Latest June 16th 2011
am not a fan of Donald Rumsfeld - but we have to face facts.
Defense Chiefs Say NATO Must
By PAUL AMES, Associated Press Writer
Sat Feb 4, 8:37 PM ET
MUNICH, Germany -NATO
needs to launch a new modernization drive to keep it from sliding into
irrelevance in the face of today's threats from terrorism and regional
unrest, defense chiefs of the Atlantic Alliance warned on Saturday.
is not simply guaranteed to survive and prosper as the cornerstone of
the collective security we need," British Defense Secretary John Reid
said. "It must change. ... NATO today faces greater threats to its
long-term future than ever it did at the height of the Cold War."
The alliance has been working for years to upgrade its armaments in
an effort to narrow the gulf between U.S. military might and European
armies — with only patchy success. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld
bluntly told allies they needed to spend more to push that overhaul
"Unless we invest in our defense and security, our homelands will be
at risk," he said.
He complained that just seven of the 26 NATO allies spend more than
2 percent of their gross domestic product on defense — compared with
3.7 percent in the United States. Rumsfeld's words were backed by his
counterparts from Britain and France, who are among the bigger European
Besides spending more, the allies need to spend better, said NATO
Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer.
He urged allied governments to agree by an alliance summit in
November to set up a joint fund to finance operations, to replace the
current system whereby nations that provide troops for expensive
missions such as peacekeeping in Afghanistan or the recent humanitarian
operation in Pakistan have to cover their own costs.
"We need to share the costs more fairly," de Hoop Scheffer said.
He also expressed growing exasperation over what he called an
"absurd" failure to improve coordination between NATO and the European
Union's defense arm.
"It means we are duplicating each other's efforts," he told the
Although the two organizations share 19 members, cooperation has
been held up by Turkey, which is reluctant to share sensitive
information with EU member Cyprus, and by France, which fears efforts
to develop a more independent EU defense policy could be threatened by
closer ties with NATO.
De Hoop Scheffer also stressed the need for NATO to develop closer
ties with like-minded democracies such as Australia, New Zealand, Japan
and South Korea.
French Defense Minister Michelle Alliot-Marie warned that NATO
should take care not to overstretch itself. In particular she cautioned
against the alliance's "systematically" taking on humanitarian
operations like those last year in Pakistan after a major earthquake
and in the United States after Hurricane Katrina.
"This has to remain an exception," Alliot-Marie said. "NATO is not
the best organization for civil reconstruction or natural disasters."
From The Independent
France blocks Nato bid to create
a global terror force
By Stephen Castle in Brussels
Published: 04 November
Plans to boost Nato's co- operation with countries such as Australia
and Japan in an effort to forge a partnership against terrorism have
been blocked by France.
The moves were to have been at the centre of a summit of the
leaders to be held in Riga this month. Nato officials now accept that
only a loosely worded pledge to increase contacts with partners in Asia
and Australasia will be included in the communiqué, which will
agreed by President George Bush and other leaders in the Latvian
The French opposition comes as a blow to the US, which spearheaded
the proposal and which would like to see regular Nato "forums" with
countries such as Australia, New Zealand, Japan and South Korea. But
while the idea won support from traditional allies of Washington such
as the UK, France has made it clear that it opposes a move it sees as
part of a campaign to extend US influence.
Paris has always been suspicious of Nato because of America's
domination of the organisation. In an article in Le Figaro this week,
France's Defence Minister, Michèle Alliot-Marie, spelt out her
country's opposition to efforts to expand Nato's global reach.
She praised the contribution of Australia and Japan to peacekeeping
operations in Afghanistan and said she was willing to improve the
"practical arrangements" surrounding their military operations but
added that this must be done "without changing the fundamental nature
of Nato which must, in my eyes, remain an euro-atlantic military
alliance". She argued: "The development of a 'global partnership' would
riskdiluting the natural solidarity between Europeans and North
Americans ... and above all, send a bad political message: that of a
campaign, at the intiative of the West, against those who do not share
The alliance already operates a Partnership for Peace programme with
20 countries, including several from the former Soviet bloc. But
neither New Zealand nor Australia have formal partnerships with Nato
though both have troops in Afghanistan. Japan has a naval mission in
the Indian Ocean providing support for US-led military operations in
Nato officials have not abandoned the hope of having more regular
consultations with non-alliance countries that contribute to the
The French seem to be
taking advantage of GWB's electoral kicking to work against NATO taking
any responsibility for global policing. This is a very bad mistake.
They should seize the opportunity to enhance European control in NATO
and get involved in taking responsibility. That
way Europe can influence the way things are done. The reason why Iraq
is such a cock-up is because Europe did not have the right to assist in
the planning, it had forfeited it by allowing the UN to be made to look
toothless. The French let others do the dirty, necessary work and then
complain. Allez, enfants de la patrie, and get off your selfish arses. [Blimey,
April 2 2008]
NOVEMBER 24 2006
NATO's role to include counter-terrorism
Friday November 24, 05:47 AM
LONDON (Reuters) - NATO
endorse a plan next week to widen the alliance's role to include
counter-terrorism, prevention of cyber attacks and security of natural
resources, the Financial Times reported on Friday.
The newspaper said it had
obtained a copy of the plan, which sought to
"provide a framework and political direction for NATO's continuing
transformation ... for the next 10 to 15 years".
The plan said terrorism and
weapons of mass destruction "are likely to
be the principal threats to the alliance" over that period, the
The Financial Times said the plan
would be signed by the leaders of the
26-nation alliance who are due to meet in Riga, Latvia on November
The plan, which would be made
public next week, had already been endorsed by NATO defence ministers,
Setting out strategy goals, the
plan said NATO should be ready to fight
more than one big operation at a time, as well as an increasing number
of smaller engagements.
It said NATO should put a premium
on "the ability to deter, disrupt,
defend and protect against terrorism, and more particularly to
contribute to the protection of the alliance's populations, territory,
critical infrastructure and forces".
Other areas for the alliance to
concentrate on included defending information from "cyber attacks".
Warning over NATO
between NATO and the European Union are "plagued by mistrust and
unhealthy competition", according to a committee of MPs.
defence committee warned that European defence policy risked
undermining the US's commitment to the alliance.
In a report published on Thursday ahead of next
month's NATO summit in Bucharest, the MPs said European governments did
not have enough "political will".
Describing NATO as "indispensable", the
committee said it was the "ultimate guarantor of our collective
security" in Europe.
"Without US support, NATO has no future," said
report. "But US support depends on NATO becoming more capable,
deployable and flexible, and on the European allies contributing more."
It stressed the importance of operations in
Afghanistan, claiming that failure in the country would "deal a severe
blow to allied unity".
The report claimed that the Europeans displayed
clear lack of political will in failing to spend more on defence, with
only six of the 24 member states meeting pledges to spend at least two
per cent on defence.
"If the European members of the alliance want to
taken seriously, if they want the United States to remain engaged in,
and committed to, NATO, and if they want greater influence in the
overall direction of alliance policy, they must commit the necessary
resources and improve their capabilities," it added.
"We are concerned that an alliance with such
and growing discrepancies in defence spending will not be sustainable
in the long term."
The very last thing that is needed right now is to enlarge NATO by
encouraging Ukraine and Georgia to join. There is no need for them and
there is no need for NATO. Each needs to sort its own problems out and
not seek to divert attention by frivolous growth without purpose. I am
glad to see that there are those in Germany, Ukraine and Georgia who
understand this and I assume the same applies to the UK and most EU and
NATO countries. The current US administration seems, in its obsession
with 'principles', to be almost as foolish as the rigid followers of
Marxism. Principles, while useful and admirable are the refuge of those
unwilling to face the real issues of life with judgment and action
appropriate to the circumstances, not to say an inability to appreciate
the full nature of space and time.
APRIL 2nd 2008
Good news. At today's NATO meeting in Romania it was decided NOT to
offer membership to Georgia and Ukraine. This will make it much easier
for those countries to get on with building their democratic
institutions without an obviously divisive and unnecessary issue being
dumped on them right at the start.
More good news: France is offering a substantial increase in troops to
support NATO's operations in Afghanistan and this has been followed by
other NATO countries. Albania and Croatia have been invited to join.
Macedonia has a problem with its name, which is the same as a northern
province of Greece. Greece has never accepted their right to the name
and has vetoed their membership under that name. Hmm... this one needs
thinking through © ® !
APRIL 3rd 2008
In spite of the the news above, NATO has told Georgia and the Ukraine
they will be joining at some time in the future. That seems
presumptious to me. They can be invted to join of course. Whether
they do or not depends on their governments at the time. There was
agreement on the plan for a missile dfence system. Member states will
endorse a communiqué backing the plan to position missile
defence bases in the Czech Republic and Poland. Vladimir Putin
attended the conference today but we are not told what he had to say.
It has to be said that the system is purely defensive and only useful
against missile agression by a small rogue state. It cannot pose a
threat to Russia's deterrent.
APRIL 4th 2008
It appears that at least there is a reasonable dialogue behind the
scenes between Russia and the NATO countries. Putin is straightforward
about his objections and his concerns. He will be meeting personally
with GWB tomorrow. I can quite see how GWB's way of glossing over these
things must drive him up the wall, and the homespun "I call him
Vladimir..." stuff is stomach-churning, but it is clear that the Bush
approach is that the world is too complex to deal with these problems
in any other way than gross simplification at the top level, forcing
the elements downstream to sort themselves out. It's Jimmy Carter in
reverse if you like. But that's how politics proceeds over the
centuries, bouncing from one extreme error to the opposite, while we
just hope that the extremes get knocked off the edges before they can
cause more than non-total catastrophes. Let's face it, international
diplomacy is going progressivley (with hiccups) better than it did 100,
70, 50, 20 or even 10 years ago. It certainly needs to, as the
challenges get ever greater. The problems ahead will make the past seem
APRIL 6th 2008
The language at the NATO meeting has been civilised. Putin has said
that although he has distinct reservations about the anti-missile
plans, a compromise looks possible. he makes it clear that although his
personal relations with Bush are good, he has difficulty trusting US
military policy for the future. Frankly I find this understandable. How
is he to know what bunch of people will lead this in an emotional,
democratic nation that sees it own history, geography and political
heritage as containing all the wisdom required to judge the world. What
GWB calls "Freedom" has worked in the US so far, seeing that civil war
is not ongoing and the economy not yet collapsed, and they have had a
whole continent to wreck with the errors that have accompanied their
successes over the past 200 years. But Putin does not see Bush or US
politicians of either party as realists or the policies they are trying
to export as sustainable in the global context. That is not to say
Putin is right, just that his point of view is very, very
the Herald Tribune
proposal calls for broader security pact
Monday, July 28, 2008
Russia, which under Vladimir Putin has shown increasing hostility
toward NATO and other post-World War II security organizations in
Europe, has put together a set of proposals that essentially sidelines
these groups in favor of a broader one.
The proposals, to be presented to NATO on Monday in Brussels,
clearly have no chance of being accepted by the United States and its
allies in Europe. But they reflect the Kremlin's latest efforts to
reassert itself on the world stage and to challenge longstanding
The Kremlin wants in particular to weaken the Organization for
Security and Cooperation in Europe, which Russia is a member of, and
NATO, which it is not. The Russian proposal would establish a broad
security pact open to other countries, including possibly China and
Dmitri Rogozin, Russia's envoy to NATO, acknowledged that the
alliance would not quickly embrace the proposals, but he suggested that
the Kremlin was hoping to begin a dialogue.
"We do not expect immediate reaction on the part of our Western
partners, or booing, or on the contrary, applause," Rogozin wrote in
reply to questions about his proposals. "We are looking forward to
teamwork and practical search of constructive approaches."
Putin sent Rogozin, who has a reputation as a fierce Russian
nationalist, to the alliance this year in what was widely seen as an
attempt to install a provocative advocate for Russia's interests in
Brussels. Putin is now Russia's prime minister, and his
Medvedev, is president.
NATO will comment on Rogozin's proposals once it has received more
details, James Appathurai, a spokesman for the alliance, said Sunday.
The Kremlin has already promoted changes in the Organization for
Security and Cooperation in Europe. Among the organization's roles,
OSCE monitors elections in nations emerging from the former Soviet
Union. Over the last year, the Kremlin has criticized its election
observer teams as biased.
The new Russian proposals indicate that now that Russia's economy
has revived after the chaos of the 1990s, the country is seeking new
ways to expand its influence.
"Moscow believes that the current security architecture in Europe is
a remnant of the cold war bloc ideology," said Andrew Monaghan, a
Russia expert at the NATO Defense College in Rome. "Russia sees itself
as the largest state straddling Europe and Asia which has the strength
and capacity to adopt a global purview. This includes protecting and
projecting its national interests and actively proposing solutions to
At the heart of the proposals, Rogozin said, is a new European
security treaty that would be a legally binding document based on the
United Nations Charter.
He said Russia would also convene an international forum that would
include the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, NATO,
the European Union, the Russian-led Commonwealth of Independent States
and the Russian-led Collective Security Treaty Organization, which
includes Central Asian countries.
The main reason for a new security pact is that Europe can no longer
cope with the plethora of problems it faces, according to one of the
proposals. "Modern European security is overwhelmed with problems,
ranging from NATO enlargement to illegal migration, drug trafficking,
organized crime and terrorism," it says.
The Russian proposals summarised above were duly ignored by the US and
UK, perhaps as being mischievous or vexatious. I think that is a
misreading of the situation but the fact is NATO did not know how to
handle the suggestions. They were presumably addressed not to NATO but
the governments of the Western European nations.
Since then we have had the mistaken and clumsy political antics pursued
by a US-led NATO (trailing the UK, represented by a now apparently
juvenile and naive Miliband) to encourage Georgia and the Ukraine to
apply for NATO membership. This has been handled in such a stupid,
arrogant and provocative way that in my view it actually encouraged
Saakashvili in his self-serving folly.
There is nothing to be gained for NATO or for Georgia or Ukraine as
whole, in their joining NATO. Of course quite a few people could do
very well out of it in the short term but this might be very short
indeed. It would be destabilising rather than stabilising. The way to
get in-depth political advance in Russia and its neighbours is by
engaging them politically in a sensible way.
The way to get NATO into better shape and more coherent is NOT by
enlarging it and certainly not making trouble in Europe. NATO has
enough trouble on its hands in Afghanistan. I would certainly not go as
far as Simon Jenkins in suggesting that NATO should be wound up, but it
must be made fit for purpose and its purpose revised from expansion to
sensible deployment when the UN needs more than peacekeeping. In
Europe, Russia can and must keep the peace in a number of areas and
this is not made easier by getting every country on its borders to join
With regard to the installation of missile defences systems in Poland,
this has been so badly handled as to give unnecessary alarm to both
Russia and other European countries and a propaganda victory to all
anti-Americans. Why? The average Briton now thinks the US positioning
of missiles in Poland is for nuclear warheads, the equivalent of Russia
putting nukes in Cuba. Why are these politicians and diplomats so
fucking incompetent? (I make no apology for my language).
SEPTEMBER 19th 2008
It is significant that those countries nearest to Russia are least keen
to press for Georgian and Ukrainian membership of NATO. Gates'
undoubted experience is America based in its concept and perspective.
His reading of history has been in my view asymmetric and flawed. Being
a practical man rather than an ideologue there is hope that he can get
his head round a different perspective.
NATO members wonder: Will
defense promises hold?
By ROBERT BURNS, AP Military Writer
In the aftermath of Russia's brief war with Georgia, the United
States and its NATO partners face questions about the very foundation
of their alliance — the pledge enshrined in the 59-year-old North
Atlantic Treaty that an unprovoked attack on one member would be
treated as an attack on all.
Georgia, while not yet a NATO member, is pushing for early entrance
despite Russia's strong objections.
The Russian incursion in August raises questions for newer NATO
members — like the three Baltic states that were part of the Soviet
Union before the fall of the communist empire in 1991 — about whether
and how NATO would respond in the event that Russia chose to invade
That issue forms a part of the backdrop to a meeting here Friday of
allied defense ministers who are divided over how to treat their
relationship with Russia and how to proceed with NATO military reforms.
No firm decisions are expected. The matter will be further
considered by NATO foreign ministers in December.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who was a specialist in Soviet
affairs during his career at the CIA, said Thursday that while the
crisis in Georgia has caused concerns within NATO, he does not believe
the alliance faces the likelihood of war with Russia.
Gates, speaking with reporters in advance of a NATO defense
ministers meeting, said there is a sharp division of opinion over what
the Russian war with Georgia means for the alliance and its relations
"I think we need to proceed with some caution because there clearly
is a range of views in the alliance about how to respond," he said. The
split, he said, is between alliance members in eastern Europe and those
in western Europe.
Germany and others in western Europe intend to block further U.S.
efforts this year to give the go-ahead to put Georgia on a formal track
toward membership, although they are leery of giving the appearance of
caving in to Russia on this issue.
"There is a middle ground that I will suggest, where we do some
prudent things that are consistent with the kinds of activities NATO
has been engaged in for nearly 60 years in terms of planning, in terms
of exercises — and at the same time are not provocative and don't tend
to draw any firm red lines or send signals that are unwanted, at the
same time it provides some reassurance to the allies in eastern Europe
and the Baltic states."
Gates also said that while Russia's more aggressive actions,
including its incursion into Georgia, are worrisome to many in NATO,
there is no expectation of war with Russia.
"It's hard for me to imagine that those who are currently in NATO
feel a real military threat coming from Russia," he said. "To the
degree there is a sense of concern, my guess is it has more to do with
pressure and intimidation than it does with any prospect of real
NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer and envoys from all 26
member countries were in Georgia this week. The NATO delegation visited
the central Georgian city of Gori, which was bombed and occupied by
Russian troops during the five-day war in August.
Russia's Foreign Ministry said the Gori visit sent an obvious
anti-Russian message. The NATO chief would have gotten a more objective
picture by visiting the capital of South Ossetia, which came under
heavy Georgian shelling during the war, the ministry said.
In remarks Thursday at the Royal United Services Institute for
Defence and Security Studies, de Hoop Scheffer said, "I do not believe
the second Cold War is in the offing but the role Russia wants to play
in the international system is uncertain."
"Russia has demonstrated a total disregard for the sovereignty of a
small neighbor, and for international law," the NATO chief added. "This
represents a challenge for our partnership. Russia has long demanded to
be treated with respect. That respect has to be earned."
I am glad to see there are those that agree with me, and they are
classified as leading thinkers in strategic defence matters.
Nato should stop expanding, says UK think tank
By Anne Penketh and Mary Dejevsky
Thursday, 18 September 2008
Nato needs to stop expanding, according to a leading British
strategic think tank. The International Institute for Strategic Studies
challenged the Nato secretary-general today by warning against
embracing Georgia and Ukraine in the light of last month's Caucasus
"The policy of Nato enlargement now, we believe, would be a
strategic error," the head of the IISS , John Chipman, told journalists
yesterday. Speaking at the launch of the organisation's annual review
of world affairs, he criticised the 26-nation military alliance for
viewing enlargement as an "institutional priority" - "as if riding a
bicycle eastwards is necessary to keep the bicycle upwards."
Russia's implacable opposition to Nato expansion on its borders, by
absorbing former Warsaw Pact states, was a critical factor in last
month's war with Georgia, which was prompted by the Georgian
government's decision to attempt to gain control militarily of the
breakaway region of South Ossetia.
The IISS view conflicts with that of Britain and the US, which remain
committed to future Nato membership for both Georgia and Ukraine and
are adamant that Russia should not have a veto over alliance members.
The issue will be hotly debated again at Nato's next summit in
The IISS noted that the West was divided on Nato integration and argued
that "Europeans have a strong case to argue that it is in Nato's
strategic interest to pause its enlargement policy." It accused the
"irresponsible" Georgian government of having "weakened its case" for
membership by ordering the 7 August assault on the South Ossetia
capital which led to the "vindictive" Russian military retaliation. "It
openly defied its main strategic patron, the US, by seeking to recover
its lost territories" before calling on the West "to sort out the mess
Regarding Ukraine, whose government has collapsed over the president's
support for Georgia and Nato membership, the IISS said that a pause was
appropriate because of the lack of unity in the Ukrainian population as
a whole on the Nato issue.
The Nato chief, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, who addressed a separate London
think tank yesterday, took the opposite view however and defended
Georgia's membership of Nato which he described as a "logical
consequence of Georgia's democratic choice."
Speaking at the Royal United Services Institute, the Nato chief - who
visited Georgia earlier this week - said: "Nato must support Georgia in
realising its Euro-Atlantic aspirations."
He also blamed Russia for fomenting the crisis with Georgia which led
to the six-day war. Asked about Nato's handling of the crisis with
Russia, he said: "There will be no U-turn by Nato vis a vis Russia. We
have not gone wrong. The policy of constructive engagement is sound.
There may be adjustments in the way of our approach, but there's no
need for a new policy."
APRIL 4th 2009
Common sense has prevailed. We have a new American President. NATO
enlargement is giving way to NATO strengthening, France is rejoining
the NATO military planning committees. Russia and the US have agreed to
a fresh start in their relations and are preparing a new Strategi Arms
Limitation Treaty to take ove when the current one runs out.
bright spark repeats the view that with the cold
war over, NATO has lost its purpose and can be wound up. They point to
its failure to resolve any current problems and question its utility
and expense. But I have to say we have been through this argument in
advance many years ago. Unless we are to expect one or more superpowers
to be the enforcement agents of last resort for the United
Nations, the world needs an organisation that can cooperate in military
actions, can agree on the political essentials that justify any such
action, and can debate and discuss these things in a rational
manner. President Obama has made it clear that the US cannot be
the world's policeman. NATO could be renamed, that is true, but why
confuse things. Fix what is broke and polish up the rest.
leaders pledged at NATO's
60th-anniversary summit Saturday to send thousands of soldiers and
police to train Afghanistan's army and secure its coming elections, but
they shied far from matching America's pledge to dispatch a large
number of new combat forces.
Zbig Brzezinski writes in the New York Times/Herald Trib. today. He
makes some good points.
NATO and World Security
In the course of its 60 years,
has institutionalized three monumental transformations in world
affairs: first, the end of the centuries-long “civil war” within the
West for trans-oceanic and European supremacy; second, the United
States’s post–World War II commitment to the defense of Europe against
Soviet domination; and third, the peaceful termination of the Cold War,
which created the preconditions for a larger democratic European Union.
These successes, however, give
rise to a legitimate question: What next?
NATO now confronts historically
unprecedented risks to global
security. The paradox of our time is that the world, increasingly
connected and economically interdependent, is experiencing intensifying
popular unrest. Yet there is no effective global security mechanism for
coping with the growing threat of chaos stemming from humanity’s recent
Additionally complicating is the
fact that the dramatic rise of
China and India and the quick recovery of Japan within the last 50
years have signaled that the global center of political and economic
gravity is shifting away from the North Atlantic toward Asia and the
This dispersal of global power
and the expanding mass unrest make
for a combustible mixture. In this dangerous setting, the first order
of business for NATO members is to define and pursue together a
politically acceptable outcome to its out-of region military engagement
in Afghanistan. This must be pursued on a genuinely shared military and
economic basis, without caveats regarding military participation or
evasions regarding financial assistance for Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Such a resolution of NATO’s first campaign based on Article 5 is
necessary to sustain alliance credibility.
However, the fact is that the
qualified wording of Article 5 allows
each country to do as much or as little as it thinks appropriate in
response to an attack on a fellow NATO member, and NATO’s reliance upon
consensus for decision-making enables even just one or two members in
effect to veto any response at all — a problem made more acute by the
expansion of the alliance to 28 members and the vulnerability of some
members to foreign inducements. Hence, some thought should be given to
formulating a more operational definition of “consensus” when it is
shared by an overwhelming majority but not by everyone.
The alliance also needs to define
for itself a geopolitically
relevant long-term strategic goal for its relationship with the Russian
Federation. Russia is not an enemy, but it still views NATO with
hostility. Hence, two strategic objectives should define NATO’s goal:
to consolidate security in Europe by drawing Russia into a closer
association with the Euro-Atlantic community, and to engage Russia in a
wider web of global security that indirectly facilitates the fading of
Russia’s lingering imperial ambitions.
A good first step might be an
agreement on security cooperation
between NATO and the Kremlin-created Collective Security Treaty
Organization, which consists of Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan,
Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. In return for this
concession — which Moscow has long sought — such an arrangement should
be made conditional on provisions that confirm the right of current
nonmembers to seek membership of their own choice in either NATO or the
Better relations between NATO and
Russia could also facilitate a
cooperative outreach toward the rising Asian powers, which should be
drawn into joint security undertakings. Such gradually expanding
cooperation could lead, in turn, to a joint NATO-Shanghai Cooperation
Organization council, thereby indirectly engaging China in cooperation
with NATO, clearly a desirable goal. Indeed, given the changing
distribution of global power, NATO should soon consider more direct
formal links with several leading East Asian powers — especially China
and Japan — as well as with India.
But to remain relevant, NATO
cannot — as some have urged — simply
expand itself into a global alliance or transform itself into a global
alliance of democracies. A global NATO would dilute the centrality of
the U.S.-European connection, and none of the rising powers would be
likely to accept membership in a globally expanded NATO. Furthermore,
an ideologically defined global alliance of democracies would face
serious difficulties in determining whom to exclude and in striking a
reasonable balance between its doctrinal and strategic purposes.
NATO, however, has the
experience, the institutions and the means to
become the hub of a globe-spanning web of various regional
cooperative-security undertakings among states with the growing power
to act. In pursuing that strategic mission, NATO would not only be
preserving trans-Atlantic political unity; it would also be responding
to the 21st century’s increasingly urgent security agenda.
Zbigniew Brzezinski was U.S.
national security adviser from 1977 to 1981.
NOVEMBER 20th 2010
security handover plan for Afghanistan (see
plan, made public and agreed by all NATO members, is a necessary
condition to removing any excuse from the Karzai Government and its
supporters for not cleaning up their act on the one hand, or from the
Taliban, al-Qaida or any other insurgents on the other for citing a
foreign occupation as the reason for murder, mayhem and destruction.
However, If the Taliban think that it means they can just wait for NATO
to go home before another terrorist take-over in the name of either
religion or ethnic or tribal imperatives they will be making a mistake.
Six months on and the lack of a way out of the economic imbalance
between the hemispheres (east-west as well as north-south) and the
strain on the north-west is apparent. In Europe, we need to take the
defense load on board financially, collectively, if we are going to be
complementary when it comes to boots on the ground.
America is now 75% of NATO, it is costing them and they are wondering
if they need to bear this burden.
The outgoing US Defence Secretary
Robert Gates is in that privileged position, and he's let rip
some of America's allies in Nato.
This is a critically important
speech. It's no temper tantrum, and it is not, in any sense, a parting
shot at his own administration
JUNE 16th 2011
It may well be that NATO is coming to the end of its political life.
That does not mean of all life, as it will remain as a coordinating
body for all sorts of standards and military cooperation and, where
defence planning is required and in times of trouble, all those who
these days do damn all or only safe jobs approved by their middle-class
lawyers who live in style in the temporary peace, will come running
back. But don't let us pretend at this time that there is anything like
a coherent common attitude or even education that is turning out
of level headed citizens in the NATO countries willing to take the
world forward in a confident manner. Perhas it is just as well. Maybe
we have to break down and re-form our understanding of what and who we