The Future of Europe
by JR Nyquist
Fri, 19 Nov 2010
Earlier this week I spoke at length with former KGB Lt. Col. Victor Kalashnikov, who has been traveling in Germany. Kalashnikov wanted to talk about British Gen. Sir David Richards, who was interviewed in the Sunday Telegraph. Here was the British Chief of Staff explaining that “you can’t defeat the Taliban or al Qaeda militarily.” In fact, clear-cut victory is unnecessary, said Richards. All we have to do is contain Islamic militants, so our lives won’t be disrupted. Upon reading this, Kalashnikov wondered about a shift from offensive strategy to defensive.
Under George W. Bush the West was on the offensive. American and British troops, together with NATO forces in Afghanistan, were taking the war to the enemy. But this has apparently changed. After following Bush’s strategy for a spell, President Obama wants to pull American troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan, and Europe is not going to fill the gap. One might ask what is going on. Why does it matter whether Europe follows an offensive or defensive strategy? The struggle against radical Islamic forces, says Kalashnikov, hasn’t been placed in proper context. “The West is slow to grasp that the end of the Cold War merely signified a shift toward asymmetrical warfare.” Kalashnikov is reminding us that during the Cold War the West was confronted by the massive tank armies of the Warsaw Pact. But now the West faces something different. The Russian side did not give up its quest for the “Common European House.” It merely changed the game, and altered the mode of conflict.