07:35 GMT +316 October 2019
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    Estonia's Defence League volunteer soldiers attend training drill near Rabasaare, Estonia, September 12, 2015

    'Phantom Threats': How NATO's Dwindling Clout Will Affect European Security

    © REUTERS / Ints Kalnins
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    Now that the clock is ticking down until US President-elect Donald Trump enters the oval office, many are wondering whether Europe will manage to ensure its security all by itself if NATO's regional clout dwindles.

    Trump repeatedly said during his presidential campaign that Washington should review its relationships with its NATO allies which he insisted should pay more of the cost for having their security guaranteed by the United States.

    Describing NATO as an "obsolete" organization, Trump said at the time that "NATO has to be changed or we have to do something; it has to be rejigged or changed for the better."

    In an interview with RT, retired Russian Security Service Major General Security Alexander Mikhailov recalled that security is a very multifaceted concept that embraces a number of aspects related to counter-terrorism, law enforcement and the fight against organized-crime.

    According to him, many European intelligence and counter-intelligence spheres are actually controlled by the US intelligence agencies.

    "Of course, there is no Russian threat to Europe. In the context of providing European security, America has generated a negative mood which has unnerved Europe. The Americans signaled their alleged readiness to allocate money for maintaining security in Europe, which was then rocked by horrendous terrorist attacks," Mikhailov said.

    He also said that as for as the secret services of European countries, they currently are in "a weakened and relaxed state", working on a non-autonomous basis and adhering to the orders of the political elite.

    "The leaders demand that these services should fight phantom threats, while grappling with real challenges is yet to be financed. The security services' effectiveness depends on the security situation. Europe has repeatedly turned a blind eye to the problems of its ghettos, the growth of street crime and the radicalization of young Muslims," he added.

    Mikhailov pointed out that the European counter-intelligence is powerless to effectively resolve security-related issues, and that it will take at least 15 years to wrap up its fundamental restructuring.

    Speaking to RT, expert Alexander Neveyev, for his part, noted that European society and the elites look at the concept of security in their own peculiar way.

    He recalled that the main guarantee of European security is considered to be strict compliance with the so-called European values.

    "The rationale is that a kind of superman will be created and that he will passionately believe in democracy. The bottom line is that if everyone is equally democratic and tolerant, conflicts will automatically disappear," Neveyev said.

    Due to taking this toothless approach, the European ruling circles neglect the implementation of basic safety measures, something that he said can be seen everywhere.

    "Not to mention the perception of the role of the army, the police or intelligence services by the European ruling circles who think that they don't need them because all the European Muslims and refugees will soon believe in shared values and become part of the humanistic and prosperous society," Neveyev added.

    Touching upon the proposed European Defense Union, Associate Professor of the Moscow State Institute of International Relations Alexander Tevdoy-Burmuli, for his part, remained downbeat about this organization's effectiveness. He said that "Europe is not ready to implement any military project in terms of political and resource aspects." 

    He was echoed by Rostislav Ishchenko, head of the Center of Analysis and Forecasting, who recalled that "since World War II, European headquarters have never worked independently."

    "This means that there aren't enough [European] officers who have the ability to command. Europe's entire defense infrastructure is based on NATO. In addition, the creation of a European army will entail enormous expenses," he said.

    Earlier this week, the European Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee approved a key report on the European Defense Union (EDU), calling for more systematic defense co-operation between EU member states.

    The resolution asks the European Council to lead the creation of a "common Union defense policy and to provide additional financial resources ensuring its implementation." The document also advocates setting up an EU operational headquarters to plan, command and control crisis management operations.


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