French soldiers take part in a large-scale military exercise called “Orion”, in Frontignan, southern France, on February 26, 2023.InternationalIndiaAfricaThe mood first started shifting against the US among its allies on the European continent late last year, as both officials and diplomats began to accuse Washington of profiteering out of the Ukraine crisis via energy and weapons sales, while their own stockpiles were “almost empty” and critical defense capabilities were lacking.The conflagration in Ukraine and the western push to pump the Kiev regime with military support has laid bare the “appalling state” of the European continent’s own defense capabilities, a US publication has noted. Furthermore, the present developments have thrown the spotlight on the European defense industry’s overly high dependence on the United States.Although the United States and its allies sent well over $100Bln in military and economic assistance to Ukraine in 2022, and have announced billions in new aid over the first months of 2023, Europe’s own armed forces “lack the basics needed for conventional warfare in their own backyards”, the columnists stated.
The continent’s countries have ostensibly profoundly “underinvested” when it came to their own defense capabilities for at least the past 20 years. When Russia launched its special military operation in Ukraine, the EU dutifully fell in line with Washington’s battle cry and churned out billions in lethal equipment to prop up Kiev, and began training its forces for the ongoing proxy war with Moscow. But Europe still hasn’t got its act together when it comes to its own militaries, the report added. Furthermore, the spending bonanza on Ukraine continues despite staggering inflation and soaring energy prices, rendering such a stance even more expensive than it was originally.In fact, defense spending has rocketed among European countries, so much so, that some of these NATO members have approached the alliance’s two percent of GDP on defense goal.As a result, weapons stockpiles have been depleted to help Ukraine, European defense forces are fragmented, and procurement systems are not functioning properly to enable Europe to rearm, warned the publication.© AFP 2023 / FOCKE STRANGMANNAn infantry fighting vehicle type Marder of the German Army (Bundeswehr) at the Armoured Corps Training Centre (Panzertruppenschule).An infantry fighting vehicle type Marder of the German Army (Bundeswehr) at the Armoured Corps Training Centre (Panzertruppenschule).Take basic ammunition stockpiles: Germany’s armed forces were cited as having stocks to last for an estimated several days of combat. When it comes to tanks, although on paper Germany has 300 Leopard 2s, only 130 are operational. One-third of Spain’s 300 Leopard tanks are largely in disrepair. Europe is similarly running low on artillery – France, for instance, has sent more than one-third of its howitzers to Ukraine and almost all of Denmark’s artillery has already been funneled to Kiev, adds the report.© AFP 2023 / BOB EDMEA Caesar self-propelled howitzer is pictured during the French President’s visit to the Mont-de-Marsan air base, southwestern France.A Caesar self-propelled howitzer is pictured during the French President’s visit to the Mont-de-Marsan air base, southwestern France.The European states themselves, but also NATO and the United States, can be faulted for the present profound structural problems plaguing European defense, according to the publication. Inadequate European spending led to its defense industry being drained. National procurement across the European continent is also fragmented. But the role played by Washington is exacerbating the deplorable situation. Whenever the EU made attempts to enhance its defense industrial cooperation, it encountered fierce opposition from the United States, claimed the report, highlighting:”American defense contractors greatly benefit from inking contracts across Europe that deprive European companies of business.”The report makes mention of the “administrative arrangement”, penned in February this year, granting the United States potential access to ever more EU defense funds.Furthermore, it has been observed how operating together is a challenge for European forces as they all use different equipment: 29 different destroyers, 17 tanks or personnel carriers, and 20 fighter planes. This is said to create major difficulties with everything from transport and surveillance, to air defense. But at this point the United States eagerly wades in to “fill these gaps,” said the report, leaving struggling European military forces increasingly dependent on Washington even in “basic military tasks.”As an example, the publication recalled how Europeans relied on US troops for the airlift of evacuees during the hasty withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2021.Asia‘US, Not China, Pouring Weapons Into Ukraine’, Says Chinese Foreign Ministry21 February, 03:55 GMTAs a defense force, the EU has been “neutered for the past two decades”, the publication emphasized, leaving decrepit European defense at the hands of NATO and its member states.Meanwhile, what do NATO and the United States do? They demand more spending from Europeans.The defense spending spree on Ukraine has European states anxiously seeking quick solutions to restock their arsenals. So, like Poland, for instance, they opt to order tanks from the United States and South Korea. What is happening now is that European countries are “doubling down on their reliance on the United States and failing to coordinate,” concluded the publication, while “the US is basking in the glow of demonstrating its indispensability while subtly undercutting common European efforts that might mean less profit for American defense companies.”World‘Is Washington Our Ally or Not?’: EU Officials Accuse US of Profiteering Off Ukraine Crisis25 November 2022, 16:55 GMTAlready last year European Union officials and diplomats began to accuse the US of profiteering out of the Ukraine crisis.“The fact is, if you look at it soberly, the country that is most profiting from this war is the US because they are selling more gas and at higher prices, and because they are selling more weapons,” one senior European official told a German-owned media group.Regarding America’s profiteering from arms sales, one EU diplomat was quoted as saying “the money they are making on weapons” should help Washington realize that the profits they’re making from gas deliveries may be “a bit too much”, and that a discount for fuel to Europe could “keep our public opinions united”.Russia’s Special Operation in UkraineShoigu: NATO’s Increased Arms Supplies to Kiev Regime Don’t Lead to Ukraine’s Success on Battlefield7 March, 09:53 GMTAs for Russia, ever since its special military operation in Ukraine prompted the so-called collective West to start drumming up military support for the Kiev regime, it repeatedly warned French, German, and other European leaders of the folly of their anti-Russia policy. Describing EU sanctions as “suicidal” , Moscow warned that weapons support for Kiev risks turning the Russia-NATO “proxy conflict” in Ukraine into a global conflagration.