Answers to NATO and/or Baltic Countries Should Defend Themselves/Should Create Independent EU Force

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Answers To: NATO Countries Should Defend Themselves

Baltic states won’t support an independent European army. it will never happen, executive leadership is not possible, and all of their cards are just hot air

Reis Thebault, 9-3, 21, Does the European Union need its own army? Afghanistan withdrawal revives an old debate,

BRUSSELS - When President Joe Biden refused to keep U.S. troops in Afghanistan past the Aug. 31 deadline, European leaders argued this forced them to end their evacuation efforts early, despite thousands of citizens and allies still trying to escape the country. The chaotic withdrawal, which has already prompted soul-searching among Western partners, is now reviving a decades-old debate within the European Union: Does the 27-nation club need its own military? The E.U. is in its most idealistic sense a peace project. Economic interdependence was supposed to ward off conflicts between members - and it has created the world's largest trading bloc. exp-player-log While acknowledging that clout, some of its most prominent politicians have argued for years that to become a true global power, the E.U. needs its own defense force, one that is independent of the U.S.-European NATO alliance and does not rely on the United States. The subject is controversial and the geopolitics are fraught. Many experts say the prospect of rolling out a free-standing E.U. military anytime soon is unrealistic. But the clamoring, which subsided somewhat after Biden's election, has intensified in recent days, as European countries abruptly ended their evacuations ahead of the final American flight out of the Kabul airport. E.U. foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, asserted that his proposed joint rapid-deployment force of 5,000 troops could have helped to secure the airport, and that a coordinated European security strategy would have allowed the bloc more influence over the "timing and nature of the withdrawal."  "The only way forward is to combine our forces and strengthen not only our capacity, but also our will to act," Borrell said following a meeting of E.U. defense ministers in Slovenia on Thursday. Other leaders have argued for "strategic autonomy," an ill-defined E.U. buzzphrase that refers to the need for the bloc to become more self-sufficient on a range of issues, especially its security. French President Emmanuel Macron is one of the concept's biggest boosters and has been calling for a "true European army" since he took office - while at one point criticizing NATO as brain dead.Some nations, especially the Baltic states, remain wary of duplicating NATO's efforts and would be unlikely to support a new joint force. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who once endorsed Macron's suggestion for an army, has nonetheless been a staunch supporter of NATO, as well as the U.S. military bases in her country. But Armin Laschet, who is vying to succeed her, said recently that Europe must be strengthened "such that we never have to leave it up to Americans." Some critics say European leaders are attempting to distance themselves from the Afghanistan fiasco, despite generally supporting the decision to leave. Germany, for instance, declined to send troops to help stabilize the country last month as the Taliban made sweeping territorial gains. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said shortly after Kabul fell that while the United States pushed for the withdrawal, the alliance ultimately agreed. "We left together," he said. The renewed debate among European leaders reflects a growing frustration with Biden, who told the world that "America is back," but has pursued foreign policies that echo some of his predecessor's positions. "What happened in Afghanistan was a defining moment," said Nathalie Loiseau, who chairs the European Parliament's subcommittee on security and defense. When the United States decided to pull out, there was scant coordination with allies, she said. Biden dismissed European calls for a "conditions-based withdrawal" and he refused to extend the deadline for pulling out. "The U.S. does not want to be the world's policeman," said Loiseau, a member of Macron's political party. "Now, Europeans must stop focusing on what the U.S. does or does not do." Despite the vigorous recent rhetoric, the idea of a European military remains in some corners of the continent a fantasy and in others

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