The former deputy commander, Lt. General Sir Robert Fry said in Wall Street Journal (March 15, 2010) of the multinational forces in Iraq that “Europe needs a more unified defense capability if it is to continue to contest a role on the world stage.”

In the emerging new world order Europe should create conventional forces under a European banner. The growing global polarization calls for a more defined European defense capability:

In an interview with The Wall Street Journal Europe, he said that in an increasingly polarized world, Europe needs a better defined and more unified European defense capability. Sir Robert further stated in WSJ:

What we don’t have in Europe is any capable mechanism for command at anything other than a small scale.

It is only if there is a greater sense of a European identity that we can possibly contest a role to play on the world stage and continue to guarantee our trading links in a globalized environment dominated by rising powers.

It has been pointed out on this blog that Europe cannot continue to depend on a U.S. defense umbrella. It has the economic resources for much stronger investments in continental defense. As the United States in the coming decades will more focus on Asia it is important that Europe enlarges its defense spending. It is also most likely that besides East Asia the United States has to provide protection in the Middle East against a nuclear threat from Iran. Arab states would have to strengthen their defense budgets and modernize existing weapons systems.

It is time for Europe to accept more responsibilities for its own defense. History teaches that an almost unarmed power cannot survive. Europe needs to share more of the defense burden of the West.

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