Brussels Launch of the Future Security and Defence Council Part II.
The latest phase of GLOBSEC's Future Security and Defense Council (FSDC) was recently launched in Brussels, with key FSDC representatives Gen. (Ret.) Richard Sharriff and Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Ben Hodges leading discussions on the state of European defense and deterrence, as well as the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. They met with stakeholders and representatives from the European Union and NATO, advocating for stronger commitments and investments in defense capabilities to counter the range of threats and prevent any future attacks from Russia or other adversarial states.
The war in Ukraine has highlighted the dangers of failed deterrence. In the aftermath of the Cold War, the West reduced its investments and spending on its armed forces, lacking the political leadership to confront Russia's successive attacks on neighboring countries and international law. Consequently, Putin felt emboldened to invade Ukraine in February 2022.
Nonetheless, the ongoing conflict presents Europe with an opportunity to strengthen its deterrence and adapt its capabilities to confront new threats. For example, the West has bolstered its defenses for military targets but has been inadequately prepared to defend cities and civilian buildings, which have borne the brunt of the violence in Ukraine.
To revamp defense strategies, both NATO and the EU must adopt clear objectives for Ukraine, the Black Sea region, and beyond, with concrete strategies in place. The EU has a key role to play in promoting common standards, facilitating troop and capabilities mobility, enhancing resilience, and addressing hybrid threats.
However, achieving stronger deterrence requires political leadership. Europe must demonstrate its unwavering commitment to its defense, peace, and security, as well as to upholding international rules and values. Citizens across the continent must be aware that the Kremlin's ultimate target is the West, and that any failure in Ukraine would undermine our credibility, deterrence, and values. It is a war of values, pitting an imperialistic mentality against the free world.