Discuss the relevance of a European Rapid Reaction Force.

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Discuss the relevance of a European Rapid Reaction Force

“Today's conference in Brussels pledging national troops to a European rapid reaction force is a strongly positive development we wholly support.  We welcome today's European Union's Capabilities Commitment Conference as a first step towards making the Headline Goal of a European rapid reaction force a reality and getting the European Security and Defense Identity right.  We, along with the other Allies, are working closely with the European Union to make this initiative a success and to create a true strategic partnership between two key Western institutions -- NATO and the European Union.” (U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright speaking on November 20th 2000)

The European Rapid Reaction force was initially thought about during the late 1940’s, after the signing of the Brussels’s treaty.  Many of the leaders of Europe at that time knew that an event such as World War II with its monumental loss of life just couldn’t happen again.  The French and Germans set the ball rolling in 1992 when they created a small force of 1000 troops known as the EuroCorps, as a sign of post cold-war friendship.  However it was the Balkan wars that really gave the spark to Europe to set up a European Rapid Reaction Force.  The Balkan wars showed just how much we relied upon America to help us out through NATO, and our inability to solve conflicts ourselves.

        The U.N was unable to react quick enough to solve these conflicts before they escalated into wars, and the USA was very reluctant to commit any ground troops to the war because they didn’t want another Vietnam on their conscience.  As the blame was passed around various organisations, Europe knew that they needed to have their own force to combat tensions and wars in “there own backyard”.  A European Rapid Reaction Force would be able to respond to these problems in a quick and effective manner, maybe stopping the conflicts before they could escalate into a full scale wars.  The European countries are now at a stage where they can provide defence for the countries within the EU, and the idea of having a rapid reaction force does sound very attractive especially as it would mean that the reliance on America would be decreased.

        Before I move on to discuss the relevance of a European Rapid Reaction Force, I think we first must know what a European Rapid Reaction Force would do.  

“Geoff Hoon, the defence secretary, spoke this week about dealing with "Europe's back yard". However, the EU agreed that its proposed rapid reaction force could engage in operations ranging from humanitarian and rescue missions to peacekeeping and "tasks of combat forces in crisis management, including peacemaking". It even envisages "helping to resolve a crisis between two warring countries or factions".” (Paragraph taken from )

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As we can see the European Rapid Reaction Force isn’t just a military force set up to deal with military conflicts, but also a peacekeeping force.  As I mentioned earlier it is much better to stop a war before it starts by rooting out the cause of a problem rather than having to deal with a potentially bloody war.  It seems as if the Rapid Reaction Force will be very similar to the UN peacekeeping forces that try to keep the peace throughout the world, except that it will concentrate on Europe.  It seems ambitious to have a force ...

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