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It is not NATO that hinders the ability of Europeans to act indepedently, but the political determination of Europeans not to act independently.

Specifically:

  • national governments have denied knowing anything about the CIA flights and prisons, and have not complained to the US for violating their laws or international treaties such as the Chicago Convention on Civil Aviation. National parliaments have not carried out investigations. The European Parliament doesn't have subpoena powers, while national parliaments do. However, in parliamentary systems the government generally controls the majority faction in the parliament.
  • The EU battlegroups require NATO resources to be deployed because they have been designed not to duplicate existing NATO structures, again by political determination of EU member states involved in the CFSP.
  • The EU can build its missile defence system without consulting NATO because it can do it through bilateral agreements. NATO member states have made a political decision not to complain too loudly. In addition, Jan de Joop Scheffer doesn't oppose the missile shield. When Merkel started making noises against it last year, he came out defending the need for it to deal with threats from rogue states, and after a NATO meeting at which no member state voiced any objections, Germany fell into line.
  • Galileo: the European Council was more than willing to kill Galileo and satisfied with depending for civilian navigation on the US' GPS which is under military control. This is again a political decision at the level of national governments.

See my signature.

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jan 17th, 2008 at 03:55:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Important points.

And why I want Finland to stay the frick out of it.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Thu Jan 17th, 2008 at 04:13:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Jan 17th, 2008 at 06:22:51 PM EST
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and Austria
by generic on Thu Jan 17th, 2008 at 06:35:54 PM EST
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And France !

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Thu Jan 17th, 2008 at 09:00:57 PM EST
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Linca,

I doubt France would want to leave NATO in that they hold a most advantageous position vis a vis the rest, US included, i.e., France holds a "joker", she is an "insider" but a very independent one.

If you like, they've got it extremely good both ways so why leave? (Actually, this is one of the bones of contention by US delegation -- France has the vote, the "veto" power in NATO but is independent to do as she pleases when she feels like it. Pretty great position to be in, don't you think?

by The3rdColumn on Thu Jan 17th, 2008 at 09:11:18 PM EST
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It's more that I am against France joining the less independent inner group, which Sarkozy is hoping to do.

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Fri Jan 18th, 2008 at 07:39:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Linca,

Re: "joining the less independent inner group, which Sarkozy is hoping to do."

Care to expound? Thanks.

by The3rdColumn on Fri Jan 18th, 2008 at 11:34:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sarkozy has aired to idea of joining the NATO operational command or some similar instution, i.e. giving up the "one foot in, one foot out" status of France.

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Fri Jan 18th, 2008 at 12:31:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
linca,

I heard about that. Know for a fact that some delegates were 'ecstatic' about it, ie, US delegates, but there's huge scepticism here that he would push through with the idea.

by The3rdColumn on Fri Jan 18th, 2008 at 12:36:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Linca,
Sarkozy has manifested the desire of integrating France to NATO's operational command, while still keeping its independence with regard to U.S. command.
In my view, this is quite a contradictory statement and I can hardly see how it could be implemented in practice: the U.S. are not ready to grant such flexibility and I doubt other member states will dutifully embrace the move...
Ed.
by Eddie on Sun Jan 20th, 2008 at 01:06:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm for Russia joining.
by vladimir on Fri Jan 18th, 2008 at 07:01:52 AM EST
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Of course the Europeans could act independently given the political will. But acting independently would entail duplicating NATO capabilities. What I'm arguing is that NATO exclusively serves US interests. It can only serve Washington or do nothing. That is the reason Bush hasn't tried to eviscerate it yet.
by generic on Thu Jan 17th, 2008 at 06:34:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Generic,

I'm not too sure about NATO serving US interests exclusively. It might appear that way but reality on the ground is something else, militarily and politically.

We do know that decision is made through concesus, i.e., if one of the members doesn' toe the line, a motion is defeated, US or no US.  

The US knows this, eg., when NATO decides to fund a reasearch program (something that happened recently), America backed it up to the hilt but Germany backed out so the project was killed. It's true that the US is often frustrated at the manner some of their motions are often defeated with a simple nay from one member nation but that's the nature of NATO.

But from there to say that NATO member nation troops committed to Afghanistan are inexperienced is taking a bit too far; Gates' whining has the opposite effect on  US allies NATO for that.

by The3rdColumn on Thu Jan 17th, 2008 at 07:17:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]


The US knows this, eg., when NATO decides to fund a reasearch program (something that happened recently), America backed it up to the hilt but Germany backed out so the project was killed. It's true that the US is often frustrated at the manner some of their motions are often defeated with a simple nay from one member nation but that's the nature of NATO.

That's why I said that NATO can serve Washington or do nothing. If the US can't get NATO to cooperate it can act alone. The reverse isn't true.

I think Gates sees the occupation of Afghanistan struggling and wants to shift blame for domestic consumption.

by generic on Thu Jan 17th, 2008 at 07:41:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In the absolute, the US CAN act alone but will that be judicious? An example: Irag.

Another one is Afghanistan. America had to backtrack on their initial Afghanistan policy of going it alone and went back to the UN. Prior to UN decision or sometime in 2004 (no longer sure of the year), US was lobbying massively with NATO member nations to agree for them to back up their UN proposal that NATO be deployed in Afghanistan. They couldn't take on Afghanistan all on their own as they did not foresee the difficulties they would be encountering in Iraq.

In the end NATO was deployed to Afghanistan backed by a UN mandate to do so.

Would be terribly unjudicious for the US to act unilaterally. Roughly put, just won't work anymore or not unless they use their nukes.

by The3rdColumn on Thu Jan 17th, 2008 at 07:54:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"What I'm arguing is that NATO exclusively serves US interests. " -- Generic

Heh! Many Americans won't believe you; most believe that America is doing NATO member nations great favour or that America is providing the needed shield to protect them.

I would say the reverse is true, i.e., that NATO provides that missile shield or protection umbrella to prevent a full scale attack on America by some "rogue nations."

by The3rdColumn on Thu Jan 17th, 2008 at 07:35:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I would say the reverse is true, i.e., that NATO provides that missile shield or protection umbrella to prevent a full scale attack on America by some "rogue nations."

I don't think NATO is primarily a military asset for the US. After 911 the US did not come to NATO for soldiers. It came to NATO for it's secret prison program.
by generic on Thu Jan 17th, 2008 at 08:15:02 PM EST
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If you say so...
by The3rdColumn on Thu Jan 17th, 2008 at 08:20:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I see Migeru knows a great deal about what goes on in EU and in NATO.

Everything that Migeru outlined is true.

If I may however clarify re European Battlegroups (BGs): apart from the fact that a political decision was arrived at, i.e., to prevent duplicating NATO efforts, a recent report commissionned by the European Parliament asserts that a majority of the BGs are ill-equipped and ill-prepared to take on the wide range of missions for which they are
intended. This is the main reason why I think that for the time being Europe has no credible BGs along the lines of a simile NATO.

Anyway, it is unlikely that we will be having full-scale European Defence BGs for the reason Migeru advanced above -- just too much on the budget front for member nations.

All in all, must say I absolutely agree with Migeru: "It is not NATO that hinders the ability of Europeans to act indepedently, but the political determination of Europeans not to act independently."

by The3rdColumn on Thu Jan 17th, 2008 at 07:28:14 PM EST
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Is it just a budgetary issue? In other words: Are Europeans military freeriders?

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jan 17th, 2008 at 07:34:26 PM EST
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Migeru, I just accessed link, thanks!

Absolute rubbish that Europeans are military freeriders.

All defence acquisitions made by NATO or in defence research expenditures, EVERY SINGLE MEMBER OF NATO has to put up defence money into the NATO kitty.

It is completely wrong to believe that the US on its own finances NATO military expenditures. Absolute rubbish! I repeat, every single member nation of NATO subsidizes every NATO project, militarily and politically!

by The3rdColumn on Thu Jan 17th, 2008 at 08:05:57 PM EST
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If it is true that the US is paying then I expect a tax rebate coming soon when  the US pays for the UK governments contribution to Afghanistan.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Thu Jan 17th, 2008 at 08:10:33 PM EST
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Not true that the US is paying for UK's participation in Afghanistan. Do read my previous comment mate.

If ever, I think US will need to raise its taxation policy just to beef up their war requirements particularly if Bush makes good his promise to do something about the Iran problem before he leaves office. Now, that will be seriously 'taxing!'

by The3rdColumn on Thu Jan 17th, 2008 at 08:20:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
missed the smily face from the end of that comment.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Thu Jan 17th, 2008 at 08:23:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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