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Thursday, 7 February 2019

The EU can never succeed as a rival to the US - in any field

The most naked ambition of the EU and its supporters is to develop itself as a credible rival on the world stage to the US. Their constant yardstick of comparison, like a teenage boy's penis ruler, is with the US; population, GDP, outputs and so on. Such ambitions are little more than naive and jejune aspiration. To reach parity, the EU must develop all three facets that would make the federation a world power; civilian, military and normative. We'll look first at military capacity.

(2012-2016 figures) EU USA UK

Active military personnel ('000s) 1,345 1,347 206
Total expenditure (bn$) 169 780 50
Expenditure as % of GDP 1.2% 3.6% 2.3%
Naval forces

Capital ships 27 129 9
Destroyers, frigates, corvettes 153 113 19
Other vessels 260 38 19
Submarines 49 70 11
Land forces

Armour – MBTs & AFVs 20,909 44,706 5,705
Artillery 9,159 2,942 658
Attack helicopters 773 973 190
Air forces

Fighter and ground attack aircraft 1,821 4,792 222
Transport & refuelling aircraft 381 5,248 54

The figures above are as good and accurate I can get without spending hours in research, and I believe are good enough to paint the picture. Happy to take corrections and addenda from our many more expert readers in the comments.

The picture this paints for me is an EU with a last-generation military, heavy on unskilled conscripts, with little state of the art kit and virtually no force projection capacity. Towed artillery, for example, is essentially Great War technology - and without GPS (Russia / US / China would restrict use of their own systems and quickly disable Gallilleo in the event of conflict) simply does not have the vast reserves of shells needed for random and inaccurate wide-area bombardment in Great War style. The conflict in Ukraine has shown how easily GPS can be blocked locally, and new, ad-hoc low tech such as the use of cheap civilian drones to spot targets and correct fall-of-shot can be used, how home-made EW can easily block digital and satellite radio comms and how forces have gone back to last gen HF radio comms.

Even where the figures look to have some equivalence it is illusory. Only France has a military worth anything at all. Low skills and low expenditure mean much EU kit is unserviceable and only a small fraction can take to the field in short order.

The EU is low on both military transport aircraft and on naval vessels other than littoral patrol vessels. This lack of force projection capability in turn undermines the EU's aspirations to be a normative power.

Without NATO, without the USA and the United Kingdom, the EU does not have even the most basic capacity to resist an attack from Russia, a nation with the GDP of France. For a considerable time to come, the EU must rely on the goodwill of other, 'third party' nations for the Federation's fundamental security. This at a time when the EU has been at least encouraging, if not fomenting anti-American sentiment that campaigns for US bases in the EU to go. It is an incredibly risky strategy. 

If we are to ask British servicemen and women to put their lives on the line in eastern Europe for the EU, if we are to share the most sensitive products of our well-developed intelligence capabilities and alliances such as 'five eyes' with the EU, if we are to look out for the EU's security whilst the EU avoids this most fundamental responsibility of defending itself whilst at the same time refusing to buy UK or US made aircraft, military kit or technology and after explicitly naming us both as 'potential enemies', one really has to wonder how much longer the people of Britain are prepared to cover their backs.


RAC said...

"The EU can never succeed as a rival to the US - in any field"
Am I alone in thinking that never in my most drunken dreams did I ever think it could.

right-writes said...

"The EU can never succeed as a rival to the US - in any field"

Given time, one day it might have rivalled its model, the soviet union...

mikebravo said...

Am I being cruel when I say that the only worthwhile units that the French have are their Foreign Legion - the exemplar being 2 Rep - full of British ex-Paras?

Can'tQuiteRemember said...

Was it Timmy that posted an anecdote that the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight has more serviceable aircraft than the German airforce?!

terence patrick hewett said...

No UK defence personnel should ever, ever be put in harms way in the defence of Continental Europe, ever, ever again.

leila said...

There are British troops in Estonia who have been warned of an imminent attack by Russia. The British troops in Europe serving with EU forces ( German I believe) have the EU stars on their upper sleeves and have photographed from the opposite side.

Anonymous said...

No, the EU can only manage about one-sixth of the number of people murdered each year that the US achieves, and for a larger population too.

We all raise our hats, and bow our heads to the gun-infested US.

Oldrightie said...

Anon, we all also raise our hats to the mass rape now endemic across Europe and the power of our multi-cultural, EU driven migrant newcomers propensity for stabbing all and sundry. I also raise my hat to the deluded sense of self importance behind your ridiculous and pathetic trolling. Probably a gaggle of Soros funded origins.

Dave_G said...

Will the EU seek the advice/permission of a majority of their member countries or will they simply over ride their core principle and just do as Germany says?

One way means delays that will inevitably mean losing any conflict and the other means Germany starting another fcuking war in Europe.

Ed P said...

Radders, is it perhaps time to prevent "Anonymous" posts?

If real people, not trolls, have decent things to say, they should stop hiding behind anonymity and use their names.

DiscoveredJoys said...

I've come to the conclusion that the EU (ever greater numbers, ever closer union) is a pyramid scheme. It promises great things but all the profits go to those running the scheme.

Whish is perhaps why the EU is resisting the UK's escape... victims cashing out (not crashing out!) might lead to the collapse of The Scheme.

Anonymous said...

But it's a simple fact, Ed P.

The title says that the EU will never rival the US in anything.

That is plain wrong. It leaves it standing on many fronts, such as the personal safety of its citizens.

And you know what the maxim of the complete cretin is, don't you? "It's not what is said that matters, but who is saying it".

Raedwald said...

Ed P

Crime is a factor in the EU's aims to establish itself as a Normative power, so comments pre-empt my dealing with thay matter.

US homicide and imprisonment rates are much higher than EU - but it has a far lower tolerance of scams and corruption. The only VW exec to be jailed for the diesel fraud was caught as he was trying to flee the US. They lock up bankers, too - something the EU assiduously avoids. People make democratic choices as to where their judicial priorities are.

The paradox is this - the US, with the death penalty and 15% of its citizens undergoing imprisonment at some stage in their lives, remains the world's beacon for freedom, tolerance, and liberty.

The EU, with it's human rights charter and layers of equalities legislation, is viewed globally as an unwelcoming hotbed of spite, injustice and intolerance, an anti-democratic federation of unelected lawmakers drowning its peoples in well-intended but suffocating restrictions.

The US is a normative power and has much success in exporting US norms.

The EU can only aspire to do the same.

Damn, I think I've just written my normative post by accident.

Anonymous said...

As the charmingly drĂ´le Donald Tusk said the other day, the EU is, above all, a peace project.

So how would developing an offensive military capability sit with that as a priority?

Raedwald said...

You've missed the point. I despair at your lack of comprehension.

Wait for the Normative Power post for an answer.

Anonymous said...

The EU, sorry, Europe, is a greater normative power whether you recognise it or not.

If the US had been signatory to ECHR, then there would never have been the crash of 2007, for the simple reason that Foreclosure would not have been the standard remedy for mortgage arrears.

That would have made sub-prime unattractive, as purchasers of that debt would have been denied the equity in a rising market without Foreclosure.

In Possession - repossession as folk call it - the borrower keeps the equity less costs under his Right To Peaceful Enjoyment Of Possessions.

There - and that was all for free, Raed.

K said...

I think geography is the problem. The US's defensive aims are to prevent anyone from landing on the continent which means their money is spent on the navy and air force. The added benefit is that in peace time they can use the same resources to project force around the world. These are also the same reasons why Britain always maintained a huge navy and a tiny army.

But Europe and Russia are on the flat European plains. So they need lots of tanks but you can't project with them. They could buy ships instead but they're not much use in defending Poland.

Smoking Scot said...

The USA has the advantage of being governed by people who speak the same language, who have no historical grievances - and the various arms of the State run on the basis of meritocracy. They promote or elect the best they can get and hold them accountable - by whatever means, they answer to their paymasters - the tax payer.

The EU has almost none of that, in fact it's staffed on a similar basis to many geopolitical entities, like the World Bank, the World Health Organisation and so on, where specific jobs are allocated to specific nationalities. They may be the best that Malta, or Cyprus and so on can provide, but they're seldom the best in the EU.

China has a subtlety different take on the USA, there loyalty to the Party is key, however they can afford to train them to take over a position and in the final analysis, it'll be the best of several possible candidates.

Of course the EU was conceived as a means to stop all those conflicts they had - and Britain was obliged to end at a great price. Churchill at his speech in Switzerland made that very clear. What he never envisioned is the mission creep that's characterised the EU for the last couple of decades.

However that is a problem with every single global entity they created after WW2. Their survival becomes their primary concern and to do that they must build a forbidding empire.

Dave_G said...

The EU is a peace project......

Then how come they foment rising opposition internally i.e. populism and Brexit, poitentially Italexit etc and the Greeks would hardly call the actions taken aginst them IN PEACE TIME as 'non-aggressive'.

There have been around 19 referendum concluded to gain the mandate required for the EU to expand in the way it has and in the majority of cases that mandate has been REJECTED yet over ridden through blackmail, bribery and outright corruption of the democratic process. Peaceful?

Let's also pass over the growth of the EU by stealth....

The EU is now at greater loggerheads than ever - INTERNALLY - and their efforts to project their aggression (i.e. via Ukraine) is hardly seen to be democratic by any observation. If war is inevitable it is to start WITHIN the EU rather than outwith OR the EU will create an external war situation to cover for their imminent failures.

The idea that the EU is a peace project is laughable - the current unrest can only grow and the EU can but WON'T address the issues that are bringing such unrest under control because of their hubris and corruption.

They are following the line of Communism and 'only just' keeping a lid on it all. Their Berlin Wall moment is not far off.

Anonymous said...

Smoker. That is why the EU is near-miraculous, and something, the likes of which, the world has never seen before.

DeeDee99 said...

After the EU Commission's disgraceful bullying behaviour over the past couple of years, I very much doubt the British PEOPLE would want to come to the aid of the EU nations now - let alone in the future.

Dave_G said...

Anon - "That is why the EU is near-miraculous, and something, the likes of which, the world has never seen before."

errrrr..... the old USSR? The EU has ALL the traits.

Anonymous said...

Like tens of millions dead, gulags, and a secret police, Dave?

You need help.

Pat said...

The USA has a common language. The EU has not.
The fact that the EU shares jobs around countries shows that even amongst politicians nationality still has importance.
The EU can only hope to match the US if both of these problems are solved, so every worker speaks the same language and the occupants of Germany are happy to have their tax money spent on Greece or Italy, and nobody cares if the commission is mainly headed by people from francer.
They have a very long way to go, and that's just for starters.

John Downes said...

The EU is a piece project, the piece in question being that between Germany and anywhere else in Europe it might otherwise be tempted to invade.

The existence of the EU and especially the Eurozone with its German currency is the Danegeld that the rest of Europe pays Germany for its goodwill. It would be more honest to stop the pretense and name it henceforward the Fourth Reich.

Dave_G said...

Anon - tell it to those targetted or arrested in France or those political leaders in Catalan.

The deaths and principle of Gulags is surely only a matter of time.

Then there is the EU's method of displacing national leaders for their own place men.

Secret police? They're doing their utmost to control the media already - media outlets are about to get funding removed for criticising EU policies - thought control? The BBC specifically, many others too. 5-year plans - tick that box.

The issue of the Irish border is plainly one that the EU should be attending to but that clearly makes them look like the old Soviet and their propensity to 'building walls'.

Politburo? Corruption? Jobs for the boys? The EU even demands total obedience or suffer the loss of pensions for those that retire and dare to criticise..... this list is endless.

Anonymous said...

Raedwald - is there a slight chance that you might be thinking that the EU is playing a different game with a set of rules you are unfamiliar with? Look at how the US exercises control with FATCA/supranational regulation. Now, loads of folks in the US are complaining about GDPR. Meanwhile, large parts of the rest of the world are jumping on the data protection bandwagon (GDPR-like) to the detriment of Silicon Valley, Leave campaign etc. Time to reconsider and recalibrate your outlook? Or have you dug yourself in so deep that you are going to double down on your Leave position?