‘Historic Allies, Not Vassals’: Debate Continues on Contentious Issue of European Army, US Reliance

European politicians have long been debating the contentious issue of creating their own army, independent of the United States and NATO, with Paris particularly enthusiastic about the idea, and Berlin expressing scepticism. Though the subject of heated discussion, the issue has yet to move beyond debate.

In early November, in response to criticism from French President Emmanuel Macron, German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer repeated her insistence that Europe must continue to rely on US security guarantees, citing “sobering facts”.

Kramp-Karrenbauer found herself in a heated exchange with the French leader after he levelled criticisms at her in an interview with Le Grand Continent over an op-ed in POLITICO on 2 November.

In the latter, the German minister argued that “Europe still needs America”. She also argued that “illusions of European strategic autonomy must come to an end” because “Europeans will not be able to replace America’s crucial role as a security provider”.

The French president immediately responded by saying he “profoundly” disagrees with Kramp-Karrenbauer’s position. Macron described her argument as “a historical misinterpretation,” and went so far as to claim that ssthe German Chancellor Angela Merkel didn’t share this stance, either.

“What we are currently experiencing is the brain death of NATO,” Macron said in a blunt interview with The Economist at the time, later explaining that he intended his words to…

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