France calls for European rapid reaction force to have own intelligence services, independent from NATO

Hubert Vedrine, the French Foreign Minister, has stated that the European Rapid Reaction Force should have its own intelligence services, free from NATO control. «The European Union must have a minimum means of observation, information, analysis and evaluation, as well as elements of conditional planning», said M. Vedrine. He added that some operations were to be carried out without NATO (and American) involvement. M. Vedrine is reported to have presented various options for a European defence Force, one of which would be a force operating under its own structure and not under the control of SHAPE, the American-led supreme HQ of NATO at Mons in southern Belgium. The reaction from the USA is not immediately in favour. The supreme military commander of NATO, General Joseph Ralston, argues that all EU operations could be handled by SHAPE. He need not say that the real reason is for the USA to keep in contact with what is happening and to subvert any action to their own benefit. In the words of the US ambassador to NATO, Alexander Vershbow : «NATO may have to come to bail you out. So keep NATO involved in the planning». The Bush administration has declared itself in favour of an EU military force, «provided it is done right», as General Colin Powell said. By «done right», let us read «done in the American way» which at the present moment in time, means an attempt at control over international affairs. One would remind the Americans that they were drawn into Europe for one purpose and one purpose only : to defeat Fascist Nazi Germany, together with their important allies, the (then) USSR and Great Britain. This victorious alliance having achieved its aim, the European continent was then thrown into a climate of belligerence and fear which lasted for more than four decades. The principal blame for this was the war-mongering, xenophobic, imperialist attitudes of Russia’s former allies. There is not, and never has been, any reason for the climate of tension and mistrust which reigns on both sides of what was the «Iron Curtain», to quote Winston Churchill, himself half-American. It was not Russia that used the atom bomb first and it was not Russia which launched a global campaign of military intervention. It makes sense that the relations between the USA and Europe are normalised, with closer scientific and technological cooperation – a tangible example of this being the success of the new space station and medical advances – and less military paranoia, because Europe is capable of producing its own weapons and does not need to buy any from the USA to use against an invisible and non-existent threat. TIMOTHY BANCROFT-HINCHEY, PRAVDA.RU, LISBON