2003 February 09 Sunday
France, Germany, Belgium Trying To Destroy NATO?

Is this an intentional plot by France, Germany, and Belgium to destroy NATO?

Belgian Foreign Minister Louis Michel says his country will again block NATO military planners from drawing up measures to protect Turkey against potential attacks from Iraq.

In a Belgian television interview, Mr. Michel said he expects the veto to be supported by France and Germany.

Think about it. Germany and France (and probably Belgium) are keen to create a European Army. The biggest obstacle in their way is NATO. Preventing NATO from defending a member nation against attacks launched from a non-member is a way to make people think that NATO is obsolete and useless.

The French and Germans might even be hoping that they will so infuriate the Turks that the Turks will not want to join the EU. That outcome would be double bonus points from their perspective. They can't oppose Turkish membership in the EU without being called anti-Muslim (even though Islam poses a real problem and even though its compatibility with Western political and cultural norms is questionable). The war in Iraq may be seen as an opportunity to undermine NATO.

France wants to leverage its position in the EU by any means possible. If Turkey was to come in it would eventually displace Germany as the most populace EU member. France is looking to bind ever tighter to Germany in order to allow Germany and France as a pair to dominate the European Union.

If evidence was still needed that the revitalised Franco-German motor is roaring along once again, it emerged when a proposal for dual citizenship between the two powers was unveiled.

The revolutionary initiative - part of a program to intensify bilateral relations - would allow German and French citizens resident in each other's countries to hold the passports of both states.

The plan was to be officially declared yesterday when 577 French MPs and 603 German MPs came together in Versailles for their first joint session of parliament to commemorate the 40th anniversary of Franco-German co-operation.

Then we come to the attitude of the French toward Britain. It has to have occurred to the French that if Britain was to exit the EU that this would eliminate the largest source of resistance within the EU toward French ambitions for the EU's future. The Anglo-American model of capitalism is a threat to the way that France is run. The EU economy as a whole will likely go one way or the other. From a French elite perspective an end to NATO and both Britain and Turkey permanently outside of the EU would put them in a position to steer the economic and political development of the European Union in a direction much more preferable to them. Therefore it will be worth watching to look for signs that the French are trying to get Britain out of the EU as well.

Update: Does anyone think I'm being extreme in my speculations? If so, see this BBC analysis. (my emphasis added)

If a veto is lodged on Monday, Turkey could respond by invoking Article Four of Nato's founding treaty, which calls on the alliance to consult whenever a member state feels its territory is threatened.

Correspondents say the move would be unprecedented.

Correspondents say Turkey could also by-pass Nato as a body and seek the support of individual members. Diplomats say this would spell the collapse of the alliance.

France and Germany see a big win here in terms of undermining NATO as a way to create space for the formation of an EU military.

Colin Powell is going to stay baffled unless he comes to understand that Germany and France do not mind damaging NATO.

Echoing Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld's comments in Germany over the weekend, Mr. Powell said on "Fox News Sunday" that it was "inexcusable" for France, Germany and Belgium to block the request, coming as it did from a fellow NATO member.

US-German relations are getting even worse.

An administration official said Struck told Rumsfeld: "We're talking about it with the French, but we're not ready to talk to you about it." If the official's account is accurate, the exchange is about as coarse as U.S.-German government discourse has been since World War II.. Rumsfeld has irritated the Germans with recent remarks that lumped them in with Libya and Cuba because of their opposition to war.

Anne Applebaum says Germany is the country which has most shifted its position.

But listen hard to what Germany says, for it is Germany, not Europe or France, that has been behaving unusually, even peculiarly. Since the 1950s, Germany has seen itself not (like France) as a counterweight to America but as the essential bit of glue that stuck America to the European continent.

US policy makers need to wake up and figure out what they are going to do about the EU. Germany, France and Belgium would like to make the EU into a counterweight that can block the United States on many issues.

John O'Sullivan argues for offering European countries an alternative to the EU in the form of a Trans Atlantic Free Trade Agreement.

With TAFTA and an a la carte Europe, Britain would then be at the heart of an Atlantic civilization, politically stable but economically vibrant, guaranteed by and supporting U.S. power, in which the Franco-German bloc with its old-fashioned regulatory interventionism and structurally high unemployment would constitute the 'slow lane.'

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2003 February 09 03:02 PM  Europe and America


Comments
Michael said at February 10, 2003 11:15 AM:

Belgium has been trying to give themselves to somebody since the late 1890's.Britain should have insisted that silly little place be divided between the French and the Dutch at the Congress of Vienna,but the House of Orange was feeling cocky at the time.
What on earth makes the belgians think they will be of any importance once this anschluss is complete?

Richard R. Fernandez said at February 10, 2003 11:49 AM:

The Franco-German veto of the Turkish request will soon blow up in their faces. Italy and Spain are supportive of disarming Iraq because they are already within range of Saddam's upgraded Scuds, which their own intelligence sources know can soon be loaded with WMD warheads. They and the smaller countries have staked their national existences on the efficacy of Article 4. France and Germany are tearing up the very security guarantee which made NATO attractive.

The notion that the French are ripping up NATO to cannibalize it for its own alliance makes no military sense, although this is not unexpected of the French. Turkey covers the vital eastern flank. Without Turkey Bologna is the front line. Why would the French think that a military alliance based on a second rate, underequipped Franco-German force deployed on indefensible lines can be more attractive than NATO? How can an EU alliance which ditches 90% of its fighting power (US), 100% of its strategic mobility assets (US) and 70% of its strategic real estate (Eastern Europe and Turkey) be attractive to anybody but a madman?

Yet there it is. Whatever happens now, NATO is dead. Bilateral alliances with the US are not, but all of Eastern Europe must know that if a crunch ever comes, they cannot rely on the French at all. They will block the ports. They will deny reinforcement access to the East. The French motto is: "count on us to let you down".

Bob said at February 11, 2003 7:58 AM:

Richard,

You left out the part about "and blame the British".


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