Ze powerz are shifting
Prodi was a center-left critic of the Iraq war, always ready to give discreet backing to the French sniping at President George W. Bush. His departure, and the dramatic failure of the French and Germans to replace him with the even more outspokenly anti-American Belgian premier Guy Verhofstadt, is good news for all friends of the Atlantic alliance.
Verhofstadt was vetoed by Tony Blair, with the steady support of the Poles, Italians, Danes and others. This was a decisive rebuff to the Franco-German axis that has for so long dominated EU affairs. Verhofstadt's call for the EU to be "emancipated" from American influence sank his candidacy.
Verhofstadt actually likes to be known as an "Atlanticist", although he did turn his wagon in latest years and turned Belgium into "a mouse that roared". One down, many more to come.
The EU's eight new member states from Central and Eastern Europe, who still feel the heavy legacy and the enduring shadow of 40 years under Soviet dominance, have no intention of playing the French game. They understand clearly that their national security in the future will be far more secure with NATO and a continuing American military presence in Europe than with some French-devised security system that will be long on rhetoric and woefully short on performance.
Yet, even if the Europeans were more enthusiastic, they might have little to contribute. Germany, the largest country in the European Union, has 270,000 soldiers in its army -- yet its commanders maintain that no more than about 10,000 can be deployed at any one time. No matter the politics, the German Parliament is unlikely to authorize an increase in the current ceiling of 2,300 troops for Afghanistan. And Germany is the largest contributor to the NATO operation -- France, which has never liked the idea of NATO operations outside of Europe, has only 800 soldiers there.
What are those terrorists waiting for? Come in any time, there isn't much to fear anyway. But hold your horses, until we're ready for you that is. Because we really are working on things. You know, doing some planning and such. Gawain over at Fainting in Coyles has an interesting link to a study called "A European Defence Strategy":
Although Anglo-French nuclear forces have no formal ESDP role [European Security and Defense Policy] they afford a de facto extended deterrence to all EU and NATO partners, even though neither London nor Paris would be willing to admit as much.
I didn't notice:
France is to enact a historic shift in military strategy by targeting its nuclear missiles on "rogue states" that have weapons of mass destruction, it was reported yesterday.
In the longer term, the strategy will "take into account" China as a potential threat, according to the newspaper Libération. It said the new doctrine - the fruit of several years of reflection by the defence ministry, will be announced in the next few weeks.
Those poor Chinese ... .