Is Europe ready to come to its own defense?

'There is a risk our Europe could die'

Photo composite of Emmanuel Macron, Rishi Sunak, German troops, artillery vehicles and a map of Europe alongside Vladimir Putin
Macron has been calling for "European security and strategic autonomy" since he first took office in 2017
(Image credit: Illustration by Stephen Kelly / Getty Images)

Europe needs to be ready to go it alone. After decades of relying on the United States and NATO to shoulder the burden of its defense, Reuters said, French President Emmanuel Macron last week declared that the continent must build "stronger, more integrated European defenses." That means building industrial capacity and its own anti-missile shield. Russia's invasion of Ukraine has made the need clear, Macron said. "There is a risk our Europe could die. We are not equipped to face the risks." 

Nuclear weapons may also be part of the mix. France already has an atomic arsenal, The Wall Street Journal said, but it may be time to "Europeanize" those weapons to protect the country's allies from attack, Macron said over the weekend. "This deterrence contributes to the credibility of European defense," he said in an interview. Other European countries might be ready to go along: Some German officials are reportedly looking to France and the U.K. to provide a nuclear umbrella for the continent "should the U.S. no longer be willing to fulfill that role."

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Joel Mathis, The Week US

Joel Mathis is a freelance writer who has spent nine years as a syndicated columnist, co-writing the RedBlueAmerica column as the liberal half of a point-counterpoint duo. His work also regularly appears in National Geographic, The Kansas City Star and Heatmap News. His awards include best online commentary at the Online News Association and (twice) at the City and Regional Magazine Association.