The European Union: Rising or Dis-Uniting?

The European Union is in disarray, and until the second election takes place in France it is unclear what type of political environment is going to emerge.

Ever since the end of World War Two, and the founding of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in 1949, the defense and security of western Europe has rested upon the economic and military might of the United States. But with the United States slowly withdrawing from its role as the guarantor of the rules-based order, as well as the United States struggling to pivot to Asia, the national security of Europe is increasingly becoming the responsibility of the nations of Europe. And as the war in Ukraine drags on, there is increasing political tension in the European Union, and within NATO itself.

Some nations in Europe are rallying to the challenges of an aggressive Russia, while some are seeking a way to end the tensions between Europe and Russia by reaching an understanding with Russia. Intermixed with this dynamic is the underlying tension between the United States and China, and Europe’s ambivalence to the struggle for power between the United States and China in the Indo-Pacific.

Another reason for the tension in the internal politics of the West was the expansion of the European Union in 2004. Called “The Big Bang”, the addition of ten nations into the European Union transformed the European Union. One of the most important aspects of this transformation. was the gradual resistance of some countries to the original goal of the European Union envisioned by Jean Monet, a federal, or parliamentary United States of Europe. While the original members of the European shared this vision, some nations of middle and eastern Europe prefer a European Union to be no more than a trade confederation.

A Growing Consensus to Assist Ukraine by Some European Nations

The United States has at times struggled to provide the military assistance needed by Ukraine because of a bitterly divided United States government, with one faction leaning towards allowing a Russian victory, and those clinging to a fading legacy of US dominance.

Some European nations are beginning to rally for additional military assistance to Ukraine. President Macron of France has gone as far as to suggest the introduction of western combat troops into the Ukrainian battlefield. At the same time, Macron had invited a Russian delegation to attend the 80-year anniversary of the Normandy invasion of World War Two, with the understanding that Vladimir Putin not be a member of the Russian delegation. Interestingly, President Zelensky would be attending the same ceremony. Faced with resistance by other western powers, France eventually withdrew its invitations.

On April 12, 2024, it was announced that Norway will give Ukraine 22 F-16s.   The F-16 is by far superior to any fighter plane that Ukraine currently possesses. Belgium has also pledged 24 F-16s to Ukraine.  The European Union in February has pledged 50 billion Euros for the financial support of Ukraine until 2027.  

While Germany has staunchly assisted Ukraine, it should be noted that the current government of Germany is dominated by members of an organization that promotes the policy of Ost-Ausschloss.  Ost-Ausschloss is committed to a trade route that would begin in SE Asia and end in Berlin. Because of geography, Russia would have to be involved in such a trade route.

Tensions in The European Union

While some nations in the European Union have risen to the challenges to Russian aggression, some nations have consistently sought to delay the release of funds to Ukraine. Hungary has consistently blocked aid from the European Union with support from the Czechs. However, in February of this year, Hungary agreed to allow a $54 billion aid package to go throughMake no mistake though, Hungary supports Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Hungary’s Orban is now trying to unite the rightist elements in the European Parliament to form a block to counter the political center of the European Parliament.

The snap election that President Macron called for France first ballot has gone sharply against his party with the right winning 34% of the vote.  The European Union is in disarray, and until the second election takes place in France it is unclear what type of political environment is going to emerge.

It should be clear that the United States is trying to dis-engage from Europe and pivot to AsiaYet because of the inability (and its apparent unwillingness) of Europe to defend itself, for now the United States is filling the dominate role in defending Europe. This will not last however as the American people are growing tired of the burden Europe places on the United States.

Europe need to speak as one voice, and either increase their ability to counter the threat of Russian aggression or come under the domination of RussiaThe European Union has a GDP of $18.35 trillion and a population of 448 million peopleThe GDP of Russia is $2 trillion with a population of 144.2 million.

The European Union has more than enough resources to defend itself.  It just does not have the political will to do.

Richard E. Caroll
Richard E. Caroll
I am a retired economist, and a retired soldier. I have a degree in Economics and a degree in Liberal Arts. While in the military my specialty was in Intelligence and Administration.