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20 January 2017

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A.Pols

Nato should go. Having morphed from a defensive alliance into an instrument of American foreign policy with the other "members" being satraps, it is no force for good and should have been liquidated when the Warsaw Pact was.
Eventually in the evolution of history Nato will go bye bye, but maybe we can give it a "Decent Christian Burial" ahead of that.

JohnH

Said another way: "What is NATO's purpose?" Like the goal of most of its recent military interventions, it's purpose seems to be whatever its leaders choose to make it at any given moment.

Or maybe it's just an entrenched, obsolete body that's mostly interested in careers for its staff and in self-preservation...

Stu Wood

The best thing about NATO is the alliance of Germany, France, and England whose many wars between them have killed millions and millions.

scott s.

I don't claim any great knowledge, but it seemed to me NATO, even more-so than the US combatant commands, was designed as a collection of fiefdoms. From a US POV, these were SACLANT, SACEUR, and AFSOUTH. Each had its own bailiwick to play in and at least on the Navy side, it seems like things moved fairly seamlessly from US-centric to NATO-centric viewpoints. In the post-cold war world, those divisions seemed to no longer make sense for the US at least, and resulted in a "new" NATO, but I'm not sure the American people at least have been brought onboard with this. Hence the questioning as to NATO's purpose.

My understanding of history is that Poland has been something of a flash point in Eastern Europe for maybe 300 years but I'm not sure American strategy has really figured how Poland fits into things.

Degringolade

http://www.duffelblog.com/2017/01/nato-obsolete-trump-afghanistan/

Bandolero

Patrick

As a German I know two narratives about what NATO was in history adn what it became today. The western one is like you described it, NATO was founded as a defense organization against the threat from Moscow, and after the Warsaw treaty was dissolved more Eastern European countries took their chance and join it so they are protected against the threat from Moscow. The eastern one is that NATO was always designed to expand American hegemony eastwards in Europe, and as Moscow was weak for some time, the US used NATO to take advatage and did just that where Yugoslavia is a case proving that point.

However, while these different narratives do a lot in seeding mistrust, it doesn't matter much as looking forward is needed. What I think what the weak point of design in NATO is, is that it by design excludes Russia (and some others) from a common security architecture. The result of that design mistake is that NATO leads to a permanent posture of a US-led Western block opposing a Moscow-led eastern block - whereever the borders of the blocks currently are, and so instead of spreading common security, NATO inadvertantly spreads insecurity. Yugoslavia may be a point here, that without NATO Western Europe would likely not have been willing to try to gobble up Yugoslavia into the western system by subversion and by force, and thereby much bloodshed may have not occured if there would have been no NATO. Ukraine may be another point. Being members of NATO, Poland and Lithuania felt so secure, that they were not shy in trying a coup to unseat the Russia-friendly Yanukovich government in Ukraine and pull Ukraine into the western system, thereby massivley provoking Russia. If Poland and Lithuania were no NATO members, I doubt they would have pulled off that distrastrous provocation against Moscow. So, NATO may have become inadvertantly an organisation that encourages reckless behaviour of it's eastern members against Russia, which would likely not occur without NATO, meaning that NATO inadvertantly spreads insecurity.

Among German politicians it's quite popular to say that one can't devide security, so feeling secure must be achieved for all people in Europe including Russians, ie one needs a common security architecture in Europe including Russia. Putin is more than willing to make that happen. But some cold war warriors in the west seem no matter what to want a new cold war versus Russia instead, which brings no benefits for no one except for some special interests like the MIC.

I think having Trump stirring up things regarding to NATO may prove a good opportunity to think about such strategic questions.

Dave Schuler

If NATO had stopped expanding in 1999 (or 1955) the argument for its continued relevance would be stronger. Does the admission of Latvia to NATO really make the U. S. more secure? The U. K.? Or is it actually a provocation against Russia that works by deliberately making the U. S. and U. K. secure?

Would admitting Ukraine, which had been part of Russia until 60 years ago, make the other members of the alliance more secure or less secure?

As well as I can tell, NATO is serving as a means of venue-shopping to enable military adventurism, a dubious role for the alliance.

Additionally, Erdogan's Islamist Turkey is not the same as Ataturk's secular Turkey.

Given those considerations and more it would seem that the alliance deserves reconsideration at the very least.

Freudenschade

Europe probably should revisit it historical allegiance with the US. It's interests are more aligned with those of Russia in the short to medium term, and those of China in the long term.

With the US pulling back from its international commitments, the institutions set up by China as a countervailing force to the World Bank and the IMF could offer Europe greater influence more aligned with its own interests.

Kooshy

PB, in my understanding, fairly said, American people understood and comited themselves at all costs, to protect war torn western Europe, after WWII, aginst USSR, and Warsaw Pact. Honorably they stood by thier commitment, and protected Europe at all costs for over 70 years now, with blood and money. They did not mind how little Europe contributed all this years since they thought Europe need and is recovering the war. But, after the fall of USSR and end of Cold War, they don't see or understand why they have to continue to be the bigest contributors to protect Europe from a financialy and or militarily much weaker power (Russia) then Europe is today. I don't know and understand why a US tax payer has to pay for 70k US troops in Germany to protect 2nd or 3rd bigest economy of the world who has a universal health and pension plan we can't afford here in US for ourselves. I guess/ hope that's what president Trump is saying.

BraveNewWorld

The American plan to bring Israel into NATO first as an observer state and then later as a full member tells you every thing you need to know about why NATO has to go. Adding the small Eastern European countries is folly. Adding Israel is insanity.

charly

Some people say that the purpose of NATO is to keep the Americans in, Germans under and Russians out. It seems to me to be a more realistic answer than to say defense pact which the EU in itself already is. It also explains why countries like Serbia want to join the NATO.


ps. With respect to defense budgets. The US has the habit to include as much as possible in the Defense budget. Europe has the reverse habit. See for a very obvious example Japans SS-520. A road mobile solid fuel rocket that put 4 kilo into (very low) orbit. Its civil use is like an AK47 which everybody knows is a great hammer and the reason everybody buys one.

J

IMO NATO is OBSOLETE, and should have been dissolved when the Warsaw Pact went the way of the DoDo Bird.

Since the fall of the former Soviet Union, NATO has become little more than a hog trough.

Ken Macaulay

"even though the attack on the US homeland was a clear cut case for triggering article V and mobilizing NATO's forces..."

I thought it was only a military attack by a country that invokes article V - which has little to do with a terrorist attack by a non-state actor.

crone

"Or maybe it's just an entrenched, obsolete body that's mostly interested in careers for its staff and in self-preservation..."

Excellent observation.

How 'bout we also close some of those over 800 military bases we have outside the USA? The late Chalmers Johnson wrote much about the "American Raj" - here's a link to a David Vine article some may find informative.
http://www.tomdispatch.com/blog/176043/tomgram%3A_david_vine,_our_base_nation/

Balint Somkuti, PhD

Originally it was Russia out USA in abd Germany down. Russians are in Germany is up and the US wants out. Questions?

Edward Amame

More Trumpy disconnect.

At his hearing, Gen Mattis, Trump's choice for Dec of Defense, said that he thinks Russia is our top threat and that US support is needed to counter Moscow’s attempts to break up NATO, which he called “the most successful alliance in modern history, and maybe ever.”

Peter Reichard

I completely agree with your comments. If NATO didn't already exist would anyone but a hardcore neoconservative think to create it today? Beginning with Yugoslavia the reasonable defensive alliance of 1949 has been transformed into an offensive instrument of power projection that now requires the US to defend the geographically and logistically undefensible borders of the Baltic States and perhaps in the future even those of Georgia and Ukraine. This is insane and an accident waiting to happen.

JJackson

PB and all.
I have no problem (as a UK citizen) with a military alliance with other States, but NATO, in its current form, must go.
I wonder about this "... even though the attack on the US homeland was a clear cut case for triggering article V and mobilizing NATO's forces." was it?
This seems a stretch based on a plain text reading of Articles 5 & 6. I very much doubt that the authors, in 1939, were thinking about a tiny non-State group with no military that managed to hijack a few civilian planes with minimal weaponry. To complicate matters it was the Government of Afghanistan that was the principal recipient of the US intervention not AQ. This seems very 'doggy dossier' to me. The US did not like the Russian backed government so it attacked and NATO members got drawn in.
If you think this is a just justification let me put to you this hypothetical. It’s the 1970/80s and various South & Central States have formed a military pact. They decide that 'The Camp of the Americas' is a terrorist training camp and the US Government are a direct threat and decide to remove it and replace it with something less belligerent. This seems to be any easier case to make - albeit impractical due to their military disparity.

Re, NATO. If not this NATO then what? The fundamental problem between Europe and the US is the role of NATO and the perceptions of threat. The US has for a long time spent an obscene amount on its military so it is now dis-proportionally powerful compared to any other State. It views Russia and China as threats and thinks it and its allies should prepare to counter them. The European public are less convinced thinking they are not, unless we keep poking them with a sharp stick. Euro-Borg tow the US line but are finding it increasingly difficult to control their public. The MSM are losing street cred. and, like the US's Trump, we keep getting annoying politicians who failed to drink the coolaid and who the public still follow despite the establishments attempts to trash them. Now new have Corbynites, Trump, Le Pen and other supporters who just don't trust the press or the establishment.

Personally I would prefer an alliance of European States, sans the US, who could provide deterrence against any likely threat but whose aim was to gradually improve relations & reduce military hardware, by treaty, along the Eastern border to a point where neither side felt threatened.

LeaNder

I basically like Patrick Bahzad's take. Vague connotation? Every Cloud has got a Silver Lining. Why not? ...

But yes, true, I had the same problem too. Not that I was a fan of the Taliban, quite the opposite really. But as far as I recall no one ever claimed they were responsible or sponsored 9/11.

Irony alert: Remember the Hamburg Cell? Why didn't the US declare war on Hamburg, or Germany for that matter?

David Lentini

Like most large peace-time military organiations, NATO has become a source of corruption and co-optation. Created as part of the phony Cold War dialectic, less to stop a Soviet attack that was very unlikely unless provoked (for which NATO would be very useful as we see today), NATO served a variety of political needs for the Anglo-American élites. In particular, NATO functioned to justify a large American military presence that satisfied Wall Street's investments in military-industrial complex, and enabled Americans to be held hostage to whatever game the CIA could cook up as needed to support the MIC and globalist strategy to link East and West.

This all became apparent when the Soviet Union collapsed. Suddenly, the neocons started moving NATO into threatening positions against Russia, and the service suddenly became a "force for peace and protection" around the Balkans and Mediterranean. Now the EU wants to use NATO as its personal Army.

NATO needs to be scrapped now. We can develop a new force based on reality if needed.

b

I believe NATO should be carried to grave as soon as possible. It has become solely an instrument of aggressive U.S. foreign policy that is often in opposition to the security interests of the European people.

The EU defense pact is too wide ranging and needs to be buried too. It should be replaced by a strictly defensive pact that also has levers to prohibit or prevent aggressive behavior (against pact internal and external enemies) by individual members.

There is no need for any country in Europe to spend 2% of GDP on "defense". That is way more than is necessary.

To compare European spending to U.S. spending is nuts. By simple geography it is one the most safe countries one can think of. The U.S. spends on "defense" to be THE global supreme nation. That's lunacy so why should Europe attempt to follow such an example?


Willy B

It was Lord Ismay, first secretary general of NATO who is credited with saying that.

While Secretary General, Ismay is also credited as having been the first person to say that the purpose of the alliance was "to keep the Russians out, the Americans in, and the Germans down," a saying that has since become a common way to quickly describe the alliance.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hastings_Ismay,_1st_Baron_Ismay

Willy B

"After 9/11, when the US invoked NATO's article V, America's allies offered military assistance, but they were rebuffed and side-lined by Bush Jr.'s administration which had other plans in mind already."

THis is not entirely true. NATO did deploy a number of its AWACS aircraft to the US for the Noble Eagle air patrol mission, so that the US AWACS fleet could be dedicated to Bush, Jr's upcoming wars. I know of no other NATO involvement in the so-called war on terrorism, however.

Babak Makkinejad

Nah, Iran is, she is one or two steps away from destroying the World Peace.

Willybilly

Spot on, you're absolutely right. The mischief started in earnest right after the fall of the Berlin Wall....and it was deliberate in its various provocations, and its still continuing today.....

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