Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by AndyPipkin, Feb 14, 2006.
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Just had a skim through. seemed a reasonably rational statement. Why have allies contributing groups that end up being a logistical and security burden without contributing significantly to helping the situation. He was quite careful to distance the UK contrbution from the rest.
I'm afraid to say that, on the whole, I agree with the article. As is rightly pointed out, apart from Britain, what do some of these other nations provide?
Some of the European nations punch above their weight for the disastrous policies of the USA. The Netherlands has commited troops in Iraq and Afghanistan! Not to mention the equipment that the US likes to sell to European Armies. Just because people don't agree with US Foreign policy doesn't make us Enemies of the USA!
Think he may be flattering the Americans a little in considering them the greatest power in the international system "since Rome"...
The Dutch have their entire Hercules strength in Afghanistan at the moment -- it may only be two or three aircraft (I can't quite remember), but for such a small military that is one hell of a commitment.
The Dutch parliament have also just voted to renew the Dutch mission in Afghanistan, even though this has resulted in the resigning of the leader of coalition partners D66 (who previously threatened to bring the coalition government down if he didn't get his way on the issue).
To be fair the Dutch have contributed well above their 'weight', but the problem is when that 'weight' is so little, allies add more of a logistics and C2 burden to the US than they add a combat power benefit. And before we get too smug, the UK isn't too far off falling into this category (next round of cuts should do it).
Clownbasher - when the British Empire was at its very height, the RN was maintained to a 'two power' standard - i.e. as strong as the next two powers combined. Right now the USN is considerably more powerful than every other navy in the world combined.
That article does speak a lot of truth. Some allies have only given token help in this fight.
Some countries only want to be part of NATO because they know they can rely on the rest of NATO to bail them out when the shit hits the fan for them.
You may not like Americans or agree with their foreign policies but, be in no doubt that they are THE most powerful military, capable of massive force projection, the world has ever seen.
But whats the point?
I think you are oversimplifying this. A lot of the newly joined Nato members applied to join at a time when GWOT was a term on some spin-doctors 'for future use' pad. Until 9/11 it was still essentially an organisation with a defensive mind set. (Give them their due though the Hungarians were hosting large numbers of NATO aircraft within months of joining the organisation when NATO set about bombing their next door neighbour for five weeks in 1999.)
True most nations cannot provide forces on the scale of some of the Western countries but they are developing some good niche capabilities which NATO can well do with. Don't forget also that in 2003-04 a considerable portion of central Iraq was under the control of a Polish Div HQ with many thousands of soldiers from eastern Europe. That there aren't so many now is entirely due to the ineptitude of US foreign and military policy in Iraq. Like most of us they believed the propaganda.
I think you will also find that when HQ ARRC deploys to AFG in the spring a lot of the more well established NATO nations will have red-carded their staff and these posts may well be backfilled by staff from the newer nations.
Hmmm... I think having allies does give you some significant political power too which is not to be laughed at... If the US had gone into Iraq, Kosovo, Bosnia etc alone then it would look like imperialism and make the job that bit harder...
Also, although it is true that many allies have taken the easier/lighter roles - the 1000's troops deployed in those roles is 1000's less demand put on US troops...
Having said all that - should these allies be spending a bit more on defence? Yes.
*cough* The British Empire? ( We didn't have to do force projection, since we could provide ourselves with basing and all the host nation support we needed... )
To be honest NATO hasn't fully adapted to the end of the Cold War, we are fighting not a country anymore, we are fighting an ideology. I think the Germans and French could be doing more of an effort.
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