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Europe must shoulder its share of the Nato burden

by oldfrog Tue Nov 28th, 2006 at 04:49:22 AM EST


Europe must shoulder its share of the Nato burden

For too long we have relied on our US allies. We must strengthen our national contributions, and boost the EU's role

Jacques Chirac
Tuesday November 28, 2006
The Guardian

...The threat of generalised war in Europe has disappeared; Nato has been profoundly adapted and enlarged to include the new democracies. It is building a trusting relationship with Russia, one we must constantly strengthen because preserving peace means first avoiding the creation of new fault lines. In this same spirit, we want a partnership between Nato and Ukraine, and we hope that Nato will welcome candidate states from the western Balkans once they are ready.

Lowering our guard would be to ignore the threats of terrorism, aggressive nationalism and certain states' desires to engage in power politics in violation of their international commitments. Now, as in the past, we need a strong, mutually supportive and adapted alliance.

The first imperative of Nato is the credibility of its military assets.

The Europeans have relied on their American allies for too long. They have to shoulder their share of the burden by making a national defence effort commensurate with their ambitions for Nato and also for the EU. This is a mark of the solidarity which links the two sides of the Atlantic. This is what France, one of the leading contributors to the alliance, is doing through its Military Estimates Act. The aim is to ensure the ongoing modernisation of its strategic force - in compliance with the principle of strict sufficiency - as well as the equipment, rapid-response capability and deployability of French conventional forces...

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/story/0,,1958660,00.html


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So France is giving up on independent European defence?

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Nov 28th, 2006 at 06:16:56 AM EST
there is an interesting article about that in le Monde

http://www.lemonde.fr/web/article/0,1-0@2-3232,36-839024,0.html

(sorry no translation)

basically the choice is having NATO as a pure military alliance or as the tool of a "commmunity of democracies". France has rejected the second option, but I wonder if it has a real option. Because the idea is to create a "US-Euro UN".

Chirac's speech tends to confirm a change of direction

by oldfrog on Tue Nov 28th, 2006 at 10:46:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
the Chicago Tribune has a thoughtful and balanced op-ed on this:
NATO is one of the most successful military alliances in history, and a decade and a half after its bloodless victory over the Warsaw Pact, it is bigger than ever. But while it has grown in membership, it has not assumed a much more forceful place in world affairs.

That's partly because the United States government, under President Bush, has insisted on doing more than ever, often unilaterally. But it's also because Europe declines to take the steps necessary to enlarge its global influence.

Bush's "go it alone" policies are criticized as part of the problem leading to disagreement on what actions to take as NATO.
The Bush administration has erred by not doing all it can to maintain good relations with governments on the other side of the Atlantic. Its policies in Iraq and the broader Middle East have also damaged the American image across the continent.
But even when there is agreement among the parties, some European neighbors have refused to do their share,,either in fighting or spending to support their militaries.
After the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, our allies agreed that something had to be done about Afghanistan, and several sent forces to support the invasion and handle peacekeeping afterward. But today, as the Kabul government struggles with a growing insurgency, some European governments are squeamish. France, Germany, Italy and Spain insist on confining their troops to safer parts of Afghanistan, leaving the nasty jobs to the U.S., Britain, Canada and the Netherlands. That's no way to win a war that has to be won.
Interesting to see some commonality maybe developing (?) between the French and American positions.
Europeans may reply that America spends more because it insists on doing more. But by the same token, European governments can hardly expect to attain a voice commensurate with their size and economic heft by skimping on defense outlays.

Armed power is the coin of the strategic realm. If Europe wants to take a bigger role and persuade Washington to take a smaller one, it has to show it has the military strength and resolve to back up its diplomacy. Otherwise, it leaves a vacuum that other nations are bound to fill.

Many European governments disagree with Washington on various international issues. The question for our allies at this summit is simple: Do they want to be players or just critics?

by wchurchill on Tue Nov 28th, 2006 at 11:37:40 AM EST
But by the same token, European governments can hardly expect to attain a voice commensurate with their size and economic heft by skimping on defense outlays.

this takes the prize for sheer nefarious use of newspeak...

duh, that's why we have the UN!

to create a forum where the yelling of militarism gives way to the reasoned discussion of those who know yelling obstructs communication.

spending tax money on other things makes you dumb, literally, i guess..

only the brandishing of armaments is legitimate speech!

better quietly prosperous, than sending maroons like bolton to act out while his bosses invade and kill to keep their economies from HAVING to face reality...

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Tue Nov 28th, 2006 at 09:16:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
after all there is the big boys security council with vetoes too club that is jealously guarded and regarded as the only true voice of the UN, and spends most of its time discussing jingoistic oddisms that result in deaths of many people with the odd refusal to allow a ceasefire thrown into the mix.
by observer393 on Tue Nov 28th, 2006 at 11:00:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
sigh, yes you're right...

but it needs to change!

that's what it was meant to do...

eleanor's rolling in her cremation urn

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Tue Nov 28th, 2006 at 11:19:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
duh, that's why we have the UN!

to create a forum,,,,,

I've pulled this out of your comment, because it is the only thing the UN accomplishes,,,,and that is OK.  One shouldn't really expect more.

But as to thinking that it is going to do more than that, I suggest you just look at its history.  It doesn't do, and won't do in the future what you are suggesting.  It appears Chirac understands that, as does the UK.

by wchurchill on Wed Nov 29th, 2006 at 01:31:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The function of the UN is to prevent "World Powers" (i.e., veto-wielding members of the UNSC) from engaging in war with each other.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Nov 29th, 2006 at 01:54:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This is a thoughtful and balanced representation of the US view of NATO, not of the European view.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Wed Nov 29th, 2006 at 09:53:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'll accept that.  Have you seen such a European view that you could refer me to?  I think I understand it, but it would be good to see it.  <no snark>
by wchurchill on Wed Nov 29th, 2006 at 02:03:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
One way to step to the plate would be to eject US forces from European bases. If the US wishes to "forward position" materials in the EU, it can do it at European Defense Community bases, managed by EU personel.

This constraint for the duration of the period that the US or the nations of the European Defense Community have formally declared war or are enforcing a UN Security Council resolution supported by 2/3 of the UN General Assembly.

This must be like a liver cell of a drunk feels like. We need an intervention to help us kick the foreign bases habit ... it is far too addicting, it would seem, for the US body politic to give up on our own.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Tue Nov 28th, 2006 at 04:36:22 PM EST
It would be a good idea for Europeans to demand the removal of our forces of occupation.
by observer393 on Tue Nov 28th, 2006 at 11:01:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A few years ago a local bunch of army vets got their old WW-2 tank running and drove it down our main street in a parade. It was quite shocking to see something so big and nasty in the middle of a peaceful residential area; something that Americans simply never experience. It made clear to me that the main reason that the U.S. wants to keep bases in Euopre, and drive those tanks around in villages and across fields, is to "remind" Europeans who is really in charge.

It is a complete mystery to me why Europe doesn't just kick the bases out.

by asdf on Tue Nov 28th, 2006 at 11:54:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In 1986 Spain had a referendum on NATO. My "received wisdom" as a 10 year old was that the leftist demonstrating in front of American bases with the slogan "OTAN no, Bases Fuera" were quaint. You live and learn...

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Nov 29th, 2006 at 01:57:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The US spends as much on military as the rest of the world combined. It hasn't lead to security for the United States. It has lead to poverty as the US now has pockets of real 3rd world poverty. What - Europe should do its fair share of pointless military spending ?

What is the purpose of Nato? I thought that originally it was to contain the Warsaw Pact. Rather than sholder it's share of Nato, why not leave? Nato now decreases our security, not increases it by causing fear amonst 3rd world countries. The result of this fear will probably be wide spread nuclear weapons.

Rather than participate in the spread of empire, we need to contain leaders and countries that believe in empire.


aspiring to genteel poverty

by edwin (eeeeeeee222222rrrrreeeeeaaaaadddddd@@@@yyyyaaaaaaa) on Tue Nov 28th, 2006 at 06:15:50 PM EST
hear hear...watching america thrash around with its military should be an object lesson in stupidity.

let's keep our army fit by planting trees and doing peace-corps-type stuff like bringing solar wells to africa etc.

then we could stop blathering about 'hearts and minds' and just get on with it...

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Tue Nov 28th, 2006 at 09:07:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In our wonderful US the amount spent on military bullshit only leads to offensive (in both meanings) wars for no reason. We need to spend lots on weapons because we are surrounded by enemies becomes a self fulfilling prophecy, our governmant make sure of that. After all why spend all that money on "defence" if there is nothing to fight?
Actually historically the Warsaw Pact was created after NATO to contain NATO, but that is not a relevant issue today. The fact is that there no longer remains any defensive rationale for NATO, and if European nations want to improve their security they should leave what has become the our (US) auxiliary army.
by observer393 on Tue Nov 28th, 2006 at 10:56:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The historical threat of the Warsaw pact to world peace would make an interesting discussion. Thanks for the clarification of what came first.

aspiring to genteel poverty

by edwin (eeeeeeee222222rrrrreeeeeaaaaadddddd@@@@yyyyaaaaaaa) on Wed Nov 29th, 2006 at 09:29:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Long before WWII was over the US was already manoeuvering for the endgame, and for the next game which involved fighting Communism and containing Russia. Fighting fascism wasn't even a priority of Liberal Democracy in the 1930's.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Nov 29th, 2006 at 09:38:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What is the purpose of Nato?

That is the million dollar question (another version is "What are the benefits of Atlanticism?") that nobody will answer.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Nov 29th, 2006 at 09:35:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The purpose and beginnings of NATO are well stated in wikipedia
The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all. Consequently they agree that, if such an armed attack occurs, each of them, in exercise of the right of individual or collective self-defense recognized by Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations, will assist the Party or Parties so attacked by taking forthwith, individually and in concert with the other Parties, such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area.

<snip>

Beginnings

Borders of NATO (blue) and Warsaw Pact (red) states
The Treaty of Brussels, signed on 17 March 1948 by Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, France, and the United Kingdom, is considered the precursor to the NATO agreement. This treaty established a military alliance, later to become the Western European Union. However, American participation was thought necessary in order to counter the military power of the Soviet Union, and therefore talks for a new military alliance began almost immediately.

America was somewhat reluctantly drawn into a primarily European war the US had very little to do with.  However, close ties with a number of European countries, in particular the UK, and a feeling of Atlanticism brought the US into the WWII.  (Churchill in particular made a long and concerted effort to bring the US into the war--there were strong countervailing islolationist trends in the US that were overcome with Pearl Harbor, when the US responded with war declarations against not only Japan, but also Germany).  After the war there was a general feeling of a threat for western Europe from the USSR.  But an additional sense that western Europe could not defend itself, and that American wealth and military power was required.  The US also had concerns about the spread of Communism, a general feeling of Atlanticism, and shared the concern that western Europe still needed help in protecting itself.  Voila, NATO.  

(btw, as discussed on another thread regarding the Gaarder article:

We acknowledge and pay heed to Europe's deep responsibility for the plight of the Jews, for the disgraceful harassment, the pogroms, and the Holocaust. It was historically and morally necessary for Jews to get their own home.
To its peril, the US evolved into a protector, and main support for Israel,,,,effectively letting Europe off the hook for solving their own problem.  Today much of Europe now blames Israel and to some extent the US for the Palestinian problem, as reflected in the Gaarder article.)

Given my view of this history, I find your motivation for this comment somewhat ironic,

I thought that originally it was to contain the Warsaw Pact. Rather than sholder it's share of Nato, why not leave?
though I agree with the proposed outcome.  We had a diary on this perhaps 6 months ago, where one of the conclusions was that different views of the history of this, still led to the same outcome--NATO has outlived its usefulness.  Many on this site are tired of American power residing in their countries.  Others, me anyway, are tired of sqandering our monies and the risk of our soldiers lives on countries that resent their presence.  America is already saddled with one albatross resulting from European events of 60 years ago, the Israeli situation (afterall, "no good deed goes unpunished").  So from an American perspective, why not withdraw before we get saddled with another albatross that might develop?  Why not part ways before this becomes an acrimonius divorce?  From an EU perspecitive, we disagree with American foreign policy, their level of spending on a military, and many aspects of their culture, why not part ways now?
by wchurchill on Wed Nov 29th, 2006 at 01:36:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
America is already saddled with one albatross resulting from European events of 60 years ago, the Israeli situation (afterall, "no good deed goes unpunished").  So from an American perspective, why not withdraw before we get saddled with another albatross that might develop?

Actually, Europe is getting saddled with the Afghan albatross, and I am sure the US would love to use NATO to offload the Iraqi Albatross too.

In addition, who got saddled with Israel's Lebanese albatross? Europe, not the US.

Anyway, unfortunately the few avowed Atlanticists on ET have left, so "why not part ways now?" is largely a rhetorical question within ET at the moment.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Nov 29th, 2006 at 01:51:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Chirac has no credibility on this subject or on any other.

NATO is now irrelevant and should be shut down.
Europe do not need any strong army since noone will invade us any more and i do not see the point to invade any other country, not in my name.

We need a strong kind of FBI at European level and some well trained, well equipped peace-keepers for UN that's all.

by fredouil (fredouil@gmailgmailgmail.com) on Tue Nov 28th, 2006 at 07:28:23 PM EST
actually the biggest need is for border guards, as they don't have a chance right now...

not that i think we should keep them out, but if we got those saharan solar megawatts happening we could help the mahgreb prosper, and cut down on illegal immigration by enhancing their chances back home.

2 for 1,

when you can't solve a problem where you are, look upstream

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Tue Nov 28th, 2006 at 09:20:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Bottom line re the NATO in Afghanistan row:


France, Germany, Italy and Spain, who sparked a row by refusing calls in September to send troops to the Taliban's heartland in south Afghanistan, promised to send help to trouble zones outside their areas in exceptional cases, officials said.

"The President (Jacques Chirac) confirmed the possibility, on a case-by-case basis and on request, to send French troops outside their zone if necessary," French officials said after talks in the Latvian capital Riga.

Madrid's pledge was yet more guarded, with a Spanish official saying Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero had offered use of Spanish helicopters in exceptional circumstances to help evacuate wounded NATO solders, and not for combat.

France has a contingent in the capital Kabul and Spanish troops operate in the relatively calm west. Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi, whose country also has soldiers in the west, said it would only move troops "in extremis".

Asked whether it was a failure for the summit that four large countries had not completely lifted restrictions on their troops, known as caveats, Prodi said: "No, it's a clear position and it was an obvious position."

Translation into even plainer English of core-European position in Nato: "If you Atlanticist globocopping eejits find your troops are being cut into very small pieces on the ground by irate Pashtun tribals after overindulgence in airstriking southern Afghani homes and villages we'll (maybe) send in a few helicopters to fish you out - apart from than, keep whistling...

"Ignoring moralities is always undesirable, but doing so systematically is really worrisome." Mohammed Khatami

by eternalcityblues (parvati_roma aaaat libero.it) on Tue Nov 28th, 2006 at 08:17:12 PM EST
Ooops - source: Reuters

"Ignoring moralities is always undesirable, but doing so systematically is really worrisome." Mohammed Khatami
by eternalcityblues (parvati_roma aaaat libero.it) on Tue Nov 28th, 2006 at 08:19:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The UK and Canada and the Netherlands are quite capable of withdrawing their troops from South Afghanistan. Actually taking them home would probably be a good idea before Iraq 2.
by observer393 on Tue Nov 28th, 2006 at 11:04:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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