Angela Merkel’s near-plane crash on Thursday is a fitting metaphor for where her European army idea is headed. We already knew that almost all of the Luftwaffe’s planes are technically derelict after years of under-investment. What we did not know until now is that its single most important plane — the one that carries the German chancellor — is also incapacitated. Merkel was forced to catch an Iberia flight from Madrid to get to the Group of 20 (G2) summit in Buenos Aires. That would probably not have happened to presidents Donald Trump, Xi Jinping nor Vladimir Putin. Merkel should have held her European army speech in the Bundestag, not the European parliament, and focused on what Germany needs to do first: address chronic under-investment in the army and historic reluctance to commit troops to military missions the government otherwise supports. Despite the lack of a joint army, the EU has potent geopolitical tools. The European Economic Community started with a common external c...

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