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The Clash of Frames

by Colman Wed Jul 8th, 2009 at 05:57:19 AM EST

I find myself unable to comprehend Atlanticists: writing on Atlantic Community, Jan Techau argues that the greatest threat to European Security is that NATO might fade away:

On July 7th, NATO will officially kick off the process of drafting a new strategic concept for history's most enduring military alliance. Officials, soldiers, think tankers, and strategists from all 28 member states will convene in Brussels to ponder ideas on how to make the Atlantic Alliance fit for its seventh decade in business. The task is a huge and timely one. The old strategic concept is ten years old. And NATO is an alliance ridden with self-doubt and plagued by serious political and military rifts. But it is neither the demanding military situation in Afghanistan nor the more-dead-than-alive relationship with its most important partner - the European Union - that is most troubling for the alliance. Also neither Russia, nor Iran, nor Al-Qaeda will break up NATO any time soon. The biggest threat is, once again, decoupling. But unlike in the late 1970s and early 1980s, when political leaders in Europe were deeply concerned that a war-weary US could retreat and leave its old-world partners unprotected, today's threat is real.
I just cannot understand the frame that these people are using. It seems to me that keeping NATO important is itself a goal. NATO is not a tool with which to achieve things, but an end. The train of thought seems to be: Nato is intrinsically important and good and wonderful, therefore we must find reasons to justify its continued existence and prevent any threats to its existence.

Does not compute. Can anyone explain it to me?


Display:
The reasons that are trotted out seem irrelevant: they seem like post-hoc justifications.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Jul 8th, 2009 at 05:58:16 AM EST
In that respect, what is peculiar about NATO advocates?

A man of words and not of deeds is like a garden full of weeds; a man of deeds and not of words is like a garden full of turds — Anonymous
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jul 8th, 2009 at 06:22:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh, nothing, except I really can't find my way into their mindset.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Jul 8th, 2009 at 06:24:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What's peculiar about that mindset? There are others you can't get into, surely.

A man of words and not of deeds is like a garden full of weeds; a man of deeds and not of words is like a garden full of turds — Anonymous
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jul 8th, 2009 at 06:28:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, I can normally dream up a set of axioms in which the point of view makes sense: I think the problem here might be that I'm trying to avoid attributing some unpleasant axioms to the Atlanticist crowd.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Jul 8th, 2009 at 06:30:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, that's what I suspect too, and it speaks highly of your sense of diplomacy.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Jul 8th, 2009 at 06:31:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think this paragraph really cuts to the core of the assumptions underpinning the NATO fan club (my bold):

At the same time, Europe is getting increasingly dependent on the US' ability to provide security and serve as the guarantor of peace. A more assertive and less predictable Russia reminds Europeans that their lives would be much less convenient if it wasn't for the US nuclear umbrella. Issues such as Iran, piracy, and Palestine are of vital interest to Europeans but rely on a strong US to be resolved. Even the European Union's own attempt to become a producer of security, the European Security and Defense Policy, has proven to be largely dependent on NATO and American assets. If Washington, for a sheer lack of resources, is forced to concentrate its diminished assets on a few select hot issues, Europe, incapable of defending itself, could end up being a significantly less comfy place to live in.

I'll take a stab at translating the bolded parts:

  • A more assertive and less predictable Russia: Russia is a threat that can (should) be faced down militarily (just like in the good old days of Ronnie Raygun and Star Wars).

  • the US nuclear umbrella: The Americans are willing to defend their allies. The French are not.

  • Iran: The State Department's bogeyman of the week is a real and serious threat to the continued survival of Western CivilisationTM. See the bullet about Russia for how to deal with threats.

  • piracy: Europe cannot police the sea lanes (or even our own territory) without American help.

  • Palestine: The Muslims in the Middle East are a Threat To Western CivilisationTM. See above for how to respond to threats.

  • rely on a strong US to be resolved: Europe cannot defend our interests without American help (see above) and the US can do no wrong, except for not being strong enough in confronting the Existential Threats To Western CivilisationTM, and blinking first in the spaghetti-western-style staredown that this reduces foreign policy to.

So basically I think it sums up to a lot of [Europe.Is.Doomed™ Alert] and [Neocon Moment Alert] with an extra helping of Conventional Wisdom on the subject of what constitutes European strategic interests and what the threats to said interests are.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Jul 9th, 2009 at 02:06:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh, and [Starvid's Rysskräck Technology™] . Lots and lots of [Starvid's Rysskräck Technology™] .

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Jul 9th, 2009 at 02:08:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's a case of concern-trolling. The entire argument is basically 'drafting a new strategic concept for NATO offers Europe a chance to better service the US'.
by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Wed Jul 8th, 2009 at 07:47:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
they seem like post-hoc justifications

Assuming this has a kernel of truth and I, for one, suspect it does; the question becomes: What are these ad-hoc justifications trying to prevent?


Money is a sign of Poverty - Culture Saying

by RogueTrooper on Wed Jul 8th, 2009 at 08:20:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
RogueTrooper:
What are these ad-hoc justifications trying to prevent?

a new frame? one that says we need NATO like a hole in the head?

one that acknowledges the interactivity of europe with the new russia, where people travel freely and we enjoy each others' cultural heritage?

a far cry from the kruschev days, when russia was pretty evil.

and yes we are grateful, but we don't need a crutch anymore, we can walk now, and our way of doing business with the rest of the world is a lot less pushy and outright belligerent than 'captain' america's.

in a thread full of good observations, Jerome's rings the truest, imo, that the EU countries are props for the mighty will of america, to make it seem less unilteral, the rest is just hogwash spin.

'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 Wed Jul 8th, 2009 at 09:16:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not picking on Techau especially: I have the same problem with a lot of the writings that take NATO as an axiom.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Jul 8th, 2009 at 05:59:44 AM EST
Atlantic Community:Open Think Tank Article "New NATO Concept a Chance for Europe to Recommit to Alliance"
A more assertive and less predictable Russia reminds Europeans that their lives would be much less convenient if it wasn't for the US nuclear umbrella. Issues such as Iran, piracy, and Palestine are of vital interest to Europeans but rely on a strong US to be resolved. Even the European Union's own attempt to become a producer of security, the European Security and Defense Policy, has proven to be largely dependent on NATO and American assets. If Washington, for a sheer lack of resources, is forced to concentrate its diminished assets on a few select hot issues, Europe, incapable of defending itself, could end up being a significantly less comfy place to live in.

I think we're supposed to be frightened by this. I'd guess he's implying that the Russians will invade - because that would be such a good idea for Russia and well worth the time and effort.

Not that it makes any sense anyway. If a resource-poor Washington decided to cut back, isn't it obvious that US NATO commitments would suddenly stop being quite so committed?

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Jul 8th, 2009 at 06:14:52 AM EST
AFP: US wants 'strong, peaceful and prosperous' Russia

"America wants a strong, peaceful, and prosperous Russia," Obama told students from the New Economic School in Moscow.

"We recognize the future benefit that will come from a strong and vibrant Russia," Obama said.

The challenges facing the modern world "demand global partnership, and that partnership will be stronger if Russia occupies its rightful place as a great power," he said.

The atlanticists must be shaking in their boots.

You cannot be a "great power" and not be "assertive".

Unless "its rightful place as a great power" is doublespeak for "alongside the UK under a 'special relationship'"....

A man of words and not of deeds is like a garden full of weeds; a man of deeds and not of words is like a garden full of turds — Anonymous

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jul 8th, 2009 at 06:21:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Even the European Union's own attempt to become a producer of security, the European Security and Defense Policy, has proven to be largely dependent on NATO and American assets.

Heh, LOL! After heavy lobbying and blackmail from the USA, you mean.

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

by DoDo on Wed Jul 8th, 2009 at 06:41:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh yeah, WTF?

Do conceptual videos like this one help raise visibility about NATO's purpose and achievements? How do you think NATO can best enable young people to connect to the core values of the transatlantic alliance? Let us know what you think! (Atlantic Community)
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Jul 8th, 2009 at 06:20:25 AM EST
Colman:
NATO can best enable young people to connect to the core values of the transatlantic alliance
Whaaa!?

A man of words and not of deeds is like a garden full of weeds; a man of deeds and not of words is like a garden full of turds — Anonymous
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jul 8th, 2009 at 06:23:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What's another word for "public diplomacy"?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Jul 8th, 2009 at 06:25:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Er - Obama?
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Jul 8th, 2009 at 06:32:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Propaganda.
by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Wed Jul 8th, 2009 at 06:53:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Astroturfing?

A man of words and not of deeds is like a garden full of weeds; a man of deeds and not of words is like a garden full of turds — Anonymous
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jul 8th, 2009 at 07:15:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
history's most enduring military alliance.

Ummm, sure...

  • NATO: was 60 years old this April.
  • Delian League: 478BC-404BC, that's 74 years.
  • Peloponnesian League: c. 550BC-366BC, that's ~180 years.


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Jul 8th, 2009 at 06:24:58 AM EST
History starts when I say it does!

A man of words and not of deeds is like a garden full of weeds; a man of deeds and not of words is like a garden full of turds — Anonymous
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jul 8th, 2009 at 06:28:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
...that's the Economic Cycle, surely?

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson
by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Wed Jul 8th, 2009 at 06:34:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Economic Cycle is defined from trough to peak, right? The peak-to-through part of the cycle is an outlier.

Carnot would die laughing...

A man of words and not of deeds is like a garden full of weeds; a man of deeds and not of words is like a garden full of turds — Anonymous

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jul 8th, 2009 at 06:36:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And it ends when Fukuyama says it does :P

A man of words and not of deeds is like a garden full of weeds; a man of deeds and not of words is like a garden full of turds — Anonymous
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jul 8th, 2009 at 06:35:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
NATO = subversience of European external policies to the US military.

Maintaining NATO means keeping the tool that allows US policy to be labelled as approved by the "international community."

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

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Wed Jul 8th, 2009 at 06:27:07 AM EST
Atlantic Community:Open Think Tank Article "New NATO Concept a Chance for Europe to Recommit to Alliance"
European governments must finally get straight with their populations on what's ahead. Yes, the world is an increasingly insecure place. No, the US won't be prepared to carry the burden alone any longer. Yes, that means more and smarter spending on unpopular stuff, more engagement, and most certainly more casualties. No, this isn't war-mongering, this is the 21st century. Say it publicly. Say it now.

The assumption is clear that the US bears the burden of defending Europe from the world's insecurity.

By the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan? But weren't they in reaction to a threat to America's security?

By the nuclear umbrella? But against whom? It's in Russia's interests to threaten Europe with nuclear destruction?

this is the 21st century

Meaningless rhetoric, worn out long ago by neocon overuse.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Jul 8th, 2009 at 06:29:08 AM EST
afew:
No, this isn't war-mongering, this is the 21st century. Say it publicly. Say it now.
Is Atlantic Community a mouthpiece for Europe's Military Industrial Complex?

That's the only explanation for this drivel that makes economic sense.

A man of words and not of deeds is like a garden full of weeds; a man of deeds and not of words is like a garden full of turds — Anonymous

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jul 8th, 2009 at 06:30:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The propaganda budget remains impressive, however.
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Jul 8th, 2009 at 06:31:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
of course... it takes a lot of splainin' to us bubble-weary europeans to understand why we should be so scared of the russians, who are already buying heavily into europe.

why would they want to bomb us? to take over our corrupt economies?

to eat our lunch?

they need us viable like china needs the usa and the rest of the world, to trade with.

the neolibs taught us that surely?

the clash of the titans stuff is s-o-o yesterday, the public is way over that, but the legal gunrunners, they need fear like bread needs butter.

ooo big scary russians!

i liked seeing medvedev and obama together, young, smiling, naturally wary, yet engaging.

gives me hope, again

'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 Wed Jul 8th, 2009 at 09:04:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
By the nuclear umbrella? But against whom? It's in Russia's interests to threaten Europe with nuclear destruction?

Hey, you don't ask such questions. Russia is a Menance, they just threaten. (And, to be fair, it could be argued that a nuclear umbrella applies against large-sacale conventional threats, too.)

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

by DoDo on Wed Jul 8th, 2009 at 06:36:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]

Yes, the world is an increasingly insecure place.

Aren't the neolibs/neocons the first ones to point out that democracy (tm) has spread over the past 20 years, and that the number of actual wars (international and internal) has never been lower today?

Aren't they also saying that the supposed new threats are of the kind that does not have easy military solutions (terrorism, digital warfare)?

Aren't they building that discourse on the fact that the very causes of insecurity (market labor "flexibility", deregulation, capital volatility) that they use to play fearmongerers have even less of a military answer?

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

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Wed Jul 8th, 2009 at 06:37:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Jerome a Paris:
Yes, the world is an increasingly insecure place.
Aren't the neolibs/neocons the first ones to point out that democracy (tm) has spread over the past 20 years, and that the number of actual wars (international and internal) has never been lower today?
But not in the same sentence. See EUROPE.IS.SO.DOOMED. Narrative Edition by kcurie on May 12th, 2008:
Today, we will visit a textbook example of how narratives interact with each other to create semi-structural myths which in turn can get close to losing internal coherence.

...

... You can say completely contradictory things at different times, but not at the same time. This is the only way we have to generate converts to the enlightenment movement.

In other words, only when a statement or discourse is in direct contradiction with itself and immediate reality can we reach the guys at the other side of our enlightenment narrative/mythology. But we have to reach them, otherwise, they will forget.



A man of words and not of deeds is like a garden full of weeds; a man of deeds and not of words is like a garden full of turds — Anonymous
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jul 8th, 2009 at 06:41:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It seems to me that keeping NATO important is itself a goal.

It may be that the goal envisioned by the author has to do with un- or half-stated assumptions. E.g.,

the late 1970s and early 1980s, when political leaders in Europe were deeply concerned that a war-weary US could retreat and leave its old-world partners unprotected

...the European Atlanticists believe Europe needs protection, now. But, this time they don't blame a Carter II for 'abandoning us' (which in itself is interesting retro-history), but seem to imply Europe stupidly forgeting about its defenses?...

Now, this is the author. As for NATO's real goal: to keep vassals pliant, of course.

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

by DoDo on Wed Jul 8th, 2009 at 06:34:04 AM EST
In European Atlanticists, I also sense a schisophrenic duality: on the surface, they want to view NATO as a partner of equals based on values, a kind of super-EU; but their insistence to maintain it is really based on the half-conscious assumption/recognition/acceptance of an assymetric relation, one of European security dependence.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Jul 8th, 2009 at 06:39:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
...the European Atlanticists believe Europe needs protection, now.

I once added up the EU troop numbers and compared with the russian. It appears it was at the since deleted Boom! Headshot! diary and googlecache seams to have moved on, but anyway my point was that in number of soldiers EU and Russia is quite equally matched.

An EU with a one-for-all clause should be able to make any conventional invasion an even match or at least uneconomical, especially if NATOs common command is replaced with one for the EU. The french nukes should be enough to deter from nuclear attack.

So I do not understand what we would be needing protection from. The US?

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

by A swedish kind of death on Wed Jul 8th, 2009 at 06:04:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Serious shooting wars have been uneconomical since shortly after the invention of breech-loading for rifles and artillery. The last serious land war that any of the belligerents actually can be said to have won is the Franco-Prussian war in 1869.

Every major war since then has had no winner, except the ones who stayed out of it and thus didn't get their work force and industrial plant depleted by it.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Jul 8th, 2009 at 06:31:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Why is France's nuclear deterrent never mentioned in these discussions? I can see why Britain's isn't - they're a mental annex to New York - but France has a total yield in the multiple-digit kiloton range, and the means to get it to Moscow or any other major city in our immediate neighbourhood.

Surely when it comes to deterrence it matters not whether you have 640 kiloton or 640 megaton? An enemy that is not discouraged by your ability to remove two or three major cities from the face of the planet within the first two hours of a serious shooting war is not likely to be discouraged by your ability to remove his entire country...

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Jul 8th, 2009 at 07:36:30 AM EST
Probably you've put your finger on yet another reason for the cult of Nato. An independent EU security arrangement probably would include a nuclear deterrent force (does anyone recall "touts les horizons"?). And this would pretty much have to be based on the French one (see above re the Pentagon's Albion Annexe, Airstrip 13). How would that make Britain feel? Or any residual Prussians in the Berlin Republic?

Much anti-euro, and pro-NATO sentiment is simply British frog-bashing.

by PIGL (stevec@boreal.gmail@com) on Wed Jul 8th, 2009 at 07:51:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Can anyone really rely on the French to push the button, if push came to shove, or would it revert to a narrower definition of self interest?  

In short, in NATO as well as many matters, economic as well as political, I think it's the perceived reliability of the Americans, for better or for worse, to actually deliver in a fight or in a crisis that has created such deference to US institutions in international affairs.  Americans really do seem to identify their own self interests with the interests of others, particularly Western Europe. That can be interpreted as imperialist hubris at times, but it can also be identified with predictable reliability if you need them on your side in a fight.

by santiago on Fri Jul 10th, 2009 at 12:44:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
French willingness to start a serious shooting war on behalf of allies in Eastern Europe has not been tested since the declaration of war on Germany in 1939. On the other hand, American willingness to start a serious shooting war on behalf of its allies has never been tested at all.

On the face of it, it seems unlikely that either would simply sit idly by while Tallinn or Kiev were reduced to radioactive glass. Tolerating that kind of thing sets a bad precedent. But of course it cannot be ruled out in either case.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sat Jul 11th, 2009 at 05:59:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This doesn't contradict what santiago said. He referred to the perception that the U.S. will actually deliver if needed. The fact that you (and I) don't think that this perception has anything behind it  is another matter.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Sat Jul 11th, 2009 at 07:28:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not even sure about that perception... The Suez crisis pretty much put a nail on that one. And that probably was one of the reasons for putting up the French nuclear arsenal.

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Sat Jul 11th, 2009 at 07:32:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In Suez, yes, the French were disappointed that Americans didn't support their colonial endeavors, and the British were resigned to the reality their empire was fading and the Americans were replacing their system of social contracts with colonial elites.  However, both countries subsequently received in greater evidence of US commitment, first in Iran, and next in Vietnam.  

In Iran, America initially supported the government of Prime Minister Mohammed Mosaddeq, even as it attempted to nationalize the British oil fields upon which Britain depended critically for post-war reconstruction. Britain told America it would not be able to assist in the organized defense of capitalism against Russia without the oil revenue, so America swallowed its anti-colonial pride and performed its first major CIA coup, an action for which it is still paying dearly today.  In Vietnam, similarly, France informed its ally in Washington that it simply could not both defend its Southeast Asian colonies from communism and support the effort to defend western Europe.  America, again, swallowed its anti-colonial rhetoric and marched down the path toward another costly scar for which it is still paying dearly.

Both are evidence of American commitment to strategic international purposes even where rhetorical discourse, domestic support, and even common sense would say to stay out of a fight.  I'll tell you who I'd pick for my team if I was trying to convince anyone to think twice before treating me rudely.

by santiago on Sat Jul 11th, 2009 at 06:22:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Strike the word "subsequently" from the above.
by santiago on Sat Jul 11th, 2009 at 06:23:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
American willingness to start a war is distinct from American willingness to finish one.  Who would you rather have on your side in fight?  That's the ultimate question upon which alliances are maintained, perhaps far past their utility or original purpose.
by santiago on Sat Jul 11th, 2009 at 12:48:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, I would rather not have a fight. If we end up in a serious shooting war, we have already lost.

But precisely with respect to nukes, the question is misstated: The issues is not whether you believe that the French will defend you or not, the question is whether you believe that the Russians or Iranians will be perfectly, completely and utterly confident that France will not intervene. Unless, of course, one believes that a nuclear power somewhere is sufficiently axe crazy to risk nuclear obliteration on the hunch that the cheese-eating surrender monkeys won't retaliate.

But I suspect that the matter is a lot simpler: People are used to thinking that the US hegemony is vital for European security because that is what they have been told to think. They never consider the French nuclear strike capability because it has never been introduced to their universe by the news that shape their views.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sat Jul 11th, 2009 at 02:08:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But, in this case, I think the history in most people's collective memory (and, yes, that history is fading with each new generation), is not so much of American hegemony, but simply of an American commitment, decade after decade for almost a century now, to make truly astounding expenses of material resources and human lives (including some of its own citizens in addition to those of its opponents) in support idealistic, international endeavors around the discourse, if not the actuality, of liberal democracy. I can't think of any other nation or group of nations capable of competing in people's perceptions of that kind of commitment. Iraq was such a disappointment for people around the world because it appeared to be such a violation of that crucial discourse upon which the Pax Americana has been established and, for the most part, accepted as a global social contract.  It is a re-commitment to that discourse which Obama is establishing, in my opinion very successfully, up to now.

The other side of that point is that who, in Europe, really wants to make the kind of military expenditures that the United States does? The statistic one keeps hearing (and, no, I haven't verified it but it sounds right) is the the United States spends more in its military infrastructure than the next ten highest spending nations, combined.  The corollary of that is that if you don't want an American-led system of international governance, then you have to sacrifice a lot more resources that now are enjoyed in the form of social benefits in order to replace the security bubble that American military and political power now provides.  I think the French might actually willingly sign up to do that kind of work.  I don't think anyone else of consequence in Europe, however, would.  

by santiago on Sat Jul 11th, 2009 at 06:00:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The statistic one keeps hearing (and, no, I haven't verified it but it sounds right) is the the United States spends more in its military infrastructure than the next ten highest spending nations, combined.

Is that efficiently spent, or a bloated subsidy to the military-industrial complex? Because if it is just spent on expensive toys and duds like missile defence, your corollary doesn't follow.

I don't know either way.

The peak-to-trough part of the business cycle is an outlier. Carnot would have died laughing.

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Jul 11th, 2009 at 06:04:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's not either/or. A lot of computing and communications projects started with DARPA funding, so in a very literal way military research created the entire US computer industry.

People like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs packaged the research for popular consumption, but there would have been no Apple and no Microsoft without Whirlwind and SAGE.

At the same time vast amounts of military spending are pure pork - either spent corruptly, spent on projects that are plainly silly (like a 50s attempt to create a nuclear powered bomber), or militarily and diplomatically questionable, like missile defence.

The US could probably afford to cut military spending by 50 or 75% without losing any real military effectiveness.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sat Jul 11th, 2009 at 06:35:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Quite true, indeed.  But you also have to look at it the other way -- is it ever possible to achieve large military budgets without providing enough pork to gain domestic support.  At least since the Roman Republic, empires and international endeavors of any kind have always required some level of bribery to secure enough votes for such absurd and counter-intuitive adventures in the Senate.
by santiago on Sat Jul 11th, 2009 at 06:47:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That's a good question, but it is a relative one.  How much more, or less, efficient are American military expenditures than anyone else's?  We just don't know, so we should probably presume that everyone is about as bad in that respect until we've got other data on it.  (And from a friend of mine who is an American army colonel in logistics commands, the anecdotal horror stories in Turkey, Germany, and Australia are pretty astounding too.)

But another way to look at it is who else has enough economic resources and domestic willingness to establish fully staffed and supplied military commands in every region of the world that are capable of toppling the governments of large, enemy powers? Who else has Naval and Air base networks allowing logistical movements capable of toppling governments of large countries like Iraq and Afghanistan. Note, that although it has not proven easy or possible to politically impose peace or allied governments in Afghanistan or Iraq by military means, America found it quite easy to remove, virtually single-handedly, the offending governments from power, which really was the only military objective in each adventure. Is there any other country, or collection of countries, in the world that has the capacity of doing that today  (even Russia couldn't do it in Chechnya, a tiny country by comparison), because that is the infrastructure that would have to be replaced by any group of countries hoping to replace American power with their own collective version of a security bubble for liberal democratic governance.

by santiago on Sat Jul 11th, 2009 at 06:41:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Why would Europe want to have a global base empire capable of removing governments at will throughout the world? I don't see any long term strategic benefit from it. Attempting to build an empire on which the sun never sets has broken the economic power of first Britain, then Russia and now very possibly the United States of America. Why would we want to repeat that mistake? It should be perfectly sufficient for our strategic needs to be able to defend our own shores, patrol the sea lanes and have enough men under arms to make an invasion a prohibitively expensive endeavour.

Nor have these interventions, on balance, done very much for global security, democracy or human rights and dignity. While you may be able to name one or two cases over the last fifty or sixty years, for each case of high-minded humanitarian intervention, I can give you at least a handful - more like a dozen - colonial wars aimed at securing the shady dealings of various moneyed interests.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sat Jul 11th, 2009 at 07:17:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Attempting to build an empire on which the sun never sets has broken the economic power of first Britain, then Russia and now very possibly the United States of America.

You forget Spain before Britain, and the phrase was coined to refer to the Spanish empire.

The peak-to-trough part of the business cycle is an outlier. Carnot would have died laughing.

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Jul 11th, 2009 at 07:19:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
FOr one thing, because trade with places like China, India, Africa, South America, and maybe even the US, might depend on the protective bubble and the discourse of liberal democratic institutions.

This means that opting to go America-free in terms of international commitments might by the same as becoming trade free regarding the level of external contact outside of the EU that currently exists.  Perhaps that's okay and even a desirable outcome, but it might behoove us to look first and see what kinds things that we do actually like in the world today might not exist were it not for the sizable commitment made to international institutions by the United States and that might then have to be replaced by someone else if the US was to reduce its provision (or capability) of providing them.  

At the very least, with the threat of expanding additions of carbon and greenhouse gases by non-OECD countries, a means of asserting and compelling international commitment outside of a narrow EU region are probably necessary for the well-being of the EU.  

by santiago on Sat Jul 11th, 2009 at 07:26:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The US has been one of the biggest obstacles to global action on climate change. And it has been undermining international institutions which didn't just rubberstamp US actions. I seriously don't see the US as a stabilizing influence in international affairs.

The peak-to-trough part of the business cycle is an outlier. Carnot would have died laughing.
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Jul 11th, 2009 at 07:32:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The US has been an obstacle for the last 8 years, maybe.  On the other hand, Kyoto was brokered and almost entirely written by the US (Al Gore), the only country in the world to not eventually ratify itth -- go figure. (Which supports the thesis the German sociologist of imperialism, Karl Schmitt -- who has now been rediscovered by the left in that discipline.  His thesis was that you can tell who the true sovereign state is within an international system by looking at the one never seems to have to be held to its own rules for that system.)
by santiago on Sat Jul 11th, 2009 at 07:54:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The US spends two to three times as much on its military than the EU combined. But the EU outspends Russia by a factor of six, and Russia, China and India (the other three mature great powers today) combined by about a factor of two [statistics from Wikipedia, 2006 numbers, nominal exchange rates].

In other words, if Europe cannot defend our territorial integrity, it is not for a lack of money thrown at the problem.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sat Jul 11th, 2009 at 07:09:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That they spend so much already, and don't have any of global capability of action that the US does,  actually complicates the argument for going US-free in Europe, rather than supports it.  It means that current EU expenditures exist at their level because the global flank is already covered by American infrastructure -- governments in places like Iran worry about hostilities against French ships or other assets because they know the French can use American logistical resources to hit back, if needed.  That would have to be replaced in a go-it-alone Europe -- Europe would be judged as politically weaker by other powers if it did not replace that infrastructure.

(I mean, wow, for all its failures to militarily impose peace and good governance in Iraq and Afghanistan, the US did manage to completely take out the governments and military forces of two large countries in a matter of weeks. That's actually pretty astounding.  Like I said up thread, even once-mighty Russia couldn't do that in tiny Chechnya, a region 30 times smaller in population than Afghanistan.)

by santiago on Sat Jul 11th, 2009 at 07:43:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Iraq was at the tail end of a decade of sanctions. Not only were there no WMDs, there was barely an army.

Afghanistan defeated the Indians, the British, the Russians, and is well on its way to defeating the US. When there's hardly much of a government to start with, blowing up the capital hardly counts for anything.

The most spectacular feature of US military intervention since WWII is its almost endless capacity for failure.

The US can just about handle tiny impoverished states in its back yard. It's fairly good at interfering in other countries through 'covert diplomacy' psyops, and economic oppression.

But as a military power, it's a joke. The US failed in Korea, failed in Vietnam and Cambodia, failed in Iraq and is failing in Afghanistan and against Somalian pircay. In any conventional confrontation with a reasonably sized enemy, the US military machine will be cut to ribbons.

santiago:

governments in places like Iran worry about hostilities against French ships or other assets because they know the French can use American logistical resources to hit back, if needed.

Why would Iran open hostilities against French ships?

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sat Jul 11th, 2009 at 07:59:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Why would Iran attack French ships? I don't know. Why would Iran arrest employees of the British consulate?  People get upset about things, and disputes over power occur.  French ships, like the ships or other assets of any country, have been attacked by foreign powers for as long as their have been countries and ships. Shit happens, as they say. The question for people like the French is whether such kinds of attacks have been fewer or greater during "Pax Americana."  And is it because of American dominance of world affairs, or despite it?
by santiago on Sat Jul 11th, 2009 at 08:43:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If you don't want people to confiscate your ships and other assets, it helps if you're not supporting fascist dictators in their country or stealing their resources.

Not that Europe couldn't mount a potentially heavy-handed economic retaliation in such an event, even if we can't terror bomb their capital. International power is not measured simply by the amount of powder you can burn over somebody's cities.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun Jul 12th, 2009 at 02:03:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
From what I've been able to decipher, Russia did precisely the same thing to Chechnya as the Americans did to Afghanistan.

And it worked precisely as well too.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun Jul 12th, 2009 at 02:01:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Actually no.  Russia was military defeated, outright, in the first Chechen war to the military forces of the tiny region, and the rebellious government remained in power.  Only after the second war was a semblance of federal sovereignty returned to Russia.  The second war, three years later, only came about because Chechnya tried to invade a neighboring Russian province and expand its power by taking more Russia territory. Russia was, however, militarily successful in Georgia last year, although its purpose was not to remove the Georgian government.

By comparison, since the American survival of the cold war, the US has militarily defeated Panama in 1990, Iraq in 1991, Serbia in 1999, the Taliban government in Afghanistan in 2001, and the government of Sadaam Hussein in 2003. America's military defeats so far really only include its small operation in Somalia.  In Iraq and Afghanistan, the jury is still out on the new military missions of supporting new and sustainable governance institutions, but with the the strengthening of Nouri al-Maliki's clout since Obama's declaration to withdraw forces earlier, that mission actually looks brighter now under Obama's strategy than it did a short time ago under Bush.

by santiago on Sun Jul 12th, 2009 at 04:05:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Every bureaucracy is dedicated, first and foremost, to self-preservation, and if circumstances change, that means redefining its mission accordingly.

Given that NATO was dedicated to protecting Europe from the Soviet Commie threat, it depends on:

a. Maintaining a demonology of Russian/Islamic/ other terrorist/nuclear threat

b. Maintaining a sense of insecurity and dependency on US military superiority

c. Undermining any sense that Europe might be able to look after itself thank you very much

d. suppressing any sense that protecting Europe may not exactly be the USA's top priority

e. Underscoring the EU's inability to coordinate a meaningful alternative defence and security policy or capability

Too bad Ganley didn't get electe...

notes from no w here

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Jul 8th, 2009 at 09:01:12 AM EST
I had the opportunity to listen to Nick Witney earlier this year and he made the fairly cogent point that EU-NATO coordination used to be seen as a problematic issue, but no longer is and that coordination would be a hopelessly inconsequential and bureaucratic waste of time.

The reason is that it's the same governments sitting at the table. Both the EU in terms of foreign and defence policy and NATO are almost exclusively intergovernmental bodies. The only practical difference is that in the first the US is not sitting at the table.

(and Canada, Norway, etc. but that doesn't really matter)

by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Wed Jul 8th, 2009 at 09:02:15 AM EST
Mindset:

If there is no NATO we can not force countries to buy fancy weapons, if we do not buy fancy weapons we have no weapons at all, if we have no weapons we are defenseless, if we are defenseless someone will notice, if someone notices it will attack us and we will be destroyed.

Here you have the mind-set in a nutshell.

Now find at least five quantum leaps in that logic.

Uppps..it is not logic, it is narrative.. self-narrative or militar-industrial complex propaganda :)

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Wed Jul 8th, 2009 at 12:33:24 PM EST
Thanks.  I was looking for some place to post this:

Comment is Free: Does NATO still matter?

It seems that Obama has accomplished a thing or two, in theory at least, over in Russia. The commitment to a new agreement on further arms reductions by the end of the year is excellent.
As this chart shows, the 1991 agreement really did make a difference. Between them, the US and Russia have destroyed at least 40,000 warheads since then, maybe more. The current numbers are about 9,400 for my team and 13,000 for the Russkies, so there's still a ways to go. (By the way, my British friends, why do you have only 180 while the French have 300?)

All well and good. But I hate this:

Mr. Obama said he supports the right of countries like Georgia and Ukraine to join NATO despite Russian opposition. "America will never impose a security arrangement on another country," he said. "For any country to become a member of NATO, a majority of its people must choose to; they must undertake reforms; and they must be able to contribute to the alliance's mission. And let me be clear: NATO seeks collaboration with Russia, not confrontation."

NATO is a military alliance, and as I wrote last spring when the Georgia battles were ongoing -- if Georgia were in NATO, the US (and the UK) would in theory be committed to military intervention to defend two provinces in Georgia. That's nuts.

If the theory is to spread far and wide this military alliance of democracies, then Russia herself should be enticed to join. That's heresy to the foreign policy establishment, but the foreign policy establishment (by and large; there are of course many exceptions) has misapprehended post-Cold War US-Russia relations pretty much from the beginning, it seems to me.

But I'd go so far as to argue that maybe NATO has outlived its usefulness. It was a Cold War alliance. It did one good thing in the post-Cold War era, which was to provide a basis for collective Western action against Milosevic in Bosnia.

So maybe you could argue that a Europe-based multinational force is still needed to address such situations in Europe as they may arise. Fine. But if that's so, why does such an outfit need to be called NATO, and why in the world does it need Georgia and the Ukraine?

The real reason of course is just to surround Russia and check her power. But that seems to be built on some sort of idea that contemporary Russia has the same kind of expansionist aims that Soviet Russia did. Is that actually the case?

There still needs to be a vehicle through which the US and European countries can deal collectively on matters that arise in Europe, but this kind of NATO expansion into areas well beyond the "North Atlantic" kind of harkens back, to me, to the way we took Kennan's containment policy, always intended as he noted to apply to Europe only, and kept applying it more and more expansively around the world.

As McNamara's passing reminded us yesterday, we all know where that ended up. ...

And from Obama's Russia advisor:

CBS: White House to Hold Firm on European Missile Shield

In advance of Pres. Obama's first trip to Russia next week, the White House is serving notice on the Kremlin that he won't be making any concessions to win its approval of a U.S. missile shield in Europe or membership in NATO for Russian neighbors Ukraine and Georgia.

"We don't need the Russians," says Michael McFaul, special assistant to the president and senior director for Russian affairs on the National Security Council staff.

In a conference call with reporters, McFaul responded with unusually tough talk when asked what reassurances Pres. Obama is prepared to give in his talks starting Monday with his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev.

"We're definitely not going to use the word reassure in the way that we talk about these things," said McFaul. "We're not going to reassure or give or trade anything with the Russians regarding NATO expansion or missile defense."

So, not even knowing you'd posted this, Colman, I was up late last night wondering, "Why?"

Why is NATO non-negotiable?  Why is it still presented in this "We'll always have our differences; Russia opposes NATO expansion. We disagree. But there are other things we can work on," way?  Show me the law of the universe that we must always support  the existence of NATO and its expansion.  Human civilization persisted for thousands of years before America was invented.  Why must it perish if we're not calling all of the shots?  Why isn't a more multipolar, global security organization preferable to NATO?  

Don't tell me NATO, a Cold War military alliance, is non-negotiable and turn around and accuse Russian leaders of being stuck in the old Cold War mentality and chide them for their stuck-in the-past "spheres of influence" worldview.  It's bad for my blood pressure.

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

by poemless on Wed Jul 8th, 2009 at 12:44:42 PM EST
Michael Tomasky's has a good drive, until:

if Georgia were in NATO, the US (and the UK) would in theory be committed to military intervention to defend two provinces in Georgia. That's nuts.

Um, Why? If Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties would be under attack, would he say the same? Or if it were Norfolk and Suffolk? It would be an argument to say that it's nuts for the US and UK to go into a war escalating into nuclear holocaust over two counties of a country that actually kicked off the war; but the above, is just naked superiority complex.

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

by DoDo on Wed Jul 8th, 2009 at 01:19:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
...or, a view of conflicts in far-away countries as carboard game.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Jul 8th, 2009 at 01:26:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
From a purely pragmatic viewpoint, the conventional defence of Suffolk and Norfolk against an invading Russian armada is plausible (the Russians don't have the remotest chance). A conventional defence of Georgia is completely implausible short of garrissoning the country with three or more divisions.

The Baltics may be a better comparison, though even they are much easier to defend. Can't defend easily leads to won't defend, meaning that there are no options between doing nothing and destroying the world. So, on pragmatic grounds, I'd say Tomasky is right. It's nuts.

by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Wed Jul 8th, 2009 at 05:17:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It would be an argument to say that it's nuts for the US and UK to go into a war escalating into nuclear holocaust over two counties of a country that actually kicked off the war...

The way I read it, that's exactly what he was saying.  Are you reading it to mean, "Georgian lives are not worth defending, but English ones are?"  Perhaps it is parsing words, and that's a valid complaint if that is what he means.  But read in the context of the rest of the article, I didn't get that impression.

Also, Russia isn't in the midst of arm conflict in Suffolk, so how do you blame him for not addressing a hypothetical?  Aliens might invade.  What would he think about that?  I don't know.  But the article questions NATO's need to exist, so I don't think he's pushing some Atlanticist chauvinist agenda.

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

by poemless on Wed Jul 8th, 2009 at 01:33:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I took the sentence at face value. That's what it means. If he meant what you think the context gives (but I don't see it), then it's bad wording.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Jul 8th, 2009 at 02:42:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Russia isn't in the midst of arm conflict in Suffolk,

And Georgia was not a NATO member at the time of last year's war. He was already in hypotheticals.

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

by DoDo on Wed Jul 8th, 2009 at 02:44:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
 I don't really know where you are coming from.  Am I being subtly discouraged from commenting now?  Do you have some issue you want to get off your chest?

You're too intelligent to equate the "hypothetical" of Georgia gaining entry to NATO to the "hypothetical" of Russia invading Suffolk without appearing disingenuous.

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

by poemless on Wed Jul 8th, 2009 at 02:51:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Do you have some issue you want to get off your chest?

Sigh. Exactly the one I am trying to communicate in these comments...

equate the "hypothetical" of Georgia gaining entry to NATO to the "hypothetical" of Russia invading Suffolk

  1. Tomasky's hypothetical was Georgia gaining entry in NATO and then going to war with Russia. Methinks that's quite large a hypothetical: the war calculations would be radically altered, on both sides.

  2. My hypothetical did not include "Russia", only an attack by an unspecified power resulting in an activation of NATO common defenses. And the issue was not the attacker, but how Tomasky would feel about it: would he say NATO should not go nuclear about Suffolk and Norfolk with the other power, or would he support defensive measures?


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Jul 8th, 2009 at 02:58:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The article is about Russia.

NATO was created to, and I quote, "Keep the Russians out."

Georgia and very influential people in America are lobbying, strougly, for Georgia to get NATO membership.

NATO countries are military allies.

That would make the US and Georgia military allies.  

I don't know how I can state this to make it any clearer.

Georgia recently sparked a military conflict with Russia.  Regardless who started it, who deserves the blame for it, I think there is a consensus that Georgian troops and Russian troops were shooting each other.

I suspect, based on logic,  language comprehension, synthesis of information, that the author was saying it would be nuts to risk the two countries which have 95% of the world's nuclear weapons to find themselves face-to-face in a military conflict.

Is it chauvinist to say two little Georgian provinces are not worth blowing up the world to save?  Fine.  They aren't.  But there is nothing in that statement that says, "But two little English provinces are."  

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

by poemless on Wed Jul 8th, 2009 at 03:32:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Tomasky's hypothetical was Georgia gaining entry in NATO and then going to war with Russia. Methinks that's quite large a hypothetical: the war calculations would be radically altered, on both sides.

Maybe they would have been further towards escalation on the Georgian side. There is a reasonable argument that NATO military support for Georgia in the years prior to the war drove Saakashvili to be more aggressive.
by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Wed Jul 8th, 2009 at 05:00:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes.

And you know, given his peculiar decision-making process last August, I'm not convinced that Saak would have conferred with NATO, had Georgia then been a member, before launching an attack on South Ossetia.  Even despite not having the protection of NATO, he nevertheless seemed to assume that his Western allies would support him more explicitly then they did.  And they did support him up to but not including our troops on the ground.  So I'm not convinced NATO membership would have necessarily deterred him, unless there was something in the contract stating that Georgia's membership would be contingent upon not starting fights with Russia.  Secondly, so far as Georgian NATO membership could have been a deterrent to Russia's response, well, yet, it might have.  OTOH, it could also have been the last straw.  People think Russia is on a hair-trigger alert now.  Russia thinks it is being restrained and playing nice now.  They were happy to teach Georgia a lesson.  And they're eager to prove they can teach us things too.  Why go there?

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

by poemless on Wed Jul 8th, 2009 at 05:26:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Are you reading it to mean, "Georgian lives are not worth defending, but English ones are?"

That's only implicit. He says two counties are not worth for the USA and the UK to war over. Which throws up the questions of whether he considered defending people at all; and whether he would say the same about any other equally insignificant specks of land that are part of present NATO members.

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

by DoDo on Wed Jul 8th, 2009 at 02:49:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The author is asking that NATO be dissolved. So logically, that implies that he doesn't think NATO countries should be treated differently than non-NATO countries.  Because he doesn't want there to be NATO countries.  I think you are really off the mark on this one DoDo.

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.
by poemless on Wed Jul 8th, 2009 at 02:56:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That sentence still doesn't parse, whether you dissolve NATO or not. If NATO is dissolved, would he argue against closer US ties with Britain on the basis of the crazyness of defening Suffolk and Norfolk (be it attacked by a future EU Evil Empire)?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Jul 8th, 2009 at 03:01:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't know.  Ask him.  That article was about NATO.

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.
by poemless on Wed Jul 8th, 2009 at 03:33:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And you really can't dismiss the complexity of US-British ties anymore than you can dismiss the complexity  of Georgia-Russia ties.  We have baggage.  We have history.  

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.
by poemless on Wed Jul 8th, 2009 at 03:36:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Leave it to this crowd to find a way to accuse a rare American calling for the end of NATO of having a "naked superiority complex."  Shocked, shocked, I tell ya.

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.
by poemless on Wed Jul 8th, 2009 at 03:42:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
why are you writing this?

How can you compare Georgia, an unstable country with unresolved border issues with Russia and a neocon leader, located in an area where we cannot help them militarily other than by going nuclear with a longstanding ally far away from any possible frontline?

Tomasky - and poemless - are completely right on this one.

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

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Thu Jul 9th, 2009 at 06:00:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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