When It Comes to Building Its Own Defense, Europe Has Blinked

Despite expectations that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine would force Europe to bolster its military strength, it has instead reinforced dependency on U.S. leadership, intelligence and might.

BRUSSELS — Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is the greatest challenge to European security since the end of the Cold War, but the Europeans have missed the opportunity to step up their own defense, diplomats and experts say. Instead, the war has reinforced Europe’s military dependence on the United States.

Washington, they note, has led the response to the war, marshaled allies, organized military aid to Ukraine and contributed by far the largest amount of military equipment and intelligence to Ukraine. It has decided at each step what kind of weapons Kyiv will receive and what it will not.

Its indispensable role was manifest in the recent decision to provide Leopard tanks to Ukraine and allow others to do so — a step Chancellor Olaf Scholz of Germany refused to take, despite strong pressure from Poland and Britain, unless the United States provided some of its own modern tanks.

American leadership “has almost been too successful for its own good, leaving Europeans with no incentive to develop leadership on their own,” said Liana Fix, a German analyst with the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington.


Read the article written by Steven Erlanger on The New York Times.