The contention that the rich, technologically advanced European nations cannot join forces to gain enough military power to deter or defeat Russia strains credulity. NATO’s 31st and newest member, Finland, and the next member, Sweden, have powerful armies, and Ukraine’s army – far better equipped, trained and hardened than it was before 2022 – will also almost certainly come to the defense of Europe in the event of Russian. attack US military power will also be a reliable supplement. But in the end, the reality is that Europeans have not only the means to defend their continent but also a much greater interest in doing so than the United States. Calling for European self-sufficiency is not the same as advocating the abolition of NATO. It is time for Europe to get serious about its own defence.
Sixteen months into the war, Russia, without a doubt, inflicted massive punishment on Ukraine, destroying almost 138 billion USD (from January) value of infrastructure alone, according to the Kyiv School of Economics. (As for the human toll, by mid-June 9,083 civilians had been killed and another 15,779 injured, according to the United Nations.) It was three times in wartime Ukraine, including places close to the eastern and southern fronts, I saw some of the destruction firsthand. Press photos and reports cannot fully capture it.
But Russia could not turn its massive advantage in troops and weapons into anything resembling victory. Its difficulties were undoubtedly compounded by the more than $46 billion in US military aid that Ukraine received, along with additional support from NATO and other countries. But the Ukrainian military thwarted Russia’s initial drive on Kyiv even before American weaponry began arriving in large numbers. Western weapons are part of the reason for Russia’s struggles, but so is Ukraine’s strong morale and better generalship.
The rest of Europe, whose resources far exceed those of Ukraine, is in an even stronger position. Compare Europe and Russia by any metric commonly used to measure power, and Europe proves vastly superior. Take their gross domestic products. Last year that of the European Union was $16.6 trillionand that of Russia was 2.2 trillion USD. This means that the European Union, even without Britain, has an economy more than seven times larger than that of Russia.
What about technology, another component critical to modern warfare? This is where things get more complicated, as no single statistic works for proper comparison. So let’s do an unscientific thought experiment. Think about the advanced electronics, luxury cars, or anything involving artificial intelligence that you have used or seen recently. I would imagine that few, if any, were of Russian descent. The mixed record of some top Russian equipment used on Ukraine’s battlefields shows this. Inspections of destroyed or captured examples of some of Russia’s most advanced rockets, missiles, air defenses and even field radios revealed that they all relied on critical components made in the USA, Europe, Japan or South Korea.