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Impeach Bush

EU Creates Independent Military Separate from NATO
NY Times
By JOHN TAGLIABUE
Published: December 12, 2003

BRUSSELS, Dec. 12 — The leaders of the 15-nation European Union approved a common security strategy on Friday that they said would enable Europe to "share in the responsibility for global security, and in building a better world."

The leaders, opening a two-day summit meeting to discuss a draft constitution for the union as it brings in 10 new members, most of them from Eastern Europe, also approved a plan for a joint military planning staff separate from NATO. The plan has aroused misgivings in Washington for fear that it would duplicate NATO institutions and damage trans-Atlantic cooperation on defense matters.

The military side of the plan was something less than some European nations, notably France and Germany, had envisioned. In the original plan, commissioned at the height of the trans-Atlantic bickering over the Iraq war, the force was to have had its own headquarters in Brussels, apart from NATO.

The French and Germans, under pressure from Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain, revised the plan to accommodate American objections. The plan adopted today calls for a planning staff of perhaps 100 military and civilian officials, and for NATO and the European Union to station teams of officers at each other's headquarters.

Still, the measure, approved unanimously, represents the first time that Europe has formally framed its strategy for common defense and taken steps to back it up militarily.

The 14-page strategy paper, based on a draft by the chief European foreign affairs official, Javier Solana, emphasized that Europe did not seek to rupture the alliance with North America, affirming that "the trans-Atlantic relationship is irreplaceable."

In a departure from the security thinking of the Bush administration, the document stated that none of the current threats to peace — including terrorism, weapons of mass destruction, the collapse of government institutions and organized crime — were purely military, "nor can they be tackled by purely military means."

The document represented the culmination of many years effort by European nations to formulate a defense policy separate from NATO, which is dominated by the United States. The movement gained force after the Treaty of Maastricht, which took effect in 1993, mandating gradual progress from mere economic integration to common policies in defense and foreign affairs.

The adoption of a common security strategy was preceded by weeks of intense diplomatic effort to lessen American resistance, particularly at meetings this month in Brussels with Secretary of State Colin L. Powell and Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld. Both men had opposed the plan as an unnecessary duplication of NATO, which already pools European military resources under a single command.

President Jacques Chirac of France, a staunch proponent of an independent European defense policy, praised the moves as a "confirmation of European defense, an affirmation of its interests." But he was at pains to stress the integrity of NATO, saying the plan was in "perfect conformity with the demands of NATO."

The United States was angered earlier this year when four European Union nations — France, Germany, Belgium and Luxembourg — promoted the idea of a separate European military headquarters independent of NATO.

Several leaders said the group had discussed the United States decision to exclude countries opposed to the Iraqi war, including France, Germany and Russia, from contracts in Iraq, though it reached no consensus. Mr. Blair later defended the United States decision. "It is very important to emphasize that this is American money," he said, adding that it was "for the Americans to decide how they spend their money."

Mr. Chirac, emphasizing the need for "adhesion in the international community" in facing the challenges of Iraqi reconstruction, said the United States should ask whether such exclusions "go in the direction of indispensable unity, or of disunity." Yet he said he was prepared to meet James A. Baker III, the former secretary of state, who is visiting Europe next week to discuss debt relief for Iraq.

The leaders of the existing Europe Union nations also announced that Bulgaria and Romania would be allowed to join the organization by 2007, provided they meet the criteria for membership.

Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company

Commentary:
It's only a matter of time before the EU separates from NATO completely. How can France and Germany continue to follow insane leaders in the US and Britain? In time these leaders will be forced from office but the world will never be the same. France and Germany are hated by the US for proving Bush lied to them about an imminent threat from Iraq. Being wrong has cost the US prestige and the ability to lead. The EU will gradually become led by France and it's close ally, Germany. The ability of the US to control world foreign policy is winding down fast. All because Bush lied.