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13 June 2019

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Mr Armstrong - this from the Sputnik site linked to -

"The warning was the latest in a series of threats by Washington going back to late 2018 amid European efforts to develop independent military capabilities. Last month, the Financial Times reported that Washington had threatened the EU with 'retaliation' if the bloc went ahead with its plans, with US undersecretaries of defence and state Ellen Lord and Andrea Thompson sending a letter to EU chief diplomat Federica Mogherini expressing their 'deep concern' over the EDF and PESCO's proposed rules. "It is vital…that independent EU initiatives like EDF and PESCO do not detract from NATO activities and NATO-EU cooperation," the letter said."

(Showing that Washington is worried about the development of an independent EU defence alliance.)

But there is also this, on independent European defence capabilities -

https://www.iiss.org/blogs/research-paper/2019/05/defending-europe

"If the funding to meet shortfalls were available, the IISS assesses that the recapitalisation across the (European) military domains would take up to 20 years, with some significant progress around the ten- and 15-year marks. The reasons for this are limited production capacity; the time it takes to decide on and then produce equipment and weapons; recruitment and training demands; and the time it takes for new units to reach an operational capability."

What I make of this is that Europe is hoping to become independent from the US in defence terms but is expecting the US to keep defending it during the lengthy period it will take Europe to get its own armed forces in order.

From a UK point of view it looks as if we are committing UK armed forces to a European Alliance that doesn't yet exist, and moving slowly away from an American alliance that does.

Might I ask, how is it all regarded from the point of view of NATO powers your side of the Atlantic?

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