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Israel Member of the NATO - Utopian or Crazy or Both?

by mimi Sat Jul 22nd, 2006 at 07:50:01 AM EST

I was asked to write a diary about this article in the German weekly "Der Spiegel", whose translation I posted yesternight in an Open Thread. The author of the article suggests that Israel should become member of the NATO.

I really don't feel I should write a diary about it, because I don't have the background and education to have an informed opinion about it. I like to learn more though and therefore I post it here as a diary now.

From the reactions I got at dailykos I had the feeling that I misunderstand or don't know what limitations a membership in the NATO represent.

Obviously everybody thinks that the NATO is basically equivalent to being completely under the control of the US influence and therefore a membership of Israel in the NATO would worsen the Near East conflict, as Palestinians and radical Islamic terrorists would feel even more threatened by an US-EU-NATO western hegemonic superpower (or whatever one calls something like it) being a one-sided pro Israel's protection and defense alliance exclusively.

I understood the article differently, as a proposal to take the US military backup and political influence over Israel out of the hands of the US and replace it with a more balanced Alliance (including perhaps support from Russia?) that would protect Islamic, Palestinian and Arab interests as decidedly as Israel's right to exit without being attacked and threatened.

I think there is something missing in my way of thinking and I hoped I could learn something here about whatI am missing or why it should be impossible to convert the old-style NATO, which has lost its functions after the fall of the Soviet Union, into a new military Alliance with defense guarantee clauses that would be an international peace enforcer for all countries, theocratic Islamic states as well as secular, democratic Islamic states and the Jewish state of Isreal. I guess that is an imagination that is completely wrong, naive, uninformed or whatever.

Why don't you fill me in on it? I am just someone who isn't capable to keep up reading and comprehending much about these things.

BTW, Cohn-Bendit as well spoke out for an UN mandate to the NATO to secure Israel's borders as the only military power that could accomplish it. He suggested that the German former foreign minister Joschka Fischer should engage as special envoy between NATO, UN and EU and the Near East countries as well as Palestine, Egypt, Lebanon, Israel and groups like Hezbollah and Fatah etc.  

Below is my translation. Please edit and improve, I know my English skills are poor. Thanks.


Israel in die NATO

Israel into the NATO

by Ralf Fücks


Die Eskalation im Nahen Osten hat Europa aus der außenpolitischen Lethargie gerissen. Der Krieg zwischen Israel und der Hezbollah kann schon bald die Sicherheit Europas bedrohen. Eine Mitgliedschaft Israels in der Nato könnte zum Frieden in der Region beitragen.


The escalation in the Near East has awoken Europe from its foreign-policy lethargy. The war between Israel and Hezbollah kan soon threaten Europe's security. Israel's membership in NATO could lead to peace in the region.

Der Irak droht unter seinen ethno-politischen und religiösen Konflikten auseinanderzubrechen. Das radikalislamische Regime in Iran stellt offen das Existenzrecht Israels in Frage und greift nach der Atombombentechnologie. Der sich selbst überlassene, von der Außenwelt weitgehend abgeschnittene Gaza-Streifen ist zu einem Treibhaus der Gewalt geworden. Israels Politik der vollendeten Tatsachen hat die Lage nicht entspannt, sondern zur Eskalation der Gewalt beigetragen.



The Iraq is threatened to break apart under its ethno-political and religious conflicts. The radical Islamic regime in Iran questions openly Israel's right of existence and reaches for nuclear bomb technologies. The Gaza strip, left to itself and, mostly insulated from the outside world has become the "greenhouse for violence". Israel's "fait accompli" policies didn't ease the situation, but contributed to an escalation of violence.


In dieser brisanten Atmosphäre war der Angriff der Hezbollah auf Israel der Funke, der einen Flächenbrand auszulösen droht. Israel hat sich vor sechs Jahren aus dem Libanon zurückgezogen. In dieser Zeit verwandelte die radikalislamische "Partei Gottes" unter syrischer und iranischer Obhut den Südlibanon in eine Raketenabschussbasis gegen Israel - ungeachtet aller Uno-Resolutionen, die eine Entwaffnung der Milizen forderten.



In this explosive atmosphere the attack by Hezbollah on Israel was the spark, who threatens to cause a conflagration. Israel withdrew from Lebanon six years ago. During that time the radical Islamic "Party of God" under Syrian and Iranian custody changed the Southern Lebanon into a missile launching base against Israel - notwithstanding of all UN resolutions that demanded a disarmament of the militias.

Israel blieb nach der Entführung der zwei Wehrpflichtigen, bei der acht andere Soldaten getötet wurden, keine andere Wahl, als massiv gegen die Bastionen der Hezbollah im Libanon vorzugehen. Der Überfall auf das israelische Militär und die folgenden Raketenangriffe auf israelische Städte berühren die Existenzfrage des jüdischen Staates. Es ist kein Ausdruck von Paranoia, dass in den Augen der meisten jüdischen Israelis ihre Sicherheit immer noch von der Abschreckungsfähigkeit der israelischen Armee abhängt.



After the abduction of two Israeli soldiers, during which eight other soldiers were killed, Israel had no other choice than to proceed against the bastion of Hezbollah in Lebanon  massively. The attack on Israel's military and the following missile attacks on Israel's cities touch the question of Israel's existence. It is not an expression of Paranoia that in the eyes of most Jewish Israelis their security is dependent on its military deterrence  potential.  


Dass die Attacken aus Gebieten kommen, die von Israel geräumt wurden, macht die Sache noch schlimmer. Auch wenn Israel in der Öffentlichkeit jetzt als Angreifer dasteht, der mit seiner überlegenen Militärmacht einen Nachbarstaat mit Krieg überzieht, handelt es sich politisch wie rechtlich um einen Akt der Verteidigung. Das rechtfertigt keine wahllose Gewalt. Die Bombardierung von Wohnquartieren und zivilen Einrichtungen durch die israelische Luftwaffe ist menschlich und politisch unhaltbar. Es ist nicht absehbar, wie Israel mit dieser Art der Kriegführung seine legitimen Anliegen - Freilassung der entführten Soldaten, Auflösung der Raketenbasen der Hezbollah im Südlibanon - erreichen kann. Die Waffen sollten besser heute als morgen schweigen.



That the attacks originated in areas that Israel had withdrawn from before made the matter worth. Even if Israel stands in public as the aggressor who covers with his military superiority a neighbouring nation with war, it is legally and politically a matter of an act of self defense. This doesn't justify random violence. The bombing of civilian residential areas and of public civilian  institutions by the Israeli Air Force is humanely and politically untenable. It is not conceivable how Israel can achieve its legitimate request with that kind of warfare - liberation of the abducted soldiers and liquidation of the Hezbollah missile bases in Southern Lebanon. The weapons should be silent-  better today than tomorrow.



Vieles spricht für Friedenstruppen


Much Speaks for Peace Troops


Aber niemand sollte von Israel erwarten, dass es angesichts der Gefahr aus dem Norden die Hände in den Schoß legt. Jede politische Lösung des Konflikts muss dafür sorgen, dass die entführten Soldaten freikommen und die Bedrohung Israels aus dem Südlibanon ein Ende findet. Wenn die libanesische Regierung (in der die Hezbollah vertreten ist) dies nicht gewährleisten kann, gibt es nur zwei Möglichkeiten: Entweder Israel sorgt selbst für seine Sicherheit oder die Uno muss diese Garantiefunktion übernehmen.



But nobody should expect from Israel, faced with the dangers from the North, to "twiddle one's thumbs". Any political solution of the conflict must provide for the release of the abducted soldiers and the end of the threats towards Israel from Southern Lebanon. If the Lebanese government (in which Hezbollah is represented) can't assure that,  there remain only two options: either Israel takes care of his security by itself or the UN must take over the role of guaranteeing it.



Die erste birgt die Gefahr einer militärischen Eskalation und steigender Opferzahlen unter der Zivilbevölkerung. Deshalb spricht viel für die Stationierung einer internationalen Friedenstruppe im Südlibanon, ausgestattet mit einem robusten Mandat der Vereinten Nationen, um die Situation zu stabilisieren. Die offene Frage ist, ob ein solches Mandat notfalls auch gegen die Hezbollah durchgesetzt werden soll. Das wäre mehr als peace keeping, und für eine konfliktträchtige Mission gibt es vermutlich wenig Anklang in der Uno.



The first option runs the risk of a military escalation and an increase of civilian casualties. Therefore much speaks for stationing  international peacekeeping troops in Southern Lebanon, supported by a robust mandate of the UN to stabilize the situation. The open question remains if such a mandate should be enforced against Hezbollah. This would be more than peace keeping and there might be little approval in the UN  for a mission  loaded  with conflicts.  


Dennoch ist die Idee einer Internationalisierung des Konfliktmanagements im Nahen Osten richtig. Der Libanon könnte ein Einstieg sein. In der West Bank fehlen allerdings zur Zeit alle Voraussetzungen für eine internationale Friedenstruppe. Ihr Mandat müsste als Bestandteil einer Verhandlungslösung vereinbart werden. Dann könnte eine internationale Präsenz in der West Bank sinnvoll sein, um den israelischen Abzug zu flankieren und den friedlichen Übergang zu einer Zwei-Staaten-Lösung zu sichern.



Nevertheless the idea of internationalizing the conflict management in the Near East is a right one. The Lebanon could be the first step. In the West Bank though the stage is not set for international peace troops. The mandate (of the peace troops) must be a component of an agreed upon negotiated solution. Then an international presence could make sense in the West Bank to flank an Israeli withdrawal and to secure a peaceful transition to a two-statehood solution.


Iran spielt eine Hauptrolle

Iran Plays the Leading Part


Eine entscheidende Rolle für die Verschärfung oder Beruhigung der Lage spielt Iran. In alle regionalen Konflikte ist das iranische Regime direkt oder indirekt verwickelt. Im Atomstreit lotet es die Spielräume für eine Veränderung des Kräftegewichts in der Region aus. Im Irak mischt die Islamische Republik längst über die Shia-Connection mit. Und die Hezbollah wie die Hamas finden im revolutionären Regime Irans einen Bruder im Geiste des Anti-Zionismus, der es versteht, auf der Klaviatur des ideologischen wie des bewaffneten Kampfs gegen Israel zu spielen. Der iranische Präsident Mahmud Ahmadinedschad bildet hier nur die Spitze des Eisbergs. Kaum hatte der bewaffnete Konflikt zwischen der Hezbollah und Israel begonnen, verkündete er: "Der Tag ist gekommen, an dem die Israelis in die Länder zurückkehren müssen, aus denen sie gekommen sind."



Iran plays a deciding role with regards to an escalation or pacification of the situation. In all regional conflicts the Iranian regime is directly or indirectly involved. Within the nuclear armament controversies Iran fathoms the scopes for a change in the balance of power in the region. In the Iraq the Islamic Republic (Iran) intervenes already over the Shia-Connections. And Hezbollah and Hamas find a soul brother for Anti-Zionism in Iran's revolutionary regime, who understands to play the claviature of the ideological and armed  fight against Israel. The Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad represents just the tip of the iceberg. The armed conflict between Israel and Hezbollah had just started when he declared: "The day has come when the Israelis have to return to the countries they came from."



Für eine erfolgreiche Einhegung Irans ist eine Entspannung des Nahost-Konflikts von elementarer Bedeutung. Wenn die USA und Europa Rückhalt in der arabischen Welt für eine harte Haltung gegenüber der iranischen Regierung gewinnen wollen, müssen sie glaubwürdig für eine Lösung des israelisch-palästinensischen Konflikts eintreten. Zwar ist die iranische Bombe auch für die herrschenden Regimes in Ägypten, Saudi-Arabien und den Golfstaaten ein Alptraum; aber unter den arabischen Massen sind die Sympathien anders verteilt. Solange Hoffnungslosigkeit und Erbitterung unter den Palästinensern grassieren, hat Iran auch alle Möglichkeiten, die terroristische Karte gegen Israel zu spielen. Deshalb muss der Westen gerade angesichts der ideologischen und politischen Herausforderung durch Teheran möglichst rasch zu einer aktiven Nahost-Politik zurückfinden.



To successful contain Iran an ease of the tensions in the Near East conflict is of basic importance. If the US and the EU want to gain support for a position of strength against the Iranian government in the Arab world,  they must provide for a convincing solution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Even though an Iranian bomb is a nightmare for the regimes in Egypt, Saudi Arabia and other nations in the Gulf region, but among the Arab masses the sympathies are allotted differently. As long as hopelessness and bitterness among Palestinians is rampant, the Iran has all options open to play the "terrorism card" against Israel. Therefore, in the light of the ideological and political challenges,  the West must return to an active Middle East Policy as soon as possible.



Die bisherige Erfahrung zeigt: Es geht um mehr als um einen fein austarierten Friedensplan, der nur noch implementiert werden muss. Friedenspläne gab es schon viele. Was blieb, ist der Konflikt. Ein wesentlicher Grund für die Stagnation ist der Mangel an Vertrauen, der - nicht ohne Grund - auf beiden Seiten herrscht. Auch moderate Palästinenser haben inzwischen den Glauben an die Verständigungsbereitschaft Israels verloren. Umgekehrt bezweifeln große Teile der israelischen Bevölkerung die Friedensfähigkeit der Palästinenser. Für sie liegt die einzige Existenzgarantie Israels in einer Politik der Stärke.



The previous experience has shown that it is about more than a finely tuned peace plan, which just has to be implemented. There were many peace plans in the past. What remained is the conflict. An important reason for the stagnation is the lack of trust, which - not without reason - is present on both sides. Moderate Palestinians too have lost faith in Israel's willingness to compromise. On the other hand large parts of Israel's population doubt the Palestinian's capabilities for peace. For them the policy of strength is the only guarantee for a secure existence.



Jede realistische Friedenspolitik muss sich damit konfrontieren, dass aus der Sicht der meisten Israelis im Rückzug aus den besetzten Gebieten ein schwer kalkulierbares Risiko für Israels Zukunft liegt. Die aktuellen Erfahrungen mit den Raketen-Angriffen aus dem Libanon und dem Gaza-Streifen verstärken diese Befürchtungen. Zwar spricht einiges dafür, dass der grassierende Antisemitismus in der arabischen Welt mit einem gerechten Frieden zwischen Israelis und Palästinensern an Schwungkraft verlieren wird. Aber in den radikalislamischen Bewegungen gibt es genügend Kräfte, die sich mit Israel als jüdischem Staat (dem "zionistischen Gebilde") nicht arrangieren wollen. Es braucht deshalb belastbare Garantien für Israel im Rahmen eines umfassenderen Abkommens.



Any realistic peace policy must confront the fact that from the view point of most Israeli a withdrawal from the occupied regions presents a difficult to calculate risk for Israel's future. The current experience with missile attacks from the Lebanon and the Gaza strip increase those fears. Though some things favour the view point that rampant Antisemitism in the Arab world would decline after a just peace between Israeli and Palestinians. But in the radical Islamic movements there are enough forces, which don't want to arrange themselves with a Jewish state (the "Zionist Entity"). Robust guarantees for Israel in the context of an all inclusive treaty is therefore necessary.


Zu viele "Anti-Zionisten" in der UNO


Too Many ,,Anti-Zionists" in the UN

Wer kann als Treuhänder für Frieden und Sicherheit im Nahen Osten einstehen? Fakt ist, dass die große Mehrheit der Israelis der Uno nicht vertrauen und ihre Sicherheit nicht einer Uno-Friedenstruppe überantworten werden. Dafür gibt es zu viele "Antizionisten" in den Vereinten Nationen, die Israel als Stachel im Fleisch der islamischen Welt und als kolonialen Vorposten der USA sehen. Die Europäische Union allein ist mit der Rolle des Friedensstifters im Nahen Osten überfordert.



Who can be the trustee for peace and security in the Middle East? It's a fact that the majority among Israelis don't trust the UN and that they don't transfer their security into an UN peace-keeping force. There are too many "Anti-Zionists" in the UN, who see Israel as a thorn in the meat of the Islamic world and as a colonial outpost of the US. The European Union alone is overextended with the role as peacemaker in the Middle East.



Das gilt - aus anderen Gründen - auch für die USA. Aber gemeinsam könnten sie diese historische Aufgabe schultern, und zwar im eigenen Interesse. Deshalb muss die Nato diese Aufgabe übernehmen. Die Mitgliedschaft in der transatlantischen Verteidigungsallianz würde Israel die politische und psychologische Sicherheit geben, einen historischen Kompromiss mit den Palästinensern einzugehen, mit dem sich beide Seiten wechselseitig als souveräne Staaten anerkennen. Die Beistandsgarantie gemäß Artikel 5 des Nato-Vertrages gäbe Israel den Rückhalt, den es braucht, um das Risiko eines Rückzugs aus der West Bank einzugehen.



This is true too - for other reasons - for the US as well. But together they could shoulder this historic task and for that matter in their own interest. Therefore the NATO must take over this task. The membership in the transatlantic defense alliance would give Israel the political and psychological security to agree into a historic compromise with the Palestinians, in which both sides would recognize each other vice versa as sovereign nations. The Article 5 of the NATO and its collective defense support would give Israel the backing, which it needs to agree to the risks of a withdrawal from the West Bank.



Umgekehrt würde eine solche Lösung Palästina ermöglichen, endlich ein souveräner Staat zu werden, der über sein eigenes Schicksal bestimmt. Eine Nato-Mitgliedschaft würde es Israel erlauben, entspannter zu agieren, und damit den Raum für einen Verhandlungsfrieden erweitern. Sie wäre gerade nicht ein Schritt zur Militarisierung des Konflikts, sondern würde die Schwelle für bewaffnete Auseinandersetzung höher legen - einerseits durch die Beistandsgarantie für Israel, andererseits durch die Einbindung Israels in die politische Konsultativstruktur der Nato.



On the other hand such a solution would enable  Palestine to finally become a sovereign state, who could decide over its own fate and affairs. A NATO membership would allow Israel to react more relaxed and therefore give room to increase a negotiated peace. The membership would specifically not be a step towards militarization of the conflict, but would elevate the barrier for an armed conflict - on the one side through a support guarantee for Israel and otherwise through the consultative political structure of the NATO.



Wiederaufbau-Hilfe für Palästina

Reconstruction Help for Palestine

Als flankierende Maßnahme sollte Palästina internationale Wiederaufbau-Hilfe nach dem Muster des Marshall-Plans zugesichert werden, der den Aufschwung Westdeutschlands aus den Trümmern des Zweiten Weltkriegs einleitete. Diese Hilfe muss an die Verpflichtung gebunden werden, einen demokratischen Verfassungsstaat aufzubauen, der Rechtsstaatlichkeit und Gewaltenteilung garantiert.



As flanking measures Palestine should be secured international reconstructive help in form of a Marshall plan, which helped Western Germany to raise out of the wreckage of WWII. This help must be tied to the obligation to build up a state with a democratic constitution to guarantees the rule of law and the separation of powers.



Weshalb sollte sich das Angebot einer Nato-Mitgliedschaft zunächst an Israel richten? Die Mitgliedschaft in der transatlantischen Allianz sollte demokratischen Staaten vorbehalten bleiben, um ihre Kohärenz als demokratische Wertegemeinschaft zu bewahren. Diese Bedingung zu formulieren, ist keine Absage an eine künftige Einbeziehung arabischer Staaten, sondern beschreibt einen möglichen Weg in diese Richtung.


Why should the NATO membership offered to Israel first? Because the membership in the transatlantic Alliance should be reserved to democratic states exclusively, to guard the coherence as a community of democratic values. To formulate these conditions is not a rejection of future inclusions of Arab states into the NATO, but represents a possible path towards that path.


Entscheidend ist, dass eine Nato-Mitgliedschaft Israels in der arabischen Welt nicht als Akt hegemonialer Machtpolitik erscheint, sondern als Beitrag zu einer kollektiven Sicherheitsordnung für den Nahen und Mittleren Osten. Das klingt utopisch, ist aber realistischer als alles andere, das in den letzten Jahren als friedensstiftende Strategie für die Region gehandelt wurde.

It is a deciding factor that the NATO membership of Israel is not viewed as an act of hegemonic power politics, but rather as a contribution to a collective security treaty for the Near and Middle East. This sounds utopian, but is more realistic than anything else, that has been proposed as peace creating strategies for that region.


Information des Authors:

ZUR PERSON

Ralf Fücks, Jahrgang 1951, ist seit 1996 Vorsitzender der Grünen- nahen Heinrich- Böll- Stiftung. Die Stiftung unterhält unter anderem Büros in Israel, Beirut und Ramallah. Fücks studierte Sozialwissenschaften, Ökonomie und Geschichte. 1982 schloss er sich den Grünen an und zog wenig später in die Bremische Bürgerschaft ein. In den neunziger Jahren war er Bundesvorstandssprecher der Grünen und Senator in der Bremer "Ampelkoalition". Er ist Mitglied der Grünen- Grundsatzprogrammkommission.


Information about the author:

To the Person:

Ralf Fücks, nee 1951, is chairman of the Heinrich-Böll-Foundation with offices among others in Israel, Beirut and Ramallah. Fücks studied Social Sciences, Economics and History. 1982 he joined the Green Party in Germany and became member of the Bremen's citizenry. In the nineties he was Speaker for the Green Party and Senator in Bremen. He is member of the Green Party's commission for policy statements.

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I am taking a break now and will come back in a couple of hours.
by mimi on Fri Jul 21st, 2006 at 04:12:35 PM EST
I probably need to read this more carefully before I respond but I have some immediate thoughts about this:

  1.  The US is in NATO and that has not stopped us from preemptive war, invading countries, war crimes, and bullying.  Like Israel, there are people out there who hate our country and want to kill our citizens.  But being in NATO did not prevent us from using that as an excuse to bomb the daylights out of whomever we choose.

  2.  Why NATO?  NATO began as a response to the Soviet Union.  The Soviet Union does not exist.  Why does NATO not only exist, but continue to expand?

  3.  NATO is ideological in nature.  Originally it was Democracy v. Communism.  Replacing the Communism with Arab/Islam is just stupid stupid stupid.  How on earth would that improve relations, engender understanding, create peace?  

  4.  Russia is not in NATO.  If we had a NATO that included Israel but not Russia...  I just don't like the way that lines up.  

  5.  Why can't we phase out NATO and superimpose it onto the UN, the Security Council.  War crimes are war crimes, countries being unfairly attacked are countries being unfairly attacked.  Why are we picking favorites.  It seems that if all countries would be assured that we would come to their aid if they needed it, regardless who they are, it would be a beautiful thing.  Apply the same standards and criteria to everyone.  More consistency.  More accountability.  That's what we shoudl be moving toward.  


Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. -Voltaire
by p------- on Fri Jul 21st, 2006 at 04:29:54 PM EST
NATO is the equivalent of the Delian League. It's not a league of equals but a structure submitting a number of powerful countries to the dictate of the US. NATO's purpose is not to prevent its members from engaging in aggressive war, but a mutual assistance agreement. The key is "Article 5" which "states that any attack on a member state will be considered an attack against the entire group of members". The first time this was ever invoked was after 9/11, but the US declined the offer of NATO assistance for "Operation Enduring Freedom" on Afghanistan, presumably because the US knew the European allies would be too squamish to join the kind of war the US was about to wage. The invocation of chapter 5 was sontaneous, that is, not requested by the US, as far as I can tell. I would fully expect Israel to demand that it be applied to every attack it suffers. We could now find ourselves treaty-bound to support Israel's crimes in Lebanon.

Why can't we phase out NATO and superimpose it onto the UN, the Security Council.  War crimes are war crimes, countries being unfairly attacked are countries being unfairly attacked.  Why are we picking favorites.  It seems that if all countries would be assured that we would come to their aid if they needed it, regardless who they are, it would be a beautiful thing.  Apply the same standards and criteria to everyone.  More consistency.  More accountability.  That's what we shoudl be moving toward.

That is not in the interest of those running the US foreign policy apparatus.

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jul 21st, 2006 at 05:27:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
NATO's purpose is not to prevent its members from engaging in aggressive war, but a mutual assistance agreement.

So, uhm, my country has been invaded by hostile forces and they've taken over the government and are holding us hostage.

When's Europe going to come to my aid?

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. -Voltaire

by p------- on Fri Jul 21st, 2006 at 05:32:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Your government is obviously not asking for help for that purpose, is it?

I don't know what the US leadership has on EU governments, but from their behaviour on the CIA secret flights it's obvious they think they cannot afford to contradict the US.

I am convinced "Atlanticism" is inimical to Europe's interests, but it's one thing not to join an alliance and a very different proposition to leave it. Either I am hopelessly out of touch, or on the radical fringe, or it would take the US using a nuke for anyone to even consider quitting NATO, and even then they might remain out of fear.

When's Europe going to come to my aid?

A serious answer: what kind of aid are you talking about?

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jul 21st, 2006 at 05:38:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If I say, they'll throw me in Gitmo.  So, uhm, nevermind...

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. -Voltaire
by p------- on Fri Jul 21st, 2006 at 06:45:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I wonder whether there is any likelihood that Lebanon will be Bush's Czechoslovakia. Then there will have to be a Poland, and if the planet manages to make it in one piece after than maybe all will be well.

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jul 21st, 2006 at 07:06:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Dear Migush, Iraq was our Czechoslovakia.  Lebanon might be our Poland.  France?  Hmm.. Iran?

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. -Voltaire
by p------- on Fri Jul 21st, 2006 at 10:25:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I didn't see the international commnity draw a line on the sand after Iraq. So, no, at most Iraq was your Austria. Maybe even your Spain, or your Abysinia.

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Jul 22nd, 2006 at 03:46:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I just have to disagree.  What y'all have done after Iraq might be different (you are really out-appeasing yourselves...).  I was thinking about the fact that the world sat by and watched as we invaded Iraq, because they didn't want to piss us off or get involved and because who cares about Iraq anyway, when in fact it was just the first step in our plan to invade the entire Middle East.  There was no UNSC vote (because it would have failed), but the coalition of the willing and the coalition of the simply complaining but not doing one damn thing to stop us strikes me as a modern day Munich Accord if there ever were one.  Afghanistan, though poorly executed, could have been a "just war".  Iraq opened pandora's box.  Iraq will be our Czechoslovakia.

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. -Voltaire
by p------- on Sat Jul 22nd, 2006 at 12:38:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I was thinking about the fact that the world sat by and watched as we invaded Iraq, because they didn't want to piss us off or get involved and because who cares about Iraq anyway, when in fact it was just the first step in our plan to invade the entire Middle East.

That's true of the pre-Munich fascist endeavours Migeru listed. In fact I think Spain or Abyssina are better examples as taking the Sudeten was largely bloodless after the Great Powewrs granted Hitler's wish.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sun Jul 23rd, 2006 at 05:58:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Manchuria comes to mind, too, but I tend to think of Japan as "not us" unlike the US, Germany, or Italy.

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jul 23rd, 2006 at 06:16:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
My point is that after the Great Powers granted Hitler the Sudeten, the implication was that that was it, and that's why the invasion of Poland prompted a declaration of war.

NATO may be strained to the breaking point soon. Already in many NATO countries the US administration is seen as the greatest threat to world peace by public opinion [this has been brought out by polls repeatedly]. I wonder what the governments think, if they agree they keep it private. The US might overstretch itself to the point of being forced to request NATO assistance for a war opposed by its NATO allies, and then demand that assistance.

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jul 23rd, 2006 at 06:25:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The US might overstretch itself to the point of being forced to request NATO assistance for a war opposed by its NATO allies, and then demand that assistance.

to some extent this is a done deed.

what remains to be seen is whether certain European NATO members' reticence to participate will be recognized and discussed, and what bearing the reluctance will have on the future of NATO.

Other problems include the reluctance of NATO countries to contribute troops and aircraft to deployments in the first place. The Netherlands debated for months before committing about 1,000 troops, and Denmark and Sweden took weeks to agree to far more modest personnel contributions. This disconnect between NATO's high command and individual member states has been evident since 2003, when NATO first took over the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan.

.
by cigonia on Sun Jul 23rd, 2006 at 06:52:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yep, the fact that the US is trying to pull out all its troops from Afghanistan and turn over the mess to its NATO allies is a huge problem. The US operations are not limited to 'peacekeeping' or even acting as an 'interposition force', but as an active belligerant.

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jul 23rd, 2006 at 06:55:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
By the way, would you mind diarying this about ISAF and NATO?

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jul 23rd, 2006 at 06:56:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I know. Shame on me. I promised to diary this weeks ago.

[life and various emergencies have gotten in the way].

I've been thinking about it, though, gathering sources. I'll see if I can't get a project together in the course of the coming week.
.

by cigonia on Sun Jul 23rd, 2006 at 07:15:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I remember.

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jul 23rd, 2006 at 07:31:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This, by the way, is a direct consequence of the Bush administration's hubris and impatience after 9/11. NATO members invoked Article 5 for the first time in history, making 9/11 an attack on all of them, and the US turned down the offer of assistance and went into Afghanistan alone. They also did not seek UNSC authorisation for retaliatory action. Had the Afghanistan operation been carried out by NATO under UN auspices, it would have been much different from the start. But the Pentagon planners and the White House wouldn't have that. Now, 5 years later, I doubt that NATO members will have forgotten the fact that the current mess is the result of 1) a US snub to their offer of help; 2) the US cutting its efforts short to pursue the Iraq invasion.

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jul 23rd, 2006 at 07:02:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This go-it-alone strategy is becoming a thorn in the USs side. If there is European resistance to NATO, and it is effective, perhaps the US will be forced to reconsider its unilateral policy.

The primary reason for the unilateralism is that the US can thus maintain control over defense management, equipment, and subsequent rebuilding efforts, which of course represent Colossal budgets / profits.
.

by cigonia on Sun Jul 23rd, 2006 at 07:31:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There must be a tipping point after which even with a reversal of the go-it-alone policy the European allies won't be willing to take part in missions furthering US strategic objectives. The Bushies may have damaged NATO beyond repair, but that can only be known with hindsight, which we don't have.

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jul 23rd, 2006 at 07:36:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
My sense is that we may have arrived at the tipping point, with the US' handling of Israel / Lebanon.

Interesting the Deutsche Welle article from this morning cites polls indicating that 75% of the German population is against the attacks. France has been very outspoken as well [even if it amounts to blah-blah at this point]. There's little doubt in my mind that popular polls would show similar figures here. Spain? Britain? Scandinavia?

The present crisis may well turn into something of a test of European institutions and governments. Will Europe's leaders, EC and EP, respond to opinion or cave in to what is no doubt acute external pressures.

The results are likely to be telling.
.

by cigonia on Sun Jul 23rd, 2006 at 08:28:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In Spain public opinion, the press, and the left-wing government, are for a ceasefire. Only the hard core of the People's Party is unabashedly pro-Israel (and they can tie this to their 'Zapatero is capitulating to the terrorists' narrative). In Britain, The Times is pro-Israel, The Independent pro-ceasefire. I saw too many British [or British-resident] lebanese with Hezbollah flags yesterday assembled at Whitehall.

The fact that the official German position is similar to the one of Spain's PP leads me to believe that (at least in the EU-15) the European People's Party reamins Atlanticist while the Party of the European Socialists is getting away from that position.

Really, NATO seems like a place where Bush, Blair, Aznar, Berlusconi, the Kaczynski brothers, Klaus, Rasmussen and, to go back to the diary, Olmert, would feel comfortable.

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jul 23rd, 2006 at 10:01:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
in Spain public opinion, the press,

well, not the partisan right-wing press.

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jul 23rd, 2006 at 10:05:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
NATO is the equivalent of the Delian League. It's not a league of equals but a structure submitting a number of powerful countries to the dictate of the US. NATO's purpose is not to prevent its members from engaging in aggressive war, but a mutual assistance agreement.

I thought that can, could and needs to be changed. There exactly should not be a US dictate, but a containment of US urges to do so. NATO's purpose must become to prevent all of its members from engaging in aggressive or subversive wars. In that sense the Arab and Islamic States, as well as Russia would need to become members as well or the UN has to get teeth with a military power that NATO had.

Well, I guess that's utopian. May be after people have flattened the globe in WW whatever, they come to agree to stop themselves from their craziness.

Sorry, I sound awful dumb. Just trying to learn.

by mimi on Fri Jul 21st, 2006 at 07:00:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sorry, but why are you saying these things?
I really don't feel I should write a diary about it, because I don't have the background and education to have an informed opinion about it.
Sorry, I sound awful dumb.
NATO doesn't need to be changed, it needs to be dissolved, IMHO. I am actually appalled that all these German Green Party figures (Cohn-Bendit, Fischer, Fücks) have such a starry-eyed view of it. I mean, Fischer of all people was Foreign Minister from 9/11 to 2005. He should know better.

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jul 21st, 2006 at 07:09:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I mean, Fischer of all people was Foreign Minister from 9/11 to 2005. He should know better.

Actually, his defining NATO experience should be Kosovo/Serbia 1999.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sun Jul 23rd, 2006 at 02:44:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I know I must be way off reality, but I think about NATO as something that doesn't exist yet, but wonder if it could change into.

3. Nobody said you should replace the ideological democracy vs. communism scheme of the past with something like democracy vs. Arab/Islam. Nobody!

First I consider it not the business of any country (especially not the US business) to judge another sovereign country in how far their constitution is democratic and theocratic/secular. There is no moral right for a democratic/secular nation to deny another democratic/theocratic or undemocratic/theocratic or undemocratic/secular nation their basic sovereignty and human rights according to international law, right?

So all sovereign nations have to be protected from border overreaching military or terrorist attacks. If at all there should be the ideological scheme of international rule of law and the right to sovereignty and civil rights of any nations be secured vs. terrorist attacks of out-laws and militias to destroy one's nation rule of law and whatever form of theocratic or secular democratic/undemocratic state they are in.

What I think can't be possible is to impose democracy and a secular rule of law according to one nation's liking (here the US) on other sovereign nations and use those nation's lack of former as an excuse to militarily intervene and impose/enforce a "democratic secular constitution".

  1. I would like to see Russia integrated into any international alliance, but I am just not educated enough of how ridiculous such a desire would be.

  2. If you superimpose it on the US, you have neither phased out the NATO, nor changed the UN. I guess you ask for a new entity altogether.
It seems that if all countries would be assured that we would come to their aid if they needed it, regardless who they are, it would be a beautiful thing.  Apply the same standards and criteria to everyone.  More consistency.  More accountability.  That's what we should be moving toward.  
Of course, that's what I am after. I thought changing the NATO to an entity that could guarantee it, is a possibility.
by mimi on Fri Jul 21st, 2006 at 06:53:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Nobody said you should replace the ideological democracy vs. communism scheme of the past with something like democracy vs. Arab/Islam. Nobody!

No one said it, but I bet that's how some would interpret it...

I guess I just don't think NATO is the organization for the job here.  It is way too political.  Way too beholden to the US.  Some kind of international defense organization is probably a very good thing.  Just not NATO.

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. -Voltaire

by p------- on Fri Jul 21st, 2006 at 07:01:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I´d be very interested to hear something about your "international defense organization".

Mind you, I´m not saying anything at all about the article Mimi translated. I´m simply asking you about some information about your "international defense organization"?

Is it the UN?
The same organization that really failed in Bosnia?
Remember Srebenica and Tuzla? The UN is pretty good at peace keeping missions once both sides agree but its record is more than mixed if one side doesn´t agree.

Why do you think that the UN or any other international defense organization is suddenly more able to protect innocent people?

Any international organization is only as strong as its members permit. The UN got 190+ members. How many of them would agree to human rights interventions if the next target might be them? How maynof them are democracies? Not to mention China. A veto power in the UN security council. Only interested in economic relations (access to raw materials) while disregarding domestic political problems.

I just fail to see how your "international defense organization" is supposed to work?

by Detlef (Detlef1961_at_yahoo_dot_de) on Sat Jul 22nd, 2006 at 04:10:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Why do you want to preserve NATO?

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jul 21st, 2006 at 07:10:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I kind of hoped that it's possible not to dissolve NATO, but to change it, i.e. make it an alliance that is not dominated by the US.
by mimi on Sat Jul 22nd, 2006 at 12:28:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Just got home today. I was out of town for a fwq days and I do hope that I can comment on your diary tomorrow.
by Detlef (Detlef1961_at_yahoo_dot_de) on Sat Jul 22nd, 2006 at 03:48:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Just to repeat my words. I only got home today so I might have missed things. :)

Still, you wanna give Sudan or Burma a veto power on how we might deploy troops?

NATO certainly isn´t perfect but at least every NATO government is responsible to its voters. Am I wrong to assume that this isn´t the case in most countries now members of the UN?

by Detlef (Detlef1961_at_yahoo_dot_de) on Sat Jul 22nd, 2006 at 04:25:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In NATO nothing matters except the opinion of the US. NATO also represents the interests of "the West". It is not neutral. The UN is neutral. Most UN members are, in fact, formal democracies:
.
And Sudan or Burma don't have veto. That is an American anti-UN talking point. They can't block General Assembly resolutions or Security Council resolutions, should they get to sit on the Security Council. The last time Sudan was in the UNSC was in 1973, and Burma/Myanmar has never been.

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Jul 22nd, 2006 at 04:51:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not sure whether this idea ("it not the business of any country to judge another sovereign country") is widespread in Europe or not. It may be the crux of the problem that Europe has with American foreign policy.

In recent tradition the Republican party has tended towards isolationism, while the Democrats have tended towards internationalism. Bush ran on a platform that specifically called out that he would minimize involvement in "nation building" because Clinton's adventures in Europe, Africa, and the Caribbean were distasteful to the isolationist wing of the Republican party. So now, after his re-evaluation of that position, we have two parties who agree that it is the duty of America--and the rest of the West--to make judgments about the political systems of other countries.

The problem with your argument is that it puts international stability and national sovereignty above all else. A dictator gets in power, and since the West is barred from making judgments, the dictator can destroy his own country, kill a big chunk of his country's population, make the rest of them miserable, and generally be a horrible person who causes lots of suffering. Or, you get a nasty civil war that you ignore because it's politically impossible to resolve. This does not play well on American TV, and inevitably leads to interventionist sentiment. I don't know why it plays acceptably on European TV, but apparently it does--if your proposition is widespread.

Instead of body bags coming home, there will be images of starving people, women being stoned to death because their husbands were unfaithful, slaves taking apart asbestos-laden western ships with hand tools, and hands cut off for punishment of the starving. In the U.S., these images lead to a call for intervention, usually first by the U.N., and then when the U.N. rejects the call, or ignores it, or is ineffective, then it's followed by a call for American intervention.

(Of course if oil is involved, it gets more complicated, but plenty of American intervention has not been related to oil.)

by asdf on Sun Jul 23rd, 2006 at 01:05:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That's what you have the UNSC: if 9 out of 15 of the UNSC council cannot agree to the legitimacy of intervention, or one of the 5 permanent members objects, you are outside international law.

Crime doesn't play well on American TV, either, but Americans don't demand that, say, the Texas National Guard go and "pacify" South Central LA, do they? Or the California National Guard, for that matter.

Humanitarian disasters don't play well on European TV either, but I guess we're more aware of the fact that we're not likely to be greeted with flowers.

It would go a long way towards solving the problem of brutal dictators if we started by not propping them up, or selling them weapons, or using them as proxies.

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jul 23rd, 2006 at 03:53:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I mean, another thing that plays well on American TV is the "Strong Man".

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jul 23rd, 2006 at 03:54:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The problem with your argument is that it puts international stability and national sovereignty above all else. A dictator gets in power, and since the West is barred from making judgments, the dictator can destroy his own country, kill a big chunk of his country's population, make the rest of them miserable, and generally be a horrible person who causes lots of suffering. Or, you get a nasty civil war that you ignore because it's politically impossible to resolve.

As a recovering interventionist, let me emphasize the other point beyond legality: practicality. It's one thing to know that a dictator is evil and want to stop it, it is another whether we have political leaders capable of maintaining oversight and making the right decisions, the army trained for both fighting and building trust and institutions, and the public support that lasts throughout such a mission. Let me quote from something Billmon wrote prophetically on March 2, 2003 (two weeks before the war officially began), criticising Joshua Marshall (of Talking Points Memo):

Is there anything that suggests America
is the right country to overhaul an ancient culture, riddled with
religious and ethnic tensions, that got hung up on the conveyer belt
between medievalism and modernity? Us? The guys who couldn't find most
foreign countries on a map, and don't care?

And are the American people really prepared to sacrifice the blood and treasure it would take to try?



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun Jul 23rd, 2006 at 05:48:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]


Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jul 23rd, 2006 at 05:53:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
As a recovering interventionist

LOL.  So you are against using interventions to help other interventionists seek the treatment they need? ;)

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. -Voltaire

by p------- on Sun Jul 23rd, 2006 at 12:10:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hehe :-)

Having lived in and living close to the disintegration of Yugoslavia would alone have been enough for me to dismiss state sovereignity as an argument and wish for intervention. But then the medicine to the very same ill turned out to have been a different kind of poison...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sun Jul 23rd, 2006 at 02:42:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
 
 A dictator gets in power, and since the West is barred from making judgments, the dictator can destroy his own country, kill a big chunk of his country's population, make the rest of them miserable, and generally be a horrible person who causes lots of suffering. Or, you get a nasty civil war that you ignore because it's politically impossible to resolve. This does not play well on American TV, and inevitably leads to interventionist sentiment. I don't know why it plays acceptably on European TV, but apparently it does--if your proposition is widespread.

I don't know if I had a proposition (it's just my private wishful thinking) is widespread in Europe. I don't live there anymore since a long time and that's why I have so many difficulties to understand what's going on.

I am dreaming about a happy big family alliance of European, Russian (may be China) and the US all agreeing when it is appropriate to intervene in a civil war conflict of a sovereign nation to prevent genocide and massive destruction of infrastructure and property of civilians. The problem is they all disagree over the morals and laws nowadays as to when to intervene militarily. I thought that Europe and Russia were right now a bit more closer in their thinking about when it would be appropriate to use peace enforcing military defense forces, but I learned already in this thread that it's obviously not the case.

I think the reasons, why Europeans might not be as easily turned on by nasty civil war images on TV to jump up and believe they should intervene and teach other cultures how to behave civil and fair with the might of their weapons, is the fact that they remember too much how hard it is to teach a misbehaving member of their own community exactly that.

The only real difference in American civilian and European civilian experience of the elder generation is that America's wars were never endured by their own civilian population at home.

Why did Bush believe (and why do so many Americans believe) that they "just can go in and teach someone morals and helas, they accept and become "good people" according to their standards?" You know it's this "just say no to drugs - kind of way of solving all problems - and if that's not enough - please get some councelling and that will do it). I always wondered about that.

Why was it that almost all Europeans were utterly sceptical about the invasion of US troops in Iraq? Nice to watch our scepticism be equated with cowardness by the US media. Nice to watch how we were hold accountable by questioning our morals. But why did the majority of Americans believe that it could work? Get rid of the evil man, try to not kill too many civilians on the way, and helas, we will have peace and freedom in Iraq? Where did this US way of thinking come from?

So, what is it? Are we European nations in the NATO or EU more coward than the Americans to protect victims of aggression and murder in dictatorships and civil wars in other countries? Or are the Americans more "naive" or are they "more moral" or "more courageous"?

Or is it that European civilians have more say in what their government can decide upon their participiation in military engagements? May be the US government is more authoritarian and can pretty much "do what they want" and deploy their forces "independent what the poor guys, who do the fighting for the US politicians" for whatever they seem fit? May be it's just that the US is less democratic than European democracies, when it comes to who decides when and for what causes their military is sent to war?

And I don't quite agree that the images of starving people, cut off hands and other "uncivilized, undemocratic" images of theocratic or dictatorial cultures and regimes,  don't touch Europeans as much as Americans, but may be the press in Europe and many politicians don't use them as easily and fast as an internal political tool and justification for their ideologically drivien policies as it is in the US.

by mimi on Sun Jul 23rd, 2006 at 07:49:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Why can't we phase out NATO and superimpose it onto the UN, the Security Council.  War crimes are war crimes, countries being unfairly attacked are countries being unfairly attacked.  Why are we picking favorites.  It seems that if all countries would be assured that we would come to their aid if they needed it, regardless who they are, it would be a beautiful thing.  Apply the same standards and criteria to everyone.  More consistency.  More accountability.  That's what we shoudl be moving toward.

Uhh, I hesitate to call you stupid.
Just look at Darfur in Sudan.
Let me just mention that Russia or China might have a different definition of war crimes.
Not to mention that each of the five basic security council member countries have their own security needs.

Simply put, this or a new security council wouldn´t intervene unless all them agreed. Being my cynical self, I just don´t see it.  

by Detlef (Detlef1961_at_yahoo_dot_de) on Sat Jul 22nd, 2006 at 04:41:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Let me just mention that Russia or China might have a different definition of war crimes.

No, I think they use the same definition: nasty acts committed by people we don't like much. They just like different people. If they're nasty acts committed by allies you call them "unfortunate necessities" or something.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Sat Jul 22nd, 2006 at 04:53:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Given that most NATO members won't act without a UNSC resolution, NATO can only act assuming China and Russia don't oppose. The US acts regardless, as do Russia and China [and France and the UK: that's what UNSC veto allows you to do]
Uhh, I hesitate to call you stupid.
Have a 2.

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Jul 22nd, 2006 at 04:56:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks mimi for turning your translation into a diary, I will reread it in the morning, as it is getting late here.
by Fran on Fri Jul 21st, 2006 at 05:16:59 PM EST
It seems to me that NATO is currently a proxy for "the Western military." That could change if there were ever a coordinated European military. Or world peace.

So if you think that Israel is a Western Democracy, then it fits into NATO. Of course then one might wonder why Brazil doesn't fit in.

by asdf on Fri Jul 21st, 2006 at 08:53:43 PM EST
i still have some difficulties to get why some people are still speaking about Nato, Nato was made irrelevant by the US themselves and with because do not serve anymore purpose, not really exist anymore.

nato is a ghost, a shadow.

by fredouil (fredouil@gmailgmailgmail.com) on Sat Jul 22nd, 2006 at 10:18:12 AM EST
And unlikely ever to be. Especially while influential Social Democrat Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomija is an exemplary pacifist in a coalition with Centre Party PM Matti Vanhanen who has a mild case of xenophobia.

But the real reason is Russia: not because of any potential military threat, but because it is a very large and important neighbour and trading partner, as well as a main source of energy.

I think the description of Russia as a 'Plains Country' is key. Plains countries always feel vulnerable, and always try to encourage their influence over neighbours to act as buffer zones. Imagine you had a house and a garden, but (for some reason) no fence or other boundary. You would depend on your good neighbours for a feeling of security.

Here is an article (2004) by veteran Finnish diplomat Max Jakobson  that outlines all the factors.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Sun Jul 23rd, 2006 at 02:39:21 AM EST


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