tv Inside Story LINKTV September 17, 2021 5:30am-6:01am PDT
three days. ♪ >> this is al jazeera and these are the headlines. u.s., u.k. and australia have defended their security alliance. it will allow the australian government to acquire nuclear submarines. it is an effort to counter china's influence in the pacific. >> i want to emphasize there is no original divide separating the interest of our atlantic and pacific partners. this partnership with australia and the u.k. is a signal we are committed to working with our allies and partners, including in europe, ensuring an open indo
pacific. we welcome european countries playing in important role there. we look forward for close cooperation with nato, european union and others in this endeavor. >> this means paris lost a multibillion dollar bill -- deal to build summaries for australia. they are accusing us to have slapping them in the back. taliban says they are more united than ever after reports of their leaders having a power struggle. these claims are aimed at destabilizing the country weeks after it took control. leaders from the west african block have imposed sanctions on guinea's military rulers. they demand elections in six months. they were suspended last week after a military coup removed their president from power. fighters in nigeria have killed 18 government soldiers in an
ambush in the northeastern state. a west african isil affiliate carried out the attack. it has been at the heart of a 12 year insurgency killing 40,000 people and displaced 2 million. health officials in china say they have fully vaccinated one billion people against the coronavirus. that is 72% of the population. they hit the milestone while battling a new outbreak of the delta variant in the southeastern province. authorities have locked down neighborhoods, close schools and restricted travel. do stay with us. inside story is next. ♪
>> can the eu defend itself? plead his of the block said it should increase the military capabilities and not rely on nato. what is holding a back from achieving that? this is inside story. ♪ >> hello and welcome to the program. many european years have -- leaders have pushed for a bigger military role, independent from nato. this need was recently made clear during the chaotic evacuation from kabul airport. they had to rely entirely on the u.s.. european commission president says the block needs the political will to stand on its own.
the eu should be aber -- able to rely -- want a military force without the u.s. or nato. many rejected the idea of an active european military force while they say it is the time for them to increase their military presence. >> our union is a unique security provider. there will be missions when when they will not be present but where europe should be. you can have the most advanced forces in the world but if you will not use them, what use are they? what has held us back on till now is not just a shortfall of capacity but it is a lack of political will. >> they warned earlier this month that eu should not stretch their forces. they welcome more efforts on defense but that cannot replace
data. we have one set of forces and scarce resources. earlier this month, their debate created a 5000 troop force to deploy during emergencies. that faces opposition from some countries that are also members of nato. particularly, those bordering russia. battle groups of 1500 soldiers from each state were created but never actually use. low defense spending among these countries is seen as a major obstacle to their military independence. they spent 1.64% of their gdp on military. that is well below the 2% target. germany and france are among the biggest spenders, increasing their budgets last year. ♪ natassia: let us bring in our guests.
the director of the center for russia, asia studies. in d.c., associate professor at the national defense university and also a former nato operations director. also in brussels, an international affair strategist and senior director for global solutions at a poc worldwide. i want to start with the practicalities here. how realistic this always. this obviously, is not a new idea and has been debated and discussed so much that some say -- some will will the rise. what has stopped the eu from establishing a military force so far? >> i have to disagree. it is a lack of capacity. i came back from a nato summit in 2006. my son met me at the airport. in the course of talking, he
said he would grow a beard. i said good for you, kid it will take time and determination. as i drove home, that is like what i had heard about european strategic autonomy on this trip. people have talked about it for a long time and never did anything. when they try to do something, they give it over to the militaries who propose headquarters. european battle group is a great idea but they did not create infantry battalions. they created a headquarters. this creates a lot of jobs for colonels and majors and generals. those are expensive. they are popular as jobs for senior officers. a general is an infantry squad. what you get is your are draining just resources out of the same shrinking pool of defense things and creating duplicates of headquarters commanding the same three infantry battalions. it is a good idea. if it would have been done, it
would have been done already and it will take a long time if they decide to do it. natassia: this'll take a huge amount of resources as well as building the existing capacity. i can see you nodding there. you were also a part of the strategic advisors group tomato. if you are the eu, why not contribute more to nato but if it is so relevant, what does it exist at all? >> that is another issue that has been discussed. having a strengthened european pillar within nato so there would not be duplication and that would be a key issue. had the state of union address yesterday. she did not mention strategic autonomy's. it seems like france is very loud about the strategic autonomy event -- debate. we see this announcement made
today, made for such a long time. it was undercut by the u.s./u.k./australian partnership. i think that europe is reeling right now. they don't know what they will do. they had a year where brexit has left. u.k. was one of the biggest defense providers and they were thinking of a way for them to work together. because of what happened, they working closer with u.s. and australia. i think they are reeling from that as well. today -- [indiscernible] all of the questions, all of them were about the new strategic partnership. it seems that they are picking the international stage for defense issues. natassia: i want to dig into the indo pacific stuff in a moment.
i want to bring you in here because we are talking about political will, not just in terms of finding the money to do this but in terms of spending it on the right things and dealing with the nato issue. what is holding this all up? >> there are a couple of things. one being mentioned by both of my colleagues. fear duplications between the resources of nato and the eu. i am skeptical about this. these are resources that will be used one way or another anyway. i am not sure it makes such a big difference that perhaps, they are wearing when they're under a particular undertaking or mission. there is another strand within the eu as well which our country is members of nato, swindling, malta, cyprus. they are not big e.u. membership's but the eu is a
creature of consensus. it is quite difficult to build a defense structure that will simultaneously satisfy france who want to see a strong european defense and those whose national coach has been more cautious and more u.n. focus. the other issue and again, you mentioned that france is keen on this. germany has an election very soon. there government that emerges from the election will have an important job and they have been historically reluctant to make any moves that are too strong in the military domain for understandable historical reasons. i think a combination of german reluctance, and fear of location with nato have been the reasons we have not seen this progress since david told his son about growing a beard. i wonder if he has tried yet? >> and, he has a beard!
natassia: let's see if the eu gets a bid. i ask you about the timing of this. as you alluded to, there are not just one crucial election in germany but crucial ones in france. while they both are proponents of this to begin with and clearly, the french are more keen on it right now. i see that emmanuel macron will be the person chairing this summit next year. that is a nice opportunity for him to be quite prominent. is there the political will for this? some are not very keen. >> that is the key question. there also plotting to leave this i help which will give them an opportunity for russia to come in there. -- sahel.
the fact that emmanuel macron called nita brain dead has not been missed by analysts. the communique, which every tea and i is vetted, there are no surprises in any of that. emmanuel macron said it was the first time they mentioned china several times in a communique. we saw that emmanuel macron afterwards never saw china in the north atlantic. it was a strange comment to make. joe biden, who was always been attending this attended for the first time as president virtually. his speech was not warmly received. that was the perception of many analysts. emmanuel macron and angela merkel said they do not want to join any counterbalancing force against china. i think the newest developments show that well, if you are not
with us, you made your choice. at the same time, china is punishing germany. germany has been very cautious to balance values and interests. for the first time in 20 years, they sent a german frigate to the south china sea region. jenna asked them to visit shanghai. -- china. this was announced yesterday. it was a seismic shift in brussels all these things coming together at once. that in many respects, was to germany. it was interesting timing. it was this china narrative. fort narrowed -- europe to continue this route of culturally cultivated, sitting on the fence and making decisions. it is china making them make decisions.
clearly, little will is lacking. natassia: we had a lot more of that then we have had in the past from the speech yesterday. she talked about pushing back and banning products despite forced labor. that is in relation to what is happening in chin jong. -- xinjiang. we have seen a u.s. realignment here of their strategic priorities. the submarine deal, a case and point. do you think that the u.s. and eu share a common view of the world now? >> it is converging. there is always some friction. in the large parts of the community, eu has replaced christianity as a religion of choice. there are a lot of decisions
made by the european union that the -- do not comport with national interest. there is this idea that everything they have, they have to have a better. that being aside, what they want from europe in confronting china is not really military we recognize there is a lack of capacity and this can be best spent defending against russia, possibility of mass migration from the south. it is civil. what we are concerned about is having chinese infrastructure and backdoors hardwired into their back boat and stuff like that the eu can deal with that. i think there will be cordial, developing relations with the eu on the security issue but it will not be the issue of tanks, ships, airplanes. it will be more things like broadband of chinese copy list -- commonest party in sectors of
europe. -- communist. natassia: it feels like the temperature is rising there. the eu will launch the global gateway initiative to really compete with china's belt and rode initiative. is there a new cold war brewing here? what does that mean for eu security? >> china is not a hard security threat to the eu. we should be careful to separate these things. america has strong commitments in that part of the world. for europe, there is still a threat from china. that is seen clearly. the eu should not be trapped into going to a chinese owned mine or porsche in africa or --
port in africa or wherever. some have said defensively, they have troops that add up to me the equivalent of the china news. -- chinese. i attended there is summit three years ago at which, the chinese prime minister astonished everyone by saying that china favors european integration. they want a single currency which shows you can be nice to the people you are listing. it is a complex situation but not a hard-core on in terms of is this for america. one thing that is happening and you have alluded to it is a quest for relevance and credibility. we have the eu picking up something davis said that people want to put in eu flag on
everything. they are under pressure to deliver for the systems and one of the things it feels it should be able to be better on is physical hard security. that is part of what is driving this conversation. natassia: i see that you are agreeing with nicholas. in terms of relevance to the eu, that is the idea of it. especially, when it comes to security. you have to have a common set of foreign policy. this seems fairly obvious. i know spain's military official said this couple weeks ago that creating in -- a european army is we gotta share interests. is that vaguely likely given the ability -- lack of ability to put together a single asylum all see -- asylum seeker policy? >> what you have so much
diverging interests, it is leading from the bottom. as we saw from the german security task force, it -- they have to be willing. they understand there will never be anonymity on any of these issues that nato is the organ that they have to work through and that they will have to work through coalitions of the willing. they are hamstrung by the hungry which stops everything they want to do towards china or are there other countries with interest that will block things. it is impossible to get anonymity. from that point of view, it is difficult and unrealistic to think of it in any other way. in addition, they brought over someone who had worked at nato. there is an interesting type. this is a rich area that can improve and i think there are many people working on various levels who want that politically.
i think what is clear is that it is not just them sharing any longer. it is burdened shifting. the u.s. is focusing on the indo pacific and they will have to up their game in order to take care of their own neighborhood and security issues there. it is not an issue of going to china. china is coming to europe. they have invested in 10% of european ports. we have seen them doing exercises off the coasts of russia. europe does not have this mentality of sitting back and that it's far away but it is happening in their neighborhood. natassia: he spoke about the context of u.s. pulling out and playing back into certain parts particularly, in afghanistan. this is always a u.s. led mission that started with
counterterrorism, became nationbuilding. europeans were always there because of this. out of solidarity with the u.s.. because this was always a washington initiative, why does the eu feel betrayed at the moment? >> i think it is because of the way the withdrawal was announced. there was consultations on an eventual withdrawal but i don't think there were consultations on the way that the timeframe withdrawal could occur over the summer. that caught everyone by surprise. it really showed that they have the choice of withdrawing on the u.s. timetable or not at all. that is a moment of strategic vulnerability that was exposed pretty importantly. we get these shocks to our partners but they have repeatedly filed away.
if you look at the libyan campaign, that was supposed to be a european led operation where they do most of the work there and the u.s. would provide intelligence, intelligence, a few key capabilities. within two weeks, they were exhausted. the u.s. was in the lead. president said that is one of the biggest mistakes of his life. he described his role as leading from behind which was ridiculed viciously in the united states. it also showed the lack of european capacity for what was a very major concern because of the threat of mass migration and all of that. unfortunately, our partners in europe never got down to building the basic capacity. they handed it to the bureaucracy and again, more majors and kernels. devising plans for the same
infantry battalions. -- colonels. natassia: something struck me in her speech but there will be missions were the u.s. and nato are not present or the eu should be. we will work side-by-side various citizens, we can combine military and civilian along with diplomacy and development. we have a long history of building and protecting peace. that sounds like nationbuilding to me. they have also launched this european peace facility to provide weapons and train non-european forces around the world. do you think they want to take on a interventionist role here? >> they have always been interested in nationbuilding. this is the point of that treaty to support state structures. if you look at what the eu has been doing in terms of
development, and colleagues have been rightly critical of their ambitions. let us not forget there have been some moderately successful, albeit small military missions. the place this has been most active recently is africa and particularly, west africa. i think we should be clear that there may be nobody saying it out loud but european interests are extinct there and american interests are not. several others are under threat of stability. this is feeding into the eu. this answers your question. i think we have concentrated a
lot here on the creation of the eu military. does off schools are real and serious. it will be a political process led by emmanuel macron and others. i am glad they named check him but he is one of the most gifted diplomats i have ever come across. if there's somebody who can stitch these pieces together and turn it into something that looks more like the speech yesterday, it is probably him. natassia: i want to bring her in briefly because there was a lot of talk about the soul of the eu in her speech, especially around trying to come together around some kind of common interest. let me give you the last word here. do you see there being a coalescence around this idea looking into the future? >> the european soul, we will know it when we see it.
i think there is a lot of skepticism depending on where you sit in europe. out -- i was in estonia. they are skeptical about france guarding their interests. we even saw what the pandemic that the gates went up when it came with masks. italy was angry at france. do you think they will trust them if they have any sort of need for military intervention? this is one of the things that will divide europe. if this european army continues. you have the baltics, you have poet who is skeptical about these narratives and even lithuania, recently was put on the naughty side by china. for leaving the 17 plus one. there was no solidarity. 0 natassia: -- natassia: we will have to see if we will find any solidarity around this issue. you're out of time. thank you to all of our guests.