A few months ago the highest representative of community diplomacy, the Spanish Josep Borrell, sparked a violent international uproar when he claimed that Europe was a “garden” and the rest of the world a “jungle.” Although these words have been called neo-colonialist, the truth is that after the Russian President’s troops invaded Ukraine Wladimir PutinThe Baltic and Scandinavian countries are seeing the jungle getting closer and closer.
The possibility that the war in Ukraine will spread to European soil seems increasingly plausible, and even the certainty of being protected under the protective cover of Clause 5 of the Atlantic Alliance’s Collective Defense, one for all and all for one, does not seem to be the case to be sufficient anymore, or at least not as strong as before.
These fears are heightened by the possible return of Donald Trump to the White House if he wins the next presidential election in November. The American tycoon is threatening to break the consensus that has existed since the end of World War II and stop protecting the Europeans if something goes wrong unless they start increasing their defense spending. These warnings are not new and came after his previous term, but the war in Ukraine has made the threat much more tangible.
To add fuel to the fire, the former president assured this Saturday that he would encourage Russia to “do whatever it wants” with any NATO country that does not contribute to the established defense spending. Although they may seem like typical words for the election campaign in the election campaign for the Republican candidacy, Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton warned weeks ago that very similar words were uttered privately during his first term in office in the presence of the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen .
“I do not believe that the United States benefits from an unprotected Europe. “I find it hard to believe,” diplomatic sources say of the possibility that Washington will leave its traditional allies alone. The truth is that despite good transatlantic relations with Joe Biden in the White House, everything suggests that the United States is increasingly caring less about Europe and preferring to focus on the Indo-Pacific, a shift that has begun Barack Obama and was consolidated with Trump. The Cold War with China could once again focus all of Washington’s efforts. In any case, in recent months we have witnessed a bellicose rhetoric not seen since the end of communism.
Last Friday the Danish Defense Minister, Troels Lund Poulsen, has assured that Putin could attack a NATO country in three or five years and has called for strengthening air defense. The Dutch Admiral Robert Bauer He has also urged European countries to prepare for war and consider conscription over the next two decades, and praised Sweden for reintroducing civilian military service with the goal of reaching 10,000 new recruits by 2030. It’s not the only country. On April 5, the Latvian parliament passed a new law to gradually introduce compulsory military service after the introduction of the professional army in 2007. Latvian men must do military service for one year from the age of 18, while women can apply for it voluntarily between the ages of 17 and 28 .
Although it is obvious that the Eastern countries are most worried, the pre-war climate also seems to be settling in those who do not feel Putin’s breath so close. This week the Belgian Defense Minister, Ludivine Dedonder, has also called on its citizens to become reservists. “Everyone must understand that a war in Europe is possible, but also that it will not necessarily happen,” the minister assured, trying not to be too alarmist. However, other information is much more disturbing. According to some documents leaked by the newspaper Picture In mid-January, Germany is preparing for Putin’s offensive on NATO’s eastern flank in the summer of 2025. According to these documents, the president could use Belarus as a starting point, just as he did with the war in Ukraine.
“We need public and private actors to change their mindset from a time when everything was planned, predictable, controllable and focused on efficiency to a time when anything can happen at any time.” “A time when we “We have to expect the unexpected,” said Bauer a few weeks ago before the start of the largest military exercise since the end of the Cold War. Europe can stop being a peaceful garden.