Ivo H. Daalder published in ‘Die Zeit’ on 13th March 2010 an article named “Stärker, schlauer, schneller “. Looking at the US report on missile defence, he reveals that the USA assess that the main threat against the USA and Europe is now based in Middle East and more precisely Iran and Syria, at least for the time being.
Indeed he stresses that the risk of invasion of Europe by hordes of bloodthirsty soldiers is rather thin and he proposes therefore that NATO, the USA and Russia work together on this subject, so that Europe is protected from 2018 on.
Beyond the fact that Ivo H. Daalder preaches for the USA, being the US ambassador to NATO, some points are missing in his article, while some other ones remind the Europeans that their current defence systems represent an incredible waste of money.
On the one hand one can only approve Mr Daalder statement when writing that the risk of invasion is really weak. After a period of waiting Russia to stabilize in the late 90’, we did not really optimize our armies against new threats, which would emerge far from our borders. The fact that we still face huge problems with our transport aircraft is the best illustration. Another one could be a look at the efficiency of the defence organizations of the Member States. Their cumulated budgets reach 200 billion Euros for what concrete results? Some thousands of soldiers are risking their lives every day in Afghanistan and unable to operate without a strong American support.
On the other hand, anyone a little bit aware of the armament programs could guess that involving a country, or more complicated a bunch of countries in a project as big and as complicated as missile defence is would mean years and years of negotiations and development, alike what happens with the Joint Strike Fighter. Therefore, the US proposal is simply to pay for being protected, without having the possibility to voice on the necessary defence of the industry jobs in our countries.
Furthermore, as missile defence is supposed to constitute the shield against those states, where the sword. At least since the Middle Ages, French now perfectly that a good system consists in the balance between the sword and the shield, or at least, when you are willing to fight light, a good sword alone can make it. Indeed, missile defence is a shield without a sword will be more or less efficient during a while and then? Without a sword, the enemy will finally bypass the sword and kill you anyway. Currently the USA offer us to share their shield, while they would retain the sword.
Frankly, getting some inspiration from the samurais, I would be in favour of
1. a good sword, which would mean a restructuration of European defence forces,
2. then, if there is some money left, a shield, that I would use myself, for my protection, not leaving it in the hands of my suzerain.