On the relevance of a Europe of defense

The tank psychodrama that has plagued Germany in recent days found a favorable outcome on Wednesday. It took Washington to agree to deliver around 30 Abrams tanks to Ukraine for Berlin to feel comfortable enough to authorize the delivery of its Leopards to the Ukrainians. Germany and several European states will be able to transport these heavy weapons to kyiv.

This is a turning point in the war that has been shaking the continent for nearly a year, and a major strategic contribution for kyiv. This attests, believes former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, to the Western conviction of Ukraine’s ability to win the war – even if Russian forces launch an offensive this spring.

Read also: End clap in the case of the Leopard battle tanks

The German Chancellor, Olaf Scholz, saves face and probably his coalition. The episode of the Ramstein meeting last week, however, raises questions about the danger of a purely national approach to European security. The German prevarications, accentuated by the lack of French eagerness, blocked at a critical moment a rise in power of the Western device. But the unity of the West is saved. It lives up to the imperative need to support a country attacked and devastated by Putin’s Russia, whose brutality has nothing to envy to that of Ivan the Terrible or Alexander Nevsky.

The fear of escalation

If Scholz’s Germany had such difficulty in deciding, it is because it is inhabited by several fears: fear of contributing to an uncontrollable escalation of the Ukrainian conflict, fear of breaking off definitively with an ex-business partner, Russia, fear of crossing the Rubicon to become the most powerful army in the EU, fear of its own history and finally fear of changing eras. However, Ramstein’s indecision must push Brussels to rethink the continent’s future. Repeated failure, the project of a Europe of defense, which Emmanuel Macron still dreams of, would be extremely relevant today.

The massive increase in German and French military budgets would not arouse ulterior motives in Paris and Berlin, nor within the EU if it were part of a common defence. In such a Defense Union, which should in no way replace a political Europe, Germany would no longer be afraid of assuming a new responsibility. And above all, the gap that has widened since February 24 between Eastern Europe – Baltics and Poles in the lead – and Western Europe would be partly filled. Will there ever be the political will to achieve this? It could be an appropriate response, once the war is over, to the risk posed by what ex-German diplomacy chief Joschka Fischer describes as the “geopolitical black hole” of Putin’s Russia.

Read also: Yulia Tymoshenko: “There is no half victory. Ukraine must take back Crimea”

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