step up and start acting as a strategic world power.

Trump's preoccupation with defense spending has been a constant theme since he came to office in 2016 and is expected to feature at the Dec. 3-4 summit in London.

In the meantime, German defense minister denied what Macron said about NATO 'brain-dead' comment, adding that NATO is a "decisive cornerstone" of security. Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer spoke out in defense of NATO at a conference in Berlin, challenging French President Emmanuel Macron's earlier controversial assertion that the organization was "brain-dead".

"NATO remains a decisive cornerstone," said Kramp-Karrenbauer, speaking at the annual 'NATO Talk around the Brandenburger Tor' event on Monday.

It was also important to explain to the German public why the country needed to play a more active role in international security matters, Kramp-Karrenbauer said.

But she admitted that discussions of security matters "win no popularity contests," saying that the German public would need a "weaning" period to get used to the idea of the nation wielding a larger military influence.

Wolfgang Ischinger, chair of the Munich Security Conference and formerly German ambassador to the U.S. and deputy foreign minister, also contested Macron's assertion at the conference.

"Our American partners have increased their presence in Europe. They are planning a big exercise next year, bigger than any exercise before. So we can't call it brain-dead," he said.

The comments by Kramp-Karrenbauer and Ischinger joined Merkel and other prominent German voices, who last week spoke out after Macron said a lack of US leadership had rendered NATO effectively "brain-dead".

However, Ischinger also appeared to support Macron's stance on leadership matters, saying, "If I were the one sitting at the Elysee Palace, I'd be concerned about NATO partners who are not coordinating with others."

This appeared to be a reference both to the United States, which pulled forces out of Syria without warning NATO partners in the region, like the UK and France, and to Turkey, which then immediately sent its military into the area.