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​U.S. Dismantles its Status as Global Security Guardian: Why Josep Borrell's Speech is Important and What's Coming

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Refusal to continue military aid to Ukraine, Trump's talks about quitting NATO have already made irreversible cracks in the foundation of security in Europe and the world in general

Quite often, politicians' speeches are just words, but sometimes they are really important and indicative of the tectonic changes happening. And it seems that the head of European diplomacy, Josep Borrell, made just one of those pivotal speeches at the Forum Europa on April 9, 2024.

The entirety of his address was about global security and its new realities because the aggression of the russian federation against Ukraine destroyed the past world and forced European countries to wake up from their lethargy. Defense Express recommends reading the speech in full, whereas here we'll highlight the key points. Because he touches upon issues concerning not only the European Union and Ukraine, but the world security system in general, which entails a direct impact on the world economy, diplomacy, and life overall.

Read more: Five Scenarios For the Deployment of French Troops in Ukraine - Le Figaro
Josep Borrell / Defense Express / U.S. Dismantles its Status as Global Security Guardian: Why Josep Borrell's Speech is Important and What's Coming Next
Josep Borrell, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy / Photo credit: Olivier Hoslet for EFE

Since the end of the Second World War, the United States has assumed the position of the main guarantor of security for those nations of the world who shared Western values and opposed the "red threat." Throughout the Cold War in Europe, American troops were the key element in the security of all countries west of the Elbe. After the collapse of the USSR, the hand of protectorate also reached out for the countries of the former Warsaw Pact.

But what was steadfast for 75 years is no longer so, as Josep Borrell bluntly stated: "We need to make EU citizens to understand that the U.S. umbrella that has protected us during the Cold War and after, may not stay open all the time. That, maybe, depending on who is ruling in Washington, we cannot rely on the American support and on the American capacity to protect us. We have to build our common defense capacity. We have to take our own responsibility."

At the same time, the head of European diplomacy says explicitly that the USA no longer wants to deal with European security at all. And therefore even the NATO guarantees have already become something very ephemeral.

"The decision to increase our capacity is due to the lack of will from the other side of the Atlantic to keep the commitment to defend all the members of NATO, in all circumstances," Josep Borrell stated.

Leopard 2 / Defense Express / U.S. Dismantles its Status as Global Security Guardian: Why Josep Borrell's Speech is Important and What's Coming Next
Leopard 2, the European tank created for continental war / Photo credit: NATO

Nonetheless, of course, he reiterates the fact that NATO still remains an important security tool and that the increase in defense capability of its European part is the main reason for its viability. But he also declares the obligation to create a separate European security system. And, objectively, as soon as Europe independently solves its security tasks, the Old World will eventually find itself no longer needing NATO, where the USA's participation is illusory anyway. After all, just as the U.S. doesn't want to fight in Europe, Europe is not willing to fight in the Pacific either. After all, NATO was supposed to work both ways.

If we look at the situation from a more general perspective, the conclusion is very simple. The European Union simply can no longer afford the luxury of trusting the U.S. Trust is the basis of any union, it is impossible to build something common without it.

And it took just two things for this foundation to crack. The first is the statement of U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump about his plan not to defend NATO countries that don't spend 2% of their GDP on defense. The second is the lack of stable support of Ukraine with weapons, despite the promise. That's because in the conditions of the biggest security crisis in a decade and the biggest war in Europe since World War II, not providing aid due to internal political disputes is a sign of unreliability in partnership.

NATO drills / Defense Express / U.S. Dismantles its Status as Global Security Guardian: Why Josep Borrell's Speech is Important and What's Coming Next
Illustrative photo credit: NATO Association of Canada

Therefore, it's not surprising that the European Union not simply connected the dots but also publicly announced its conclusions. The same conclusions can be drawn by many other countries. For example, South Korea, Japan, Taiwan. If the United States cannot fulfill its obligations to European allies, then where are the guarantees that the promises will be kept to the Asian allies. Such developments would mean a search for more reliable partners, more powerful security guarantees, and other tectonic shifts in global security.

Lastly, regarding Ukraine, Josep Borrell said the following: "Even though Ukraine is not yet a member of the European Union, the war against Ukraine is a threat to the Union as a whole. We cannot dissociate the fate of the Ukrainian people from the fate of the European Union people, especially since Putin is determined to extend its destabilizing activities to the whole Union."

Read more: ​EU Comprehensively Transforms its Defense Industry and Integrates Ukraine in the New Development Plan for 2025–2030