Scamp wrote:What have most of the European countries been doing, practicing surrender?
This is a very good question actually.
I am certain that military historians have approached this matter in the backdrop of the aftermath of WWII.
And of course it makes sense to grab it from there.
After WWII, western countries decommissioned the bulk of their militaries as they became outdated without however replenishing the ranks to maintain a similar level of readiness. The logic was that NATO or the US is sufficient and the US itself forced several European countries to take this view, so eventually political elites became accustomed to the privileges that the US umbrella provided. Namely the cost-factor, why pay for military units and upkeep when there is no need and especially so when that irks the US.
From this point of view, American demands for Europe to increase its military spending may sound somewhat hollow and hypocritical.
However, it does not sound very hollow if one considers the real dangers that have been threatening Europe and its periphery.
At least a decade has passed since the flare-up of several engagements across that periphery and most European countries have still been living in bliss and ignorance. But why such a massive reluctance to re-arm?
The answer lies at the obvious cost. A western soldier costs at least something like 50 times more money to arm and upkeep than their Russian counterpart and probably over 100 times more than their Chinese counterpart.
Fielding a 100-150k army, full complete has become a matter of multiple hundreds of billions, the only 3 countries in the EU that maintain such a complete army are France, Greece & Poland. France as a former great power to maintain its status, Greece due to the Turkish threat and Poland due to the Russian threat.
For everyone else maintaining such a cost & upkeep has no real benefit as they have nowhere to use it to justify that cost under the pretext of defense or with booty, resources or something else.
This paints a bleak picture for the future because for the military to justify its existence, these countries would either have to face existential threats or they would have to re-engage in neo-imperialism.
So where does that leave us?
In the EU there are now 2 main battlegroups, the Visegrad battle group led by Poland and the Balkan battlegroup led by Greece. These are currently small forces(2000-4000), but they are under the umbrella of the EU and they are collaborative exercises to establish interoperability among these militaries.
Personally, I do not see Portugal, Spain, Italy or Germany re-arming anytime soon and from this perspective, the only avenue for further European military integration and enhancement are essentially these 2 battlegroups. Something already recognized by Washington who is currently in the process of re-establishing its European NATO infrastructure. Coalescing units from Germany and western Europe to Poland and from Turkey and the M-E to Greece.
https://www.ekathimerini.com/news/11755 ... ndroupoli/
...take your common sense with you, and leave your prejudices behind...