Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
For my part, there may have been an opportunity for NATO to evolve into an institution that could further a principled, legal global order in the 90s.

OK, let me play devil's advocate.

Wasn't it NATO that eventually stabilized the situation in Bosnia when the governments of Europe and the world couldn't quite bring themselves to act?

Maybe the world still needs a multilateral force, like NATO, unlike the toothless UN, to step up when the poor and oppressed are in need.  Look at Darfur today and Liberia, Ruwanda and Sierra Leone yesterday.  What NATO needs is additional members and a return to the principled leadership that you lament has departed.  Then it could again become useful.  Far easier to reform NATO than the UN. The problem with calling NATO actions unilateral is that it leaves us only one choice, the UN.  When was the last time the UN did anything to avert genocide?

I can swear there ain't no heaven but I pray there ain't no hell. _ Blood Sweat & Tears

by Gringo (stargazing camel at aoldotcom) on Fri Jun 8th, 2007 at 03:46:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
How about we decide to defang NATO and give the UN the teeth? It's a political choice we're constantly renewing, against our best interest.

Also, the breakup of the former Yugoslavia 15 years ago was the primary catalyst for the EU's Common Foreign and Security Policy and the European Defence Agency, both of which are again undermined politically by the primary allegianc EU member states have to the US.

This results in subordinating EU security interests to US ones, and undermining the EU's support for the UN.

100% not in our interest.

I also note that Bosnia is de facto an EU protectorate, and that after the Serbia bombing campaign the US left the EU to deal with the political fallout in Kosovo, which still hasn't fully occurred.

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 8th, 2007 at 03:55:04 PM EST
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Totally agree.

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Fri Jun 8th, 2007 at 04:03:25 PM EST
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Agree partially.  The UN is a juggernaut that has existed for a long time without doing much of the work NATO has done.  NATO helped keep the peace during the cold war, with its military arm.  Arm the UN, to what purpose.  The only quasi effective military action it could agree on was the defense of S. Korea and then only because the USSR wasn't present for the vote.

True, the European Defense Agency should be able can look after Europe, but who helps the rest of the world?

Why does NATO have to subordinate Europe to US interests?  How does NATO undermine European support for a non-military UN?

I can swear there ain't no heaven but I pray there ain't no hell. _ Blood Sweat & Tears

by Gringo (stargazing camel at aoldotcom) on Fri Jun 8th, 2007 at 04:22:11 PM EST
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if the EU (as such) had its own veto right within NATO, alongside the US.
Which is not going to happen, sadly.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri Jun 8th, 2007 at 06:23:01 PM EST
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Understand, but make that veto right happen and you could just wind up with an organization that is far more effective than the UN ever could be and for a lot less cost and effort.  Following the US's recent foreign policy and military disasters in the Middle East, a new American administration might be willing to work out a new agreement on NATO's organization.  Who knows, it would be worth a try.  Modern post-WWII Europe is coming of age economically and should be in a better position to press for more favorable  consideration.  In such a context Europe could play an important role in moderating the US's tendency towards rash and self-defeating foreign policies while cooperating on sound mutually agreeable activities.   Just a thought.

I can swear there ain't no heaven but I pray there ain't no hell. _ Blood Sweat & Tears
by Gringo (stargazing camel at aoldotcom) on Sat Jun 9th, 2007 at 11:16:11 PM EST
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You're reinventing the Blair solution. And we know how well that worked.

NATO is Washington's personal pocket flick-knife, and will do what Washington says. If there's a lunatic in Washington, as now, then NATO will be used to do stupid things for stupid reasons.

Washington has no interest in giving Europe a democratic voice in how NATO is run. The only thing that might catch Washington's attention is if individual countries start leaving.

A major block on the UN becoming toothier is US contempt for the UN. Washington considers the UN another useful and occasional aid to foreign policy, but doesn't pay any attention when its interests are challenged.

If the US rolled NATO into a joint international peacekeeping force at the UN, there would be much more chance of the UN becoming an effective force.

But this is the last thing Washington wants, so unless the strategic balance changes in a way that makes it obvious that Washington can't survive without the UN, this is never going to happen.

I agree with the suggestion of sanctions, but obviously that's not going to happen either - at least not unless enough people in the West decide to start treating the US as they treated South Africa before apartheid ended.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sun Jun 10th, 2007 at 05:33:17 AM EST
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Guess you're stuck with both a useless UN and an overbearing NATO with the US being at fault for both. Keep trying to convince European countries to leave NATO. That would at least solve half of your problem. I can't think of a good approach to make the UN a useful military force, at least at the moment.  With China and the rest of the energy needy world making love to every oil rich despot you'll never get morally necessary action from the Security Council.

I can swear there ain't no heaven but I pray there ain't no hell. _ Blood Sweat & Tears
by Gringo (stargazing camel at aoldotcom) on Sun Jun 10th, 2007 at 10:40:37 PM EST
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