Is Europe at risk of being left out of the multipolar order?

Is Europe at risk of being left out of the multipolar order? 1The United States, Russia and China are recognised as major powers, along with aspirants such as Japan, India and Brazil. We also have significant regional players such as Iran, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Pakistan, Australia and others. European countries such as the UK, Germany and France are often included. The question is, what about Europe? And our ability to exercise power, to put together a large-scale army?

The technology is there, of course, and Europe has long been a leader in innovation and industry. But we live in a reality where cheap drones or robots can shoot down expensive and advanced fighter jets. Without air supremacy, the advanced combat forces will not be effective. In a real war situation, we risk prolonged trench warfare like in Ukraine, where neither side dares to sacrifice its fighters or bombers.

Unfortunately, modern air defence puts an end to most heroic manoeuvres in the air. So, back to the classic war of cheap artillery shells, where we sacrifice young men on the battlefields. And with the current demographic situation, where fewer and fewer children are being born, there won’t be any giant armies in the future, unless Europeans can put migrants and refugees in uniform of course.

War is usually a bad idea, you should stay away from open conflict as long as possible. Yet it is the Europeans who are the most unreasonable about the conflict in Ukraine. The French are the most agitated, and are considering sending regular French troops to Ukraine. While the Americans are sobering up, they are beginning to realise that the war is lost, and so they are doing their usual thing, retreating across the Atlantic.

Poles, Germans, Hungarians and Scandinavians, on the other hand, remain neighbours with Russia. We can’t retreat anywhere. Geography is what it is. And maybe we should have thought about it earlier, before we started sending weapons and money to Ukraine. Our efforts have helped kill young Russians on the battlefield and prolonged the war. And when peace comes, we will be ostracised. Russia will still be a great power, probably strengthened by the coming victory.

It’s almost as if our leaders don’t want the war to end. The peace could be embarrassing, because the Russians will not continue to take Poland, the Baltics and Finland. The Ukrainian war was a limited conflict between former Soviet republics, more like a civil war where both sides have different sponsors. The lies spread about an imperialist and expanding Russia will be exposed. And the threat from Putin was the very reason Finland and Sweden joined NATO, and many Westerns nations sending billions to a thoroughly corrupt country. What happens when Putin sits in the boat and does nothing? And the US and NATO back off?

The Russians will continue to trade with Europe, but they will not trust us. There will be no large-scale co-operation or developed diplomacy. We are small, unreliable, choleric, cowardly, and difficult to take seriously. However, the Russians will reconnect with the great power on the other side of the Atlantic, especially if a new and more sensible president is elected. And world politics will be conducted – over the heads of Europeans – between the US, Russia, China and the others. While we sit in Brussels debating an extended plastic bag tax. Divided, de-industrialised, energy-poor and colonised. Europe was once again dealt a bad hand, but chose to double down, again and again. And lost. I suspect the money disappeared somewhere over the Duck Pond. Again.