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How would you redesign NATO - if at all?

Has NATO expanded too far?

  • Yes

    Votes: 39 62.9%
  • No

    Votes: 13 21.0%
  • Maybe, but it should stop where it is

    Votes: 10 16.1%

  • Total voters
    62
And in front of the façade, we'll all continue to play nicely.

'A NATO investigation into a naval standoff between French and Turkish ships in June has been rated too sensitive to discuss in public and does not apportion blame, as Paris and Ankara wage a war of words, diplomats have told Reuters.

'The issue underlines NATO’s difficulties with Turkey, also at odds with Greece over energy rights and with the alliance’s leader, the United States. On June 10, a French frigate on a NATO mission tried to inspect a Tanzanian-flagged cargo ship suspected of smuggling arms to Libya. France says the frigate was harassed by Turkish navy vessels escorting the cargo ship, and accuses Turkey of breaking a U.N. arms embargo. Turkey denies this, and says the frigate was aggressive.

'It now seems unlikely that the investigation can resolve the spat. A NATO official confirmed the report had been finished, but declined further comment. “It’s been swept under the carpet,” one European diplomat said.

'Another said NATO’s determination to keep Turkey onside, because of its military clout and strategic location, meant there was no willingness to point a finger. And so both sides claim victory, and accusations continue to be traded.

'French President Emmanuel Macron last week bemoaned the “unacceptable behaviour” of his Turkish counterpart Tayyip Erdogan’s government. Erdogan retorted: “Don’t mess with Turkey.” The men are also at loggerheads over Greece, which disputes Turkey’s right to explore for hydrocarbons in waters claimed by Greece or Cyprus.

'France has demonstratively joined Greek naval exercises. Here too, NATO is trying to do what it can to prevent untoward incidents, through “deconfliction” talks. “It’s unclear if there will be a result in these negotiations,” said a senior NATO official. “Every utterance from Paris, Ankara or Athens makes it even harder for allies to walk back from their positions.”

'Disputes with Turkey within NATO are not new. Last year, Turkey for a time refused to back a defence plan for the Baltics and Poland unless NATO offered political support for Ankara’s fight against a Syrian Kurdish militia backed by Washington. Turkey’s purchase of Russia’s S-400 air-defence system also appeared to be a snub to the United States and other allies.But it seems local tensions can for now be overlooked. “Some of this is Macron wanting to be the big man in Europe, which is the same with Erdogan,” said a U.S. envoy in Europe. “There is a solution to be had with the Turks.”


 
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How to dilute NATO decision-making even further!

'NATO must embrace countries beyond Europe to expand its influence in light of China's growing military power, Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Monday.

"The rise of China is fundamentally shifting the global balance of power," Stoltenberg told the virtual conference of the Center for European Policy Analysis. "China does not hesitate to use its economic and diplomatic weight to intimidate trading partners and private companies."

"Using NATO more politically is valuable to send a clear and unified political message, because together NATO allies represent half the world's economic and military might. What we say matters," he added.

'He noted that although the 30-nation military bloc has a global approach, current challenges require additional cohesiveness, and emphasized the importance of working closely with "like-minded partners" to defend NATO's values.

'Stoltenberg also warned that military threats prior to the COVID-19 pandemic have not been reduced, and mentioned that maintaining NATO's strength, strengthening the group politically and using a global approach are necessary to achieve its "NATO 2030" agenda.'


 
Scandinavian expansion apparently off the table.

'Sweden’s top defense official said staying out of NATO remains the best security option for the country, even with an increasingly assertive Russia.

'A Swedish application for NATO membership would “affect the entire security policy architecture in our part of Europe,” Defense Minister Peter Hultqvist said in an interview in Stockholm on Thursday. “Above all, it puts very strong pressure on Finland, which has a long border with Russia.” The two Nordic nations outside of the alliance have increased joint exercises with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization since Russian President Vladimir Putin annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 and backed a war on the two former allies’ border.

'While Swedish lawmakers last month backed the largest increase in military spending in 70 years, the outlay as a percentage of gross domestic product still falls short of NATO’s 2% target. Still, a majority in parliament is now voicing support for joining the alliance. A 40% increase in defense spending through 2025 is a response to the worsening security situation and “isn’t provocative for anyone,” Hultqvist said. He added Russia has shown “they are prepared to use military force to achieve political goals,” citing events in Ukraine, Belarus and Georgia. Sweden’s spending move “cannot but cause concern,” Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said last October when the plan was unveiled. “These invented anti-Russia phobias are due in no small measure to deliberate external pressure on Stockholm, primarily from the North Atlantic alliance.”

'The anti-immigration Sweden Democrats joined the other opposition parties last month to back the option of joining NATO quickly if necessary, echoing a policy adopted by Finland. The minority government will respond to the announcement “in due course,” according to Hultqvist. “What we strive for are stability and predictability,” Hultqvist said. “That’s why we believe the fundamental security policy doctrines should not be changed. And that’s why we have chosen to build national military capability, based on non-alignment in cooperation with other countries.”

'Sweden’s defense collaboration with the U.S. during the last six years has been “very fruitful” and been “delivered with stability,” Hultqvist said. Sweden signed a deal with the U.S. government in 2018 for Patriot air-defense missiles. Moreover, the change in U.S. administration is a “stabilizing” factor, Hultqvist said, describing President-Elect Joe Biden as “a friend of Sweden.” “I see what’s happening now - that U.S. democratic institutions are functioning and that Biden is becoming president - as a stabilizing factor. And a stable U.S. is essential to continue the cooperation we’ve developed so successfully over the years.”


Bloomberg - Are you a robot?
 
*Curiously, for an alliance named after the North Atlantic, the NATO Centres of Excellence do not include Anti Submarine Warfare.

NATO should form one - based in the UK and using the FOST organisation and facilities at Devonport, and Culdrose for ASW helicopter training. From there the European navies would not have to far to travel, the largest naval dockyard in Western Europe, and easy access to the Eastern Atlantic and South West Approaches.

We have afterall agreed to provide a carrier to NATO and the roles will include ASW. As such it is a good idea that ships and aircraft in a future NATO ASW task group train together.

**Also should SACLANT be recreated as a separate command to SACEUR?
*Errr...yes it does. The fact that you don't know about it speaks volumes for its security.

** You're somewhat behind the curve on that one.
 

Yokel

LE
*Errr...yes it does. The fact that you don't know about it speaks volumes for its security.

** You're somewhat behind the curve on that one.
* Are you referring to CJOS - Coalition Joint Operations from the Sea at Norfolk, USA? No mention of ASW there, but I imagine it is in the mix. I was talking of something that focused on SLOC protection.

** Under MARCOM (Northwood) there is now an Atlantic command, also based at Norfolk in Virginia, but the name escapes me.
 
* Are you referring to CJOS - Coalition Joint Operations from the Sea at Norfolk, USA? No mention of ASW there, but I imagine it is in the mix. I was talking of something that focused on SLOC protection.

** Under MARCOM (Northwood) there is now an Atlantic command, also based at Norfolk in Virginia, but the name escapes me.
* Look at CMRE, used to be NURC.

**JFC Norfolk
 
NATO SecGen and (unnamed) ambassadors, speaking much more openly about the difficult relationship with the USA that the previous regime proved to be. I wonder if they'll be emboldened to be so forthright about the antics of Allies on this side of the Atlantic?

'After four long years of Donald Trump’s attacks on NATO, Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Thursday that the defense alliance had survived the challenge — and that he looked forward to rebuilding the transatlantic relationship with President Biden.

“There is a need to rebuild trust between Europe and the United States,” Stoltenberg said in an interview. “I don’t believe in ‘America alone.’ I don’t believe in ‘Europe alone.’ I believe in North America and Europe together.”

'Trump had many targets for his anger during his term in the White House, and NATO allies were frequently in the crosshairs. He said they took advantage of the United States and slacked off on defense spending. He criticized the national character of one NATO member as “very aggressive” and said it could drag the United States into World War III. He embraced Russian President Vladimir Putin and literally shoved aside the prime minister of Montenegro at one NATO summit. At another meeting, in 2018, he threatened to pull the United States from NATO if allies did not cough up more money for defense on the spot.

“It is no secret that we had, I had, difficult discussions with him on issues ranging from arms control, Russia, burden sharing and many other issues,” said Stoltenberg, who cracked a smile when asked what was going through his head as he watched Wednesday’s inauguration but mostly declined to criticize Trump directly.

'Trump “said that the alliance was obsolete and then he said it was no longer obsolete. He said that he was committed to NATO, but then he also questioned the U.S. commitment to it, to our collective defense guarantees,” Stoltenberg said. “For me, it was important to do whatever I could to keep this alliance together.”

'Some NATO diplomats say that the alliance for years was transformed into an engine that was focused primarily on keeping Trump happy and avoiding triggering a White House effort to quit the club. NATO defense spending has been increasing since 2014 — but during the Trump years, Stoltenberg touted only the increases that had happened since Trump’s election in 2016, as a way to appease the U.S. president and give him bragging rights about changing what he deemed NATO’s freeloading ways.

'Allies burned hours on largely symbolic efforts to reduce U.S. contributions to the core budget that keeps the lights on and pays some employees at NATO headquarters, a fraction of overall member spending on defense. NATO member Turkey, meanwhile, was emboldened by Trump’s affinity for its increasingly autocratic president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and took steps to block alliance business to get concessions on unrelated Turkish priorities.

Stoltenberg said he didn’t choose with whom to work. “President Trump was elected president of the United States. And it was necessary to work with him, as it has been important to work with President Obama in the first years of my tenure and now work with President Biden,” he said.

'One Trump move that drew a rare rebuke from Stoltenberg was a November decision to accelerate a withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan. NATO allies with troops there say they were not consulted before Trump issued the order shortly after he lost the election. A peace deal with the Taliban foresees a full U.S. withdrawal by May 1, although it is unclear how Biden will proceed.

“There is no way to deny that we are faced with a difficult dilemma in Afghanistan. No one wants to stay any longer in Afghanistan than necessary,” Stoltenberg said. “At the same time, we need to preserve the gains we have made with such high sacrifices over the last decades and prevent Afghanistan from becoming once again a safe haven for international terrorists. But it’s not an easy decision.”

'Stoltenberg said he welcomed the inauguration of Biden and Vice President Harris. “It was a great thing to see how democracy prevailed, because we were all shocked and outraged by the attacks on the Capitol,” he said, referring to the Jan. 6 riot there by a pro-Trump mob. “Every inauguration is a demonstration of the strength of the American democracy. But this time, it was even more important to see how democracy prevailed and how a peaceful transition took place.”


https://www.washingtonpost.com/worl...bb2dae-5b5e-11eb-a849-6f9423a75ffd_story.html
 
NATO SecGen and (unnamed) ambassadors, speaking much more openly about the difficult relationship with the USA that the previous regime proved to be. I wonder if they'll be emboldened to be so forthright about the antics of Allies on this side of the Atlantic?

'After four long years of Donald Trump’s attacks on NATO, Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Thursday that the defense alliance had survived the challenge — and that he looked forward to rebuilding the transatlantic relationship with President Biden.

“There is a need to rebuild trust between Europe and the United States,” Stoltenberg said in an interview. “I don’t believe in ‘America alone.’ I don’t believe in ‘Europe alone.’ I believe in North America and Europe together.”

'Trump had many targets for his anger during his term in the White House, and NATO allies were frequently in the crosshairs. He said they took advantage of the United States and slacked off on defense spending. He criticized the national character of one NATO member as “very aggressive” and said it could drag the United States into World War III. He embraced Russian President Vladimir Putin and literally shoved aside the prime minister of Montenegro at one NATO summit. At another meeting, in 2018, he threatened to pull the United States from NATO if allies did not cough up more money for defense on the spot.

“It is no secret that we had, I had, difficult discussions with him on issues ranging from arms control, Russia, burden sharing and many other issues,” said Stoltenberg, who cracked a smile when asked what was going through his head as he watched Wednesday’s inauguration but mostly declined to criticize Trump directly.

'Trump “said that the alliance was obsolete and then he said it was no longer obsolete. He said that he was committed to NATO, but then he also questioned the U.S. commitment to it, to our collective defense guarantees,” Stoltenberg said. “For me, it was important to do whatever I could to keep this alliance together.”

'Some NATO diplomats say that the alliance for years was transformed into an engine that was focused primarily on keeping Trump happy and avoiding triggering a White House effort to quit the club. NATO defense spending has been increasing since 2014 — but during the Trump years, Stoltenberg touted only the increases that had happened since Trump’s election in 2016, as a way to appease the U.S. president and give him bragging rights about changing what he deemed NATO’s freeloading ways.

'Allies burned hours on largely symbolic efforts to reduce U.S. contributions to the core budget that keeps the lights on and pays some employees at NATO headquarters, a fraction of overall member spending on defense. NATO member Turkey, meanwhile, was emboldened by Trump’s affinity for its increasingly autocratic president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and took steps to block alliance business to get concessions on unrelated Turkish priorities.

Stoltenberg said he didn’t choose with whom to work. “President Trump was elected president of the United States. And it was necessary to work with him, as it has been important to work with President Obama in the first years of my tenure and now work with President Biden,” he said.

'One Trump move that drew a rare rebuke from Stoltenberg was a November decision to accelerate a withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan. NATO allies with troops there say they were not consulted before Trump issued the order shortly after he lost the election. A peace deal with the Taliban foresees a full U.S. withdrawal by May 1, although it is unclear how Biden will proceed.

“There is no way to deny that we are faced with a difficult dilemma in Afghanistan. No one wants to stay any longer in Afghanistan than necessary,” Stoltenberg said. “At the same time, we need to preserve the gains we have made with such high sacrifices over the last decades and prevent Afghanistan from becoming once again a safe haven for international terrorists. But it’s not an easy decision.”

'Stoltenberg said he welcomed the inauguration of Biden and Vice President Harris. “It was a great thing to see how democracy prevailed, because we were all shocked and outraged by the attacks on the Capitol,” he said, referring to the Jan. 6 riot there by a pro-Trump mob. “Every inauguration is a demonstration of the strength of the American democracy. But this time, it was even more important to see how democracy prevailed and how a peaceful transition took place.”


https://www.washingtonpost.com/worl...bb2dae-5b5e-11eb-a849-6f9423a75ffd_story.html
Sounds like any civil servant defending their own importance?
 

Yokel

LE
And in front of the façade, we'll all continue to play nicely.

'A NATO investigation into a naval standoff between French and Turkish ships in June has been rated too sensitive to discuss in public and does not apportion blame, as Paris and Ankara wage a war of words, diplomats have told Reuters.

'The issue underlines NATO’s difficulties with Turkey, also at odds with Greece over energy rights and with the alliance’s leader, the United States. On June 10, a French frigate on a NATO mission tried to inspect a Tanzanian-flagged cargo ship suspected of smuggling arms to Libya. France says the frigate was harassed by Turkish navy vessels escorting the cargo ship, and accuses Turkey of breaking a U.N. arms embargo. Turkey denies this, and says the frigate was aggressive.

'It now seems unlikely that the investigation can resolve the spat. A NATO official confirmed the report had been finished, but declined further comment. “It’s been swept under the carpet,” one European diplomat said.

'Another said NATO’s determination to keep Turkey onside, because of its military clout and strategic location, meant there was no willingness to point a finger. And so both sides claim victory, and accusations continue to be traded.

'French President Emmanuel Macron last week bemoaned the “unacceptable behaviour” of his Turkish counterpart Tayyip Erdogan’s government. Erdogan retorted: “Don’t mess with Turkey.” The men are also at loggerheads over Greece, which disputes Turkey’s right to explore for hydrocarbons in waters claimed by Greece or Cyprus.

'France has demonstratively joined Greek naval exercises. Here too, NATO is trying to do what it can to prevent untoward incidents, through “deconfliction” talks. “It’s unclear if there will be a result in these negotiations,” said a senior NATO official. “Every utterance from Paris, Ankara or Athens makes it even harder for allies to walk back from their positions.”

'Disputes with Turkey within NATO are not new. Last year, Turkey for a time refused to back a defence plan for the Baltics and Poland unless NATO offered political support for Ankara’s fight against a Syrian Kurdish militia backed by Washington. Turkey’s purchase of Russia’s S-400 air-defence system also appeared to be a snub to the United States and other allies.But it seems local tensions can for now be overlooked. “Some of this is Macron wanting to be the big man in Europe, which is the same with Erdogan,” said a U.S. envoy in Europe. “There is a solution to be had with the Turks.”



Can they not describe it as a training exercise - getting ready for stand off type situations with Russian, Chinese, or Iranian forces in the violent peace that we can expect in the immediate future?

Nature abhors a vacuum, hence the forces in Eastern Europe, NATO air policing, standing naval forces, and major exercises like this year's Steadfast Defender.
 
Can they not describe it as a training exercise - getting ready for stand off type situations with Russian, Chinese, or Iranian forces in the violent peace that we can expect in the immediate future?

Nature abhors a vacuum, hence the forces in Eastern Europe, NATO air policing, standing naval forces, and major exercises like this year's Steadfast Defender.
It's not that major.
 
The work of 'chasing ground' to maintain NATO relevance, and keep a lot of people in jobs, continues.

'Nato must embrace a “global outlook”, forging new partnerships with democracies around the world to counter the rising challenge from China, the head of the military alliance has warned.

'Jens Stoltenberg said that while Nato would remain a regional alliance between Europe and North America, the evolving nature of military threats meant it should work “even more closely” with existing farther-flung partners, including Australia, Japan, South Korea and New Zealand. Stoltenberg said the alliance should also “reach out to potential new partners” in the “community of democracies” including Brazil and India.

'His suggestions follow a non-military initiative endorsed by President Biden and Boris Johnson to expand the G7 into a new alliance of ten democratic countries. India, South Korea and Australia have been invited to the G7 in Cornwall in June to discuss the D10 (Democracy 10 nations) initiative. Nato was one of several western groupings put under strain by the ambivalence of President Trump towards traditional alliances bound by democratic values. Trump, however, succeeded in pressing some members to increase military spending with his threats to withdraw from the alliance.

'In Stoltenberg’s address to Chatham House, the first policy speech since the US election, he spoke of the need to protect Nato’s values of “freedom, democracy, the rule of law”. “These values are not abstract notions, they are at the very core of who we are,” he said. “We got a shocking reminder of this as we watched the attack on the United States Congress. That was not only an assault on the heart of American democracy but also on the core values of Nato.”

'He emphasised the need to secure Nato members’ infrastructure and supply lines so they are not dependent on countries with different outlooks. This should include screening foreign investment and control of critical infrastructure and assets as well as examining supply lines for basic staples including fuel, food and medicine to ensure they were not vulnerable to hostile powers. “These are not just economic decisions, they are crucial for our national security,” he warned. “We should never trade short-term economic benefit for our long-term national security.”

'Under Trump, Washington sought to elevate the so-called Quad, an informal alliance between Japan, India, Australia and the United States, into an “Asian Nato ” with the aim of containing China. Britain is considering whether it should join. Military experts, however, are sceptical that the alliance could expand to that level and potential members such as South Korea are hesitant.

'Stoltenberg named China and Russia as possible sources of technological threats to Nato and stressed the need for member states’armies to keep one step ahead of emerging disruptive technologies being developed by those countries.'


Nato seeks new allies to push back against China
 

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