Dutch Are Lone Supporters Of Macron's 'EU Boots On The Ground In Ukraine' Plan

French President Emmanuel Macron's words at the start of the week which opened the door to European 'boots on the ground in Ukraine' elicited shock, dismay and caution even from within the Western allies. NATO itself scrambled to assure the world that it has no plans to deploy troops inside Ukraine, with Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg rejecting the idea in remarks, given it would certainly mean automatic WW3.

According to CNN, "Macron had told reporters at a news conference that while he and the other 21 European leaders present did not agree on deploying military personnelthe prospect was discussed openly." Even typically hawkish countries Poland and the UK distanced themselves from such a possibility. 

However one tiny NATO country did step up to back Macron's words. The Netherlands has said it won't rule out sending Western troops to Ukraine. Dutch Chief of Defense, General Onno Eichelsheim, told an Amsterdam-based news outlet that while it's a possibility it is "not yet opportune" to do so."I think you should keep all options open to see how you can best support Ukraine," Eichelsheim said.

According to more from the Dutch interview

Ukraine has not asked the Netherlands to send troops and there is no point in discussing it at the moment, Eichelsheim added. If Western militaries were to go to Ukraine, it would have to be in a coalition, the Dutch military chef said. "This could either happen via NATO or via an alliance of 10-15 countries."

"It would be very odd if one or two countries did it," he added.

Indeed, President Putin's ominous response to Macron's words seized precisely on the question of NATO Article 5...

"If Ukraine joins NATO, you won’t even have time to blink your eye when you execute Article 5," Putin said, which suggests that possibly a nuclear response could be on the table.

Moscow has since warned of major direct conflict with the West. According to more from the Kremlin response: "The very fact of discussing the possibility of sending certain contingents to Ukraine from Nato countries is a very important new element…in that case, we would need to talk not about the probability, but about the inevitability (of a direct conflict)."

Already there's clear evidence of a significant amount of Western mercenaries and foreign fighters among Ukraine's ranks:

Some countries, including France, the US, and UK have also in the past made statements which seem to confirm that they already have military 'advisers' on the ground in Ukraine. Certainly Western intelligence services have been there for years, even for the past decade at least.

* * *

Below is a note analyzing the scramble that Macron's provocative words set off this week, courtesy of Rabobank...

President Macron’s remarkable public speech saying Europe will “do everything needed” to stop Russia winning in Ukraine, and “not ruling out” sending troops, of course, saw President Putin immediately reply that the latter would mean war with Russia; and, of course, Germany then stated they oppose this course of action. Macron may have then tweeted a video saying Europe needs to be prepared to act militarily without the US vis-à-vis Ukraine, but its inability to do so was laid bare.

You might think this doesn’t matter in a markets Daily. You’d be wrong. To translate it to someone limited to the narrow world of finance, imagine if a central bank promised to do “whatever it takes”, but when a crisis hit said, “except QE.” Markets would crash, and headlines would be of crushing humiliation and total loss of credibility. Europe just experienced the same in realpolitik. After all, France is not only a member of the UN Security Council --alongside a UK whose aging submarine nuclear deterrent may or may not work-- but the only EU state with a serious military; and it just displayed that, within an EU mechanism that’s the only way to scale up to make it a serious global player, it cannot be taken seriously at all.

Promising to send troops, but no new weapons, was always a dangerously contradictory, escalatory action that invited Putin to show that he wouldn’t blink, and Europe would – which it did. The only actual breakthroughs from Macron were promises of an unspecified quantity of long-range missiles at an undisclosed future date, and a U-turn on using new EU funds for Ukraine to purchase foreign ammunition in light of the fact that Europe cannot manufacture it itself at the required scale, the latter pragmatism a scandalous reflection of its military incapacity.

To bring it back it back to markets, if a central bank (in)acted like Macron, everyone would know the final bill would be vastly higher than it originally looked like being. The same is true for the EU in terms of any dreams of any “Strategic Autonomy” in an ever-more ‘geopolitical’ world. That world was watching, and face-palming or laughing; as a result, you could, literally, be talking about needing to spend many tens, perhaps many hundreds, of billions more on EU defence to try to reinstall an element of real deterrence. In short, when it comes to violence, reputations matter more than they do in the world of central banking.

Yet Macron just displayed, again, that most Western leaders have never been physically worried about their own safety in a world of streetfighters, who look at their ‘whatever it tales’ and say ‘whatever’. That’s as even the Financial Times carries an opinion piece warning that Europe needs to consider a wider range of potential future geoeconomic threats, including from the US under Trump, not just from Russia and China. (And the US author ignored Iran; and, as the Wall Street Journal puts it, ‘While the World Was Looking Elsewhere, North Korea Became a Bigger Threat: Kim enlarged his nuclear arsenal and built ties to Russia, no longer aiming for reunification with South Korea. The US and its allies are alarmed.’)

(Article by Tyler Durden republished from ZeroHedge.com)

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