German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other Europhile politicians have pushed forward with an aggressive campaign to militarize the European Union. These plans have at times been kept from European citizens in certain states. The new EU Army appears to be supplied at least in part by NATO which is currently being affected by corruption scandals and the death of its Chief Auditor under suspicious circumstances.
Germany has been responsible for a recent spike in anti-American and UK rhetoric. Their combative stance, and desperate attempts to prevent sovereign nations from deciding if they will continue to be members of the EU raise questions about the true purpose of the new EU Army.
I. The EU Army
Calls for an EU Army pre-exist current trends among Europeans and Americans to reject international institutionalism for a more nationalistic, sovereign state oriented model of governance. The Guardian was reporting in 2015 that European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker was calling for an EU Army to show Russia that the bloc was “serious about defending its values.” The shock result of Brexit merely accelerated plans within the EU that were already in progress.
There are some indications that the EU Army’s formation has occurred far more rapidly than the public realizes, and in some cases is actively concealed. In 2015 European People’s Party president Joseph Daul told journalists that “We are going to move towards an EU army much faster than people believe.” The Times reported on May 27, 2016 that news of plans for the acceleration of the EU Army formation had been kept from voters in the UK until the day after the Brexit referendum.
In September 2016, German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung published a paper which had been jointly authored by French and German Defense Ministers Jean-Yves Le Drian and Ursula von der Leyen. The document called for the establishment of a “common and permanent” European military headquarters, in addition to the creation of EU military structures, including an EU Logistics Command and an EU Medical Command. That same month the BBC carried public comments by Jean-Claude Jucker calling for the establishment of a headquarters for the EU to operate out of. These calls for an established chain of command and control structures would seem odd if the EU Army had not been already formed and equipped to some extent. Citing the victory of Euroskeptic Donald Trump in the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election, Germany has stated their desire to accelerate plans for the EU Army even more so than before.
II. NATO Arms/Vehicles May Be Being Used to Covertly Equip the EU Army
A. Buildup of Arms and Equipment in NATO Member States
Quite a bit of media attention has been given to recent NATO efforts to posture itself militarily for the purpose of standing up to “Russian aggression.” A great deal of weaponry and heavily machinery has been moved into the EU and Eastern Europe/the V4 (Visegrad Group). These movements are part of Operation Atlantic Resolve, which was initiated by the U.S. in an effort to reassure NATO allies in the wake of Russian interference in Ukraine. Here are a number of news articles outlining shipments of NATO heavy vehicles and equipment to various states in Europe:
Russia Today on March 9, 2015 reporting the shipment of 120 armored units, including M1A2 Abrams tanks and M2A3 Bradley armored vehicles, to Latvia.
CBS News on June 23, 2015 carried statements from Secretary of Defense Ash Carter announcing plans to station tanks and heavy weapons in new NATO member states for the first time since the end of the Cold War.
Daily Mail and CNN both reported in February 2016 that the United States was to deploy tanks and other equipment within a Cold War era cave system in Norway. The six-cave facility is classified but was used by the United States as an arms depot in 1981 during the Cold War. The cave system was reported to contain enough equipment to support more than 15,000 Marines. A portion of the equipment was used in last year’s Cold Response 16 exercises.
BBC News reported on January 6, 2017 that 120+ tanks and heavy vehicles were being moved through Germany along with 3,500 troops for deployment on Europe’s eastern frontier.
B. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg’s Ties to Corruption
There is some indication that NATO’s shipments of weapons and vehicles to Europe are not being sent for the purpose of providing deterrence against Russia. Disobedient Media has already reported that the current Secretary General of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg, may have been appointed to the position as a result of a series of scandals where it was revealed that under his tenure as Prime Minister from 2005 to 2013 Norway sent over 584 million Kroner over a period of years to the Clinton Foundation. Stoltenberg was appointed as the Secretary General of NATO after retiring as head of the Norwegian Labor Party.
Given his ties to corruption and the Clinton Foundation, it is plausible that Stoltenberg would have been willing to collaborate with Angela Merkel, another ally of the Clintons. He is responsible for massively increasing NATO’s budget over the last few years.
C. Suspicious Death of NATO Chief Auditor and its Significance
Yves Chandelon, the Chief Auditor at NATO, was found dead in the city of Andenne in the Belgian Ardennes on December 16, 2016. His death appears to have been first reported by French newspaper La Meuse. It was picked up the next day by Luxembourgian paper Tageblatt.
On December 22nd, Russian publication Pravda ran the story in English, reporting that Chandelon’s body was detected 140km (87 miles) away from his work, and 100km (62 miles) away from his home in the city of Lens. The article stated that he owned three registered weapons, but that the gun used in the suicide was not registered. It also noted that he had been receiving strange phone calls. The same day, LaMeuse carried two reports with additional facts about Chandelon’s death. The first stated that a “farewell letter” was found in Chandelon’s car. The second stated that the gun used in the apparent suicide was found in his right hand, despite the fact that Chandelon was left-handed.
Also emerging on December 22nd was a report by Flemish newspaper De Morgen. De Morgen wrote that the family of Chandelon contested the verdict of a suicide. The family said that Chandelon had told them he felt he was being followed, and that he was receiving strange phone calls prior to his death. The family stated that he was a happy individual and had made several plans for the New Year. Even more strangely, on December 26th, The Express reported that the gun which caused Chandelon’s death was actually found in his glove box. The story has received no coverage by mainstream media outlets in the United States other than Politico, who claimed that “some” members of Chandelon’s family changed their minds after being shown his farewell letter. Politico failed to mention the seemingly contradictory facts surrounding Mr. Chandelon’s death which were reported by Pravda, LaMeuse and De Morgan.
The death of Mr. Chandelon, and the apparently strange circumstances in which it occurred is significant because of his position in NATO. As Chief Auditor, one of Mr. Chandelon’s duties would have been to make sure goods are actually delivered to their destination. Revenue cannot be recognized until service is performed, so it would have been necessary to ensure that shipments of munitions, weapons and vehicles were actually being delivered. Mr. Chandelon’s death raises the question of whether or not his untimely demise had any relation to the recent increase in shipments of arms and vehicles to NATO states and the acceleration of efforts to form the EU Army.
III. The Three Pronged PR Campaign to Sell the EU Army to Europe
The EU Army is being sold to Europe using what appears to be a three pronged Public Relations approach: stoking fears of internal threats, making the EU Army synonymous with calls for European unity, and lashing out the US as unable to protect Europe from external threats. In some cases, public figures have struck out at nations attempting to hold referendums on EU membership in 2017 which might result in more member states leaving the Union along with Britain. Such combative rhetoric is concerning when the militarization of the European Union is taken into consideration.
A. Internal Threats
Part of Merkel’s incentive to whip up fear among the populace is personal – her public advocacy of Germany’s policy towards migrants fleeing the Middle East has landed her in political hot water after Germany was hit by a series of intelligence and anti-terror failures resulting in the deaths of German citizens and infiltration of German intelligence. Merkel was trying to justify her pro immigrant policy to Germany as late as August 2016:
“The phenomenon of the Islamist terrorism of ISIS is not a phenomenon that has come to us through refugees but rather one which we’ve already had here before” – Angela Merkel, August 18, 2016, Washington Post
After the string of terror attacks and intelligence failures in 2016, Merkel has been forced to alter her lenient views on migrants and terror in Germany in the face of public criticism. Pundits were speculating within days of the Berlin tragedy that Merkel’s enemies on the political right would capitalize on the failures of her lenient policies. Merkel’s response to growing pressure from her opponents has largely been to double down on stern rhetoric by calling for a ban on burkhas and finally declaring on December 31, 2016 that Islamic terror was Germany’s greatest threat.
At the same time that Germany has tried to downplay the threat of Islamic extremism and the effect that the migrant crisis has on its prevalence in 2016, they have been engaged in efforts to keep the public’s attention on “far right extremist groups” who pose an increasing political threat to Merkel. Russian news source Sputnik has highlighted Germany’s efforts to crack down on far right groups, especially those who have been seeking to acquire weapons to defend themselves against perceived threats from migrants. German media has a history of labeling growing politically right groups such as Alternative füer Deutscheland (AfD) as having neo-Nazi inclinations in an attempt to discredit them.
Internal threats, both real and perceived, provide Angela Merkel with an ideal way to sow fear amongst the population and encourage demand for the EU Army and European unification.
B. Calls for EU Unity
With the shock result of Brexit, EU leadership has been scrambling to discourage other states from holding similar referendums on continuing their membership in the European Union. Jean-Claude Juncker has branded attempts to hold “in-out” referendums as “unwise” due to the likelihood that more votes to leave the EU would severely weaken the Union. He has also threatened Britain with “consequences” for Brexit. Leaders of smaller EU member states have similarly urged that countries no longer hold referendums, since this would likely cause economic damage to weaker members. Rather than taking steps to slow the accelerated interconnectivity of the EU which has bothered European citizens, politicians in Brussels have gone the opposite direction and made the formation of the EU Army central to their efforts to promote closer European unity. American news outlets such as the New York Times have expressed confusion at such efforts given that voters appear to be far more concerned about internal threats posed by groups such as ISIS.
By making the EU military an indispensable element of future plans for the European Union, Angela Merkel leaves citizens who are uncertain about a future without the Union no choice but to accept plans for militarization.
C. Claiming the US/NATO is Ineffective Compared to the European Union and its Army
The most concerning development to come out of the European Union over the past several years has been a recent rise in rampant anti-American rhetoric from Angela Merkel. Merkel, a staunch supporter of Hillary Clinton was perhaps hoping that her EU Army buildup would have been less complex had her friend won the executive office of the United States. Reports indicate that Donald Trump’s transition team may have already been in contact with EU leadership to express their desire that states wishing to leave the Union be allowed to do so. The incoming U.S. Ambassador to the EU has warned that Mr. Trump will not stand for an EU Army during his Presidency, as the financial strains it would place on European states would interfere with their pre-existing financial obligations to NATO.
In an apparent response to Trump’s moves to consolidate European defense spending on NATO rather than the EU Army, Angela Merkel made a January 13, 2017 speech where she railed against the United States and UK as having become “weak” and called for the remaining states of the EU to move ahead even more rapidly towards what she described as a “Defense Union.” This new, confrontational style of rhetoric is concerning from a nation at the forefront of a Union pushing militarization whilst simultaneously keeping certain voter blocs ignorant about the exact progress of those efforts.
Just what a “Defense Union” is needed to guard against is unclear, though the most likely justification is the ever present Russian menace touted by bureaucrats throughout Europe. The Russian narrative is often used as a cover story for whatever political purpose the actor who pushes it supports. Whether it is to discredit Wikileaks, delegitimize Donald Trump’s victory in the U.S. Presidential election or, bizarrely, accuse Russia of planting child porn on American government computers, the supposed threat of Russia has been pushed to exhaustion by different leadership figures for a plethora of reasons. In the case of the EU, the Russia narrative is used to justify the formation and equipping of the EU Army. Just this week, EU supporting European leaders were attempting to frame Donald Trump’s comments about the need to reform NATO as a sign that he would abandon important US allies in the theoretical event of military conflict with Russia.
How a European Union military force will be more efficient or desirable than the current arrangement with NATO is unclear. Given the recent rise of Islamic extremism in Europe and increasing numbers of states seeking to leave the European Union, it appears far more likely that Merkel’s new army would be deployed domestically. With Germany feeling the political and economic squeeze of the UK’s Brexit vote and likely several more “Leave” results in EU membership referendums Angela Merkel becomes more desperate and isolated by the day. Throwing additional military power into the mix seems unnecessary at best and incredibly dangerous at worst. Her decision to begin lashing out at the US and Euroskeptic European states indicates that the latter possibility may be more likely.
IV. The Danger of European Union Internal Incidents to the United States
A potential conflict anywhere within the EU should cause great concern in the United States. Given the many military installations the United States has throughout Europe, which are now more numerous given NATO’s recent shift to posture against Russia with Operation Atlantic Resolve there is a real risk that the U.S. could be drawn militarily into a European conflict, whether caused by state on state disputes or large scale Islamic terror events. The map below shows just a few of the American military installations currently found in Europe: