Author Topic: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?  (Read 56367 times)

Zanza

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Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
« Reply #285 on: June 12, 2011, 09:49:07 am »
Just saw this on the Economist website:


NATO's budget, sure, but what is the cost of keeping troops and equipment in Europe?
No idea, but that wouldn't be necessary if it is just about maintaining the alliance as a framework for cooperation, standardization and strategic debate. As there is no immediate threat anymore, collective defense doesn't seem to necessitate all the bases the US still has in Europe. If the US thinks it doesn't benefit from those bases anymore, it should close them. 

Neil

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Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
« Reply #286 on: June 12, 2011, 09:49:42 am »
NATO has a budget of about $2.5 billion. The USA pays about 23% or $600 million. That's about 1/1000 of America's defense spending. Doesn't seem to make a difference for the budget whether or not you are in NATO.
And it seems pretty unlikely that the US is going to close Ramstein.
At least not without building something similar first, maybe somewhere to the Southeast, closer to the Middle East -- Romania?
Given that they just spent a small fortune improving it, I would be surprised if it happened at all.

Then again, I suppose Germany doesn't really have much of a say what the US does with those things, what with the Nazis and all that.  The US could probably keep it even if NATO didn't exist.
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Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
« Reply #287 on: June 12, 2011, 09:55:36 am »
Given that they just spent a small fortune improving it, I would be surprised if it happened at all.

Then again, I suppose Germany doesn't really have much of a say what the US does with those things, what with the Nazis and all that.  The US could probably keep it even if NATO didn't exist.

The influx of money those bases bring must be substantial even for Germany. I doubt they mind.

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Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
« Reply #288 on: June 12, 2011, 10:19:39 am »
NATO has a budget of about $2.5 billion. The USA pays about 23% or $600 million. That's about 1/1000 of America's defense spending. Doesn't seem to make a difference for the budget whether or not you are in NATO.

NATO's budget, sure, but what is the cost of keeping troops and equipment in Europe?

I have no idea, but the old POMCUS sites are mostly empty. Last thing I read about it, there was a brigade's worth of material left. Back in the day it was several division's worth.
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Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
« Reply #289 on: June 13, 2011, 09:20:30 am »
Let's also not forget that the US may have the biggest military spending, but the EU is the largest foreign aid donor. The alliance has evolved into something of a symbiosis, with the US going in and doing the heavy lifting, then us following with cash to rebuild (and not just that, but diplomacy and foreign aid is often just as good a deterrent as threat of force). For the last twenty years so much was written about this arrangement, that now the US feeling like they are being shafted is a bit disheartening.

So the division of labor is that the US spends the money to have a deployable military capability, whereas the EU sends trade-tied cash -- potentially causing EU exports to be substituted for US.  And this benefits the US how?
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Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
« Reply #290 on: June 13, 2011, 09:22:05 am »
The perception is that the remaining US troops are not there to defend Germany anymore, the task they had until 20 years ago, but rather being forward deployed so that they are closer to the action in the Middle East.

Probably the best argument for NATO from a US-centric perspective.  The Pentagon needs those airbases and logistical facilities overseas.
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Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
« Reply #291 on: June 13, 2011, 09:29:26 am »
NATO has a budget of about $2.5 billion. The USA pays about 23% or $600 million. That's about 1/1000 of America's defense spending. Doesn't seem to make a difference for the budget whether or not you are in NATO.
If the only cost was the US share of the NATO budget, you would be right.  That's not the only cost, though, so you are not.
« Last Edit: June 13, 2011, 09:34:05 am by grumbler »
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Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
« Reply #292 on: June 13, 2011, 09:34:14 am »
The perception is that the remaining US troops are not there to defend Germany anymore, the task they had until 20 years ago, but rather being forward deployed so that they are closer to the action in the Middle East.

Probably the best argument for NATO from a US-centric perspective.  The Pentagon needs those airbases and logistical facilities overseas.

Are these negotiated via NATO or on a bilateral basis?

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Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
« Reply #293 on: June 13, 2011, 09:46:16 am »
Are these negotiated via NATO or on a bilateral basis?

Ramstein is a NATO base IIRC.
basing agreements could be done purely bilaterally but without the alliance structure I think they would be more vulnerable to the vaguaries of domestic political shifts.
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Zanza

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Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
« Reply #294 on: June 13, 2011, 10:05:08 am »
NATO has a budget of about $2.5 billion. The USA pays about 23% or $600 million. That's about 1/1000 of America's defense spending. Doesn't seem to make a difference for the budget whether or not you are in NATO.
If the only cost was the US share of the NATO budget, you would be right.  That's not the only cost, though, so you are not.
What other costs are there that wouldn't be incurred without it as well?

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Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
« Reply #295 on: June 13, 2011, 10:16:58 am »
NATO has a budget of about $2.5 billion. The USA pays about 23% or $600 million. That's about 1/1000 of America's defense spending. Doesn't seem to make a difference for the budget whether or not you are in NATO.
If the only cost was the US share of the NATO budget, you would be right.  That's not the only cost, though, so you are not.
What other costs are there that wouldn't be incurred without it as well?

The cost of the US being committed to defending Europe if it came to that, and the force levels required to do so, and the force composition required to do so.

Not to mention that cost of shelling out the resources to carry NATO members who commit to action they cannot actually deliver on.
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Valmy

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Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
« Reply #296 on: June 13, 2011, 10:31:35 am »
NATO is a very good thing if what you want is a giant US military and diplomatic corps dictating international relations in the world.  So in that sense it is a good thing for US interests.  However the sort of vast American juggernaut we constructed was built for one reason: to win the Cold War.  It is not something we can afford in the long run and was supposed to be an expedient only.   I want to see it scaled back and reduced to a manageable level.  NATO is a big symbol of our massive international commitments so I would like to see it either disbanded or seriously reformed to reflect new realities.   It is not so much a "fuck you" to Europe but rather a "well we won so congrats everybody, but it is time to think of the future".  Preferrably a future where the US is not the dominant power in Europe.
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Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
« Reply #297 on: June 13, 2011, 11:31:04 am »
What other costs are there that wouldn't be incurred without it as well?
The costs of conforming to all of the STANAGs, the cost of personnel attached to NATO commands, the costs of deferring actions until appropriate NATO bureaucracies decide how the allianc wants to approach a problem, the opportunity costs of forgoing procurements or actions because they don't match NATO-agreed equipment or procedural protocols, etc, etc.  There is a lot more to an alliance than some office buildings.
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Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
« Reply #298 on: June 13, 2011, 11:42:55 am »
Over the weekend, the Vietnamese foreign minister invited international intervention (including US) into the South China Sea disputes.  From a cold strategic perspective, it is likely that US attention is going to be oriented more toward the Pacific in the years to come.  Another priority is going to be the Indian Ocean and the axis of instability from the Horn of Africa through southern and eastern Arabia, Af-Paki-stan, and the central Asian republics.  At the same time resources are constrained so in order to enhance presence in one area, presence in other areas will have to be degraded.  It is obvious the Europe and the Med will have to one of those areas.  Libya is a trial run for the new reality: US interests there are zilch other than that the spice should flow.  The expectation was that this is in a European area of responsibility and is modest enough a problem that significant US support should not be necessary, but although UK & France have taken the lead and been effective, the operation has revealed the very serious shortcomings of resourcing and coordination.

From a lot of perspectives, I don't think busting up NATO makes a lot of sense, but as a gambit for Gates to get the attention of the politicians I get it.  The US can't be as involved in the European/Med area as it used to and either the European nations have to figure out a way to pick up the slack or start tolerating even higher levels of regional instability.  Popular opinion may oppose big military establishments and overseas adventures, but it also doesn't particularly care for being swamped by refugees.
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Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
« Reply #299 on: June 13, 2011, 11:47:11 am »
Quote
the Vietnamese foreign minister invited international intervention

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