President Macron has said now that Europe needs its own military in order to protect itself against Russia, China and even the USA. . I have been predicting this development for several years now. Europe will rearm. The EU will distanc e itself somewhat from the US and position itself somehow mid-way between US and Russia, which means that EU-Russian relations will improve compared with how they are currently.

Rearmament in Europe will not only contribute to defense, but also to cohesion in the bloc. It is the natural next step in building Europe into a single nation. Of course, this is a hazardous programme. It might not be achieved. Europe may break up or lose some of its members along the way, but the natural momentum of the movement for European unity points in this direction.

As a Buddhist, I would rather that the world were not dominated by militarism, but in invidious situations one still has to make a choice and it is probably better that Europe have one army than that its various state fight each other. It could be a contribution to stability in the world as a whole..

In the same speech Macron refers to Russia as "a European nation". This echoes De Gaulle's references to Europe from the Atlantic to the Urals. Here too there are difficult choices, but it must be broadly the case that better relations between Russia and the rest of Europe would be to the benefit of both sides. There is a natural complementarity between West Europe's industry and Russia's resources. Russia has, through much of history, certainly since the time of Peter the Great, struggled to be more "European" and this is broadly to the good.

The EU, taken as a whole, is the second or third largest economy in the world, but it is not yet at its full potential. If it can achieve greater unity it is likely to become more efficient. As Europe and China rise, US dominance of international affairs is threatened. This is all fraught with danger. The US will certainly strive to maintain its dominant position, but the cost of doing so mounts inexorably. We must pray that the tra nsition to a multi-polar world be achieved without the outbreak of major conflicts, but this can nowise be guaranteed.As we remember the First World War let us hope that we are not sliding toward a third one.

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