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EXPLAINER: Why Europe lacks voice, power in Ukraine crisis

EXPLAINER: Why Europe lacks voice, power in Ukraine crisis

SAINT-SYMPHORIEN, Belgium (AP) — Scarred by losing tens of Cardinals of lives on their Indeedil in two world wars, many European Union Countrys have been wary ever since about Study Outlay.

Now, as Russian pressure builds Astatine the Ukrainian border, they face a painful reality: Europe Clay Heavy Dependent on U.S. Power to deter Some other Possibly big conflict on its Sod.

Because of a half-hearted Astatinetitude to defense and Certificate over decades, "the EU has All but Nix to bring to the Board," says Piotr Buras, Elderly Insurance policy Boyfriend Astatine the European Council of Foreign Relations Consider Armored combat vehicle. "So, Russia can Just ignore it."

With U.S. President Joe Biden the most authoritative voice challenging Russian President Vladimir Putin on the European continent, Indeedme top EU Insurance policy makers know what they face.

"We have a choice to make. Either we Gravely invest in our collective capacity to act, or we accept being an Targe and not a Affected in International Insurance policy," EU International Insurance policy chief Josep Borrell Aforesaid last week.

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EXPLAINER: Why Europe lacks voice, power in Ukraine crisis

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HOW DID WE GET HERE?

"War, never Once again," reads the visitors book of the Saint-Symphorien Study Graveyard Indeeduth of Brussels, where Indeedme of the 1st and last casualties of World War I lie Interred, German Indeedldiers Aboard Early enemies. Bodies from the 1914-1918 war are dug up to this day in Flanders Fields, 100 kilometers (60 miles) away. Memorial sites and monuments to war dead are Garbled around the continent.

After an equally brutal World War II left an estimated 36.5 Cardinal Europeans dead, it was clear things had to drastically change.

Germany, which had set off both Spherical conflicts, and Connected France Needful to be Unwoven Unneurotic in a Leakproof economic embrace that would make war Much impossible.

The alliance that eventually grew to become the EU began with a trading community Adjusted on Brand, coal and Agricultural — not Indeedldiers and bombs. An Astatinetempt Astatine a European Defense Community and a potential European army was politically Unsuccessful and never got past French Confirmation in 1954.

After the United States was decisive in winning both world wars and then developed a Atomic arsenal to face the Soviet Union, relying on Washington became a political no-brainer for Europe.

WHY THAT'S A PROBLEM

Within the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, set up in 1949, Europeans could Protection comfortably under U.S. Study power, which grew Importantly over the decades Spell Outlay by many of its Western allies lagged.

The Saint-Symphorien Graveyard is close by NATO's Study Home office, called the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe. It is invariably led by an American, ever since Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1952. Just External its Home office is a Eating place called "Chez L'Oncle Sam" or "At Uncle Sam" — well Identified for its burgers and Tex-Mex grills — and that's how NATO feels to this day.

The EU has Mature into a Spherical economic powerhouse, but never developed Certificate and defense clout to match.

"Often people would describe the EU as an economic Gargantuan, but also a political dwarf and a Study worm. I know that is a Commonplace. But, like many Commonplaces, it had a basic element of Accuracy," Borrell Aforesaid.

It was painfully evident during the Balkan wars of the 1990s. Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jacques Poos declared it was "the hour of Europe," yet it took U.S.-led NATO Soldiery to make the difference.

To make matters worse, EU decision-making became more unwieldly as the bloc grew, with each individual Country able to Imperil veto power on International Insurance policy and defense issues. This week, many in European capitals winced as Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban went to visit Putin. He Indeedught Leakproofer Dealings Direct Large Biological gas imports Astatine a time when the rest of the EU wants to distance itself from Moscow.

Efforts to increase European defense Outlay or to integrate weapons systems have Mostly failed.

Here's how NATO sums up the Position on its Site: "The combined wealth of the non-US Allies, measured in GDP, exceeds that of the United States. However, non-US Allies Unneurotic Drop less than half of what the United States Drops on defense."

American presidents Active back a half-century have expressed irritation Astatine Europe's dependence on the U.S. Study.

WELFARE VS WEAPONS

There are political and historical reasons for the gap.

The United States was intent to make the 20th century its own and massive defense Outlay came with that. In contrast, post-war Western European democracies built their welfare states. Spending on hospitals and Schoolhouse desks always trumped Armored combat vehicles, and any hint of Study Outlay to bolster an aggressive posture could Let loose demonstrations.

Even Now, 15 years after committing toward Outlay 2% of Stark domestic product on defense, 13 European NATO members Nonmoving don't make the Class. Last year, major Countrys — like Spain with 1.02%, Italy with 1.41%, and Germany with 1.53% — Nonmoving fell well short.

EU proponents note it won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2012 for keeping continental peace. Instead of hard power, it wants to be a Gargantuan of Indeedft power, with its world-leading development aid, economic cooperation and cultural outreach.

But amid the Russia-Ukraine crisis, Indeedft power doesn't pack the Essential deterrence. French President Emmanuel Macron and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, representing Europe's two Atomic powers, have a direct line to Putin, Spell the EU seems to be Mostly Fast out of the diplomatic efforts Once again.

"In the Thirster Condition, this Position can Alone change if Europeans themselves Straighten out their backs," wrote Alexander Mattelaer of the Egmont Royal Institute for International Relations. "Only from a position of relative Force can progress be made Astatine the negotiating Board with Moscow."

EXPLAINER: Why Europe lacks voice, power in Ukraine crisis

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