The Common Foreign and Defence Policy is still a long way off Unilateralism and short budgets

Friedrich W. Korkisch

Whereas in 2002 everybody was euphoric as far as ESVP, GSVP and GASP were concerned, in 2005 already it became obvious that there were problems concerning their realization. Although some authors believed that this was the consequence of the Iraq war, of the orientation of some EU nations towards the USA, or of leadership deficiencies in Europe’s politics, but it was clear that the budget situation of the EU only allowed to keep alive NATO and to draw back to small national armed forces. Some nations even abandoned tanks, artillery, fighter aircraft, engineers or battleships and did not even have contingents ready for pooling projects, except perhaps the European Airlift Centre with its transport planes. Therefore time and again there are substitute cooperations, such as between France and Great Britain, France, Belgium and Germany, between the Scandinavian states, and the Visegrad states. Time and again “EU division summits” are planned, but they end without any results, because there are too strong opposites of interests and no funds. Most EU nations keep silent about the events in Syria, which is remarkable. Since the Vietnam War it has been known that nation-building programs, no matter under which name, are no use. The term Comprehensive Approach will remain an empty phrase as well, if the population of a country, such as Afghanistan, does not share the changes. For this reason the US Government has declared once more that nation-building programs will only be financed where an obvious success is possible which can be controlled as well. It was clear that the USA under their president Barack Obama, when turning to East Asia, would upvalue NATO in Europe, and that America would try to get new allies. Thus a geopolitically clear course has been traced out with Russia. As far as Iran is concerned, one will bet on negotiations, because the reduction of debts has top priority, and because the China Containment can be signed due to the friendly relationships with Vietnam and the new relationships with Laos and Burma. In addition to that, China has taken a tougher line against North Korea, whose government is preparing a change of course at the very moment. Since the Iraq War an expansion of “Partnership of Peace” to “Global Partnership” has been made a subject of discussion, and the first steps have been taken by the “Coalitions of the Willing“ long since. In Washington the circle of reliable and friendly PfP-nations has been extended to Finland, Austria, Sweden and Switzerland, as a result of the fact that the European Non-NATO-Members have turned to closer cooperation with the USA and NATO. Another reason is the rediscovery of many political, historical and cultural common interests and personal relationships. And so suddenly Austria finds itself in the close circle of PfP-nations which the USA and NATO will increasingly rely upon.