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14 June 2011

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William R. Cumming

Agreewith PL's comments and shocking short of nukes NATO never was a military but only a political alliance. The Soviet Union lost and NATO was an effective enough political alliance to provide some deterrance. It conventional capabilities were always substantially in doubt.

J

As long as there are so many (in D.C., in London, etc.)who have a personal financial gains stake with NATO, NATO will continue to be around even though it is no longer needed as a practical matter.

Hank Foresman

Is NATO relevant perhaps as a political alliance, as a military alliance it seeking a purpose as it has no adversary? An adjunct question that begs to be answered is why does the United States continue to station troops in Europe. While it is a wonderful experience living in an European country for three years or more, can we really sustain the cost any longer.

confusedponderer

The salient point is that NATO was formed in response to a specific and real threat. With the disappearance of that threat, it has lost it's raison d'etre and is searching for a new one ever since.

In it's reiteration during the Bush years it was that we fall in line behind US leadership and provide token contingents to provide the US with the fig leaf of legitimacy that multilateralism offers. The idea was that we help show that EVERYBODY wanted regime change in Iraq, not just the US who had adopted it as a standing policy.

When the US claim leadership, they implicitly demand that others follow. If that claim to leadership is borne out of a sense of exceptionalism, obedience becomes expected because it an entitlement.

I see under Obama a great deal of continuity to the Bush days, even though about the same objectives are pursued in a somewhat more subtle way.

Norbert M Salamon

When Mr. Gross of PIMCO fame can state in public that the USA's econonomy with respect to debt/GDP is worse than Greece, then I suggest that Mr. Gates is in dreamland when he expects realistic European countries to increase Offence Spending [he calls it defence - with no enemy present for EUROPE] at the time that there is rioting and marches demanding less auterity.

While I agree that a patriotic USA citizen should state:

"The US as a true global power must maintain ground forces with balanced capabilities as well as CT forces second to none. That truth should not obscure the likelihood that the navy and air force are probably going to be the mainstays of American defense for decades."

However, to achieve the aim propposed by Col. Lang does not demand the maintenance of 1000+ foreign armed postings, nor wars removed from national security, and definetaly does not need a trillion dollar yearly budget, when including all expenses related to national security.

Europe lacking the hubris [sans UK and Sarkozy] of wnating to be the world's policemen, can easily cut defence spending, for such spending does not provide anything for national security - lackin any enemies, real or imaged.

Yes NATO as a military allience is dead in water - only needs the burial service -ECONOMIC reality and declining availability of natural resources coupled woith falling populations in Europe underlie this reality.

arbogast

The Nomenklatura have decided that it is not enough to have the United States spending over $10 billion a month on a military occupation in the ME. Not enough that over 4,000 American soldiers have lost their lives in the ME.

It is NOT ENOUGH!

France, Germany, etc. must make an equal commitment.

Sounds like the Nomenklatura are worried.

Can it be that Iran, immensely strengthened by the Nomenklatura's unbelievably wrong-headed and stupid adventure in Iraq, is really getting to them?

Somebody's worried about something. Gates is a shill.

William R. Cumming

Brussels and NATO Hqs nicer for the Flag Ranks than say Ft. Riley which is where the Pentagon should be entirely relocated. Now located in a proven air strike location, like the new DHS HQs, and only a 20 minute strike by Sub launched missiles with a NAVY that cannot detect even new quiet diesel subs now numerous in the Islamic World and S. and E. Asian nation-states.
Perhaps a US aircraft carrier will be the next national icon hit!

Eric Dönges

Hank,

the reason the U.S. still stations troops in Europe is because if they withdrew them, Europeans might realize that we must make our own security arrangements. If that where to happen, the U.S. would loose major leverage as it would have to deal with the EU as a single entity, not a collection of smallish (compared to the U.S.) nations that depend on U.S. nuclear deterrence for their strategic security. It would probably also negatively impact U.S. arms manufacturers, as a coherent European defense strategy would have to include a coherent European arms procurement program.

Fred

WRC

No, no, no. Relocate the Pentagon to Detroit. Think of the benefit to the mid-west economy and the wonderful headcount reduction as people retire in droves - who want's to leave the beltway for the bid D?

Jackie

WRC: Yes, by all means, Ft. Riley should be the place. I'd welcome them in my home state.

Fred: No offense, but we absolutely must have the Pentagon here, in the middle of Kansas, not anywhere close to a foreign country like Canada.

Fred

Jackie, Canada? Why they haven't even won the Stanley Cup in 18 years and they invented hockey. (From the look of the first period it might be 19 years soon)

Jackie

Fred, I'm in Kansas. What's the Stanley Cup? Does it involve skating and ice? Is Boston going to beat them?

And I still want the Pentagon.


Norbert M Salamon

And some members of Congress take the President to Fedeeral Court:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/2chambers/post/kucinich-other-house-members-file-lawsuit-against-obama-on-libya-military-mission/2011/06/15/AGrzd6VH_blog.html

Perhaps another nail in the coffin of NATO?

Charles I

Jackie, may Canada ever be foreign.

Fred, for the record, there are more Canadians on Boston than there are on the Canuks, so don't crow too hard about beating us at our own game all on your lonesome. . .

William R. Cumming

Jackie! Hooray for the bruins. Fred! An even better choice as we invade Canada for better government purposes if not better hockey. And Charles I don't worry as there will be no show trials of sympathsizers for the former Commonwealth of CANADA post invasion! After all as we all know the Arctic cannot be left to a dilatory defense by CANADA against those evil Russkies!

optimax

American fans only riot when they win.

Fred

Charle I - I know - and Boston played better too. The Canucks had a 2-0 series lead, too bad for them. At least I didn't have to watch it on NBC, their coverage stunk. You couldn't even hear the crowd noise like you could on CBC.

stickler

Re: NATO. Its original purpose, pithily put by someone I'm too lazy to Google, was simply this:

"to keep the Russians out, the Americans in, and the Germans down."

Geopolitically, all of that still remains true. When one or more of those factors cease to be operational, NATO's cost of existence will exceed its benefit and it will be terminated. If Gates's comments are taken as indicating American frustration with NATO as it is, then that might be one data point. Another might be Germany's role in whatever altered EU emerges from the current financial crisis. (If the Bundesbank and German taxpayers pay for a "more perfect" European Union to resolve this crisis, expect that to be reflected in German influence in the New EU.)

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