Friday, June 23, 2017

Don't Blame the Tank Models


Europe dreams of a common military but has too many types of tanks[.]

America has but one type, by contrast. Yeah, that's why America is stronger? Give me a break.

The article says that European Union (EU) states have 17 different main battle tanks (MBTs) and that this is symbolic of why the EU doesn't have a single military.

Well, the main reason is that the EU is not an actual political entity despite its proto-imperial status and ambitions for being an empire that suppresses nation-states currently members of the EU.

And it is not a surprise that European states have multiple tanks because the tanks largely predate the EU. States design or buy them--not the EU.

Further, the number 17 is BS.

In my 2012 The Military Balance, I count 14. The EU paper cited probably (it does not list the tanks) counted variations that I ignored as separate MBTs.

And the number shrinks when you subtract different (albeit better) versions of the basic version of the tanks that I initially included in my count. So cut the number to 9.

Then you can subtract American and Russian models in European service. Now we are down to 5 different tanks that Europe makes.

I'd subtract one more because otherwise you penalize Germany for building a newer and better model.

So really, Europe has 4 indigenous tanks made by Britain, France, Germany, and Italy. With other European states having German, American, or Russian tanks--or variations of those tanks.

Ten thousand types of officially recognized cheeses? Good. Four tank models? Bad. Got it.

If European armies are weak, it is not because of too many tank designs. Russia has three in service with 3 more types in storage. Russia has many more tanks than the Europeans.

If the question is why the EU doesn't have a military, it is because only the new Euro royalty want that.

If the question is why Europe doesn't have much of a combined military, it is because Europe disarmed  (and much of what is left is often civil servants in uniforms) and spends too much time trying to unify shrinking national assets rather than just build more combat units that fight.

(Strategypage has more, but comparing Germany's effort to absorb smaller allied militaries to the all-powerful science fiction Borg is misleading.)

By EU logic, if 17 types of MBT is a bad thing and just one is great, having no MBTs at all must be superpower status!

And really, that's all the EU wants. Status from having a monopoly on military power--the ultimate definition of modern sovereignty:

Essentially, the new defense hype is about abandoning and redefining sovereignty at the EU level, such as when states are called on to synchronize national defense-planning cycles. It is about giving up the little sovereignty states have left in defense for a greater good: jointly building a larger European capacity to act, to successfully manage real-world problems.

But if the EU is actually the empire their apparatchiki desire it to be, they won't care if that military provides actual defense capacity as NATO does. Ditching NATO and the inconveniently necessary Americans who provide actual capacity to manage real-world problems in favor of a "pure" EU military is the goal.

An EU military is just the means to the imperial end.