Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by muhandis89, Sep 24, 2010.
The heart of the site is the forum area, including:
FT.com / Columnists / Philip Stephens - Nato
Sorry, no point posting articles that are behind a paywall.
But I agree. I was shocked to find how small the Belgian Army is becoming. Our neighbours aren't serious about defence. We need to look to our own resources.
Yup, it`s been heading that way since November `89, if not earlier. To think that in the `60s 2 Div. Engineers used to do regular exercises with the Belgian engineers, "Channel Link" they were called. Even the Gerries are looking at reducing their defence budget, though from what I can gather it`s geared more towards doing away with conscription and going for a 100% volunteer armed forces. Which, in a perverse sort of way, could also give their social services a bit of a belt.
So much of Europe relied on the US of A for it's defence much cheaper then finding your own large military.
Then came Afghanistan and Iraq.
Some troops where sent as Help to the State that had been attacked, but Iraq did turn Europe's view and the US is now steadily allowing Europe to look after it's self.
Socialism has weakened the Euro Military Position and with the US not really geared up for total dominance, NATO's position has slipped and may soon be irrelevant.
Where is europe going to go if it gets into a real military fight?
Does Europe ever want to fight a war without US being there?
If Defense spending was moved to EU what would happen to suport for defense spending in EU?
Nato isnt going away soon. Nato is simply to politicaly usefull to its members to allow it to slip away. Removing nato simply opens a huge number of issues. Europes relationship with US, major european powers relationship with each other in europe, small countrys relationships with the larger powers, EU relationship with its mamber states in regards to defense.
Nato currently works for its members on a huge spectrum of levels and provides the basis for lasting peace in Europe. Replacing nato with something else is possable but anyone telling you doing so would be easy are certain is smoking crack. Nato was created to deal with the dire threat of USSR and it was given 40+ year to mature in a enviroment when the threat it faced forced its members to compromise on issues. Trying to reproduce that level of compromise in a new structure in a lower threat enviroment is not likely.
NATO was indeed formed to deter against the perceived threat of Soviet aggression. Not every member of NATO pulled their weight militarily nor politically. Some members even threw their teddies out of the OTAN cot!
I have frequently posted that I do not believe the Russian bear has 'gone away' for good. There are parts of NATO and the EU that are particularly at risk of Russian aggression.
Any nonsensical suggestion that NATO - Senior Partner USA - should be replaced by risible European Armed Forces, ought to be squashed without delay.
A Franco-German led Armed Force would collapse with the withdrawal or defeat of the French, the minute the going got tough.
Thereafter, as usual ,the British infantryman would be called upon to spill blood and clear up the shambles - aided hopefully by our American and Canadian friends.
Interested in the Norwegian experience. Committed pacifists pre WW2, (Norwegian Labour Party), failed to shore up defence when the obvious need to do so occurred in the late 1930s. Experienced a Nazi invasion and occupation and set up an exiled Govt in the UK whose soldiers were used to help liberate the country in 1945.
Norway then became lead member of NATO, after seeing the light, in a mutually protective organisation reducing the possibility of any future invasion. I am not sure the psyche in Norway has yet recovered from having German troops occupying their country. One million Norwegians went to see the film about Max Manus (wartime saboteur), in the first 6 weeks of its recent showing in Norway. For this reason (a shared European experience of occupation), I doubt if NATO will ever become an irrelevance, but the future threat to democratic Europe could be argued to be already lying within its borders.
Article reproduced below;
When institutions struggle to explain themselves it seems a reasonable bet they have outlived their purpose. Nato styles itself the worlds most successful defensive alliance. It has spent a year rethinking its mission statement. A rhetorical recasting of its ambitions is not enough to assure its future.
For its first 40 years, Nato had no need of such thumb-sucking exercises. The Soviet tanks sitting the other side of the German plains spoke for themselves. Sure, there were big debates about deterrence and détente, and heated arguments about short-range nuclear weapons. But everyone signed up to the proposition that Nato was the vital guarantor of security.
During the past two decades the alliance has been a tougher sell. When the Berlin Wall came down, some thought it should pack up its tent and walk into the history books. Instead, the alliance extended its security to the former communist states. It expanded to 28 members and went to war to protect peace in the Balkans. The task is not yet complete, but the Europe whole and free of cold war aspiration has moved a lot closer.
The terrorist attacks on the US on September 11 2001 seemed for one hubristic moment to invite a yet more expansive role. The alliance was promoted as a global policeman the cutting edge of the inexorable march of western democracy. This was before President George W. Bushs war in Iraq and the realisation that a military alliance designed to see off the Soviets is ill-equipped to nation-build in Afghanistan.
There have been other big changes since 1999 the last time Nato decided to write down what it was for. Russia is richer and more assertive. The speed with which China, India and others have joined the ranks of the big powers has changed the worlds geopolitical geometry. Nato has found itself a Euro-Atlantic institution in what promises to be a Pacific century.
Then, of course, there is Afghanistan. It is not so long since alliance policymakers were declaring that the war against the Taliban marked an existential test for Nato. Never mind that some European governments declined to offer combat troops. Victory was the only option. That was then. The challenge now is to manage withdrawal without admitting defeat.
The new strategic concept Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Natos secretary-general, is to present a draft next week attempts to catch up with the changes. After the usual diplomatic haggling, Nato leaders are due to endorse a final version at their Lisbon summit in November.
Mr Rasmussens draft is said to be a crisper document than its predecessor. He has cut down the list of priorities to a manageable handful and been alert to the fact that words have meaning only if they are a reliable guide to action.
It seems fairly obvious that Nato should modernise its strategic posture. We live in an age of fewer wars, but greater insecurity. The advance of western values no longer seems assured. Many of the rising nations value raw power above collaboration.
This scarcely seems the moment for like-minded democracies to choose to go it alone. Threats to the wests territory have been replaced by myriad challenges to its way of life. A cyber attack on Estonia was one early warning sign. Piracy in the Indian Ocean and interruptions to energy supplies have been others. The al-Qaeda leadership may be pinned down, but violent Islamism has not gone away.
Equally, it would be foolish to assume that Russia no longer poses any threat. The Nato-Russia Council rightly treats Moscow as a partner, but the experience of recent years Russian troops still occupy Georgian territory suggests that it should be a partnership buttressed by resolve.
Some in Old Europe and Germany is not alone among them have grown complacent about the so-called Article 5 commitment to treat an attack on one Nato member as an attack on all. Seen from the New Europe of former communist states, the Russian bear does not seem quite so cuddly.
Such circles can be squared. Nato can simultaneously bolster the defence of its eastern frontiers and negotiate with Moscow to reduce conventional arms and collaborate in building missile defence. Ill-feeling about Afghanistan will linger for some time but, as long as European members do not bolt for the exit, it is possible to see a way through.
The real danger for the alliance comes from within from European reluctance to pay for its own defence (even Britain is about to abandon the Nato pledge to hold military spending above 2 per cent of national income) and from growing US indifference towards what Washington sees as feckless allies.
At the start of the strategic concept exercise, a group of experts headed by Madeleine Albright, the former US secretary of state, was commissioned to write a report into the alliances future. One sentence jumps out: Threats to the interests of the alliance come from the outside, but the organisations vigour could as easily be sapped from within.
The alliance is the keystone of the transatlantic relationship, the institutional expression of Euro-Atlantic solidarity. As the US looks to the Pacific and Europe hides under the bedcovers, however, there is precious little evidence of shared resolve. Nato is not about to collapse. But in the absence of political will, any number of new mission statements will not halt a steady drift to irrelevance.
Thanks for that nigegilb.
IMO NATO has been going downhill for years (the slope having been greased by the left wing EUrocrats).
You can register free here (click) to view this and other articles toll free.
Your 2003 rhetorics are sooooo boring and out of dates.
Who's currently engaged in direct combat operations in Afghanistan, directly fighting Al Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb on its own turf and taking no shit from Somali pirates ?
Not many nations can say the same things.
Succinctly put some time ago by someone else, NATO is to keep the Russians out, the Americans in, and the Germans down. At least the first two are important into the far distant future, given the unpredictable nature of the Putin succession.
Why the French deliberately sabotaged this by kicking the HQ out of Fontainebleu so as to suck up to our utterly evil Communist enemy, apart from the normal Gallic syndrome of vanity being a substitute for logic, only they can explain. They had even been given a chunk of Germany to mind in 1945 which they had done nothing to earn. They have some Brownie points to make up.
Haven't opened many history books have you ?
France kicked NATO HQ out of France because of the threatening behaviour of the USA during the 1956 Suez operation. De Gaulle never forgot that France was on that occasion directly threatened with US nuclear attack if France did not stop and withdraw from Suez.
To refresh your failing memory, Suez is the OP where the Brits, on orders from the USA and acting as the good US poodles they are, left the fight without telling the French who were operating with them that they were now on their own since the Sterling was taking a hammering everywhere in the world.
So nice of them, staunch allies to the end.
As for Germany in 1945, considering France lost over 100,000 more killed during WW2 than the Brits, no doubt it was well earnt and Churchill himself agreed on that.
So you see, if you want to play silly bugger, two can play that game.
Haven't we established that sending over 76,000 of your own people to Nazi concentration camps kinda renders that figure moot?
Really? That's the first time I have ever heard of that. Moreover, why wait ten years after the event to retaliate?
That is, to say the least, a very skewed view of what happened. Yielding to someone who is squeezing your balls hardly equates to the act of a poodle. Though, to be sure Eden, hardly covered himself in glory.
Fantassin, I usually sympathise with your posts and also find the routine and ignorant 'Frog-bashing' on here and elsewhere, tiring and irksome. Your above post however, was just silly.
Separate names with a comma.