Single European military-industrial complex
by Brian Denny The drive for a single European military-industrial complex has continued at such a rate that Germany felt confident enough this month to demand that Spain halts plans to sell its main arms firm to the United States. Madrid has agreed in principle to sell the state-owned Empresa Nacional Santa Barbara to the US firm General Dynamics. However, Berlin's Defence Minister Rudolf Scharping dashed to Spain to convince them of the error of their ways and behave like "good Europeans" and sell it to Germany's Kraus-Maffei. Berlin needs Santa Barbara to strengthen the Franco-German dominated European Aeronautics Defence Company (EADS) which will be launched on the shares list in Frankfurt on July 10. Germany may well attempt to use its economic muscle to get what it wants from Spain. However, increasingly Spain has been looking to Latin America for superprofits from foreign investments and may not be easily persuaded. Direct Spanish foreign investment in Latin America and the Caribbean rose from L10 billion (A$25 billion) in 1990 to nearly L60 billion in 1998. Such a situation gives Berlin less leverage to block the US sale. As Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Pique declared: "The fact is that the best offer today is the US one." The EADS forms the core of the planned military-industrial complex which was built into the 1997 European Union Amsterdam Treaty to arm the future European army. A well-armed military wing of the EU will cut Europe's reliance on US military hardware and NATO in order for Brussels to wage its resource wars of the future. As EU foreign policy tsar Javier Solana told the Spanish newspaper El Pais in May, such a force was needed "for crisis situations such as are being produced in various African countries at the moment". NATO Secretary-General George Robertson also demanded just this month that military spending must increase across the continent in order for Europe to "do another Kosovo". The future of the EADS was boosted when German Defence Secretary Walther Stuetzle announced recently that Germany, France, Italy and the Netherlands had ordered 366 NH90 military transport helicopters for around L6 billion. Germany and France also agreed in June to cooperate on the Galileo spy satellite system that would cut their reliance on US military intelligence. Following a summit in the German town of Mainz, French and German leaders said Berlin would acquire an all-weather radar satellite system while Paris would bring its optical satellite system into the joint project. Plans for an independent European satellite system have been hastened following the performance of US satellite systems which pinpointed targets for its B-2 bombers in all weathers during last year's illegal war against Yugoslavia. "We recognised in Kosovo that we have to be able to stand on our own two feet in the area of European reconnaissance. We can't rely on delivery from outside of Europe", one German official source said. German Chancellor Schroeder's conservative predecessor Helmut Kohl pulled out of an ambitious European satellite program with France in 1997, citing budget constraints. France was especially keen to build the Helios II and Horus satellites to make Europe independent of Washington's superior "spy in the sky" capabilities and made the project a symbol of Europe's drive for its own military identity, apart from NATO. Germany has now changed its mind since the technology is now cheaper and because the US refused to share all its satellite intelligence with its EU allies during last year's military attacks in the Balkans. During the Yugoslav conflict Germany used unmanned drones launched from bases in Macedonia to gather aerial reconnaissance but some crashed and they could not operate in poor weather. The EU mandarins are determined to increase their own military capability in order to outflank their US imperial rival in the race to grab control of the world's resources for their own empires. However, the attempt to weld together different imperialist interests into one militarised superpower in Europe has revealed both the splits within the EU and the true reasons for its existence beyond the rhetoric of its "internationalist" nature.
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