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What the west means and what roles NATO plays therein

by Jerome a Paris Fri Sep 28th, 2007 at 08:24:52 AM EST

We've been asking variously for definitions of the "West",  of Atlanticism and for a explanation of the role of NATO. This column by Philip Stephens in today's FT provides a number of answers.


the potential prize now offered by Nicolas Sarkozy's presidency: a Nato properly attuned to, and configured for, the new threats of global terrorism, failed states and unconventional weapons proliferation; and a Europe able to shoulder more of the burden of its security.

(...)

Any sensible strategy to guard the security of the west must presume an enduring transatlantic alliance. To retain its relevance, Nato requires a global perspective. Europe will need to contribute more to the security of its own neighbourhood and of its near abroad.

One striking feature of this is that the west (uncapitalised) is defined in pretty narrow security and military terms. It sounds like a purely defensive construct against outside threats. Nothing about values, nothing about democracy, nothing about being an exemple for the rest of the world, or a leader in setting up new standards of behavior - this is batten-the-hatches be-ready-for-battle-against the evil-oppressors rhetoric - the west is under siege.



The relationship that matters most for the transatlantic alliance is not the fabled partnership between the US and Britain. Much more important is that between Washington and Paris. Always suspicious, mostly fractious and often suffused with mutual contempt, the condition of Franco-American ties determines the cohesion or otherwise of the west.

(...)

If Paris is at daggers drawn with Washington, the odds are that Britain will side with the US. The Anglo-French entente necessarily becomes less than cordiale. And, if the continent's two significant military powers cannot agree, Europe can say goodbye to any hope of a coherent foreign and security policy.

(...)

The message [from France coming back to NATO integrated military command], as one European diplomat puts it, would be that France has at last come to terms with the permanence of the alliance.

This is both a compliment and an insult. The west can be strong only when France is part of it, but being part of it can only mean abdicating to US power. The description of the role of the UK is, indirectly, fascinating: its relationship with the US (its poodlehood) is taken for granted and thus irrelevant, but it has a vital job in creating discord within Europe, to stifle the French, when they are not aligned with the US. This is really the UK as the US aircraft carrier - or as the Trojan Horse.

The obstacles Stephens sees to this realignment of France under the US banner are quite revealing, on their own:


 It is one thing to eschew the gratuitous anti-Americanism of his predecessor; quite another to abandon the cherished pretence that France remains a wholly independent military power. Hard though it is to believe it now, Mr Chirac began his presidency promising a rapprochement with the US and Nato.

The use of 'pretence' is by no means gratuitous, but hey, this is a Brit writing, and probably an attempt to bring down the French to their puny size. But it is notable that he shares some of my doubts that Sarkozy is doing little more thna a 'Bush', i.e. telling people what thye want to hear while doing the opposite. Again, it flags that France's blessing, in effect, is still needed for the west to be seen as a cohesive unit, but, also, that it can not influence what that unit does. So either there is a west on US terms, or not at all.


it will take more than warm words to persuade Washington that an identifiably European security strategy would not challenge US authority within Nato. Administration officials have long berated Europe for not contributing enough to its own defence: and warned in the next breath that any capability separate from Nato would be divisive.

Europe must be able to carry some of the burden (note that throughout, Europe's role is solely to be a subcontractor of the US, visibly for the most cumbersone or annoying tasks), but have no autonomy. Again, US rules or nothing.

The third obstacle is Brown's lack of interest for Europe. There must at least be a pretence that Europe matters and has a role to play, and a lot of forms and noise to be made in Brussels, but Brown cannot even be bothered (or maybe he worries that these things take a life of their own).

But again, it's clear. The EU is never mentioned; Europe exists only via NATO and matters if it is unified in NATO under US authority, and abandons all pretence of independence.

I think this is a pretty good description of the Atlanticists' vision of the West - a narrow, militaristic, US-dominated, fearful block.

Display:
Now that we finally have a written expression of what NATO means, I would have expected a rush of comments... Or is this something we all knew and there's nothing to discuss? And everybody agrees with my interpretation?

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri Sep 28th, 2007 at 06:48:46 AM EST
More or less, more or less.
One striking feature of this is that the west (uncapitalised) is defined in pretty narrow security and military terms. It sounds like a purely defensive construct against outside threats. Nothing about values, nothing about democracy, nothing about being an exemple for the rest of the world, or a leader in setting up new standards of behavior - this is batten-the-hatches be-ready-for-battle-against the evil-oppressors rhetoric - the west in under siege.
My take:

The 'values' are 'neoliberal'. I.e. these narrow 'security' and 'military' terms are 'security' for the purpose of global Capital. Remember, greed has been elevated to an ethical principle, and the 'security' we need is the one that allows unfettered greed on behalf of Capital, 'security' to ensure that no measure other than 'GDP growth' can be considered a figure of merit. I assume that a lot of the punch of the article in terms of the assumed primacy of US interests, with the UK as a given follower, is that these two 'nations' can be relied upon to understand this inevitable trajectory of Capital and the indisputable goodness of its demands for infinite right to greed, 'growth' and 'profits'. The people in service of 'markets', not 'markets' in service of the people. France is still seen as sometimes trying to assert other, conflicting, metrics of progress. It is therefore more of a prize in this quest for 'security' than the UK could ever be.

Why on earth would they have to explicitly state these 'neoliberal' values? They are after all indisputable and inevitable!

by someone (s0me1smail(a)gmail(d)com) on Fri Sep 28th, 2007 at 07:50:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Excellent summary.

Corollary - Atlanticism is implacably hostile to genuine democracy.

Not that we didn't know that already, but it's worth spelling it out.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri Sep 28th, 2007 at 09:50:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't disagree wth anything you wrote except the equation of the primacy of US interests with the primacy of neoliberal interests.  I think it is important to distinguish between the legitimate interests of the people of the United States and the interests of the United States government in its current form.  Our current government has become a wholly owned subsidiary of global Capital, and is acting in ways that are quite detrimental to the interests of the people it purports to represent, not to mention the rest of the world.

We all bleed the same color.
by budr on Fri Sep 28th, 2007 at 11:15:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, me too, in full agreement with you here. This is what I meant referring to the "primacy of US interest" as an assumption, and why I put the word nation in quotes... Capital assumes that the US and the UK are already fully on-board with Capital, and thus the support of US/(UK) primacy in 'western' foreign policy is just a support of its own primacy as a force in the world.

As for "the legitimate interests of the people of the United States", yes I do think those could exist. But if those interests extend to other nations, in particular to how those other nations trade and allow access to their natural resources, 'markets' and labour pool, then, I cannot agree that those interests would be 'legitimate'. I.e. if the people of the United States where to explicitly demand and favour foreign policy to exact control over the middle east for the purpose of filling the tanks of those godforsaken SUVs, then, no, that is not a 'legitimate' interest of the people of the United States. If the people of the United States where to explicitly demand and favour foreign policy to limit the rights of workers and human rights in foreign lands  so that their box-stores might continue to be filled with cheap goods from sweatshop labour, then that too would not be a 'legitimate' interest. etc. etc. etc.

And every day Americans (and Europeans, we are not blameless, oh no. 'Westerners', we can really write here!!) do demand such foreign policy. Perhaps not explicitly, but certainly implicitly, though their continued worship of another shiny piece of convenience crap. As long as ones economic interests are so closely aligned with an exploitative relationship to foreign labour, than any amount of hand-wringing about those poor people of whatever country, and their lack of human rights, and a decent standard of living, and reasonable labour conditions, is just that. So much hand-wringing, and nothing else! Some pity to make ourselves feel good about ourselves. "Yes! We are good people! Wanting good for everyone. No one should be hurt! And cheap goods and services too, please!!"

by someone (s0me1smail(a)gmail(d)com) on Fri Sep 28th, 2007 at 11:39:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Remember, greed has been elevated to an ethical principle, and the 'security' we need is the one that allows unfettered greed on behalf of Capital, 'security' to ensure that no measure other than 'GDP growth' can be considered a figure of merit.

Great said...

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Sat Sep 29th, 2007 at 12:36:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"Or is this something we all knew and there's nothing to discuss? "

That sums it up nicely.
Who defined the goals of NATO as "keeping the Americans in, the Russians out and the Germans down"?

Whenever Atlanticists demand that Europe speak with one voice they mean the US'. The only way Europe is allowed to have a unified foreign policy is by adopting US positions. The nonsensical boycott of hamas and the sanctions against Iran are cases in point.

by generic on Fri Sep 28th, 2007 at 08:27:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The nonsensical boycott of hamas and the sanctions against Iran are cases in point.
And this is why NATO must end: it is forcing Europe to make strategic decisions that go counter to its own long-term interests in its own neighbourhood.

We have met the enemy, and it is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Sep 28th, 2007 at 08:41:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
NATO can't end because the EU isn't going to be willing to take an explicitly anti-Atlanticist stand.

The EU's soft power relies to some extent on the threat of the USA's hard power. And the EU can't see itself existing in isolation without allies.

So a nominal alliance with the US - ignoring the occasional spats - is still seen as being more strategically secure than an alliance with Pacifica.

And values are more compatible too - both in the stated peacefreedumbndemocracy way, and in the practical realpolitik sense of making a lot of noise about human rights while working to minimise them to an expedient level.

As things stand now, there is no chance at all of a divorce. The best that's going to happen is separate bedrooms while the US gets over its substance abuse issues, and some token media distance.

The EU is more likely to move itself to the middle of the Pacific than it is to snub the US and ally itself formally with China or Russia.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri Sep 28th, 2007 at 10:00:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Delian League ended through Athen's folly and so will NATO through US folly. The question is when.

It won't be painless either.

We have met the enemy, and it is us — Pogo

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Sep 28th, 2007 at 10:09:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Will an Iranian Lysander detroy the US Navy?

"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Fri Sep 28th, 2007 at 10:58:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
is an expression that we use in the U.S. to mean in any contest the outcome may be very, very likely, but it is not inevitable. How much more applicable in war, as witness the U.S.S.R. in Afghanistan and the U.S. in Viet Nam.

As to an Iranian naval commander/genius/hero, I don't know much about their capability. My guess, though, is that, if there is anywhere that technological advantages such as spy satellites and related targetting apply, it is in this context. Those flotillas seem to me to be quite secure. I think that the only reason that Cheney wanted a third carrier group was firepower over-kill, not mutual defense.

What do y'all think about other potential actors, such as Russia, China, or ?? Clearly, they "win", as the U.S. self-destructs, but can they continue to stand aside, if this conflict spreads? If nukes are used, I don't think that they can. I wonder what their contingency plans look like.

I know that the CW is that Israel will participate, but can they sustain their local military dominance, if they expend a major amount of armament? The Iranians and others are giving the impression that they have some sophisticated anti-aircraft tools. If they resist an air attack somewhat successfully, I don't think that Israel can sustain the attack - excepting the use of nukes, of course.

But I think that the largest question is what will happen within the U.S. The rumors are strong that the U.S. military is resisting any attack on Iran, not to mention the continued scale of occupation forces in Iraq. In addition I think that a very large portion of the U.S. population is very restive. Maybe it's my optimistic nature, but it feels very tense here. The letters-to-the-editor in the Northwest run at a high ratio of anti-administration-policies positions.

paul spencer

by paul spencer (spencerinthegorge AT yahoo DOT com) on Fri Sep 28th, 2007 at 11:53:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I've read some discussion of Iranian anti-ship capabilities.  It boils down to how well their first sortie of missiles work - they won't get a second.  And nobody really knows how well their missiles will work against US Naval assets, because most of the technology (anti-ship and ship-defense weaponry), on both sides, has never really been used in combat before.
by Zwackus on Sat Sep 29th, 2007 at 09:48:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
íwhy do you think they won't get a second? Or that the first can't be enough?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun Sep 30th, 2007 at 02:44:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Radar capabilities and such being what they are, before the second can be launched, the launch facilities will probably be destroyed.
by Zwackus on Sun Sep 30th, 2007 at 06:18:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
the problem with that asertion is that many modern missiles are run out of disposable box launchers, and if you're launching from small boats, you don't expect them to survive, some will if the attack is successful, but it is an all or nothing attack, putting as much firepower as possible into the target area in as short a time as possible to overwhelm the defensive shield.

The big priority is to smash the command and communication system to stop the opponent from coordianting their attack, this has been the pattern of US and NATO air opperations since the Berlin wall came down, first destroy any ability for the enemy to coordinate, then remove air defence, then smash ground targets.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sun Sep 30th, 2007 at 06:28:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
With often less than satisfying level of success. Identifying enemy targets looks good in video games (including what the military shows on CNN...), but more tricky in reality.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Oct 1st, 2007 at 01:14:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The difference this time, though, is that there are US targets already within range of Iranian defense systems.  As soon as any attack is launched, there will be a brief window for the Iranians to fire at those already in-range, already acquired targets.

There is a possibility that this could be a devastating attack.  From a source who seems a bit odd, but who summarizes clearly what is alluded to in various other sources . . .

The Sunburn can deliver a 200-kiloton nuclear payload, or: a 750-pound conventional warhead, within a range of 100 miles, more than twice the range of the Exocet. The Sunburn combines a Mach 2.1 speed (two times the speed of sound) with a flight pattern that hugs the deck and includes "violent end maneuvers" to elude enemy defenses. The missile was specifically designed to defeat the US Aegis radar defense system. Should a US Navy Phalanx point defense somehow manage to detect an incoming Sunburn missile, the system has only seconds to calculate a fire solution not enough time to take out the intruding missile. The US Phalanx defense employs a six-barreled gun that fires 3,000 depleted-uranium rounds a minute, but the gun must have precise coordinates to destroy an intruder "just in time."

The Sunburn's combined supersonic speed and payload size produce tremendous kinetic energy on impact, with devastating consequences for ship and crew. A single one of these missiles can sink a large warship, yet costs considerably less than a fighter jet. Although the Navy has been phasing out the older Phalanx defense system, its replacement, known as the Rolling Action Missile (RAM) has never been tested against the weapon it seems destined to one day face in combat. Implications For US Forces in the Gulf

The US Navy's only plausible defense against a robust weapon like the Sunburn missile is to detect the enemy's approach well ahead of time, whether destroyers, subs, or fighter-bombers, and defeat them before they can get in range and launch their deadly cargo. For this purpose US AWACs radar planes assigned to each naval battle group are kept aloft on a rotating schedule. The planes "see" everything within two hundred miles of the fleet, and are complemented with intelligence from orbiting satellites.

But US naval commanders operating in the Persian Gulf face serious challenges that are unique to the littoral, i.e., coastal, environment. A glance at a map shows why: The Gulf is nothing but a large lake, with one narrow outlet, and most of its northern shore, i.e., Iran, consists of mountainous terrain that affords a commanding tactical advantage over ships operating in Gulf waters. The rugged northern shore makes for easy concealment of coastal defenses, such as mobile missile launchers, and also makes their detection problematic. Although it was not widely reported, the US actually lost the battle of the Scuds in the first Gulf War termed "the great Scud hunt" and for similar reasons.

Saddam Hussein's mobile Scud launchers proved so difficult to detect and destroy over and over again the Iraqis fooled allied reconnaissance with decoys that during the course of Desert Storm the US was unable to confirm even a single kill. This proved such an embarrassment to the Pentagon, afterwards, that the unpleasant stats were buried in official reports. But the blunt fact is that the US failed to stop the Scud attacks. The launches continued until the last few days of the conflict. Luckily, the Scud's inaccuracy made it an almost useless weapon. At one point General Norman Schwarzkopf quipped dismissively to the press that his soldiers had a greater chance of being struck by lightning in Georgia than by a Scud in Kuwait.

This latter part gives support to your argument that it will be difficult to find and destroy the missile launch sites.  Even should fixed C&C facilities be destroyed, there's no reason why mobile missile launchers would not be able to find and sink US Navy assets in the coastal environment, unless the US Navy withdrew to the Indian Ocean.

by Zwackus on Tue Oct 2nd, 2007 at 06:59:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Note, this is a Russian built weapon, which is being sold widely.
by Zwackus on Tue Oct 2nd, 2007 at 07:00:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The possibility shouldn't be discounted, to judge by this.

We have met the enemy, and it is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Sep 30th, 2007 at 02:36:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The EU's soft power relies to some extent on the threat of the USA's hard power. And the EU can't see itself existing in isolation without allies.

The truth of this should not be underestimated.  In all honesty, I think that in terms of economic gains, Europe is a greater beneficiary of American hard power and the ability to enforce open markets than the United States itself.  Which is at a source of American discontent with Europe.  Because we're left paying the price (in both and economic and human sense) for creating world order, and Europe is benefiting.

In particular, I recommend former Swiss MP Jean Ziegler's book "Switzerland, the awful truth" for detail of the ways in which European states have been benficiaries of American power.

There is another world to be had, a fairer world.  That must come through conscious construction though, and not from rejection of the current international regime without thought to what will replace it.  Be careful what you wish for, because you just might get it.

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg

by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Fri Sep 28th, 2007 at 10:37:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The question is - is that tension a structural part of the relationship, or it is caused (or, lesser version, exacerbated) by the current ideology of domination of Capital described below?

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri Sep 28th, 2007 at 11:18:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Capital is just another tribal domination game.

On the surface it relies on a unique narrative and a unique form of accounting, but in fact it's a very old-fashioned kind of empire acting in very old-fashioned ways.

The practical difference is based on clever technology, and there are also some hesitant and very limited steps towards humanitarianism - although they're very local and contingent, and the current US administration is working hard to eliminate them.

Aside from that, ideologically it might as well be Rome.

Rome imploded under the weight of its own corruption. It couldn't afford to keep or train an effective military, and it was eaten alive by neighbouring tribes.

I think we can nearly take a US implosion as a given now. So the question isn't so much whether the EU can split successfully, as whether or not it's juicy enough a prize to be worth picking up afterwards.

I don't think it is. Russia and China have enough people and enough resources not to need more. Don't forget Europe is almost entirely reliant on external energy supplies. That on its own makes it strategically vulnerable.

If times become hard Russia and China may feel like starting a war for political reasons. But I'm not sure it's worth anyone's while to annexe Europe when natural resources here are so limited, and the population would need so much 're-education' to become useful.

So as things are now, divorce is the wrong question. The divorce will happen anyway when the dominant party expires.

After that, Europe's long term survival prospects as a bloc are not good. If the US collapses, Europe is likely to be left to rot because its only real wealth is cultural and historical - and that counts for very little when resources are limited.

Which means that the smart thing to do now is to start planning for a post-US world where trade and economics are very much less important than they are today, and basic farming and energy self-sufficiency are very much more so.

I'm not expecting anyone to actually do this, even though it makes sense whatever happens next - and it may be the only way to salvage anything at all here after a crash.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri Sep 28th, 2007 at 12:22:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's always darkest

Before the dawn

Well, maybe not always!


Hey, Grandma Moses started late!

by LEP on Fri Sep 28th, 2007 at 01:10:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Capital is just another tribal domination game.
On the surface it relies on a unique narrative and a unique form of accounting, but in fact it's a very old-fashioned kind of empire acting in very old-fashioned ways.

I've been reading for classes, and one of the more interesting ideas that I've encountered recently is the idea that the current international system in some sense represents the global diffusion of the utlitarian value system across the globe.

Now if you are a good utilitarian, you have an indivualist ontology.  Which is to say that the value that you place on items is entirely your own, value is no affected by social interaction.  Let's call this the income narrative.  In this instance, the amount of income that others posses is of no concern to you.  So long as the amount of income that you receive increases, the distribution of income is not important.

This defies common sense.  Anyone who's been a teenager knows that consumption is largely socially driven.  That is to say that value is not internally determined, but instead the origin of preferences lies in socialization into one's peer group.  And value isn't indivualized, it's socialized.  Wealth becomes a zero-sum game, because the relative distribution of wealth rather than the absolute quantity present in a society is what matters.  And individuals will willingly destroy societal wealth (including the portion they own) in order to create a more even distribution of wealth in society.  Wealth derives its importance not from the individual utility, but from the social status it grants.  

Consider now what this means for the global distribution of wealth, and the prospects for conflict as that changes..........

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg

by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Fri Sep 28th, 2007 at 02:13:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"if you are a good utilitarian, you have an indivualist ontology"

That is to say, "if you are a typical, debased utilitarian (simplistic, and blind even to your own values)..."
-------------

I prefer to attack bad ideas on their own terms when possible: This bypasses a layer of intellectual armor and concentrates fire on a soft spot. For example:

Genuine "utility" corresponds to what people actually value, which includes a more than just money and what it can buy. Confused utilitarians, out to maximize wealth instead of utility, are simply wrong by their own standards. What people actually value includes their relationships, the well-being of others, and a lot more.

So, no need to attack utilitarianism or self-interest here; we can save that effort for another war. (Hmmm... If people  understood the reality of the hedonic treadmill, then what?)

</ favorite-topic>

Words and ideas I offer here may be used freely and without attribution.

by technopolitical on Fri Sep 28th, 2007 at 06:04:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Those annoying basement-dwelling Randians would probably disagree with you.

It's a key element in this Economic Madness that all utility must be measured in monetary terms to the maximum extent possible, and all relationships must be commodified.

Of course this is nuts, and it's at the core of our pathology.

But while that minor detail is sorting itself out in a collision with the real world, we're left with the fact that it's a rare neoliberal who can accept that monetary utility isn't the ultimate measure of everything that matters, and that the magic of the markets creates more utility for everyone.

(Or at least, for everyone who matters.)

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri Sep 28th, 2007 at 07:27:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Utility and efficiency are hugely important, but there is no reason to divorce either from a humane context. It is in fact our main conflict with the neo-liberal/neo-conservative bloc (no need to differentiate, as far as I can tell). In this regard we are very close to the "true conservatives" in that we all share a moral vision of behavior and value. As often pointed out, the main difference is the path - either more communitarian or more "individualistic".

paul spencer
by paul spencer (spencerinthegorge AT yahoo DOT com) on Sat Sep 29th, 2007 at 12:07:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The EU's soft power relies to some extent on the threat of the USA's hard power. And the EU can't see itself existing in isolation without allies.

The truth of this should not be underestimated.  In all honesty, I think that in terms of economic gains, Europe is a greater beneficiary of American hard power and the ability to enforce open markets than the United States itself.

What you say seems so obviously and indisputably true that I can trust with certainty that it is wrong.

Perhaps in the universe that we are expected to believe in, it is true. It makes complete sense.

Did the EU experiment start better because of NATO sitting off its shores, or would it have gone even smoother without the US influence over England, for example.

Does China or Thailand or Japan or the Middle East trade more with the EU due to the largesse of NATO?

Could it be said that the EU would have had to confront and come to terms with a united foreign policy with a united military, and hone a force vector harmonious with its soft power should NATO not have been here?

And as far as getting what we wish for, what is the consequence of the US pulling out of the land it occupies here...outside of the benefit that it might help them get their financial house in order sooner.

I think that it could be said that a working EU without the NATO factor would serve a good example in contrast to the US example.

I'm not trying to be snarky; I can think of some disruptions, but none with more impact than the benefits.

Never underestimate their intelligence, always underestimate their knowledge.

Frank Delaney ~ Ireland

by siegestate (siegestate or beyondwarispeace.com) on Fri Sep 28th, 2007 at 03:46:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't see the EU benefiting more from US power than the US does.

I do see the elites staffed by dedicated Atlanticists who are unwilling to consider making a clean break. And individual states still mired in nationalisms - often sponsored by US influence - which make a clean break even less likely.

Very few leaders in the EU seem to be considering a federal vision that isn't, at the very least, a partnership with Washington. Very few appreciate the extent to which the constant propaganda for reform and 'liberalisation' undermines national autonomy and federalisation while appearing to support both.

This is very useful for EU pols, because it provides deniability. When terror flights land in EU countries, EU politicians can cluck unsympathetically in public - which is always useful for a few poll points - while offering support in private.

And that's where we are. Rather too much of the EU leadership is like a French- and German-speaking wing of the Democratic party - outraged and disapproving in public, spineless or even actively supportive and complicit in private.

I don't see any evidence of genuine disdain for Washington among the pols. Bush is considered an aberration rather than a symptom, and the Atlanticists are convinced that AngloSaxonia is still basically sound and entirely friendly.

Populations may be suspicious, but they hardly count. And it's easy for the US-sponsored financial and nationalist media outlets to bring them to heel by promising a few gaudy nationalisms which will teach Brussels a lesson and put the Eurocrats in their place.

What's tragic is that hardly anyone in Brussels seems to see the reality of the situation. The EU is so completely a vassal state that true independence of thought and action has become unthinkable. The best we're going to get is a few slaps for Microsoft and maybe a banana war. But there isn't going to be a serious questioning of the Atlanticist view - which means the neoliberal Washington consensus - any time soon.

When even the Greens support the Iraq war, you know that dissent has pretty much been sidelined into electoral insignificance. (No matter how big it is numerically.)

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri Sep 28th, 2007 at 07:16:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There is another world to be had, a fairer world.  That must come through conscious construction though, and not from rejection of the current international regime without thought to what will replace it.  Be careful what you wish for, because you just might get it.
The US regime has rejected the international regime "current" since the end of WWII, and has created or wrosened several serious problems. The priority has to be to solve the problems and not to restore the US to its "rightful" place at the centre of the post-WWII geopolitical system.

We have met the enemy, and it is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Sep 30th, 2007 at 02:36:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Isn't it wonderful that when it comes to keep the 'terraists' away there's a community of the West, but when there's a need to establish common product safety standards, labor, and environmental protocols the room goes silent?

Or is this something we all knew and there's nothing to discuss?

Of course, it's the love that dare not speak its name, by which I mean the attraction of technical authoritarianism to the global neoliberal elite.  

The world is their sandbox, and the box it came in clearly stated "democracy not required."

The unfortunate impact of this is that there is a very real need for common safety standards and social market protocols, but those concerns are crowded out by the belief that 'efficiency' alone is the only concern.  That in disembedding the market from its social and natural context, and commodifying man, nature, and credit we might destroy the foundations upon this is all built.  Lost to them.

There has to be a community of "the West" in the sense that the failure to provide common standards and market regulation spawns its own little demons.

Like having to worry about swallowing toothpaste when you brush your teeth, because there's such a lack of protections that the product may well be contaminated with something that will kill you.

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg

by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Fri Sep 28th, 2007 at 08:45:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
is this something we all knew and there's nothing to discuss?

I'm still disappointed that we couldn't get Marek or Joerg to articulate an Atlanticist position in a diary here. Meanwhile, Joerg is busy providing cover to the White House policy in Iraq.

We have met the enemy, and it is us — Pogo

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Sep 28th, 2007 at 08:46:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Very, very ugly indeed.

Sometimes the most ardent doctrinaires are the converts.

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Fri Sep 28th, 2007 at 09:41:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This goes back to the US approach to Europe after World War II - the use of the Marshall Plan as an economic underpinning to American dominance of postwar Europe. Truman's Committee on European Recovery wrote in late 1946 or early 1947:

The deterioration of the European economy would force European countries to resort to trade by govrenment monopoly - not for economic but for political ends. The United States would almost inevitably have to follow suit. The resulting system of state controls, at first relating to foreign trade, would soon have to be extended into the domestic economy to an extent that would endanger the survival of the American system of free enterprise. (quoted in Melvyn Leffler, The Specter of Communism: The United States and the Origins of the Cold War, 1917-1953, p. 53)

Postwar American officials felt that without western Europe being securely in an American orbit, the US would have to move toward a more social democratic economy - at minimum - or face a decline in standards of living. NATO was the means by which this Atlanticist approach was cemented - and I really like Migeru's comparison to the Delian League in that sense.

And the world will live as one

by Montereyan (robert at calitics dot com) on Fri Sep 28th, 2007 at 11:24:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I do.

And I've been too busy working on a Jonny Wilkenson voudou doll today to comment.

It appears to be working.

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Fri Sep 28th, 2007 at 04:14:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And as soon as I write that, the English start pulling away...

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill
by r------ on Fri Sep 28th, 2007 at 04:37:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
wonderful writing. You described what the west means for Europe. I wished I'd done a fraction of it.

However you reduced the question's scope too fast. West is defined by opposition to East. East may have meant Soviet Union, but certainly now means Asia, including Japan (Bil has already questioned Japan's clustering). This is true not only as we look to the future, but also as we look to the past. Andre Gunder Frank presents China as being the biggest economical centre of world trade until almost 1800. See an extract of its ReOrient book in studien-von-zeitfragen.

So where should one put South America and, even more interestingly, Africa? Is West a rich nations club? This is the first question.

by findmeaDoorIntoSummer on Fri Sep 28th, 2007 at 10:29:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There's also the question of how the US military perceives Nato.

From Real Clear Politics [the site's title is without irony, I'm afraid -- L]

[Author] Tony Corn is currently writing a book on the Long War. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Paris and is a graduate of the U.S. Naval War College. The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the position of the U.S. Department or the U.S. government.

I urge you to try to get through the full article by Corn, beyond the few excerpts, below. The author may sound like a nut-case but policy papers by graduates of the US Naval War College are taken very seriously by the US Defense Department.

The Revolution in Transatlantic Affairs

The return of both China and Islam in world history after a three-century-long eclipse has been the defining feature of the international stage since 1979.

In the first decade afterwards, the West was simply too focused on the "second Cold War" against the Soviet Bloc to ponder the meaning of the revolutions engineered by Den Xiao Ping in China and Khomenei in Iran. In the second decade, a victorious West, indulging in rhetorical self-intoxication, mistook the most recent stage of a century-old globalization process for the end of history and even geography.

Throughout the 1990s, this infatuation with globalization and a "time-space compression" in the virtual world led most Westerners to ignore the twofold epochal change taking place in the real world: the transfer of the center of gravity of the world economy from the Atlantic to the Pacific, with "three billion new capitalists" poised to put an end to three centuries of Euro-Atlantic economic primacy; and the rise of a "second nuclear age" in Asia and with it, the concomitant end of three centuries of Western military superiority.1

[my emphasis]

This article is a must-read for anyone who would like to know what is being fed to the current US administration by the military and what's shaping its policies with regard to Europe and NATO.

Corn goes on to rant about the SCO, "the NATO of the East" and its dangers.

The Long War promises to be a thinking man's war. As a full-fledged Alliance, NATO possesses the kind of staying power that mere ad hoc coalitions cannot deliver; but NATO still has to come to terms with the fact that thinking power will matter more than fighting power. If NATO is to avoid the twofold danger of the SCO becoming a NATO of the East while NATO becomes a mere SEATO of the West, the Alliance will have first of all to downgrade its "toolbox" dimension and beef up its "think-tank" dimension.

It's a lengthy article and may merit deconstruction.

by Loefing on Sat Sep 29th, 2007 at 07:23:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
sounds worth commenting, indeed.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun Sep 30th, 2007 at 03:46:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
During the Chirac France has happily collaborated with the US on questionable operations such as the ouster of Aristide from Haiti, so the disagreement over Iraq was just a sign of sanity on the part of Chirac. The agreement over Iran is a sign of Sarkozy's insanity.

We have met the enemy, and it is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Sep 28th, 2007 at 08:39:22 AM EST
During the Chirac years

We have met the enemy, and it is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Sep 28th, 2007 at 09:17:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You keep mentioning an agreement over Iran. What agreement are you speaking of?

Hey, Grandma Moses started late!
by LEP on Fri Sep 28th, 2007 at 11:53:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I just taking what Sarkozy says at face value.

If Bush has taught us something is that when evil people in power tell you what they're going to do, like supervillains in a bad movie, it's unwise to ignore what they're saying just because it sounds insane. Years later you wake up and find they have done exactly what they said they would do, and worse.

We have met the enemy, and it is us — Pogo

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Sep 30th, 2007 at 02:32:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I've never understood quite what the "west" is all about. Isn't Japan part of the west? I'm not sure about India. I know Israel is. Particularly since they're the the source of the Western Judaeo-Christian tradition. Two religions that are Asian in origin. It's very confusing.
I once read an article which talked about Algeria vs. the west. Algeria on my map being considerably to the west of a great deal of Europe.
I think it's a stupid idea and needs to "vanished from the pages of history."
by bil on Fri Sep 28th, 2007 at 11:37:47 AM EST
Isn't Japan part of the west?

No.

Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.

by marco on Fri Sep 28th, 2007 at 12:22:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Why not?
by generic on Fri Sep 28th, 2007 at 12:29:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You have to ask?  

Language.  
History.  
Culture.  
Geography.  

All not West.  

The Fates are kind.

by Gaianne on Mon Oct 1st, 2007 at 11:02:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
However, Japan has been a client state of the US of A for the last 60 years, not to speak of the massive Western influences of the Meiji Restoration which immediately followed Commodore Perry's "Opening of Japan" by "Gunboat Diplomacy".

We have met the enemy, and it is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Oct 2nd, 2007 at 02:53:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I've never understood quite what the "west" is all about.

hint:  check the skin colour :-)  imho "the west" is code for "whitefolks countries," and I guess Israel gets to be a member since Anglo elites, sometime in the mid 60's, grudgingly allowed as how Jews can be white people too (as long as they're not too Sephardic which confuses everybody).  it's basically like an exclusive gated community, only larger scale...

heard recently that there's talk of inviting Israel into NATO which as I commented elsewhere should have a destabilising effect on the acronym, at least.  NASMRSTO?  hard to pronounce :-)

The difference between theory and practise in practise ...

by DeAnander (de_at_daclarke_dot_org) on Fri Sep 28th, 2007 at 01:20:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Aznar and the FAES (PP thinktank in Spain) proposed admitting Israel, Japan, and Australia into NATO about 2 years back.  I assume that he was at least in part carrying water for the Heritage Foundation.

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg
by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Fri Sep 28th, 2007 at 02:34:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
wow, I guess that means that the Japanese might get to be White Folks too -- but what about the indigenous Ainu, whom many Japanese consider to be "inferior" but who look, iirc, more Caucasian than the dominant Japanese ethnicity?  not to mention the Okinawans (surely it's not coincidental that the US occupied zone of Japan is Okinawa, whose people are iirc also considered "inferior" by wingnut Japanese).  maybe Migeru can clarify the subtleties of race prejudice in Japan?  I've always found it rather confusing, except that it seems to parallel Western racism in glorifying paleness of skin, relative hairlessness, and tallness...

The difference between theory and practise in practise ...
by DeAnander (de_at_daclarke_dot_org) on Fri Sep 28th, 2007 at 03:00:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Placing aside the group promoting this, I think that there's a real discussion to be had about the need for common safety regulations and environmental and labor safeguards.  I think that this can be achieved mulilaterally, but I think that in the absence of an established framework that's accepted as legitimate, there's the danger that the end of American hegemony will result in horrors that make Iraq pale in comparision. There has to be order, or it's a war of all upon all.  Not because that's what people want, but because the small portion of the population that are total egoists force everyone to be guarded or suffer.

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg
by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Fri Sep 28th, 2007 at 04:43:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Placing aside the group promoting this, I think that there's a real discussion to be had about the need for common safety regulations and environmental and labor safeguards.

absolutely.  the guaranteed minimum, the standard of decency -- but it isn't decent if it isn't generalised.  "common environmental regs" within the EU or N Am don't do diddly if "the rest of the world" is made a sacrifice zone for industrial vandalism...  and this point is not "merely" moral, but pragmatic:  it's a small planet, and the destruction being wrought in "lesser nations" will, and does, impact health and happiness worldwide.  the world is one, the climate is one, the oceans are one.  the wind doesn't stop blowing at an arbitrary human property line.

the gated-community model is guaranteed to exacerbate, outside its boundary, whatever miseries or abuses its inhabitants seek to escape.  or so I believe, having watched the model in action.

The difference between theory and practise in practise ...

by DeAnander (de_at_daclarke_dot_org) on Fri Sep 28th, 2007 at 05:38:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ok, I digged it up.

NATO: An Alliance for Freedom.

This was published in 2006 by Spain's Fundacion por el Analisis y los Estudios Sociales (FAES, English Foundation for the Analysis and Study of Social Studies), I suspect that the Heritage Foundation played some real here.

I like this here.  First, Letonia is the Spanish for Lithuania.  And apparently someone doesn't know the difference between India and Sri Lanka.  

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg

by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Fri Sep 28th, 2007 at 05:45:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Colombia?!

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.
by poemless on Fri Sep 28th, 2007 at 05:52:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes........

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg
by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Fri Sep 28th, 2007 at 10:20:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There is apparent mistake here - India does not belong to NATO and will not belong to any military alliance in next 10-20 years at least. This is simply impossible given current era of politics in India and views from left and right of communists and of BJP. And ruling Congress has few advocates of close relationship with the West.
Why? Because pro-Western pro-big business policy does not bring in votes, that's the reason. If such policy would pull out votes Indians would see parliament full of journalists from English-language media (most of them are very pro-Western) but so far that was not the case.
by FarEasterner on Sat Sep 29th, 2007 at 04:28:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If I'm not terribly mistaken Letonia should be Spanish for Latvia, not Lithuania... Note also that the author of the map handed Sakhalin island to the Japanese which I'm sure no Russian noticed or there would be some sort of diplomatic incident :-)

The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom - William Blake
by talos (mihalis at gmail dot com) on Sat Sep 29th, 2007 at 08:35:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
the author of the map handed Sakhalin island to the Japanese  

Just color the map to put Sakhalin in NATO, and surely those Russian airbases will happily take their orders from NORAD!

;)  

The Fates are kind.

by Gaianne on Mon Oct 1st, 2007 at 10:58:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Correct: the names of the Baltic Republics in Spanish are Estonia, Letonia, Lituania.

We have met the enemy, and it is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Oct 2nd, 2007 at 02:50:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
that the projection they use for the map is one that used to be popular, but that almost nobody uses anymore, with the Equator one third of the way, making the northern countries appear a lot bigger than they are.

Africa = 30m sq. km
Greenland = 2.2m sq.km

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun Sep 30th, 2007 at 03:46:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hadn't thought of that, but when you denaturalize these things from the cultural context in which we have become accustomed you see that there small things can imply great power.  The audacity of the Mercator projection in this sense is breathtaking.  They literally cut the Global South down to size.

Note also the inclusion of Sakhalin island in the area corresponding to Japan.

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg

by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Sun Sep 30th, 2007 at 12:06:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
hint:  check the skin colour :-)  imho "the west" is code for "whitefolks countries"
That silly racist british myth is so old and out-dated that I am not sure  if even the Americans well-known for uncritical swallowing any british crap would buy it because not only the favourite woman of Dubya - Condy would be thown out of this elitarian club called The West but quite a big part of American folk would find themselves excluded from it too (suits them mengrels well!).

Sorting people out works better in the UK, as many know. While some of my Russian friends living in the UK were filling in the application for a medical job (the part funnily called the Equal Opportunities or summat like that), they have realised with a shock that there's a lot of 'whites' exist in the world - e.g. Welsh, English, Other white. On the other hand, French, Spanish, Greek, Italian are definitely not white at all - they are Mediterranean whatever that'd mean (suspisiously brown but have great food and don't preach Islam?). Again, if judging by skin colour, one just would have to  to push at least 80 per cent of nasty russkies into that exclusive gated community and kick off both slavonic but rather Greek... er... Mediterranean=Not white-looking Bulgarians and all ex-Ugoslavians and non-slavonic  Turkish looking Hungarians. And who on earth will a decent Brit find in this gated community - nasty but whiter than snow russkies, no doubt all alcoholics and thugs who don't give a shit either they're in the West or not? Nightmire eh?

by lana on Sat Sep 29th, 2007 at 05:15:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
the Atlanticists' vision of the West - a narrow, militaristic, US-dominated, fearful block.

Can we perhaps distinguish between what is is and what it should/could be?

This discussion always makes me ambivalent.  On the one hand, as a US citizen, I'm appalled by and sick of the bullying domination of my country over the rest of the world, so I can appreciate that everyone outside the US would be even more hostile to it.  And they should be.  And I do believe the purpose of NATO in its current incarnation no longer reflects the reality of global politics and even stands in the way of the peace it is meant to ensure...

But if being an Atlanticist means believing in "cooperation among European and North American nations regarding political, economic, and defense issues," I would call myself an Atlanticist.

The fact is that we do share common interests.  That we do share a common culture in many respects, though culture is a fluid, evolving thing.  And what I do find worrisome is the notion that Atlanticism should be replaced with ... the word is not nationalism, because the EU is not a nation, but some kind of chauvinism.  I mean, if people are not willing to see that there is a wide gulf between pandering, submissiveness, poodletry and enmity, hostility, and isolationism, then they will never see progress.  That's the same trap Americans fall into.  You are either with us or with the terrorists.  What I sense here is a feeling that you are either with the EU or with the Atlanticists (with the same connotations).  Not only is that just untrue, but it is also just as unrealistic and out of touch with our political realities as NATO is.  

The answer to what is wrong with Atlanticism is a more independent, assertive Europe and a vocal acknowledgement that the axis of power and alliances have changed since 1949.  You can do these things and still accept that like it or not we have to work together because we share an ocean, much culture (the majority of Americans are of European descent, though that too is changing), and erm, a planet and the power to destroy it and each other.

I'm always for more cooperation, not less.  The problem with Atlanticism is that it's mistaken cooperation for some kind of messed up codependent relationship where Europe won't say no and America knows it.

So far as NATO goes, maybe after Iraq Europe will decide the US can't be of much help if the Russians do invade anyway...

Does the EU have a military that could defend itself?  

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.

by poemless on Fri Sep 28th, 2007 at 01:09:09 PM EST
Does the EU have a military that could defend itself?

It has many national militaries, and I think it is safe to assume it could defend Europe against anything external threath except the US military.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Fri Sep 28th, 2007 at 01:32:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Is there an EU version of NATO, an agreement that all other countries would come to the aid of a member country if it is attacked?  Or is it all on the honor system?  Might explain why some countries want to know the US has their backs...  (For the record, I don't really believe in war, nor do I see Estonia being invaded by Russia, but for the sake of argument...)

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.
by poemless on Fri Sep 28th, 2007 at 01:41:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Western European Union (A military organization, not orignating in the EU.) This has largely been subsumed within the EU in recent years.

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg
by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Fri Sep 28th, 2007 at 02:15:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh yeah, forgot about that one...

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Fri Sep 28th, 2007 at 06:00:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Their is no formal agreement, no. Four EU countries (Sweden, Finland, Austria and Ireland) are formally military non-aligned. Checking it up, Malta and Cyprus are not in NATO either.

There are however military cooperation, mainly under the wings of NATO, and with the common economic borders and the (somewhat) common foreign policy leaving an attacked member in the lurch is not really an option.

If NATO was to disappear my guess is that a formal alliance would soon appear among the EU countries, within or without the structure of the EU.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Fri Sep 28th, 2007 at 05:54:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
common economic borders and the (somewhat) common foreign policy leaving an attacked member in the lurch is not really an option.

So things have changed since 1938?  

(seriously, I'm no fan of NATO, but you have to see where this is going...)

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.

by poemless on Fri Sep 28th, 2007 at 05:59:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, things has changed since 1938.

For example, say that Finland would be attacked. Finnish citizens has the right to move - to say Paris or London - within the EU framework. The finnish government would demand help in the council of ministers and finnish MEP would demand condemnation from the European parliament. While there is no formal military alliance having a member country conquered by a non-member would wreak havoc on the EU structure.

And EU has some of the strongest militaries in the world. In spending Britain and France regularly ends up on top five.

So the norwegian troops would have to be forced out of Finland.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Fri Sep 28th, 2007 at 06:22:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thinking about it, Czechoslovakia had formal military alliances with France and USSR as well as guarantees from Britain. But it was traded in the great powers game.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Fri Sep 28th, 2007 at 06:40:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It seems like defense is always best on an ad hoc basis. The standing armies always seem to be used for offense.
by bil on Fri Sep 28th, 2007 at 02:07:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Actually, even against the US military.

If the Iraqis can resist, after all...

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Fri Sep 28th, 2007 at 09:37:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EU and US are both defenseless against the global grasshoppers who have groomed and harvested their leaders.
by findmeaDoorIntoSummer on Fri Sep 28th, 2007 at 09:22:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Indeed,
and the military is useless against such attacks anyway.

Welcome back, btw. Been a while since I saw your signature around here.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Fri Sep 28th, 2007 at 09:58:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks. I have been busy changing my act.
by findmeaDoorIntoSummer on Fri Sep 28th, 2007 at 10:52:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"This is really the UK as the US aircraft carrier, or as the Trojan Horse."

About sums it up.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin

by Crazy Horse on Fri Sep 28th, 2007 at 01:16:43 PM EST
"But again, it's clear. The EU is never mentioned; Europe exists only via NATO and matters if it is unified in NATO under US authority, and abandons all pretence of independence."

The post World War II military/security alliances became less relevant following the collapse of the USSR. During the latter days of the USSR and till 9/11 military/security alliances were being replaced by a globalizing economy and alliances built around that. Since the early `90s and with the communication revolution markets have opened up in East Europe and Asia and have blurred the lines of those old post WW II alliances.

NATO's relevance since September 11, 2001 does not seem to be effective except for political posturing in support of armed conflicts.

But since I tend to view the world dynamics from an economic and not political perspective, I would suggest that if and when we get past this so called war on terror, the economic alliances would once again more important than the old alliances like NATO.

by BJ Lange (langebj@gmail.com) on Fri Sep 28th, 2007 at 05:11:42 PM EST
Let NATO not catch the US cancer that is "the global war on terror".  And let NATO not ASSume that the "defense" of the "west" means that there is an "enemy" in the east.  The "east" meaning countries which the "west" exploits for their cheap labor.

Lord, the world is so fucked up even I can't exlain it anymore!

by Lasthorseman on Fri Sep 28th, 2007 at 08:44:43 PM EST
Very good Jerome! Very good...It's naked truth...unfortunately. But it's good to see it with open eyes.
Quote:
West - a narrow, militaristic, US-dominated, fearful block.
---------
That's exactly how rest of the world see west.


Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Sat Sep 29th, 2007 at 12:18:51 AM EST
great diary, great thread...

the union of intention between the usa and the uk reminds me of the hapsburg dynasty, too incestuous by half, bearing twisted fruit.

i don't trust any militaristic organisations, and though nato could have some good uses, i don't feel it is much more than another military-industrial client, there to continue the status quo.

europe needs to become self-sufficient energywise....first priority!

that's dealing with the root of most of our secondary issues.

if we focus doggedly on that, we can make it through the coming bottleneck without being bled dry -or worse, by russia, or neo-conned into more disastrous macho-idiotic escapades by america.

how we in europe are codependent in aggravating the problems of the israel-palestine issue is especially infuriating, seeing as the uk is responsible for israel's creation in the first place.

the arab street will never accept the genuine socio-cultural benefits we in europe and the usa have to share with the world, until this pandering and provoking comes to a stop.

we can't have it both ways, either we believe in democracy and talk to hamas, or we don't, and stop pretending to be fair.

same cog-diss as preaching to iran about nuke proliferation while threatening to solve global warming by giving the nuclear industry another free pass to untold riches with no insurance...

won't wash.

it's the energy, dumbos, capital will lose to energy, or to put it differently, energy is the new capital, and we are hemorrhaging daily to fatten middlemen and shysters who have 'western' governments in a half-nelson, thereby ensuring our economic dependence on russia, 20 years down the line...

terminally s-t-u-p-i-d...

i don't get it how so many people can be kept so long in the dark, when it's staring us in the face!

'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 Sat Sep 29th, 2007 at 09:38:43 AM EST
I think this is a pretty good description of the Atlanticists' vision of the West - a narrow, militaristic, US-dominated, fearful block.  

Well, given that NATO includes the US, what ELSE could it be?  

;)

The Fates are kind.

by Gaianne on Mon Oct 1st, 2007 at 10:52:31 PM EST


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