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30 March 2014


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Babak Makkinejad

You wrote:

"...And if we can enjoy such security while being part of an alliance of mutual defense, why shouldn't other countries be allowed to do so as well,..."

Do you then support Iran having nuclear weapons?

Or Poland?

You are still living under the MAD blanket of security provided by the United States.

Babak Makkinejad

It reminds me of how Arab students were reassuring me - during Iran-Iraq War - that Saddam Hussein would not drop nuclear weapons on Iranian cities.



the Iraqis did not have nuclear weapons during the Iran-Iraq War. pl



That's great, America has an obligation to Norway, why not Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania because, hey it worked out great for Norway! How about we send the Europeans the bill for all the decades of defending them? That would sure solve American's national debt and allow us to spend money on our own citizens rather than on Europeans.

Why is adding more foregin countries to our defense obligations in the national interest of the United States? Move our military forces closer to the Russian border so that foreigners thousands of miles away from the US can 'be safe' and have great relations with Russia? No thanks.

Charles 1

You often express this frustration with us Nato shirkers.

I think perhaps most smaller Nato nations predicate the majority of their military affairs on Nato and joint self-defense out of necessity.

That cannot be said of the U.S. You are everywhere, much of it by choice. Of course it costs more for that kind of bandwidth. Bandwidth other nations seemingly find neither feasible nor desirable.

But surely "what's in it for us"" is the question for your legislators, not the milkbugs whom it seems IMHO follow universal laws of self-interest, albeit not always rationally. The milk cow presents, claiming great terrors and mutual benefits beyond bursting udders, not to respond would be unnatural.

Withdraw from Nato tomorrow and I think you'll find there's still no "peace dividend"- the U.S. would still be a high cost global force, forced into new strategic planning by deep state to defend itself from the rest of us free loaders as we went chinese.

Who, speaking of piggy bears and banks, are now subject to the extra-territorial delights FACTA - without a shot being fired.

Were there no Nato, Norway, the rest, would no doubt be subject to someone, something else. For me, it would happen be the U.S.

I grant and celebrate the good fortune of it being the U.S., but don't feel any need to don a penitent's hair shirt for your largesse, our propinquity and our mutual good fortune.

That's for your legislators.


Charles I

"much of it by choice" Yes. We should now choose on the basis of US interests, not those of others. Canada is a special case. you are actually the kinsmen of many of us including me. pl

Babak Makkinejad

The presumption there was that even if Iraq had nuclear weapons she would not be using them.

I never found that persuasive.


Well, as someone infamously said, what's the point of having all these weapons if you are not going to be using them, especially, if you think your cause is just?

The trouble with "relevant political science," falsely applied as it is too often nowadays, is that it serves as a device for navel gazing, to conjure up justifications for why your side is right and moral, like a lawyer's argument, sometimes with all the subtlety of an ambulance chaser, whereas, once, scholarship was about understanding why things happened as they did, not to verbally "win" a case. No wonder everyone thinks that their side is moral and just beyond all and doubt and that they are justified in using anything to further their righteousness, nevermind the consequences.


It struck me last decade plus that the implicit deal that our leaders and their (other NATO countries that is) leaders have reached is that we give them protection while they give us political support for our military adventures everywhere. So, our politicians look like saviors of the Western civilization while American taxpayers have to bear a double burden, subsidizing the cost of NATO AND our interventionist foreign policy. A lose-lose deal if there were any, but that's what passes for "leadership" these days, it seems.


Iran, No.
Poland, No.

Yes I know I'm still living under the US MAD blanket, but the chance of it being used does not feel as imminent as it did in the 80s.



Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania are already NATO members. That ship has already sailed.

As for the bill, well you were also defending your selves. I would think the US preferred to fight the WP in Europe and not in North America. Having a war on your own soil is pretty expensive.

Also the US has sold a lot of equipment to us Europeans over the years as well, so it's not so clear cut as you might think.

One reason for the US taking on these obligations is perhaps because it sees it in it's long term interest to keep Europeans free, prosperous and able to buy US products. I'm sure there are many other good reasons.

Having a good relationship with your neighbors means you are less likely to end up in a war with them.

If it makes you feel better, the US doesn't have any units in Norway.



you don't feel as threatened? That just means that you know you are getting a free ride at our expense. pl



You were useful to us in the Cold War because of the Finnmark border with the USSR. That was then. This is now. What have you done for us LATELY? pl


The information I have says Norway is spending 1.4% of gdp on the military in 2013.

As for US spending, does that include health care for soldiers and former soldiers, or is that in a separate budget? In Norway the health care for soldiers is mostly taken care of over the health budget.

Don't know if it would make a difference, but with the super expensive US health care system, it just might.

Anyway, believe it or not, we are increasing spending more than inflation every year, the "problem" is that our GDP has grown a lot, quickly. Now if we were to spend up to say 2% of GDP we would have to splurge on something, and that doesn't really make sense. Also, I don't think Russia would like to have a neighbor with so huge increases in military spending.

We are however following long term plans that we think are sustainable, and perhaps the share of GDP will increase a little in the coming years due to purchases of f35s. I think it's around 50.

Also we spend 1% of our gdp on foreign aid, that could be argued also has a benefit towards national security.


"Are we just a piggy bank for you to drain for your own benefit so that we provide a secure environment for your prosperity? what's in it for us? pl"

Well, yes you are kind of a piggy bank for us these days. Though we are stuffing the piggy with more money. Our oil fund is buying US bonds, stocks and real estate in the US.

That is I guess one benefit of helping keep us secure. Another is that we buy a lot of US equipment. Big items the last 10 years were the 5 Aegis systems for our new frigates. 4+1 C130-30s. One flew into a mountain during Cold Response 2012, so we needed a replacement aircraft.

Continuous upgrading of our f16s, Amraam missiles etc. And in 2015 I think we get the first of our new f35s.

As for US spending, as Charles said, that is on the US. If it was cut to 2.2 percent I would think the US could still keep up it's NATO obligations.


Well if paying for that nuclear deterrence is so horrible, I guess we could just build our own nukes.

Of course the US president would have no say in their use.

Personally I don't think such a scenario would be in your interest.


ToreBear ,

Europe isn't our neighbor, Mexico and Canada are. It is past time for the US to exit NATO, Europe can go join a defensive treaty with the Russian Federation.

Babak Makkinejad


So Iranians are not entitled to the nuclear security blanket.



We send you lots of lutefisk, and the Nobel committee got your president a peace prize. What more do you want? :)

Well there is useful to the US and potentially useful to the USSR.

An occupied Norway, with each Fjord having it's own Russian submarine base would perhaps make taking a ship over the Atlantic impossible.

Also if I remember correctly, Norways usefulness increased a lot with the rising importance of the USSR's northern fleet in their Nuclear deterrent. Not to mention monitoring of submarine movements toward the Atlantic. Or the Soviet naval aviation.

As for lately. Well there is:

And our special forces are training the Afghan Crisis Response unit. Technically we are helping the Afghans, but if we didn't do it perhaps the US would have to do it.

And I'm sure there are many other things we help you with, and you help us with.

Did I mention Lutefisk? :)


Keeping the US in Nato is a long time project by many constituencies in the US, UK and Europe. It's not true that Europeans can't arrange for a mutual defense. Attempts are quashed by the various constituencies. I thought accepting proper social responsibility was supposed to be a European thing compared to we Americans, anyway.

Hillary Clinton pandered endlessly during her presidential campaign to eastern european constituencies that are pivotal in swing states like Ohio. There was no reset in herthe State Dept. She gamed the President and secured her voting blocs. Plus she believes in transforming other societies.


I think they are entitled to not being threatened with or attacked by nuclear weapons.

But I don't see any country being entitled to having nuclear weapons. Not Iran and not Israel.

If you are looking for inconsistency in my argument, I'm sure you can find it the more questions you ask.



No country is "entitled" to anything. The notion that a country is "entitled" to things reflects a fatuous, fantasist belief in the rule of international law. NATO has existed because of the lack of truth in the idea of international peace enforced by law. pl

Charles 1

I agree. If only we all were capable of accurately determining and striving for our interests.

Were it not for geography, I can't think of a finer - or fatter - country to be allied with or subject to by choice. You are our brothers, and we are, by objective mutual interest, in continental mode for the future. I'm grateful, not really being of a nation state able to defend itself, that we are left to enjoy the sovereignty, agency and markets we do.

Being able to bitch not the least of our little pleasures!


Well you could say we have the law and the courts. We are just missing the police who can enforce it's decisions.

I would say the rights are there, and the court can give you legitimacy, but there is no one to enforce a ruling.

And I agree, NATO is there to ensure the security of it's members. Perhaps in the future, there will be a world police upholding international law, and NATO will no longer be needed to protect it's members. But in the meantime, we just have to manage as best we can.

Charles 1

ps have I told you I love yet this year!

Charles 1

Plus there is Steve Van Zandts tv show Lilyhammer!

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