Although Britain has vetoed its support for the proposal of the European Military Headquarters, for some it will be of little avail when the decision to have the institution, at British tax-payer’s expense, is finally undertaken.
France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Poland will now get Baroness Ashton, a British Peer, to use the Lisbon Treaty to create a European Military Headquarters (EMH) without British help. (Telegraph 8/11/11).
The EMH’s role will be to co-ordinate, common EU funding of military operations, a European fleet of military transport aircraft, European military satellites, a European defence college, and the development of exchange programmes for officers among EU states (Guardian 7/06/08).
Sarkozy has always expressed a desire for this. A clear hint was the multi-national European force on display, with Greeks and Italians, on the march from the Bastille to the Place du Concorde in Paris in 2007. A march traditionally reserved only for French soldiers.
What role this will play in relation to existing NATO competences is unclear, though potentially the formation of the EMH may weaken NATO, particularly when used in conjunction with European Common Foreign Policy. It will also reduce Britain’s ability to buffer France’s own foreign policy priorities (French interests) using Britain’s advantageous relationship with the U.S.
Whilst NATO remains fundamentally a project of defence, the Common Foreign and Security Policy of the EU has a far more open-ended and ambiguous role, thus rendering its potential mandate far more difficult to control or predict. This is will aid the real beneficiary of an effective European Military force, the French, as Sarkozy knows.
The EMF may well provide a reduction in France's occasional isolation in the Anglo-centric Security Council, exemplified by the French veto in relation the invasion of Iraq in 2003.
In the absence of a permanent German seat on the Security Council, it will ensure that France remains the effective key driver of the nascent EU defence policy. The UN Charter can be used to delegate military operations of the Security Council to the EU, which the French will have a near monopoly over.
Such a delegation, due to overwhelming French military resources on the mainland, will only really benefit one state, despite being under the wonderful guise of UN multilateral action.
It has certainly been a long journey for the France that was significantly behind Germany militarily at the start of the last century, and illustrates, from a strategic point of view, that the French EEC/EU gamble that began in the 1950s to subvert German military potential, to satisfy its own security and revitalise its role as a global player, seems to have finally paid off.
It’s again amazing that on this side of the Channel that there are so many that don’t see that it is once more France, and not Britain, that it the ultimate real beneficiary, of increasing powers of the EU through the clever use of the EU integration policy-framework to French advantage.
This is paradigm was, of course, wonderfully practised by Delors in his cunning revival of the French nationalism through the mirage of the EEC/EU enlargement in the 1980s and early 1990s.
The key privilege the EU now provides France with is the ability to bounce globally above its weight, and suppress its weaker Eastern European neighbours into geo-political insignificance, and force them into increasing dependence on the German Economy, whilst preserving under-performing and uncompetitive parts of its economy through commonly pooled funds of the EU.
The long-term benefits of the EMH may include an increased effective French presence in the Mediterrean, as seen recently with Libya. The EMH will allow further benefits for France due to it having the largest main-land army in Europe, whilst German conscription continues at insignificant levels. This makes France’s prominence in the EU through its forthcoming dominance over the EMH a certainty.
The EMH also provides the French with a long-term strategy to utilise its diffidence to the the uni-lateral action model of the Anglo-sphere in the Security Council to further its own foreign economic policy including trade and investment relationships with other states through the medium of the EU.
If the French can succeed in their plan to manipulate themselves in a position of dominance over the EU foreign policy, the proliferating EU embassies may be a wonderful tool to provide some further counter-point to the Anglo-sphere.
This will ensure that France continues to be a large player on the global stage, and allows her to take advantage of discord relating to more aggressive Anglo-sphere military action to her own economic ends.
None of these developments seem to be in the British interests, whose foreign policy priorities are unique and distinct to France. The great thing about Sarkozy at present is that he is able to do all this whilst Britain continues to fund the EU at over £7 billion a year.
The British people are very nice to their neighbours in subsidising French dominance of the EU, and undermining their own foreign policy choices, at the cost of their own labours. It is high time Sarkozy thanked wishful thinking pro-EU idiots in Britain that encourage this.
Copyright Abhijit P.G. Pandya September 2011.
Copyright Birkenhead Society 2011.