US exploits Ukraine crisis to advance geopolitical agenda in leaderless Europe
Published: Sep 05, 2023 09:58 PM
Illustration: Xia Qing/GT

Illustration: Xia Qing/GT

Since February 24, 2022, the beginning of the hostilities in Ukraine, the European Union  has planned to give €20 billion ($21 billion) of aid to Kiev but failed to reach its strategic goal of defeating Russia economically and militarily. It turns out that the side effects of such politics damage European security, not Russia.

Initially, Brussels planned simultaneously to choke Russia with economic sanctions and provide the Ukrainian Armed Forces (UAF) with a broad spectrum of weaponry for fighting against the Russian troops. After 18 months of war, the reality is very different from what was expected. The Russian troops being outnumbered by UAF nevertheless move forward. According to Russian and foreign military sources, the UAF has lost up to 300,000 soldiers. Officially Kiev mobilized 1 million citizens against Russia. But Kiev needs not only new soldiers. It also needs newer weapons, which Europe must bear the cost for. 

UK, Norway, Sweden, Germany, Poland, Portugal and Spain transferred to Ukraine many tanks, Leopard 2 and Challenger 2, and other models. France and Italy gave rockets and armored vehicles. Despite all of this, the Ukrainian counteroffensive has gotten bogged down. 

Ukraine uses 90,000 155-mm artillery shells per month. EU promises to give 1 million shells and for the time being Kiev got only 224,000. Prime Minister Kaja Kallas of Estonia confessed: "It is possible that we might not be able to reach it." High Representative of EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell noted that the EU doesn't have enough materials to produce artillery rounds and has to import them. Borrell agreed it weakens the strategic security of the EU.

Figures confirm his confession. Only 18 percent of all defense investment in the EU is made in partnership with other member states. European countries prefer to cooperate with non-European actors who have cheaper resources and logistics. 

European armies have problems with producing modern tanks, aircraft, and air defense systems. EU economics was nourished by cheap Russian energy resources and now they are cut off. German economics being for a long period a locomotive for the united Europe is now slowing down. It's an omen that weaker Western European economies (France, Spain and Italy) will soon face hard times, too.

Earlier Europe was one of the pillars of international political order. Now Europe is a puppet of Washington and losing geopolitical influence. European states have no resources for maintaining their presence in other parts of the world because all their attention is directed to Ukraine. Brazil needs Portugal no longer, and former French colonies in Africa refuse to be Paris' property and are eager to cooperate with non-European countries like China and Russia. British and Spanish influence in Africa and South America is also dwindling. 

The control over Africa and South America once turned Europe into a powerful entity. Leaving these regions, now Europe says farewell to its influential geopolitical status and becomes second-range countries.

The US makes the EU give more generous aid to Ukraine but for the EU it means more economic and political damage. Europe is leaderless. Who "owns" European security strategy? The UK is closer to the US than the EU. France and Germany could potentially lead Europe but they have acute discrepancies about security issues. The French want the rearmament of European countries to be conducted with Europe-made weapons. The Germans insist Europe's military industry isn't capable of meeting the deadline. Berlin proposes to buy weapons from the US. Europe is leaderless because it's ruled by Washington.

Since the 1990s, the East European countries (Poland, Czechia, Romania and Slovakia) have had an American "Trojan horse" on the European continent. Their geopolitical function is to be a buffer between Europe and Russia and a bridgehead for American presence to deter possible cooperation between Moscow and Western Europe. Poland,  Czech Republic, Romania and Slovakia are talking not with their own voice but are echoing the US'. Ridiculously, Western Europe has been turned into the second "Trojan horse" by Washington. Using the Ukraine crisis as a cover, Washington has subjected Europe to American geopolitical interests.

The author is a Ukrainian expert on Central and Eastern European countries. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn