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Nov 22, 2021
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Josep Borrell and Lieutenant Dub

Over Europe, the forgotten cry of Second Lieutenant Dub, the hero of the novel “The Adventures of the Gallant Soldier Schweik”, was heard again: “You don’t know me, but you recognize me!” With this phrase, the former school teacher Dub, whom Schweik called “an idiot in the square,” threatened his disobedient subordinates.

In the novel by Yaroslav Hasek, Second Lieutenant Dub professes zapolosh patriotism, suffers from heightened suspicion, is reputed to be an informer and has a special dislike for the ironic Schweik. Oak tries its best to sound military, but it looks ridiculous. And now the shadow of the second lieutenant has risen over Europe, which felt abandoned by America’s campaign against China. And the louder the leader of the European Union’s foreign policy, Josep Borrell, expresses his concern about the new situation, the more he resembles Lieutenant Dub.

In February, Borrell traveled to Moscow to achieve “Reversing a negative trend in our relationship”… However, after a meeting with S. Lavrov, who knows how to plant self-styled bawlers on a pot, nothing but the classic “you don’t know me, but you recognize me” was heard from the chief European diplomat. In diplomatic language, it looked like this: “The reaction I got was clearly the opposite. As the European Union, we will have to reflect on the broader implications and chart the way forward. “

And then Borrell’s office had a “Strategic Compass for Europe in the Field of Security and Defense”. Work on the “compass” began in the summer of 2020. They listed all the possible threats and challenges to the European Union: cyberattacks, disinformation, revolutionary technologies, the use of migrants. We identified four areas: 1) “Act”, 2) “Secure”, 3) “Invest”, 4) “Cooperate with partners”.

In the first direction (“Act”), the main thing is the creation of the European Union’s rapid reaction forces. These forces are envisioned to be “modular,” including ground, air and naval components. Modularity means the ability to use a different number of soldiers – from several hundred to two or three thousand. Depending on the task, the “module” will also change. Introducing the “compass”, Borrell mentioned the situation on the Belarusian-Polish border several times, calling the situation there “an ideal example of the challenges described in the compass”. “We are facing a hybrid war … where everything is used as a weapon.”– added the head of European diplomacy.

The third direction (“Invest”) is intended to reduce the dependence of the EU countries on the technologies and industries of other countries. The Strategic Compass lists several types of weapons and equipment that the EU should focus on: marine drones, combat air systems of the future, space surveillance of the Earth, and battle tanks.

In the fourth direction (“Cooperate with partners”), it is planned to expand EU cooperation not only with NATO and with regional organizations, in particular with the African Union and the OSCE. The Strategic Compass lists the United States, Norway, the United Kingdom and Canada as the main partner countries. Expansion of cooperation with Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova is planned. Putting aside the verbal husk, the “Strategic Compass” focuses on the operational creation of mobile troops for a specific crisis, for transferring to one or another zone of tension (combat operations).

No, we do not think that the modern second lieutenant Dub is planning to start a world war. It’s just that the new EU troops will force Moscow to be more circumspect. It is useful here to recall Churchill’s statement about the 1939 Soviet-German non-aggression pact (the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact): “The fact that such an agreement was possible marks the depth of the failure of British and French politics and diplomacy over the years. In favor of the Soviets, it must be said that it was vital for the Soviet Union to push as far west as possible the initial positions of the German army … “

How the EU countries perceive the ideas of Josep Borrell should be discussed separately. There are not so many who want to stick their heads in the meat grinder of new military conflicts. Ahead are heated discussions with an uncertain ending. So we conclude our short commentary with a quote from the glorious novel about the brave soldier Schweik:

“Lieutenant Oak, to whom the enthusiasm returned, leaned out of the cart and began to shout into the road dust:

– Soldiers, your honorable task is difficult, you will face difficult campaigns, hardships, ordeals of all kinds. But I strongly believe in your endurance and your willpower.

– The fool would be silent, or something, – Schweik rhymed….

As if obeying Schweik, Second Lieutenant Oak, hanging his head, suddenly began to vomit into the road dust, and after that, shouting once again “Soldiers, go ahead!” fell on the sack of the telegraph operator Khodounsky and slept until Tyrava-Voloski, where he was finally put on his feet. “

Photo: REUTERS / Pool

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