By abandoning the installation of the American anti-missile shield in the Czech Republic and in Poland Barack Obama has just shot down one of the symbols of unilateralism promoted by his predecessor.
This is not only because stirring up the existential dissatisfaction of a Russia which is less and less democratic and increasingly revisionist is not productive. The best way of convincing it of relinquishing its barbarous attitudes of another age is to force it share common interests with us.
This is not only because the effectiveness of these arms systems and notably a 100% guarantee against ballistic attacks remains to be demonstrated. We certainly feel that the symbol was much stronger than the arm itself.
But it is also because there can only be balanced trans-Atlantic relations in a shared, equal dialogue between Europe and USA. The world’s leading military power can only give what it has and this is not enough to settle the planet’s major strategic issues. European Soft Power is often more effective than any missile, even though it has to embrace less idealism and be equipped with greater military capabilities.
Finally Europeans can see a clear message in this: their security is primarily their responsibility and depends on their will to define, defend and promote their own interests. They should no longer depend on others to ensure their defence.
Poland and the Czech Republic for their part have learnt another lesson: the time of “counter alliances” is over likewise petty personal games. When a country is a member of the European Union it must not take the decision of accepting this kind of installation without at least discussing the matter with its privileged partners. Our closest allies are always the most secure because they more readily share the same strategic vision.
The Member States of the European Union must therefore learn from this: political Europe must move forwards, integration must be stepped up to enable European Defence to guarantee the security of Europe.
This will be accomplished via an alliance with a reformed NATO that has found new equilibrium and via a more united Europe.
Thank you Mr Obama!