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General Category => Off the Record => Topic started by: Berkut on June 10, 2011, 08:42:16 am

Title: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Berkut on June 10, 2011, 08:42:16 am
Gates blasts NATO in a farewell address.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110610/ap_on_re_eu/eu_gates_nato_doomed

Quote
Gates blasts NATO, questions future of alliance
By ROBERT BURNS, AP National Security Writer                  –     Fri Jun 10, 5:30 am ET
BRUSSELS – America's military alliance with Europe — the cornerstone  of U.S. security policy for six decades — faces a "dim, if not dismal"  future, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Friday in a blunt  valedictory address.
In his final policy speech as Pentagon chief, Gates  questioned the viability of NATO, saying its members' penny-pinching and  lack of political will could hasten the end of U.S. support. The North  Atlantic Treaty Organization was formed in 1949 as a U.S.-led bulwark  against Soviet aggression, but in the post-Cold War era it has struggled  to find a purpose.
"Future U.S. political leaders - those for whom the  Cold War was not the formative experience that it was for me - may not  consider the return on America's investment in NATO worth the cost," he  told a European think tank on the final day of an 11-day overseas  journey.
Gates has made no secret of his frustration with NATO  bureaucracy and the huge restrictions many European governments placed  on their military participation in the Afghanistan war. He ruffled NATO  feathers early in his tenure with a direct challenge to contribute more  front-line troops that yielded few contributions.
Even so, Gates' assessment Friday that NATO is  falling down on its obligations and foisting too much of the hard work  on the U.S. was unusually harsh and unvarnished. He said both of NATO's  main military operations now — Afghanistan and Libya — point up  weaknesses and failures within the alliance.
"The blunt reality is that there will be dwindling  appetite and patience in the U.S. Congress — and in the American body  politic writ large — to expend increasingly precious funds on behalf of  nations that are apparently unwilling to devote the necessary resources  or make the necessary changes to be serious and capable partners in  their own defense," he said.
Without naming names, he blasted allies who are "willing and eager  for American taxpayers to assume the growing security burden left by  reductions in European defense budgets."
The U.S. has tens of thousands of troops based in  Europe, not to stand guard against invasion but to train with European  forces and promote what for decades has been lacking: the ability of the  Europeans to go to war alongside the U.S. in a coherent way.
The war in Afghanistan, which is being conducted  under NATO auspices, is a prime example of U.S. frustration at European  inability to provide the required resources.
"Despite more than 2 million troops in uniform, not  counting the U.S. military, NATO has struggled, at times desperately, to  sustain a deployment of 25,000 to 45,000 troops, not just in boots on  the ground, but in crucial support assets such as helicopters, transport  aircraft, maintenance, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance,  and much more," Gates said.
Gates, a career CIA officer who rose to become the  spy agency's director from 1991 to 1993, is retiring on June 30 after 4  1/2 years as Pentagon chief. His designated successor, Leon Panetta, is  expected to take over July 1.
For many Americans, NATO is a vague concept tied to a  bygone era, a time when the world feared a Soviet land invasion of  Europe that could have escalated to nuclear war. But with the demise of  the Soviet Union in 1991, NATO's reason for being came into question. It  has remained intact — and even expanded from 16 members at the  conclusion of the Cold War to 28 today.
But reluctance of some European nations to expand  defense budgets and take on direct combat has created what amounts to a  two-tier alliance: the U.S. military at one level and the rest of NATO  on a lower, almost irrelevant plane.
Gates said this could spell the demise of NATO.
"What I've sketched out is the real possibility for a  dim, if not dismal future for the trans-Atlantic alliance," he said.  "Such a future is possible, but not inevitable. The good news is that  the members of NATO - individually and collectively - have it well  within their means to halt and reverse these trends and instead produce a  very different future."
Gates has said he believes NATO will endure despite  its flaws and failings. But his remarks Friday point to a degree of  American impatience with traditional and newer European allies that in  coming years could lead to a reordering of U.S. defense priorities in  favor of Asia and the Pacific, where the rise of China is becoming a  predominant concern.
To illustrate his concerns about Europe's lack of  appetite for defense, Gates noted the difficulty NATO has encountered in  carrying out an air campaign in Libya.
"The mightiest military alliance in history is only 11 weeks into an  operation against a poorly armed regime in a sparsely populated country,  yet many allies are beginning to run short of munitions, requiring the  U.S., once more, to make up the difference," he said.
 His comment reflected U.S. frustration with the allies' limited defense budgets.
 "To avoid the very real possibility of collective military irrelevance,  member nations must examine new approaches to boosting combat  capabilities," he said.
 He applauded Norway and Denmark for providing a disproportionate share  of the combat power in the Libya operation, given the size of their  militaries. And he credited Belgium and Canada for making "major  contributions" to the effort to degrade the military strength of Libya's  Moammar Gadhafi.
 "These countries have, with their constrained resources, found ways to  do the training, buy the equipment and field the platforms necessary to  make a credible military contribution," he said.
 But they are exceptions, in Gates' view.
 A NATO air operations center designed to handle more than 300 flights a  day is struggling to launch about 150 a day against Libya, Gates said.
 On a political level, the problem of alliance purpose in Libya is even more troubling, he said.
 "While every alliance member voted for the Libya mission, less than half  have participated, and fewer than a third have been willing to  participate in the strike mission," he said. "Frankly, many of those  allies sitting on the sidelines do so not because they do not want to  participate, but simply because they can't. The military capabilities  simply aren't there."
 Afghanistan is another example of NATO falling short despite a determined effort, Gates said.
 He recalled the history of NATO's involvement in the Afghan war — and  the mistaken impression some allied governments held of what it would  require of them.
 "I suspect many allies assumed that the mission would be primarily  peacekeeping, reconstruction and development assistance - more akin to  the Balkans," he said, referring to NATO peacekeeping efforts there  since the late 1990s. "Instead, NATO found itself in a tough fight  against a determined and resurgent Taliban returning in force from its  sanctuaries in Pakistan."



 He also offered praise and sympathy, noting that more than 850 troops  from non-U.S. NATO members have died in Afghanistan. For many allied  nations these were their first military casualties since World War II.
 He seemed to rehearse his position in the coming debate within the Obama  administration on how many troops to withdraw from Afghanistan this  year.
 "Far too much has been accomplished, at far too great a cost, to let the  momentum slip away just as the enemy is on his back foot," he said.
 He said the "vast majority" of the 30,000 extra troops Obama sent to  Afghanistan last year will remain through the summer fighting season. He  was not more specific.
 In a question-and-answer session with his audience after the speech,  Gates, 67, said his generation's "emotional and historical attachment"  to NATO is "aging out."
 He said he is not sure what this means in practical terms. But if  Europeans want to keep a security link to the U.S. in the future, he  said, "the drift of the past 20 years can't continue."

I think Gates may be the best SecDef we've had in maybe...forever. I really like that he is using his retirement to basically come out and state a lot of things that nobody has been willing to say otherwise. He went a long way towards righting the US military procurement system in his tenure, and he would be the first to admit there is still a very long way to go.

On this particular topic, I don't think the US is going to bail on NATO, nor should they. On the other hand, the member nations need to seriously wake up and start kicking in. They've been bitching about US domination of the military sphere, but at the same time they cannot engage in even low level military operations because they simply lack the munitions to do so? That is frankly ridiculous.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Ed Anger on June 10, 2011, 08:44:38 am
I was recently amused by the Germans bitching we may be withdrawing too fast from Afghanistan. Bitching from a country that won't put its troops where its mouth is. Fuck 'em all.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Berkut on June 10, 2011, 08:47:45 am
Well, the interesting thing about Gates complaint is not just the lack of political will to put in troops or engage in hostilities, although that is of course an issue.

His basic complaint, I think, is that plenty of countries cannot participate even where there is political will because they've cut their defense budgets so much that there is nothing that they can do. Or if they do participate (as in Libya) they have no stockpiles of fuel or munitions to engage in anything like sustained operations.

That is just fucking pathetic, IMO. "Sorry, we would love to help, think this is important, but could the US send us the bullets and gas please? We kind of didn't bother buying any ourselves...."
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Brazen on June 10, 2011, 09:08:09 am
The US spends 4.8% of its GDP on defence. The only other NATO country that comes close is the UK, but that's only 2.7%. 42.8% of the entire military spending in the world is by the US!

The UK's struggling, but the Eurozone countries are having even more problems justifying keeping up spending as their economies collapse. Many have recently ditched conscription and used this as a trigger for drastically cutting troop numbers.

I suspect NATO will remain a political power, but armed conflicts will increasingly be fought by loosely-bonded coalitions formed for the purpose.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: alfred russel on June 10, 2011, 09:16:45 am
It is horrible that we live in an era where european countries prefer to spend their money on schools, social assistance, and health care rather than bombs and tanks.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Valmy on June 10, 2011, 09:18:34 am
The US spends 4.8% of its GDP on defence. The only other NATO country that comes close is the UK, but that's only 2.7%. 42.8% of the entire military spending in the world is by the US!

The UK's struggling, but the Eurozone countries are having even more problems justifying keeping up spending as their economies collapse. Many have recently ditched conscription and used this as a trigger for drastically cutting troop numbers.

I suspect NATO will remain a political power, but armed conflicts will increasingly be fought by loosely-bonded coalitions formed for the purpose.

If the Euros used defense spending as a form of political patronage like we did you would have huge defense budgets to!  Creativity people!
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Valmy on June 10, 2011, 09:19:01 am
It is horrible that we live in an era where european countries prefer to spend their money on schools, social assistance, and health care rather than bombs and tanks.

:weep:
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Maximus on June 10, 2011, 09:19:35 am
As long as we're willing to pick up the slack why should they spend money on defense that could be spent on bread and circuses?
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: alfred russel on June 10, 2011, 09:19:45 am
I don't understand why NATO members should be spend as much as they do on defense. It isn't as though Russia is any threat to roll through Poland. With the state Russia is in, we could reduce our spending quite a bit and still provide an effective deterrance.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Berkut on June 10, 2011, 09:21:47 am
The responses (so far) are basically translatable into:

"Yeah, the US should in fact ditch NATO - Europe is not interested in pulling our weight anymore".
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Brazen on June 10, 2011, 09:22:50 am
I don't understand why NATO members should be spend as much as they do on defense. It isn't as though Russia is any threat to roll through Poland. With the state Russia is in, we could reduce our spending quite a bit and still provide an effective deterrance.
If you'd heard the recent rows between Russia and NATO about the missile defence shield, you wouldn't believe that.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Brazen on June 10, 2011, 09:23:31 am
"Yeah, the US should in fact ditch NATO except its lapdog the UK - Europe is not interested in pulling our weight any more".
FYP
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Valmy on June 10, 2011, 09:24:23 am
I don't understand why NATO members should be spend as much as they do on defense. It isn't as though Russia is any threat to roll through Poland. With the state Russia is in, we could reduce our spending quite a bit and still provide an effective deterrance.

Defense spending in this country is not really about wars and deterrance.

Well I mean a big chunk of it is obviously but there are way too many people whose interests are to keep defense spending high for something as ridiculous as changing strategic needs to effect them.  Which is why I am also a big fan of Gates: he had the gall to point this out.  Gotta love a guy who keep pointing out the various Emperors have no clothes.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Berkut on June 10, 2011, 09:24:41 am
The US spends 4.8% of its GDP on defence. The only other NATO country that comes close is the UK, but that's only 2.7%. 42.8% of the entire military spending in the world is by the US!


Exactly. That is the point. Why should the US continue to participate in NATO if the rest of NATO is not interested in participating beyond their demand for a say in how the military paid for by the US is used?

Why should a country that cannot even contribute when they actually politically support the mission because they can't be bothered to support what little military they do have get a voice in how NATO as a whole is used?
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Valmy on June 10, 2011, 09:26:00 am
The responses (so far) are basically translatable into:

"Yeah, the US should in fact ditch NATO - Europe is not interested in pulling our weight anymore".

The only reason NATO exists is inertia.  Its purpose is past and it is long past time to declare victory and disband it.  But that intertia is strong.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Strix on June 10, 2011, 09:27:09 am
The responses (so far) are basically translatable into:

"Yeah, the US should in fact ditch NATO - Europe is not interested in pulling our weight anymore".

 :showoff:
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Valmy on June 10, 2011, 09:28:22 am
The responses (so far) are basically translatable into:

"Yeah, the US should in fact ditch NATO - Europe is not interested in pulling our weight anymore".

 :showoff:

And really why should they?  They are not facing any danger anymore.  It is a hard sell to the Euro voter.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Berkut on June 10, 2011, 09:28:37 am
"Yeah, the US should in fact ditch NATO except its lapdog the UK - Europe is not interested in pulling our weight any more".
FYP

Fair enough - but I think that speaks to Gates point as well. NATO is an attempt at a "one size fits all" military organization, but the reality is that it is really just a few countries actually willing to contribute meaningfully - so perhaps that US should replace (for example) their commitment to NATO with a commitment to a smaller set of like minded powers that are actually willing to put in the work, rather than just put in the words.

NATO made sense when its primary goal was protecting Europe from the USSR. You are less concerned about the "free rider" problem when you need to defend the entire continent anyway.

Now that NATO has morphed into a poltical/military alliance of presumably like minded nations who potentially engage in missions well beyond the scope of simply protecting Europe from the Russian hordes, what is the benefit to the US of giving a voice to countries that refuse to carry any of the burden?
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: crazy canuck on June 10, 2011, 09:48:11 am
NATO has been searching for a raison d'etre for a while now.  The main reason it still exists is the political and trade ties among the member nations.  The military rationale for its continued existence is hard to identify.

I think Brazen is correct about future conflicts involving loose groupings of coalition partners.  That is effectively what we had and have in Afghanistan since not all treaty partners participated and among those that did only some of those put their troops in harms way.

Same thing with Libya. 
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Brazen on June 10, 2011, 10:01:20 am
Aside from armed conflicts, the European members of NATO are rather dependant on the US for leading the missile defence shield against what we shall euphemistically dub current and emerging threats.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Ed Anger on June 10, 2011, 10:04:40 am
Also, I'm still annoyed about the Black Watch being amalgamated.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Valmy on June 10, 2011, 10:05:56 am
Also, I'm still annoyed about the Black Watch being amalgamated.

Holy shit WHAT?!  That is it Britain out of NATO!
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Strix on June 10, 2011, 10:09:13 am
The responses (so far) are basically translatable into:

"Yeah, the US should in fact ditch NATO - Europe is not interested in pulling our weight anymore".

 :showoff:

And really why should they?  They are not facing any danger anymore.  It is a hard sell to the Euro voter.

Actually I agree. This is a prime time for the US to remove itself from NATO. Though, I wonder how easily the Europeans would let us go.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Ed Anger on June 10, 2011, 10:12:00 am
Also, I'm still annoyed about the Black Watch being amalgamated.

Holy shit WHAT?! 

The fuckers merged 5 Scot regiments into one. Royal Highland regiment my ass.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Razgovory on June 10, 2011, 10:14:26 am
Quote
"While every alliance member voted for the Libya mission, less than half  have participated, and fewer than a third have been willing to  participate in the strike mission," he said. "Frankly, many of those  allies sitting on the sidelines do so not because they do not want to  participate, but simply because they can't. The military capabilities  simply aren't there."

What is he referring to here?  I thought the Germans abstained in the UN vote.


Anyway, this isn't really something new.  American military and political leaders have long complained about the commitment of our NATO allies.  Even during the Cold War.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: The Minsky Moment on June 10, 2011, 10:16:01 am
It is horrible that we live in an era where european countries prefer to spend their money on CAP payments to the Duke of Westminster, subsidizing commercial aircraft production, and distributing structural funds to the Neapolitan mafia, rather than than basic national security

Fixed
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Berkut on June 10, 2011, 10:30:29 am
The responses (so far) are basically translatable into:

"Yeah, the US should in fact ditch NATO - Europe is not interested in pulling our weight anymore".

 :showoff:

And really why should they?  They are not facing any danger anymore.  It is a hard sell to the Euro voter.

No question, it is a hard sell. It is a hard sell made harder by the fact that the US has been willing to do all the heavy lifting, hence most countries don't even really understand that they need defense spending - after all, there isn't any threat!

Of course there are plenty of threats. Gates point (and it is one I agree with) is that if these countries do not wish to participate, then that is fine, but they need to make that choice clearly. If they want to be militarily irrelevant, then so be it.

But claiming to have a say while at the same time not being willing to make the sacrifices necessary can no longer work. It worked for a long time, but the US historical attachment to NATO is no longer relevant in the manner it was, and I think going forward that US politicians are not going to be willing to tolerate it as much. Certainly US voters are not - we have plenty of the same economic problems, and cutting defense spending is going to become a very big political issue over the next decade, I suspect.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: MadImmortalMan on June 10, 2011, 10:30:45 am
NATO is a welfare program.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Berkut on June 10, 2011, 10:31:42 am
It is horrible that we live in an era where european countries prefer to spend their money on CAP payments to the Duke of Westminster, subsidizing commercial aircraft production, and distributing structural funds to the Neapolitan mafia, rather than than basic national security

Fixed

You are a good man to have on the right side MM.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Valmy on June 10, 2011, 10:35:42 am
Certainly US voters are not - we have plenty of the same economic problems, and cutting defense spending is going to become a very big political issue over the next decade, I suspect.

God I hope so.  So many of our international commitments are Cold War relics and so many of our strategic and defense programs are as well.  I hope for big reforms both of our foreign policy and military structures to cut costs and focus on the needs of the 21st century not the 20th.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Jacob on June 10, 2011, 11:05:44 am
A few thoughts:

1 - I'm happy that both of the countries I have attachments to - Denmark and Canada - are contributing in a way that puts them in the "okay, not everyone's riding for free" group. That fits with what I think should be done, as a citizen of one and a permanent resident of another of those countries.

2 - I think Gates is pretty much on the money in calling for NATO members to upgrade their capabilities at least to the point where they can contribute more than just words.

3 - Disbanding NATO? Even from a purely US centred view I'd think that is a bad idea, even if the other members fail to improve their contributions. I expect there are benefits for the US - economic, logistical, diplomatic etc - in maintaining the alliance and it wouldn't be a good idea to throw those away in a fit of pique. By all means reevaluate how NATO functions, what it does and how much money the US puts into it, but there's enough of a shared history and enough commonality in geopolitical goals (in spite of the incessant bickering) that maintaining NATO is still in the interest of the US. But still re-evaluating the organization and approaching it in the way that reflects the current world as it is rather than how it was fifty or even twenty five years ago seems worthwhile (and probably inevitable).
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Razgovory on June 10, 2011, 11:14:50 am
The responses (so far) are basically translatable into:

"Yeah, the US should in fact ditch NATO - Europe is not interested in pulling our weight anymore".

I'm not sure if the US should ditch NATO, but I'm open to the idea.  I think we need to take long hard look at the alliance.  I'm not sure exactly how the Euros would react.  Would it weaken our Special Relationship with the Brits?  Would Western Europe gravitate toward Russia?  I doubt Eastern Europe would, and even if the US left NATO I imagine Eastern European states would want to keep strong military ties to the US.  What about Turkey?  An important regional player in a very strategic spot with lots of nasty neighbors, their relationship with the US has become strained.  If the US left Nato how would they react?  Having Turkey develop a military relationship with Iran or Syria or even Russia would not be a positive development.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: DGuller on June 10, 2011, 11:41:54 am
I think the moral hazard is going to be there whether NATO lives or not.  Does anyone really believe that US would stand aside if Western Europe were in danger again?  At the very least, another Lend-Lease would be a given.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: 11B4V on June 10, 2011, 12:00:31 pm
europeans  :rolleyes:
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: MadImmortalMan on June 10, 2011, 12:15:59 pm
I think the moral hazard is going to be there whether NATO lives or not.  Does anyone really believe that US would stand aside if Western Europe were in danger again?  At the very least, another Lend-Lease would be a given.


No question that's true. There's nothing stopping the US from re-balancing the force commitment expectations though. That shit is expensive.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Zoupa on June 10, 2011, 12:26:54 pm
As long as we're willing to pick up the slack why should they spend money on defense that could be spent on bread and circuses?

Really, Max? Bread and circuses? That's where the other NATO nations are spending their shrinking budget? And what's this we thing? Aren't you Canadian?
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Zoupa on June 10, 2011, 12:35:10 pm
I'm not sure what kind of international troops would be on the ground in Afghanistan today if the US hadn't been in NATO on 9/11.

Plus you'd be patrolling the gulf of Aden etc without NATO's help. What kind of commitment would you have gotten from the UK, Poland etc regarding Irak if the US hadn't been part of the same alliance?
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Sahib on June 10, 2011, 12:37:17 pm
It is horrible that we live in an era where european countries prefer to spend their money on CAP payments to the Duke of Westminster, subsidizing commercial aircraft production, and distributing structural funds to the Neapolitan mafia, rather than than basic national security

Fixed

What did you fix by creating a ridiculous hyperbole?
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: MadImmortalMan on June 10, 2011, 12:38:10 pm
As long as we're willing to pick up the slack why should they spend money on defense that could be spent on bread and circuses?

Really, Max? Bread and circuses? That's where the other NATO nations are spending their shrinking budget? And what's this we thing? Aren't you Canadian?


Actually they're spending it on debt service obligations.  :P
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Scipio on June 10, 2011, 12:42:57 pm
It is horrible that we live in an era where european countries prefer to spend their money on schools, social assistance, and health care rather than bombs and tanks.
I will be happy only when the military and the schools have to hold bake sales to make payroll.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Valmy on June 10, 2011, 12:46:01 pm
I will be happy only when the military and the schools have to hold bake sales to make payroll.

:lol:
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Maximus on June 10, 2011, 12:53:50 pm
Really, Max? Bread and circuses? That's where the other NATO nations are spending their shrinking budget? And what's this we thing? Aren't you Canadian?
Nothing wrong with bread and circuses. Both are very nice things to have, wouldn't mind some myself. I have an idea. Since we're paying for their defence, why don't they pay for our social welfare programs.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: alfred russel on June 10, 2011, 12:58:27 pm

Exactly. That is the point. Why should the US continue to participate in NATO if the rest of NATO is not interested in participating beyond their demand for a say in how the military paid for by the US is used?

Why should a country that cannot even contribute when they actually politically support the mission because they can't be bothered to support what little military they do have get a voice in how NATO as a whole is used?

Maybe they shouldn't actively support bombing in Libya because it is an incredibly bad idea? It seems unfair to criticize countries for not militarily participating after giving nominal political support when they were requested by us (and other co-belligerants) to give that nominal political support in the first place.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Berkut on June 10, 2011, 01:13:53 pm

Exactly. That is the point. Why should the US continue to participate in NATO if the rest of NATO is not interested in participating beyond their demand for a say in how the military paid for by the US is used?

Why should a country that cannot even contribute when they actually politically support the mission because they can't be bothered to support what little military they do have get a voice in how NATO as a whole is used?

Maybe they shouldn't actively support bombing in Libya because it is an incredibly bad idea? It seems unfair to criticize countries for not militarily participating after giving nominal political support when they were requested by us (and other co-belligerants) to give that nominal political support in the first place.

Read the article.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: alfred russel on June 10, 2011, 01:24:21 pm

Exactly. That is the point. Why should the US continue to participate in NATO if the rest of NATO is not interested in participating beyond their demand for a say in how the military paid for by the US is used?

Why should a country that cannot even contribute when they actually politically support the mission because they can't be bothered to support what little military they do have get a voice in how NATO as a whole is used?

Maybe they shouldn't actively support bombing in Libya because it is an incredibly bad idea? It seems unfair to criticize countries for not militarily participating after giving nominal political support when they were requested by us (and other co-belligerants) to give that nominal political support in the first place.

Read the article.

I read the article. Unimpressed. There have been many similar articles about how the Russian military is in total disrepair as well. Since they provide the only real offensive threat to NATO (unless you want to count rouge missiles from Iran), I don't care. I expect that if the Russians rolled into Poland through Belarus that plenty of Europeans through NATO would find a way to put up a spirited resistence on the front lines.

I don't care if NATO countries want to maintain militaries capable of bombing Yemen and Libya or invading Iraq or nation building in Afghanistan or whatever military adventure seems like fun at the moment. There isn't political will in much of Europe to do those things anyway.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Berkut on June 10, 2011, 01:38:23 pm
If you had read the article, you wouldn't have made a comment about how we should not be surprised that countries that didn't really wan to participate don't participate, since the point was that some countries that DID want to participate could not do so effectively.

What that has to do with Russia, I don't know. If your basic point is that the only purpose of NATO is to hold off Russia, then you are simply agreeing with Gates, except that you don't see this as a problem, but actually a benefit. Which is fine - then the answer is simply "Yeah, the US probably should re-evaluate its commitment to NATO.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Zanza on June 10, 2011, 01:48:03 pm
Nothing wrong with bread and circuses. Both are very nice things to have, wouldn't mind some myself. I have an idea. Since we're paying for their defence, why don't they pay for our social welfare programs.
Who is this (potential) enemy you are defending us from?
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: alfred russel on June 10, 2011, 01:49:26 pm
If you had read the article, you wouldn't have made a comment about how we should not be surprised that countries that didn't really wan to participate don't participate, since the point was that some countries that DID want to participate could not do so effectively.

What that has to do with Russia, I don't know. If your basic point is that the only purpose of NATO is to hold off Russia, then you are simply agreeing with Gates, except that you don't see this as a problem, but actually a benefit. Which is fine - then the answer is simply "Yeah, the US probably should re-evaluate its commitment to NATO.

I actually had read the article (quickly), and then quickly read it again when you accused me of not reading it. There are a lot of countries in Europe--I'm neither alarmed nor suprised that many of them don't have the capability to contribute to the bombing of Libya. I'm not certain how a small country enhances their defense by becoming capable of operations on another continent.

I don't think the US should reevaluate its commitment to NATO--I think NATO is one of the key defense commitments for the US should stand by. What I think the US should evaluate is its overall military budget and the number of conflicts we are engaged in (I think a good target at the moment would be 0).
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Zanza on June 10, 2011, 01:53:00 pm
Coming from the biggest non-performing NATO country, I can tell you what the political reality in Germany is: Germans really want Germany to be a big Switzerland. Happily trading, not really involved in international affairs, not even the EU, much less wars, neither in the Balkans nor in other continents. It's completely impossible for a politician to make Germany "pull its weight". I don't think the average German would give a fuck if NATO is dissolved. We don't feel threatened by anybody and there is friends all around us, so what exactly do we gain from NATO membership?
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Admiral Yi on June 10, 2011, 01:54:41 pm
Plus you'd be patrolling the gulf of Aden etc without NATO's help.

I don't see why.  Europe is more dependent on Gulf oil than the US is.

NATO has outlived its original purpose.  No member state faces the risk of invasion of their territory (possible exception of the Baltic states).  Withdraw the remaining US military units in Europe.  Cut a seperate deal with Germany to maintain Rhein-Main.  Let the Europeans find the ways and means to deal with any issues that flare up on their border lands.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Valmy on June 10, 2011, 01:55:09 pm
Coming from the biggest non-performing NATO country, I can tell you what the political reality in Germany is: Germans really want Germany to be a big Switzerland. Happily trading, not really involved in international affairs, not even the EU, much less wars, neither in the Balkans nor in other continents. It's completely impossible for a politician to make Germany "pull its weight". I don't think the average German would give a fuck if NATO is dissolved. We don't feel threatened by anybody and there is friends all around us, so what exactly do we gain from NATO membership?

Thank you.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Zanza on June 10, 2011, 01:57:13 pm
@Gulf of Aden: Operation Atalanta is an European Union-led mission anyway so even without NATO, European countries would patrol there as they have a vital interest in keeping this important sealane to Asia open.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Tamas on June 10, 2011, 02:40:22 pm
While this Gates fellow makes a fair point, he could not have made it at a worse time. With a bit of hyperbole, I think the EU is close to be struggling to survive as a political entity, and for sure as hell struggling to maintain any hope of progressing on the road to a federation that could be a major international player in the future.

Under present circumstances, it would be impossible to sell increased military spending to the people, unless of course the EU would fall apart for good and we would resume our long tradition of shredding each other to bits.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: crazy canuck on June 10, 2011, 02:49:11 pm
I think the EU is close to be struggling to survive as a political entity, and for sure as hell struggling to maintain any hope of progressing on the road to a federation that could be a major international player in the future.

You say that like its a bad thing.

Wouldnt Germany be a much better economic engine if it wasnt fettered with the likes of Greece and Portugual?
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: The Minsky Moment on June 10, 2011, 02:58:15 pm
What did you fix by creating a ridiculous hyperbole?

The mistaken notion that spending on defense is ipso facto wasteful or less desirable than other forms of government spending.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Zanza on June 10, 2011, 03:02:09 pm
Wouldnt Germany be a much better economic engine if it wasnt fettered with the likes of Greece and Portugual?
That's a two-edged sword really. On the one hand we benefit from having a currency with a lower value than the deutschmark would have, on the other hand the bailouts will likely come at a gigantic cost...

By the way, Croatia was just given green lights to join by 2013. So I would say the stories about the EU's imminent collapse are premature. However, integration has certainly slowed down considerably. Let's see if the aftermath of the financial crisis will lead to another round of integration, this time fiscal.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Valmy on June 10, 2011, 03:04:53 pm
Wouldnt Germany be a much better economic engine if it wasnt fettered with the likes of Greece and Portugual?

Um isn't it sorta hard to avoid being fettered to nations close to it?  Might as well have some control over them.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Zanza on June 10, 2011, 03:07:41 pm
With a bit of hyperbole, I think the EU is close to be struggling to survive as a political entity, and for sure as hell struggling to maintain any hope of progressing on the road to a federation that could be a major international player in the future.
Well, at least we have time and resources to sort out the really important questions...  :P

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/10/world/europe/10hamsters.html?_r=2
Quote
PARIS — France was punished on Thursday for not taking proper care of its hamsters.
 
The Court of Justice in Luxembourg, the European Union’s highest court, ruled Thursday that France had failed to protect the Great Hamster of Alsace, sometimes known as the European hamster, the last wild hamster species in Western Europe. If France does not adjust its agricultural and urbanization policies sufficiently to protect it, the court said, the government will be subject to fines of as much as $24.6 million.
 
The Great Hamster, which can grow up to 10 inches long, has a brown-and-white face, white paws and a black belly. There are thought to be about 800 left in France, with burrows in Alsace along the Rhine. That is an improvement: the number had dropped to fewer than 200 four years ago, according to figures from the European Commission, which brought the lawsuit in 2009.
 
The Great Hamster likes grass and crops like alfalfa, but these have largely been replaced by corn, which is not ripe in the spring when the hamster awakens from six months of hibernation, eager to eat and mate. It must make longer and more hazardous journeys as its grazing area shrinks because of new highways and housing developments.
 
“Protection measures for the Great Hamster put in place by France were insufficient” in 2008 “to ensure the strict protection of the species” in accordance with European law, the court ruled. The hamster has been protected legally since 1993, and while it is prevalent in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, it is thought to exist in Western Europe only in Alsace.
 
Farmers have generally considered the hamster to be a farmyard pest, and before it was protected they flooded its burrows and used poison and traps to kill it.
 
Jean-Paul Burget, president of Sauvegarde Faune Sauvage, or Safeguard Wildlife, in Wittenheim, in Alsace, said in a telephone interview that “we are very happy,” and that “European rules must be followed.” France “now must work to raise the population of hamsters up to 1,500,” which would be enough to preserve the species, he said, and the prefecture of Alsace “must stop some urbanization projects and restore” older agreements to grow certain cereals that hamsters eat.
 
Mr. Burget’s association filed an initial complaint to the European Commission on behalf of the Great Hamster in 2006.
 
The court did, however, reject the commission’s complaint about the use of nitrates, on the grounds that the plaintiff had failed to demonstrate “to the requisite legal standard” a link between the use of nitrates in agriculture and the “deterioration or destruction of the breeding sites or resting places of the European hamster.”
 
The chief of staff for Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet, France’s minister of ecology, sustainable development, transport and housing, said Thursday evening that Ms. Kosciusko-Morizet would make no comment on the ruling.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: crazy canuck on June 10, 2011, 03:15:11 pm
Wouldnt Germany be a much better economic engine if it wasnt fettered with the likes of Greece and Portugual?

Um isn't it sorta hard to avoid being fettered to nations close to it?  Might as well have some control over them.

I dont understand your point. Absent its obligations under the various agreements that create the EU how would Germany be fettered economically by Greece and Portugual?
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Valmy on June 10, 2011, 04:08:45 pm
I dont understand your point. Absent its obligations under the various agreements that create the EU how would Germany be fettered economically by Greece and Portugual?

I am not sure I understand yours.  Dumping NAFTA would free Canada to grow unfettered by the USA?  As if somehow European countries are not already fettered to each other.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Iormlund on June 10, 2011, 04:19:34 pm
I have an idea. Since we're paying for their defence, why don't they pay for our social welfare programs.
And what exactly are you defending us from?
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Razgovory on June 10, 2011, 04:39:09 pm
As long as we're willing to pick up the slack why should they spend money on defense that could be spent on bread and circuses?

Really, Max? Bread and circuses? That's where the other NATO nations are spending their shrinking budget? And what's this we thing? Aren't you Canadian?

Are films and farms still subsidized in Europe?
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: alfred russel on June 10, 2011, 06:05:03 pm
I have an idea. Since we're paying for their defence, why don't they pay for our social welfare programs.
And what exactly are you defending us from?

We can't answer that without tipping off the very serious threats that we are on to them. Just pay us the money.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: alfred russel on June 10, 2011, 06:20:47 pm
What did you fix by creating a ridiculous hyperbole?

The mistaken notion that spending on defense is ipso facto wasteful or less desirable than other forms of government spending.

I see 3 problems with your post:

1) Spending on the military is going to disproportionately fall outside of the country versus other waste such as agricultural subsidies. Maybe agricultural subisides aren't economically ideal, but at least you are putting money back into your economy. Paying soldiers in Germany doesn't have that effect.

2) At least most subsidies produce a product that has some use. I can fly on airbus. I can eat european food. I get use out of those things. Hans making speeches to the Freedom Foundation, not so much.

3) Having an overly large military promotes war. We wouldn't be bombing people in Libya if we didn't have a military that could do so effectively without the risk of more than a handful of casualties. I doubt we would have invaded Iraq if we didn't have a military that could cover that, plus Afghanistan, plus our other commitments around the world.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Camerus on June 10, 2011, 06:24:42 pm
Can't the US significantly curtail its defence spending and involvement in missions without leaving NATO wholesale?  Seems a bit like a false dichotomy, and one that wouldn't make strategic sense.

On the other hand, comparing US % of military spending to that of other Euro nations could be a bit misleading, given the US' extensive involvement in east Asia (which is beyond the scope of NATO) and a certain questionable, self-initiated US military adventure of the past decade...
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Ed Anger on June 10, 2011, 06:30:29 pm
I have an idea. Since we're paying for their defence, why don't they pay for our social welfare programs.
And what exactly are you defending us from?

Your inner, baser desires. You know without big poppa pump watching you people, you'll start killing yourselves. Your Welcome.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: alfred russel on June 10, 2011, 06:31:46 pm
Can't the US significantly curtail its defence spending and involvement in missions without leaving NATO wholesale?  Seems a bit like a false dichotomy, and one that wouldn't make strategic sense.

On the other hand, comparing US % of military spending to that of other Euro nations could be a bit misleading, given the US' extensive involvement in east Asia (which is beyond the scope of NATO) and a certain questionable, self-initiated US military adventure of the past decade...

Keep in mind that if the US spent as much as the euros on defense, it should still be much more effective. That is because it could capture savings from having only 1 military, as opposed to however many european countries there are.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: dps on June 10, 2011, 06:33:24 pm
I think the US should evaluate is its overall military budget and the number of conflicts we are engaged in (I think a good target at the moment would be 0).

I don't think that there's ever been a moment when that wasn't a good target.

Plenty of moments when it wasn't a reachable target, though.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Admiral Yi on June 10, 2011, 06:51:29 pm
Can't the US significantly curtail its defence spending and involvement in missions without leaving NATO wholesale?  Seems a bit like a false dichotomy, and one that wouldn't make strategic sense.

How so?
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: grumbler on June 10, 2011, 07:20:56 pm
I think the moral hazard is going to be there whether NATO lives or not.  Does anyone really believe that US would stand aside if Western Europe were in danger again?  At the very least, another Lend-Lease would be a given.
Agree, but NATO is a bureaucracy and a decision-making process as well as a set of letters.  NATO exists because any bilateral military relationship between a country and the US is going to be weighed heavily in the favor of the US, so a multilateral organization was created to at least give the Euros and Canucks, jointly, a seat at the table equal to that of the US.  If the other folks don't have the muscle to deserve the seat, then maybe the organization entitling them to that seat no longer serves a purpose.

OTOH, NATO does provide a lot of good PR, so maybe downgrading it from a decision-making body like the Security Council  to a talking society like the General Assembly, but still keeping it at a much lower cost, would be the right approach.  I have nothing against the existence of the alliance, just against the extra costs of having alliance obligations/standardization/infrastructure which no longer serve a purpose.

If we use the General Assembly model, we can even bring in the Russians.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Razgovory on June 10, 2011, 07:44:23 pm

If we use the General Assembly model, we can even bring in the Russians.

We can't let the Russians in, they'll see the big board!
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: CountDeMoney on June 10, 2011, 07:56:39 pm
As long as there is a Russia, there will be a need for our commitment to NATO.  Even if it's a NATO-lite, with just us and the Brits.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: grumbler on June 10, 2011, 07:58:15 pm

If we use the General Assembly model, we can even bring in the Russians.

We can't let the Russians in, they'll see the big board!
I know someone would jump on that opportunity!  :lol:
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: starbright on June 10, 2011, 09:36:43 pm
He is just another flavor of freedom-fries politician.

Even if NATO serves no purpose as a military organization it is still useful as a political alliance. Europe is a potential superpower, unlike, let's say South America. I say people think in absolutes. Without a frequent reminder that we are supposed to be friends little complaints will turn into long term resentments and unlike South Americans, Europeans CAN actually do something about it.

And he is not admitting that Europe helps US achieve things it cares about more than money. Bases in Europe protect them from a nonexistant threat, but support current US deployments. If the missile defense system is ever fully deployed it seems to do a lot more to protect American mainland than Europe.

If Congress decides to withdraw from NATO the wise thing to do is let it end with a whimper. Even powerless and without US support NATO is still useful.


Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Zoupa on June 10, 2011, 10:30:22 pm
Really, Max? Bread and circuses? That's where the other NATO nations are spending their shrinking budget? And what's this we thing? Aren't you Canadian?
Nothing wrong with bread and circuses. Both are very nice things to have, wouldn't mind some myself. I have an idea. Since we're paying for their defence, why don't they pay for our social welfare programs.

You're not making any sense.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: CountDeMoney on June 11, 2011, 12:42:07 am
And what exactly are you defending us from?

You're more than welcome to deal with Russia by yourself.  That would be fun to watch.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Zoupa on June 11, 2011, 12:51:23 am
Russia is not a military threat to the EU.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: The Brain on June 11, 2011, 03:12:21 am
Russia is not a military threat to the EU.

lol
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Norgy on June 11, 2011, 05:15:28 am
As long as there is a Russia, there will be a need for our commitment to NATO.  Even if it's a NATO-lite, with just us and the Brits.

can i come..
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: CountDeMoney on June 11, 2011, 08:32:22 am
As long as there is a Russia, there will be a need for our commitment to NATO.  Even if it's a NATO-lite, with just us and the Brits.

can i come..

You can be in charge of the Iormlund Security Assistance Force.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: garbon on June 11, 2011, 09:07:04 am
Without a frequent reminder that we are supposed to be friends little complaints will turn into long term resentments and unlike South Americans, Europeans CAN actually do something about it.

:huh:
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Neil on June 11, 2011, 09:22:48 am
Without a frequent reminder that we are supposed to be friends little complaints will turn into long term resentments and unlike South Americans, Europeans CAN actually do something about it.
:huh:
Indeed.  What is Europe going to do?  Be poor at the US?
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Monoriu on June 11, 2011, 09:24:36 am
Seems like it is kinda tough for the likes of Greece, Ireland, and Portugal to buy munitions  :hmm:
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Ed Anger on June 11, 2011, 09:28:34 am
Seems like it is kinda tough for the likes of Greece, Ireland, and Portugal to buy munitions  :hmm:

Ireland has no real airforce or even a member of NATO. the Irish have the neutrality bug.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Ed Anger on June 11, 2011, 09:31:08 am
The English have a meowjager:

(http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2011/06/10/article-2002164-0C7AFF5000000578-779_306x423.jpg)
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Neil on June 11, 2011, 09:37:55 am
Seems like it is kinda tough for the likes of Greece, Ireland, and Portugal to buy munitions  :hmm:
Ireland has no real airforce or even a member of NATO. the Irish have the neutrality bug.
Given that their only export until the EU built them up was terrorism, they really didn't have anything to offer anyone anyways.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: grumbler on June 11, 2011, 09:47:53 am
He is just another flavor of freedom-fries politician.
What planet are you from?  Robert Gates is about as far from a "freedom fries politician" as one can get.

Quote
Even if NATO serves no purpose as a military organization it is still useful as a political alliance. Europe is a potential superpower, unlike, let's say South America. I say people think in absolutes. Without a frequent reminder that we are supposed to be friends little complaints will turn into long term resentments and unlike South Americans, Europeans CAN actually do something about it.
Argument by assertion.  What utility has NATO had in political terms in the last 20 years?  The argument that South America is not a potential superpower is also mere assertion.  If they could unify they would be more populous than Europe by a 2050 and have far more natural resources than Europe.*

Quote
And he is not admitting that Europe helps US achieve things it cares about more than money. Bases in Europe protect them from a nonexistant threat, but support current US deployments. If the missile defense system is ever fully deployed it seems to do a lot more to protect American mainland than Europe.
None if this would have anything to do with NATO even if true.  The US could retain bases it wants or needs in Europe on a bilateral basis, as it does throughout the world.

Quote
If Congress decides to withdraw from NATO the wise thing to do is let it end with a whimper. Even powerless and without US support NATO is still useful.
This makes no sense.  Why would the "wise thing" be to "let it end with a whimper" when "NATO is still useful" even without the US?


*Yes, this discussion of "potential superpowers" is irrelevant and childish, but it is also fun.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: CountDeMoney on June 11, 2011, 09:49:42 am
The English have a meowjager:

(http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2011/06/10/article-2002164-0C7AFF5000000578-779_306x423.jpg)

Mother. Fucking. Awesome.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Ed Anger on June 11, 2011, 10:02:33 am


Mother. Fucking. Awesome.

(http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2011/06/10/article-2002164-0C80310100000578-72_634x305.jpg)
Larry the cat orders more Airstrikes in Libya
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Iormlund on June 11, 2011, 10:16:43 am
And what exactly are you defending us from?

You're more than welcome to deal with Russia by yourself.  That would be fun to watch.
:lol:
I very much doubt Russia could get anywhere near the Pyrenees. And certainly never beyond those. Our only vulnerable enclaves are in Africa, and those are specifically excluded from NATO.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Razgovory on June 11, 2011, 10:20:44 am
Russia is not a military threat to the EU.

I imagine the Baltic States feel a bit different, especially in the wake of the Georgian war.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Razgovory on June 11, 2011, 10:22:21 am
Speaking of cats and superpowers, my cat has a better chance of becoming a superpower then the EU.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Jacob on June 11, 2011, 11:16:11 am
Russia is not a military threat to the EU.

I disagree.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Jacob on June 11, 2011, 11:18:07 am
I very much doubt Russia could get anywhere near the Pyrenees. And certainly never beyond those. Our only vulnerable enclaves are in Africa, and those are specifically excluded from NATO.

So you don't think the EU should be interested in defending anything between the Pyrenees and Russia? Because that's rather what it sounds like.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Duque de Bragança on June 11, 2011, 11:22:55 am
The US spends 4.8% of its GDP on defence. The only other NATO country that comes close is the UK, but that's only 2.7%. 42.8% of the entire military spending in the world is by the US!

Sure about that ? A quick search gives me Turkey (2.7)  and Greece (3.2) on par with the UK or above and France barely below (2.5).
Wikipedia's source is the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI)
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: alfred russel on June 11, 2011, 11:30:25 am
The EU and  NATO obviously don't completely overlap, but regarding countries that border Russia that aren't in NATO you currently have Finland and could have Ukraine in the not to distant future. It isn't hard to imagine Russia intervening in the Ukraine.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Iormlund on June 11, 2011, 11:30:42 am
I very much doubt Russia could get anywhere near the Pyrenees. And certainly never beyond those. Our only vulnerable enclaves are in Africa, and those are specifically excluded from NATO.

So you don't think the EU should be interested in defending anything between the Pyrenees and Russia? Because that's rather what it sounds like.
Who said anything about the EU?

All I read is bitching about big NATO countries not pulling their weight. And those are precisely the least threatened by Russia.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: alfred russel on June 11, 2011, 11:39:55 am
I very much doubt Russia could get anywhere near the Pyrenees. And certainly never beyond those. Our only vulnerable enclaves are in Africa, and those are specifically excluded from NATO.

So you don't think the EU should be interested in defending anything between the Pyrenees and Russia? Because that's rather what it sounds like.
Who said anything about the EU?

All I read is bitching about big NATO countries not pulling their weight. And those are precisely the least threatened by Russia.

If the big NATO countries are focused just on the threat Russia poses to them when setting spending, you aren't going to have much in the way of a NATO military deterrance. The countries that are close to Russia in Europe tend to either be small or poor.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Razgovory on June 11, 2011, 11:41:43 am
I very much doubt Russia could get anywhere near the Pyrenees. And certainly never beyond those. Our only vulnerable enclaves are in Africa, and those are specifically excluded from NATO.

So you don't think the EU should be interested in defending anything between the Pyrenees and Russia? Because that's rather what it sounds like.
Who said anything about the EU?

All I read is bitching about big NATO countries not pulling their weight. And those are precisely the least threatened by Russia.

I'm a bit confused.  Is your argument, "We shouldn't have to spend much on NATO because we aren't on the front lines"?
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Iormlund on June 11, 2011, 11:52:30 am
I'm a bit confused.  Is your argument, "We shouldn't have to spend much on NATO because we aren't on the front lines"?

No, my argument is that it is ridiculous to tell someone they owe you protection money when in fact there's nobody to protect them from.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Zanza on June 11, 2011, 11:53:51 am
The EU and  NATO obviously don't completely overlap, but regarding countries that border Russia that aren't in NATO you currently have Finland and could have Ukraine in the not to distant future. It isn't hard to imagine Russia intervening in the Ukraine.
It's extremely unlikely that Ukraine joins the EU anytime soon. There is no enthusiasm at all in the EU to enlarge at this time and Ukraine is increasing its alignment with Russia instead. Croatia will probably join and that will be the last country to join for some years, unless Switzerland, Norway or Iceland want to join for some reason. The rest of the West Balkans might join by 2020 or later, but that's about it.

Georgia is seen as an American problem.

The Baltic countries are the only ones that are actually threatened by Russia. But I don't think that Russia would risk a war over them so it will stay at the bullying level. At the moment, European airforce patrol the airspace there and the EU could take over that task from NATO if necessary.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Martinus on June 11, 2011, 11:58:40 am
So, let me get this straight. NATO should be disbanded because NATO members are not willing to participate in missions that NATO was not created for in the first place?  :huh:
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Martinus on June 11, 2011, 12:00:12 pm
The EU and  NATO obviously don't completely overlap, but regarding countries that border Russia that aren't in NATO you currently have Finland and could have Ukraine in the not to distant future. It isn't hard to imagine Russia intervening in the Ukraine.

Ukraine joining the EU in any foreseeable future is out of question.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Neil on June 11, 2011, 12:00:16 pm
No.  NATO should be disbanded because the Europeans are useless and utterly incapable of being useful or relevant in global affairs.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Razgovory on June 11, 2011, 12:00:34 pm
So, let me get this straight. NATO should be disbanded because NATO members are not willing to participate in missions that NATO was not created for in the first place?  :huh:

No, they are incapable of participating.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Neil on June 11, 2011, 12:00:36 pm
The EU and  NATO obviously don't completely overlap, but regarding countries that border Russia that aren't in NATO you currently have Finland and could have Ukraine in the not to distant future. It isn't hard to imagine Russia intervening in the Ukraine.
Ukraine joining the EU in any foreseeable future is out of question.
They let you guys in, didn't they?
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Martinus on June 11, 2011, 12:02:20 pm
I think the EU is close to be struggling to survive as a political entity, and for sure as hell struggling to maintain any hope of progressing on the road to a federation that could be a major international player in the future.

You say that like its a bad thing.

Wouldnt Germany be a much better economic engine if it wasnt fettered with the likes of Greece and Portugual?

It always makes me laugh when people say such things. German economy is immensely helped by the fact that they can sell their products to a huge EU market, tariff-free.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Martinus on June 11, 2011, 12:03:09 pm
The EU and  NATO obviously don't completely overlap, but regarding countries that border Russia that aren't in NATO you currently have Finland and could have Ukraine in the not to distant future. It isn't hard to imagine Russia intervening in the Ukraine.
Ukraine joining the EU in any foreseeable future is out of question.
They let you guys in, didn't they?

It was a different era, and Ukraine and Poland are light years apart when it come to politics, economy and rule of law.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Neil on June 11, 2011, 12:04:38 pm
The EU and  NATO obviously don't completely overlap, but regarding countries that border Russia that aren't in NATO you currently have Finland and could have Ukraine in the not to distant future. It isn't hard to imagine Russia intervening in the Ukraine.
Ukraine joining the EU in any foreseeable future is out of question.
They let you guys in, didn't they?
It was a different era, and Ukraine and Poland are light years apart when it come to politics, economy and rule of law.
Yeah, but you're both Russians.  What one of you can do, so can the other.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Martinus on June 11, 2011, 12:09:40 pm
"Yeah, the US should in fact ditch NATO except its lapdog the UK - Europe is not interested in pulling our weight any more".
FYP

Fair enough - but I think that speaks to Gates point as well. NATO is an attempt at a "one size fits all" military organization, but the reality is that it is really just a few countries actually willing to contribute meaningfully - so perhaps that US should replace (for example) their commitment to NATO with a commitment to a smaller set of like minded powers that are actually willing to put in the work, rather than just put in the words.

NATO made sense when its primary goal was protecting Europe from the USSR. You are less concerned about the "free rider" problem when you need to defend the entire continent anyway.

Now that NATO has morphed into a poltical/military alliance of presumably like minded nations who potentially engage in missions well beyond the scope of simply protecting Europe from the Russian hordes, what is the benefit to the US of giving a voice to countries that refuse to carry any of the burden?

The thing with this rhetoric is that, while it looks good "on paper", it ignores the reality. The countries who are indeed not pulling their weight - like Belgium, or the Netherlands, or even Germany - face no credible threat whatsoever from Russia and the like, and I don't think the US is really spending any resources on "defending them".

On the other hand, the countries clamoring for the US's aid in defending against a potential attack from Russia - notably Poland - in fact do put a lot of effort into trying to send troops to foreign missions and, from what I read, Poland in fact does have one of the more credible armed forces in the EU (whether it means we are so good or the rest are so bad, is another thing) - we have only chosen to sit out the Libyan intervention, and that's mainly because of fear of reprisals against our oil company employees in Libya.

Finally, you have minor countries like the Baltics who face threat from Russia but do not put in to the common defense pot - but in their case, the resource cost for the US is meaningless, because they are so small. 
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Berkut on June 11, 2011, 12:15:09 pm
"Yeah, the US should in fact ditch NATO except its lapdog the UK - Europe is not interested in pulling our weight any more".
FYP

Fair enough - but I think that speaks to Gates point as well. NATO is an attempt at a "one size fits all" military organization, but the reality is that it is really just a few countries actually willing to contribute meaningfully - so perhaps that US should replace (for example) their commitment to NATO with a commitment to a smaller set of like minded powers that are actually willing to put in the work, rather than just put in the words.

NATO made sense when its primary goal was protecting Europe from the USSR. You are less concerned about the "free rider" problem when you need to defend the entire continent anyway.

Now that NATO has morphed into a poltical/military alliance of presumably like minded nations who potentially engage in missions well beyond the scope of simply protecting Europe from the Russian hordes, what is the benefit to the US of giving a voice to countries that refuse to carry any of the burden?

The thing with this rhetoric is that, while it looks good "on paper", it ignores the reality. The countries who are indeed not pulling their weight - like Belgium, or the Netherlands, or even Germany - face no credible threat whatsoever from Russia and the like, and I don't think the US is really spending any resources on "defending them".

You didn't read the article, did you?
Quote

On the other hand, the countries clamoring for the US's aid in defending against a potential attack from Russia - notably Poland - in fact do put a lot of effort into trying to send troops to foreign missions and, from what I read, Poland in fact does have one of the more credible armed forces in the EU (whether it means we are so good or the rest are so bad, is another thing) - we have only chosen to sit out the Libyan intervention, and that's mainly because of fear of reprisals against our oil company employees in Libya.

I don't think there is any real issue with some countries choosing to not participate in a clearly secondary action like Libya.

Where there is a problem is

1. Countries not being interested in participating in non-secondary actions, like Afghanistan, and
2. Countries choosing to participate in actions, then realizing that they cannot at the level or for the duration needed because they simply lack the capability to do so.

NATO is not about Russia anymore. At least it isn't ONLY about Russia.

If the argument is that the only purpose of NATO is to defend from Russia, then I think the US should most certainly get out. The EU should not need our help any longer to defend themselves from Russia.

Quote
Finally, you have minor countries like the Baltics who face threat from Russia but do not put in to the common defense pot - but in their case, the resource cost for the US is meaningless, because they are so small. 

The resource cost to the US to defend the Baltics from Russia has nothing to do with the size of the countries being defended. Duh.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Martinus on June 11, 2011, 12:15:48 pm
A few thoughts:

1 - I'm happy that both of the countries I have attachments to - Denmark and Canada - are contributing in a way that puts them in the "okay, not everyone's riding for free" group. That fits with what I think should be done, as a citizen of one and a permanent resident of another of those countries.

2 - I think Gates is pretty much on the money in calling for NATO members to upgrade their capabilities at least to the point where they can contribute more than just words.

3 - Disbanding NATO? Even from a purely US centred view I'd think that is a bad idea, even if the other members fail to improve their contributions. I expect there are benefits for the US - economic, logistical, diplomatic etc - in maintaining the alliance and it wouldn't be a good idea to throw those away in a fit of pique. By all means reevaluate how NATO functions, what it does and how much money the US puts into it, but there's enough of a shared history and enough commonality in geopolitical goals (in spite of the incessant bickering) that maintaining NATO is still in the interest of the US. But still re-evaluating the organization and approaching it in the way that reflects the current world as it is rather than how it was fifty or even twenty five years ago seems worthwhile (and probably inevitable).

I'm just wondering whether, seriously speaking, things were ever different in the past? Did any of the countries that are now free riding really substantially contribute to the alliance during the 20th century? It's not like Germany had a huge army in 1980s that is sent to, say, Falkland War, and only now started to disband it. I'm not sure I understand where the Gates' critique is coming from.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Martinus on June 11, 2011, 12:18:12 pm
I don't think there is any real issue with some countries choosing to not participate in a clearly secondary action like Libya.

Where there is a problem is

1. Countries not being interested in participating in non-secondary actions, like Afghanistan, and
2. Countries choosing to participate in actions, then realizing that they cannot at the level or for the duration needed because they simply lack the capability to do so.

NATO is not about Russia anymore. At least it isn't ONLY about Russia.

If the argument is that the only purpose of NATO is to defend from Russia, then I think the US should most certainly get out. The EU should not need our help any longer to defend themselves from Russia.
Which countries are you talking about, then?

For the record, Poland sent troops to Afghanistan, but you have to understand that most NATO members do not and will not have the kind of deployment capabilities the US have.

And in any case, Afghanistan was not even covered by the NATO's casus foederis, so again I am not sure what we are talking about here. NATO is supposed to be a defensive alliance.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Berkut on June 11, 2011, 12:18:46 pm
A few thoughts:

1 - I'm happy that both of the countries I have attachments to - Denmark and Canada - are contributing in a way that puts them in the "okay, not everyone's riding for free" group. That fits with what I think should be done, as a citizen of one and a permanent resident of another of those countries.

2 - I think Gates is pretty much on the money in calling for NATO members to upgrade their capabilities at least to the point where they can contribute more than just words.

3 - Disbanding NATO? Even from a purely US centred view I'd think that is a bad idea, even if the other members fail to improve their contributions. I expect there are benefits for the US - economic, logistical, diplomatic etc - in maintaining the alliance and it wouldn't be a good idea to throw those away in a fit of pique. By all means reevaluate how NATO functions, what it does and how much money the US puts into it, but there's enough of a shared history and enough commonality in geopolitical goals (in spite of the incessant bickering) that maintaining NATO is still in the interest of the US. But still re-evaluating the organization and approaching it in the way that reflects the current world as it is rather than how it was fifty or even twenty five years ago seems worthwhile (and probably inevitable).

I'm just wondering whether, seriously speaking, things were ever different in the past? Did any of the countries that are now free riding really substantially contribute to the alliance during the 20th century? It's not like Germany had a huge army in 1980s that is sent to, say, Falkland War, and only now started to disband it. I'm not sure I understand where the Gates' critique is coming from.

You didn't read the article, did you?

The Falklands War? That wasn't even a NATO action.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Berkut on June 11, 2011, 12:19:19 pm
I don't think there is any real issue with some countries choosing to not participate in a clearly secondary action like Libya.

Where there is a problem is

1. Countries not being interested in participating in non-secondary actions, like Afghanistan, and
2. Countries choosing to participate in actions, then realizing that they cannot at the level or for the duration needed because they simply lack the capability to do so.

NATO is not about Russia anymore. At least it isn't ONLY about Russia.

If the argument is that the only purpose of NATO is to defend from Russia, then I think the US should most certainly get out. The EU should not need our help any longer to defend themselves from Russia.
Which countries are you talking about, then?

For the record, Poland sent troops to Afghanistan, but you have to understand that most NATO members do not and will not have the kind of deployment capabilities the US have.

And in any case, Afghanistan was not even covered by the NATO's casus foederis, so again I am not sure what we are talking about here. NATO is supposed to be a defensive alliance.

You didn't read the article, did you?

Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Martinus on June 11, 2011, 12:19:24 pm
Also, Berkut, can you try cropping? You never seem to do it.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Iormlund on June 11, 2011, 12:20:33 pm
Berkut, I read Martinus post as the US not losing much from the Baltics not being able to commit forces to other theaters.

As for Afghanistan, I have to disagree completely. It IS a secondary action. It has always been. The US made it clear enough when it shifted most of its weight to Iraq.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Berkut on June 11, 2011, 12:20:52 pm
Also, Berkut, crop to it.

What?
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Martinus on June 11, 2011, 12:22:42 pm
A few thoughts:

1 - I'm happy that both of the countries I have attachments to - Denmark and Canada - are contributing in a way that puts them in the "okay, not everyone's riding for free" group. That fits with what I think should be done, as a citizen of one and a permanent resident of another of those countries.

2 - I think Gates is pretty much on the money in calling for NATO members to upgrade their capabilities at least to the point where they can contribute more than just words.

3 - Disbanding NATO? Even from a purely US centred view I'd think that is a bad idea, even if the other members fail to improve their contributions. I expect there are benefits for the US - economic, logistical, diplomatic etc - in maintaining the alliance and it wouldn't be a good idea to throw those away in a fit of pique. By all means reevaluate how NATO functions, what it does and how much money the US puts into it, but there's enough of a shared history and enough commonality in geopolitical goals (in spite of the incessant bickering) that maintaining NATO is still in the interest of the US. But still re-evaluating the organization and approaching it in the way that reflects the current world as it is rather than how it was fifty or even twenty five years ago seems worthwhile (and probably inevitable).

I'm just wondering whether, seriously speaking, things were ever different in the past? Did any of the countries that are now free riding really substantially contribute to the alliance during the 20th century? It's not like Germany had a huge army in 1980s that is sent to, say, Falkland War, and only now started to disband it. I'm not sure I understand where the Gates' critique is coming from.

You didn't read the article, did you?

The Falklands War? That wasn't even a NATO action.

I don't see anything in the article answering my question whether in the past the NATO countries that are not willing to commit now were committing significant military resources.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Martinus on June 11, 2011, 12:22:56 pm
Also, Berkut, crop to it.

What?

Are you drunk?
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Berkut on June 11, 2011, 12:23:30 pm
Berkut, I read Martinus post as the US not losing much from the Baltics not being able to commit forces to other theaters.

The Baltics aren't even in NATO, are they? Or are they?

I rather doubt that Gates was talking about Lithuania.


Quote
As for Afghanistan, I have to disagree completely. It IS a secondary action. It has always been. The US made it clear enough when it shifted most of its weight to Iraq.

I mean secondary to the modern role of NATO. Afghanistan is an action taken in response to a direct attack on a NATO member country, therefore not a secondary action.

Libya is not a direct response to an attack on a NATO nation, hence I see it more as a "Hey, participate if you want, don't if you don't" kind of thing. IE, secondary. NATO can be used as a convenient organizing structure to the Libya action, but that action is not really central to the point of NATO. Does that make sense?
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Martinus on June 11, 2011, 12:24:13 pm
I don't think there is any real issue with some countries choosing to not participate in a clearly secondary action like Libya.

Where there is a problem is

1. Countries not being interested in participating in non-secondary actions, like Afghanistan, and
2. Countries choosing to participate in actions, then realizing that they cannot at the level or for the duration needed because they simply lack the capability to do so.

NATO is not about Russia anymore. At least it isn't ONLY about Russia.

If the argument is that the only purpose of NATO is to defend from Russia, then I think the US should most certainly get out. The EU should not need our help any longer to defend themselves from Russia.
Which countries are you talking about, then?

For the record, Poland sent troops to Afghanistan, but you have to understand that most NATO members do not and will not have the kind of deployment capabilities the US have.

And in any case, Afghanistan was not even covered by the NATO's casus foederis, so again I am not sure what we are talking about here. NATO is supposed to be a defensive alliance.

You didn't read the article, did you?

I repeat: which countries are you talking about. The article does not mention any countries as "culprits".

And it goes for inordinate lengths about Libya - which a lot of countries did not commit to militarily simply because they had various deals and interests in Libya.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Berkut on June 11, 2011, 12:24:53 pm
A few thoughts:

1 - I'm happy that both of the countries I have attachments to - Denmark and Canada - are contributing in a way that puts them in the "okay, not everyone's riding for free" group. That fits with what I think should be done, as a citizen of one and a permanent resident of another of those countries.

2 - I think Gates is pretty much on the money in calling for NATO members to upgrade their capabilities at least to the point where they can contribute more than just words.

3 - Disbanding NATO? Even from a purely US centred view I'd think that is a bad idea, even if the other members fail to improve their contributions. I expect there are benefits for the US - economic, logistical, diplomatic etc - in maintaining the alliance and it wouldn't be a good idea to throw those away in a fit of pique. By all means reevaluate how NATO functions, what it does and how much money the US puts into it, but there's enough of a shared history and enough commonality in geopolitical goals (in spite of the incessant bickering) that maintaining NATO is still in the interest of the US. But still re-evaluating the organization and approaching it in the way that reflects the current world as it is rather than how it was fifty or even twenty five years ago seems worthwhile (and probably inevitable).

I'm just wondering whether, seriously speaking, things were ever different in the past? Did any of the countries that are now free riding really substantially contribute to the alliance during the 20th century? It's not like Germany had a huge army in 1980s that is sent to, say, Falkland War, and only now started to disband it. I'm not sure I understand where the Gates' critique is coming from.

You didn't read the article, did you?

The Falklands War? That wasn't even a NATO action.

I don't see anything in the article answering my question whether in the past the NATO countries that are not willing to commit now were committing significant military resources.

Really?

I think it is pretty much just assumed. Certainly in the past Germany, for example, contributed significant resources to NATO. The had a top notch military force.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Martinus on June 11, 2011, 12:24:54 pm
The Baltics aren't even in NATO, are they? Or are they?

Good to know you know what you are talking about, then.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Jacob on June 11, 2011, 12:25:04 pm
Who said anything about the EU?

Zoupa did.

Quote
All I read is bitching about big NATO countries not pulling their weight. And those are precisely the least threatened by Russia.

I guess. I think that if Russia starts mucking around with Poland, the Baltics and/or the Balkans that's going to be a significant headache for the EU, even the countries that do not share a border with them.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Martinus on June 11, 2011, 12:26:07 pm
Really?

I think it is pretty much just assumed. Certainly in the past Germany, for example, contributed significant resources to NATO. The had a top notch military force.

Which, if my memory serves right, was never sent anywhere abroad (except on UN peacekeeping missions) before Afghanistan. I fail to see how what they have been doing since constitutes a significant deterioration of their commitment to NATO missions (read: American military adventures).
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Razgovory on June 11, 2011, 12:27:01 pm
I'm a bit confused.  Is your argument, "We shouldn't have to spend much on NATO because we aren't on the front lines"?

No, my argument is that it is ridiculous to tell someone they owe you protection money when in fact there's nobody to protect them from.

Would it be less ridicules if you lived next door to Russia?
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Iormlund on June 11, 2011, 12:29:04 pm
I mean secondary to the modern role of NATO. Afghanistan is an action taken in response to a direct attack on a NATO member country, therefore not a secondary action.

Libya is not a direct response to an attack on a NATO nation, hence I see it more as a "Hey, participate if you want, don't if you don't" kind of thing. IE, secondary. NATO can be used as a convenient organizing structure to the Libya action, but that action is not really central to the point of NATO. Does that make sense?

It does make sense, except the primary objective in Afghanistan was accomplished a long time ago.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Berkut on June 11, 2011, 12:30:21 pm

You didn't read the article, did you?

I repeat: which countries are you talking about. The article does not mention any countries as "culprits".

And it goes for inordinate lengths about Libya - which a lot of countries did not commit to militarily simply because they had various deals and interests in Libya.

It uses Libya as an example of an action that NATO member countries should have no trouble supporting, assuming they have the desire to do so.

Yet several countries apparently ahve had to ask the US for munitions and fuel because they have run out. The point of the article is that NATO as a group has largely failed to maintain their militaries at a level necessary to effect even a pretty trivial intervention with needing to ask the US for assistance with meeting their own obligations.

Note that this does not mean they can't go into something like Libya without the US participating, but that the US has to actually help them with their own contributions. IE "Hey, we all agree to go into country A. The US is providing 2 divisions, the UK 1, France 2 brigades, and countries C, D, and E a battalion each"....

....

"Uhhh, yeah...hey US, could you loan us some gas and ammuntion and stuff for our troops? Turns out we kind of forgot to buy any last year..."

The issue Gates is talking about is not so much political will to actually intervene, but that some NATO countries lack the capability to even engage in as minor an intervention as Libya. That is a problem for the alliance.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Berkut on June 11, 2011, 12:32:15 pm
I mean secondary to the modern role of NATO. Afghanistan is an action taken in response to a direct attack on a NATO member country, therefore not a secondary action.

Libya is not a direct response to an attack on a NATO nation, hence I see it more as a "Hey, participate if you want, don't if you don't" kind of thing. IE, secondary. NATO can be used as a convenient organizing structure to the Libya action, but that action is not really central to the point of NATO. Does that make sense?

It does make sense, except the primary objective in Afghanistan was accomplished a long time ago.

That is a different debate though. Not an unimportant debate, but not really relevant to the discussion at hand, unless of course the reason some countries are failing to make their commitments is that they are over-involved in Afghanistan. I rather doubt that is the case though.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Berkut on June 11, 2011, 12:33:45 pm
Really?

I think it is pretty much just assumed. Certainly in the past Germany, for example, contributed significant resources to NATO. The had a top notch military force.

Which, if my memory serves right, was never sent anywhere abroad (except on UN peacekeeping missions) before Afghanistan. I fail to see how what they have been doing since constitutes a significant deterioration of their commitment to NATO missions (read: American military adventures).

Libya is now an American military adventure? Huh?

You are basically arguing that the US should in fact ditch NATO, since the mission of NATO (defending Europe from Russia) is no longer relevant. I will maek you down in the "This the US should stop spending so much money on NATO" column.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Martinus on June 11, 2011, 12:33:57 pm
I mean secondary to the modern role of NATO. Afghanistan is an action taken in response to a direct attack on a NATO member country, therefore not a secondary action.

Oh please. You don't believe it, do you? It was a policing action, a bit like they used to do against Barbary Coast pirates. There was no "direct attack on a NATO member country", there was a terrorist attack which was allegedly orchestrated by a guy living a nice life in the territory of your own ally, Pakistan.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Berkut on June 11, 2011, 12:34:35 pm
The Baltics aren't even in NATO, are they? Or are they?

Good to know you know what you are talking about, then.

Now see, that is pretty funny.

This coming from the guy who claimed that the Falklands was a NATO action. Stay classy Marty.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Razgovory on June 11, 2011, 12:34:38 pm
Really?

I think it is pretty much just assumed. Certainly in the past Germany, for example, contributed significant resources to NATO. The had a top notch military force.

Which, if my memory serves right, was never sent anywhere abroad (except on UN peacekeeping missions) before Afghanistan. I fail to see how what they have been doing since constitutes a significant deterioration of their commitment to NATO missions (read: American military adventures).

Incorrect.  They participated in the Kosovo war which was a NATO operation.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Martinus on June 11, 2011, 12:35:04 pm
Libya is now an American military adventure? Huh?

You are basically arguing that the US should in fact ditch NATO, since the mission of NATO (defending Europe from Russia) is no longer relevant. I will maek you down in the "This the US should stop spending so much money on NATO" column.

Afghanistan was an American military adventure. So was Iraq (although not a NATO event, it was supported by a number of NATO members, such us the UK, Poland, Denmark, Canada).
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Iormlund on June 11, 2011, 12:35:11 pm
Who said anything about the EU?

Zoupa did.

Yeah, but I'm not Zoupa.
Quote
Quote
All I read is bitching about big NATO countries not pulling their weight. And those are precisely the least threatened by Russia.

I guess. I think that if Russia starts mucking around with Poland, the Baltics and/or the Balkans that's going to be a significant headache for the EU, even the countries that do not share a border with them.

It's probably the only thing that could revive (or destroy) the pro-EU camp after the current crisis. Might be worth it just for that.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Martinus on June 11, 2011, 12:35:47 pm
The Baltics aren't even in NATO, are they? Or are they?

Good to know you know what you are talking about, then.

Now see, that is pretty funny.

This coming from the guy who claimed that the Falklands was a NATO action. Stay classy Marty.

I never claimed Falklands was a NATO action.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Iormlund on June 11, 2011, 12:37:10 pm
Would it be less ridicules if you lived next door to Russia?
:huh:

Of course it would be.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Berkut on June 11, 2011, 12:37:25 pm
WEll, Marty has turned this into the standard "bash the US" crap session. Thanks for the discussion, it was interesting while it lasted.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Martinus on June 11, 2011, 12:37:33 pm
Really?

I think it is pretty much just assumed. Certainly in the past Germany, for example, contributed significant resources to NATO. The had a top notch military force.

Which, if my memory serves right, was never sent anywhere abroad (except on UN peacekeeping missions) before Afghanistan. I fail to see how what they have been doing since constitutes a significant deterioration of their commitment to NATO missions (read: American military adventures).

Incorrect.  They participated in the Kosovo war which was a NATO operation.

Ok, I take your word for it (don't have time right now to research if their combat troops actually participated and whether there was no UN blessing) but still it is a fairly recent event. So I am not sure I can see where was this golden age of Germany participating in NATO foreign missions when it had this great military.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Razgovory on June 11, 2011, 12:42:00 pm
Would it be less ridicules if you lived next door to Russia?
:huh:

Of course it would be.

That kinda defeats the purpose of collective security don't you think?
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Iormlund on June 11, 2011, 12:42:45 pm
That is a different debate though. Not an unimportant debate, but not really relevant to the discussion at hand, unless of course the reason some countries are failing to make their commitments is that they are over-involved in Afghanistan. I rather doubt that is the case though.

It is not irrelevant. Governments need to sell foreign ops to their electorates, and with the Taliban toppled and Afghanistan back to a complete mess there is just no way to do that. What was once an expedition to build a wonderful paradise of women's rights is now a waste of men and money to prop yet another warlord.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Jacob on June 11, 2011, 12:44:59 pm
Yeah, but I'm not Zoupa.
That's very true, of course. Still, there's a significant overlap between the EU and NATO, so it's worth discussing.

Quote
It's probably the only thing that could revive (or destroy) the pro-EU camp after the current crisis. Might be worth it just for that.

I don't follow. Could you elaborate?
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Iormlund on June 11, 2011, 12:47:01 pm
That kinda defeats the purpose of collective security don't you think?
What has collective security got to do with this?

Is it or isn't it ridiculous to say you are defending someone that needs no defense?
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Iormlund on June 11, 2011, 12:48:50 pm
I don't follow. Could you elaborate?
The time-proven "external enemy" unifying force. It might actually get things rolling when it comes to an EU military.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Jacob on June 11, 2011, 12:56:12 pm
The time-proven "external enemy" unifying force. It might actually get things rolling when it comes to an EU military.

Okay, I think I'm getting your argument here. Are you saying:

Russia is pretty much toothless, so various European countries are not interested in putting much into NATO. Should Russia start throwing its weight around, the Euros can always start taking defense more seriously and up-arm. In the meantime, there is not much incentive to put much more into NATO than what is being put in already.

This is not necessarily your personal opinion (I'm not clear on this), but it's the general attitude in, say, Spain and Germany.

Is that more or less it?
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Razgovory on June 11, 2011, 01:00:16 pm
That kinda defeats the purpose of collective security don't you think?
What has collective security got to do with this?

Is it or isn't it ridiculous to say you are defending someone that needs no defense?

NATO is a collective security organization.  The whole idea is that countries that aren't likely to be invaded (like say the US), help support and protect those that do have a chance of being invaded (like say Germany in the Cold War), thus deterring a potential aggressor.  Saying that you don't need to spend money on the military because the enemy probably won't get that far undermines the whole process and displays a great deal of irresponsibility.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Zanza on June 11, 2011, 01:00:44 pm
I think NATO still serves a purpose as a framework to conduct military interventions other than collective defense. Without NATO, there would probably be zero standardization which would make international cooperation even of "coalitions of the willing" more difficult. But NATO never was and never will be a committment to common military intervention.

And while it makes one wonder if NATO militaries could still defend Europe adequately if they run out of munitions fast in a military intervention like Libya, the only thing it shows for certain is that Europeans are incapable of intervention, not that they are incapable of defense. But I think Gates' criticism of too low stockpiles is fair and should be addressed.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: grumbler on June 11, 2011, 01:03:14 pm
Which, if my memory serves right, was never sent anywhere abroad (except on UN peacekeeping missions) before Afghanistan.
Germany sent troops to 100% of the combat missions abroad that NATO sent troops to

Quote
I fail to see how what they have been doing since constitutes a significant deterioration of their commitment to NATO missions.
That's because you haven't read the article.  The issue isn't just that Germany doesn't want to contribute forces to an Article 5 mission; it is that it cannot.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Iormlund on June 11, 2011, 01:04:43 pm
The time-proven "external enemy" unifying force. It might actually get things rolling when it comes to an EU military.

Okay, I think I'm getting your argument here. Are you saying:

Russia is pretty much toothless, so various European countries are not interested in putting much into NATO. Should Russia start throwing its weight around, the Euros can always start taking defense more seriously and up-arm. In the meantime, there is not much incentive to put much more into NATO than what is being put in already.

This is not necessarily your personal opinion (I'm not clear on this), but it's the general attitude in, say, Spain and Germany.

Is that more or less it?

I don't know about Germans, but it certainly true in Spain, especially since Ceuta, Melilla and the rest of our African possessions are excluded from the Treaty so we can't expect help where we're actually vulnerable.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: grumbler on June 11, 2011, 01:05:49 pm
It is not irrelevant. Governments need to sell foreign ops to their electorates, and with the Taliban toppled and Afghanistan back to a complete mess there is just no way to do that. What was once an expedition to build a wonderful paradise of women's rights is now a waste of men and money to prop yet another warlord.
And the problem with NATO is that this discussion really cannot be had at the ministers level (i.e. the "when is enough enough?" discussion).  That's why I am thinking NATO has outlived its usefulness.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Iormlund on June 11, 2011, 01:10:03 pm
That kinda defeats the purpose of collective security don't you think?
What has collective security got to do with this?

Is it or isn't it ridiculous to say you are defending someone that needs no defense?

NATO is a collective security organization.  The whole idea is that countries that aren't likely to be invaded (like say the US), help support and protect those that do have a chance of being invaded (like say Germany in the Cold War), thus deterring a potential aggressor.  Saying that you don't need to spend money on the military because the enemy probably won't get that far undermines the whole process and displays a great deal of irresponsibility.
So, in essence, you concede that the US is not defending any of the countries it is bitching about, which was my whole point.

I'm all for collective security, by the way. But that has nothing to do with sending men to overseas deployments.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Iormlund on June 11, 2011, 01:12:37 pm
And the problem with NATO is that this discussion really cannot be had at the ministers level (i.e. the "when is enough enough?" discussion).  That's why I am thinking NATO has outlived its usefulness.
I agree.

It is wise to keep common standards and train together. But we don't need a formal alliance for that.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Berkut on June 11, 2011, 01:13:49 pm
It is not irrelevant. Governments need to sell foreign ops to their electorates, and with the Taliban toppled and Afghanistan back to a complete mess there is just no way to do that. What was once an expedition to build a wonderful paradise of women's rights is now a waste of men and money to prop yet another warlord.
And the problem with NATO is that this discussion really cannot be had at the ministers level (i.e. the "when is enough enough?" discussion).  That's why I am thinking NATO has outlived its usefulness.

Oddly enough, when I posted this thread I would have disagreed with you. Since the overwhelming response of the Euroes seems to be that they don't feel there is even a problem, I am shifting around to agreeing with you.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Razgovory on June 11, 2011, 01:27:52 pm
That kinda defeats the purpose of collective security don't you think?
What has collective security got to do with this?

Is it or isn't it ridiculous to say you are defending someone that needs no defense?

NATO is a collective security organization.  The whole idea is that countries that aren't likely to be invaded (like say the US), help support and protect those that do have a chance of being invaded (like say Germany in the Cold War), thus deterring a potential aggressor.  Saying that you don't need to spend money on the military because the enemy probably won't get that far undermines the whole process and displays a great deal of irresponsibility.
So, in essence, you concede that the US is not defending any of the countries it is bitching about, which was my whole point.

I'm all for collective security, by the way. But that has nothing to do with sending men to overseas deployments.

Er, those countries also have responsibilities to other countries in the alliance countries don't they?  We all protect each other and we all contribute.  For a country like Germany to say, "We aren't in immediate danger, why should we contribute?" is abusive to the relationship.  During the Cold War the US was never in any danger of being directly invaded, yet the US did contribute heavily to the defense of Europe.  Now the frontier has moved east, and Russia is on the rise again.  We ask that Western Europe contribute to the alliance such as when we contributed to the Alliance when we weren't immediate danger.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Iormlund on June 11, 2011, 01:42:33 pm
Raz, why do you keep bringing defensive obligations to the argument?

Germany, to put forth your very own example, does not like to send troops to remote actions that have nothing to do with defense - which is what Gates is bitching about. Yet they still have a crapload of modern panzers, fighters or subs. What do you think would help most a neighboring NATO ally in case of Russian invasion?
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Martinus on June 11, 2011, 02:02:36 pm
Raz, why do you keep bringing defensive obligations to the argument?

Germany, to put forth your very own example, does not like to send troops to remote actions that have nothing to do with defense - which is what Gates is bitching about. Yet they still have a crapload of modern panzers, fighters or subs. What do you think would help most a neighboring NATO ally in case of Russian invasion?

Precisely. Gates (and Americans here) seem to equate the ability to send troops to Afghanistan or Libya with an ability to defend the NATO countries against an external invasion (i.e. NATO's purpose). It's apples and oranges.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: grumbler on June 11, 2011, 02:13:11 pm
So, in essence, you concede that the US is not defending any of the countries it is bitching about, which was my whole point.
:lol:  So, one man's opinion becomes "the US" "bitching about" some countries?

Quote
I'm all for collective security, by the way. But that has nothing to do with sending men to overseas deployments.
Kinda ironic, given that almost any US participation in collective security would involve "overseas deployments."

I do understand your point, though; Spain's interests would not seem to be served by many overseas expeditions beyond those against pirates and the like.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: grumbler on June 11, 2011, 02:15:31 pm
Precisely. Gates (and Americans here) seem to equate the ability to send troops to Afghanistan or Libya with an ability to defend the NATO countries against an external invasion (i.e. NATO's purpose). It's apples and oranges.
And since the defense against external threats is meaningless any more, NATO has served its purpose and should be folded, if that was its sole purpose.  I don't see why you (and Euros here) don't see this.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: dps on June 11, 2011, 02:22:08 pm
Raz, why do you keep bringing defensive obligations to the argument?

Germany, to put forth your very own example, does not like to send troops to remote actions that have nothing to do with defense - which is what Gates is bitching about. Yet they still have a crapload of modern panzers, fighters or subs. What do you think would help most a neighboring NATO ally in case of Russian invasion?

Precisely. Gates (and Americans here) seem to equate the ability to send troops to Afghanistan or Libya with an ability to defend the NATO countries against an external invasion (i.e. NATO's purpose). It's apples and oranges.

If you don't have the fuel and munitions needed to support a handful of planes blowing up Khaddifi's shit, you sure don't have the fuel and munitions that would be needed to support the large number of planes that would be needed to blow up Russia's shit, should it ever come to that.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Iormlund on June 11, 2011, 02:23:20 pm
So, in essence, you concede that the US is not defending any of the countries it is bitching about, which was my whole point.
:lol:  So, one man's opinion becomes "the US" "bitching about" some countries?
This is hardly the first time this topic has come up. And every time it does the reaction of US posters is pretty much the same (Damned Yuro freeloaders!). It's only natural to detect a pattern.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Iormlund on June 11, 2011, 02:26:26 pm
If you don't have the fuel and munitions needed to support a handful of planes blowing up Khaddifi's shit, you sure don't have the fuel and munitions that would be needed to support the large number of planes that would be needed to blow up Russia's shit, should it ever come to that.
I think it is a safe bet to say someone would notice a Russian military buildup big enough to threaten the continent in time to get the munition stocks up.
If no one else, the bomb manufacturers ceratinly would.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Razgovory on June 11, 2011, 02:34:31 pm
Raz, why do you keep bringing defensive obligations to the argument?

Germany, to put forth your very own example, does not like to send troops to remote actions that have nothing to do with defense - which is what Gates is bitching about. Yet they still have a crapload of modern panzers, fighters or subs. What do you think would help most a neighboring NATO ally in case of Russian invasion?

Cause it's a alliance.  Defensive obligations are sort of the reason for alliances.

I imagine fuel and munitions  would be important to the defense of a country.  Since European states are bumming these off the US, that raises questions of the ability of any arm of defense.


From what I understand, this oversees adventure was pushed not by the US but by a leader of a European country.  However, our European friends seem incapable of doing it themselves, so they are essentially using the US as their military.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Razgovory on June 11, 2011, 02:35:42 pm
If you don't have the fuel and munitions needed to support a handful of planes blowing up Khaddifi's shit, you sure don't have the fuel and munitions that would be needed to support the large number of planes that would be needed to blow up Russia's shit, should it ever come to that.
I think it is a safe bet to say someone would notice a Russian military buildup big enough to threaten the continent in time to get the munition stocks up.
If no one else, the bomb manufacturers ceratinly would.

Yeah, that worked so well the last time.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Ancient Demon on June 11, 2011, 02:44:39 pm
I think it is a safe bet to say someone would notice a Russian military buildup big enough to threaten the continent in time to get the munition stocks up.
If no one else, the bomb manufacturers ceratinly would.

The Russians don't need to "threaten the continent", they can easily threaten some peripheral NATO countries without a vast noticable buildup.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Ancient Demon on June 11, 2011, 02:47:22 pm
Germany, to put forth your very own example, does not like to send troops to remote actions that have nothing to do with defense - which is what Gates is bitching about. Yet they still have a crapload of modern panzers, fighters or subs. What do you think would help most a neighboring NATO ally in case of Russian invasion?

Germany would use their large military forces to defend their own territory, but it's dubious that much of that would be made available to defend another NATO country if Germany itself wasn't threatened.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Iormlund on June 11, 2011, 02:49:18 pm
Germany would use their large military forces to defend their own territory, but it's dubious that much of that would be made available to defend another NATO country if Germany itself wasn't threatened.
What makes you come to that conclusion? And why wouldn't Germany feel threatened if Russia swallows its Eastern neighbors?
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Admiral Yi on June 11, 2011, 02:55:58 pm
Hasn't Germany drastically reduced its military since the end of the Cold War?  I recall some articles posted here about divisions being disbanded right and left.  And isn't the conscription period down to like 9 months?
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: alfred russel on June 11, 2011, 03:03:57 pm
So, in essence, you concede that the US is not defending any of the countries it is bitching about, which was my whole point.
:lol:  So, one man's opinion becomes "the US" "bitching about" some countries?
This is hardly the first time this topic has come up. And every time it does the reaction of US posters is pretty much the same (Damned Yuro freeloaders!). It's only natural to detect a pattern.

All the americans?  :whistle:
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Ed Anger on June 11, 2011, 03:05:16 pm
Hasn't Germany drastically reduced its military since the end of the Cold War?  I recall some articles posted here about divisions being disbanded right and left.  And isn't the conscription period down to like 9 months?

Last time I looked the Heer was down to 100,000 men or so.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Ed Anger on June 11, 2011, 03:05:38 pm
So, in essence, you concede that the US is not defending any of the countries it is bitching about, which was my whole point.
:lol:  So, one man's opinion becomes "the US" "bitching about" some countries?
This is hardly the first time this topic has come up. And every time it does the reaction of US posters is pretty much the same (Damned Yuro freeloaders!). It's only natural to detect a pattern.

All the americans?  :whistle:

Your disloyalty has been noted.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Iormlund on June 11, 2011, 03:19:50 pm
All the americans?  :whistle:
:blush:
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: The Brain on June 11, 2011, 03:20:28 pm
Germany handed in its man card in 45 and has yet to get it back.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Zanza on June 11, 2011, 03:37:02 pm
Hasn't Germany drastically reduced its military since the end of the Cold War?  I recall some articles posted here about divisions being disbanded right and left.  And isn't the conscription period down to like 9 months?
At the end of the Cold War, the reunified Germany had about half a million men under arms. Which was far more than allowed under the reunification treaty.

At the moment the German military has about 220,000 soldiers, but something like half of that are in support, not combat roles.

Conscription was suspended and now they can't find enough volunteers to fill the ranks.

In the next few years, the military will be downsized to something like 180,000 men. The army will be downsized from eleven to eight brigades. As far as equipment goes, we'll have less Leopard II tanks than Switzerland soon.  :lol:
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Iormlund on June 11, 2011, 03:44:49 pm
Yeah, but Switzerland has all those plains to defend. :P
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: CountDeMoney on June 11, 2011, 03:49:49 pm
And what exactly are you defending us from?

You're more than welcome to deal with Russia by yourself.  That would be fun to watch.
:lol:
I very much doubt Russia could get anywhere near the Pyrenees. And certainly never beyond those. Our only vulnerable enclaves are in Africa, and those are specifically excluded from NATO.

Stop playing so much Europa Universalis.  There's more to geopolitics than how many hexes tanks can cover, Timmaylund.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: CountDeMoney on June 11, 2011, 03:56:30 pm
It uses Libya as an example of an action that NATO member countries should have no trouble supporting, assuming they have the desire to do so.

The point of the article is that NATO as a group has largely failed to maintain their militaries at a level necessary to effect even a pretty trivial intervention with needing to ask the US for assistance with meeting their own obligations.
....
The issue Gates is talking about is not so much political will to actually intervene, but that some NATO countries lack the capability to even engage in as minor an intervention as Libya. That is a problem for the alliance.

To wit:

Quote
Only five of the 28 NATO allies meet NATO’s recommendation that countries should spend at least 2% of GDP on defence: America, Britain, France, Greece and Albania.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: CountDeMoney on June 11, 2011, 03:58:03 pm
There was no "direct attack on a NATO member country",

NATO said otherwise.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: CountDeMoney on June 11, 2011, 03:59:51 pm
I don't know about Germans, but it certainly true in Spain, especially since Ceuta, Melilla and the rest of our African possessions are excluded from the Treaty so we can't expect help where we're actually vulnerable.

Like the subway?
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Sheilbh on June 11, 2011, 04:03:10 pm
I haven't read the rest of the comments but isn't this more that the US and others (including the UK) have transformed NATO's purpose.  It was a defensive alliance and that element remains; it's still the core of the Atlantic alliance and I don't think any NATO member state would let any other suffer an attack.  But in an attempt to make NATO relevant in a world where that sort of attack is simply implausible we've seen it become an offensive alliance in Kosovo and in Libya despite the fact that it's not what it's designed for, it's not what all member states want it to be and it's not necessarily performing missions that have strong alliance support. 

It seems striking that the Afghan war, which is the one which most resembles a defensive war, is also the mission that probably has widest NATO support and has had commitment from most NATO members for the best part of a decade.

I'm not sure if it's the commitment to but the purpose of NATO that needs re-evaluation.  Having said that I do think a defensive alliance across the Atlantic's generally a very good thing and it's good to have a forum for military-military contacts and cooperation and an established command structure.  What will probably happen, and this may be a good thing, is that structure becomes sort-of portable with each mission that NATO states choose to participate in rather than NATO as a whole always engaging.

Also there's the problem of having however many militaries.  I remember reading that even within the NATO command structure each military is fundamentally worried about their political leadership back home and even under a joint commander can't necessarily perform integrated operations very well.  So I think General Rupert Smith mentions in 'The Utility of Force' that though he had three brigades under his command in Bosnia they were from three countries; he couldn't perform the sort of missions that required a division for that reason, only ones that needed only a brigade.

Personally I wonder if we've just been doing too much.  I mean the UK's military has been in some form of conflict or other for the best part of the last two decades.  I'm not sure if that's healthy, if all of those conflicts were necessary, useful or right
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: alfred russel on June 11, 2011, 04:06:28 pm
It uses Libya as an example of an action that NATO member countries should have no trouble supporting, assuming they have the desire to do so.

The point of the article is that NATO as a group has largely failed to maintain their militaries at a level necessary to effect even a pretty trivial intervention with needing to ask the US for assistance with meeting their own obligations.
....
The issue Gates is talking about is not so much political will to actually intervene, but that some NATO countries lack the capability to even engage in as minor an intervention as Libya. That is a problem for the alliance.

To wit:

Quote
Only five of the 28 NATO allies meet NATO’s recommendation that countries should spend at least 2% of GDP on defence: America, Britain, France, Greece and Albania.

The GDP of Russia is around $2 trillion. The GDP of the EU plus US is around $30 trillion. Do we really need to spend 2% of our GDP to deter the Russians? (yes, I know we have other commitments as well)
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Razgovory on June 11, 2011, 04:27:31 pm
Don't know.  If we don't we could probably stop them before they get past the Pyrenees.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: CountDeMoney on June 11, 2011, 04:32:14 pm
Do we really need to spend 2% of our GDP to deter the Russians? (yes, I know we have other commitments as well)

It's a recommendation by the alliance for alliance members that wish to be in the alliance.

It's obvious that there's a fundamental difference of opinion on either side of the Atlantic on what the mission should be.  And who would've thought it wouldn't be the Americans that were stuck in a 1963 Cold War mindset?

Personally, I think we're through with NATO as a viable proactive international entity as well. US/Euro cooperation on collective security should be solely limited to law enforcement, since the Euros can't truly understand the concept of collective security beyond Maginot thinking.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Slargos on June 11, 2011, 04:32:30 pm
It uses Libya as an example of an action that NATO member countries should have no trouble supporting, assuming they have the desire to do so.

The point of the article is that NATO as a group has largely failed to maintain their militaries at a level necessary to effect even a pretty trivial intervention with needing to ask the US for assistance with meeting their own obligations.
....
The issue Gates is talking about is not so much political will to actually intervene, but that some NATO countries lack the capability to even engage in as minor an intervention as Libya. That is a problem for the alliance.

To wit:

Quote
Only five of the 28 NATO allies meet NATO’s recommendation that countries should spend at least 2% of GDP on defence: America, Britain, France, Greece and Albania.

The GDP of Russia is around $2 trillion. The GDP of the EU plus US is around $30 trillion. Do we really need to spend 2% of our GDP to deter the Russians? (yes, I know we have other commitments as well)

Depends.

I would, while being relatively ignorant on the issue, assume that most of defense spending is in running costs rather than weapons systems. Hence, with cheap labour the cost of fielding an army of Russians may be vastly lower than of Germans or Americans.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Jacob on June 11, 2011, 05:02:42 pm
If you don't have the fuel and munitions needed to support a handful of planes blowing up Khaddifi's shit, you sure don't have the fuel and munitions that would be needed to support the large number of planes that would be needed to blow up Russia's shit, should it ever come to that.

Especially since, I believe, a fair bit of that fuel comes from Russia to begin with.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Admiral Yi on June 11, 2011, 05:03:45 pm
Anyone know which countries exactly are running out of bombs?
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Iormlund on June 11, 2011, 05:04:18 pm
Regarding numbers, Spain used to mask a lot of its weapon procurement programs within the 'Ministry of Science and Technology' budget to downplay (deeply unpopular) military spending.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: grumbler on June 11, 2011, 05:23:15 pm
This is hardly the first time this topic has come up. And every time it does the reaction of US posters is pretty much the same (Damned Yuro freeloaders!). It's only natural to detect a pattern.
So "US posters" has become "the US?"  Okay, if you wanna think that.  :cool:
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Iormlund on June 11, 2011, 05:34:33 pm
This is hardly the first time this topic has come up. And every time it does the reaction of US posters is pretty much the same (Damned Yuro freeloaders!). It's only natural to detect a pattern.
So "US posters" has become "the US?"  Okay, if you wanna think that.  :cool:
To me, you guys ARE the States.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Berkut on June 11, 2011, 05:47:10 pm
I haven't read the rest of the comments but isn't this more that the US and others (including the UK) have transformed NATO's purpose.  It was a defensive alliance and that element remains; it's still the core of the Atlantic alliance and I don't think any NATO member state would let any other suffer an attack.  But in an attempt to make NATO relevant in a world where that sort of attack is simply implausible we've seen it become an offensive alliance in Kosovo and in Libya despite the fact that it's not what it's designed for, it's not what all member states want it to be and it's not necessarily performing missions that have strong alliance support. 

Every single NATO member voted in support of the current intervention in Libya.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Berkut on June 11, 2011, 05:49:29 pm
I am a bit nonplussed. I am very surprised the response to this article is "Yeah, the US should totally re-think their commitment to NATO - it doesn't really make sense anymore" from the Euroes.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Iormlund on June 11, 2011, 05:58:35 pm
Every single NATO member voted in support of the current intervention in Libya.

I suspect that was more of a 'Ok, we don't mind others bombing the crap out of Ghaddafi' than a 'Sure, let's bomb the crap out of Ghaddafi' deal.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Jacob on June 11, 2011, 06:00:54 pm
I am a bit nonplussed. I am very surprised the response to this article is "Yeah, the US should totally re-think their commitment to NATO - it doesn't really make sense anymore" from the Euroes.

I think it varies from European country to European country. I'm pretty sure countries like Denmark and Norway, for example, are still very keen on NATO. Having longer histories of being pushed around by the nearby big countries, they appreciate the advantage of having a far off big country to be friends with. At least that's the classical Danish position as I understand it.

Even if you think that the various recent foreign wars are a waste of time and US Imperialist AdventurismTM (and I think that's not an uncommon position in Europe whether or not you agree with it), then it still makes sense to me chip in once in a while as long as we're counting on the US in case of things going really wrong.

That's certainly my position from Canada, and the same when I think about it from a Danish perspective. We're counting on the US in case the Russians or anyone else decides to make a bunch of trouble; it's only fair to help them out with their various projects within reason.

To say that "there's no trouble now or in the next ten years, so fuck it" seems short sighted. Let's keep the bonds as strong as feasible.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: The Brain on June 11, 2011, 06:01:09 pm
America should withdraw from world politics and concentrate on settling the vast interior of the continent.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Razgovory on June 11, 2011, 06:11:21 pm
I am a bit nonplussed. I am very surprised the response to this article is "Yeah, the US should totally re-think their commitment to NATO - it doesn't really make sense anymore" from the Euroes.

I think it varies from European country to European country. I'm pretty sure countries like Denmark and Norway, for example, are still very keen on NATO. Having longer histories of being pushed around by the nearby big countries, they appreciate the advantage of having a far off big country to be friends with. At least that's the classical Danish position as I understand it.

Even if you think that the various recent foreign wars are a waste of time and US Imperialist AdventurismTM (and I think that's not an uncommon position in Europe whether or not you agree with it), then it still makes sense to me chip in once in a while as long as we're counting on the US in case of things going really wrong.

That's certainly my position from Canada, and the same when I think about it from a Danish perspective. We're counting on the US in case the Russians or anyone else decides to make a bunch of trouble; it's only fair to help them out with their various projects within reason.

To say that "there's no trouble now or in the next ten years, so fuck it" seems short sighted. Let's keep the bonds as strong as feasible.

I bet Poland is pretty keen on it (Marty not withstanding).  Though, you know, it might be fun if this time, we took Russia's side.  Make it a game, "What ever you can take in 90 days, you get to keep.  Go nuts.".
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: grumbler on June 11, 2011, 06:11:27 pm
America should withdraw from world politics and concentrate on settling the vast interior of the continent.
Indeed.  Why fight third-worlders in Afghanistan when one can do so in Detroit or Arizona?
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Sheilbh on June 11, 2011, 06:16:19 pm
Every single NATO member voted in support of the current intervention in Libya.
That may be but the Turks were very ambivalent about it from the start, similarly the Germans abstained at the UNSC on the subject.  They all support it to enable their allies to go ahead, using the NATO command structure, but that's not necessarily the same as actually supporting it.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Berkut on June 11, 2011, 06:17:25 pm
I am a bit nonplussed. I am very surprised the response to this article is "Yeah, the US should totally re-think their commitment to NATO - it doesn't really make sense anymore" from the Euroes.

I think it varies from European country to European country. I'm pretty sure countries like Denmark and Norway, for example, are still very keen on NATO. Having longer histories of being pushed around by the nearby big countries, they appreciate the advantage of having a far off big country to be friends with. At least that's the classical Danish position as I understand it.

Even if you think that the various recent foreign wars are a waste of time and US Imperialist AdventurismTM (and I think that's not an uncommon position in Europe whether or not you agree with it), then it still makes sense to me chip in once in a while as long as we're counting on the US in case of things going really wrong.

That's certainly my position from Canada, and the same when I think about it from a Danish perspective. We're counting on the US in case the Russians or anyone else decides to make a bunch of trouble; it's only fair to help them out with their various projects within reason.

To say that "there's no trouble now or in the next ten years, so fuck it" seems short sighted. Let's keep the bonds as strong as feasible.

I don't disagree with any of this, except to note that unlike the situation during the Cold War, Europe does not need the US to protect them from the USSR.

So while I can appreciate a country like Denmark wanting the US as an ally, I am not sure I see what is in it for the US. Denmark can adequately defend themselves from Russia with the assistance of the rest of the EU, who of course is also just as interested in defending against Russia. There was a time when Western Europe required US assistance to defend against the USSR - that is no longer the case.

So now, NATO as a defensive alliance against Russia seems like a pretty bad deal for the US.

Lets say at the height of the Cold War, it required 100 units of "stuff" to defend against the USSRs 100 units of stuff. Western Europe could only manage 50 units, so the US tossed in another 50, and we were all good. This makes sense, since Europe being over-run by the USSR would be bad for the US.

Now it seems like if you insist that NATO only exists for that purpose, to defend Europe against external threats of attack, then there is probably only the need for 50 units of stuff. So the US is still kicking in 40, and Europe is all "Hey, sweet, we only need 10! Cut the budgets!" But since Europe is perfectly capable of providing the needed 50 units on their own, every unit the US kicks in doesn't help US interests at all - it just saves the Euro countries from having to do it themselves. And they should have to do it themselves, right? You can play with those numbers, of course, maybe claim that there is only a need for 25 units, but that just argues even more that they don't need the US.

That is what I mean by the US should scrap the alliance, if in fact the position of the NATO countries is that it only exists to cover its original mandate, and anything more is someone elses problem. If that is the case, the US should most certainly get out. Europe does not need us for that - they are perfectly capable of doing it themselves, and us staying in simply means that we are doing it for them for no benefit.

Hell, with the creation of the EU largely driven as a means of allowing the European nations to compete with the US economically, it seems downright asinine for the US to spend our resources defending Europe, which appears to just allow Europe the ability to better compete with the US, since they can spend so little on defense knowing the US is carrying the load.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Slargos on June 11, 2011, 06:21:05 pm
Is the purpose of NATO still to defend against Russia, though?

It seems that lately it's more of a platform for aiding consensus among the civilized nations rather than a military alliance. A NATO occupation of Afghanistan looks much better than a US occupation, and while I'm sure you don't mind seeing NATO troops on the ground, I expect you can manage on your own aswell.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Berkut on June 11, 2011, 06:22:05 pm

I bet Poland is pretty keen on it (Marty not withstanding).  Though, you know, it might be fun if this time, we took Russia's side.  Make it a game, "What ever you can take in 90 days, you get to keep.  Go nuts.".

The thing is, Poland needs someone to help them against Russia, they could not handle them alone.

But why does that someone need to include the US? Poland is part of the EU, and the EU most certainly has vastly more resources than Russia, and hence can easily defend Poland (and the rest of the EU) against Russia without help from a country that most of them don't even like that is several thousand miles away.

Every dime the US spends on NATO (assuming the ONLY purpose of NATO is as described by most EU posters in the thread as a strictly defensive alliance) has zero effect on potential security against Russia. All it does is allow the EU to NOT spend that particular dime.

I think the US should take our dimes and go home. We can setup a different alliance amongst those who care about security beyond strictly European borders, or make ad hoc deals as necessary, or simply go it alone when needed.

This would, of course, result in vastly increased defense budgets amongst EU countries, but that is hardly our concern. It is even a benefit to us, probably.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Berkut on June 11, 2011, 06:25:51 pm
Is the purpose of NATO still to defend against Russia, though?

Well, that is clearly the question. I assumed everyone agreed that NATO was about more than that, but apparently that is not the case.

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It seems that lately it's more of a platform for aiding consensus among the civilized nations rather than a military alliance. A NATO occupation of Afghanistan looks much better than a US occupation, and while I'm sure you don't mind seeing NATO troops on the ground, I expect you can manage on your own aswell.


Indeed. Problem is, what do you do when said NATO alliance includes a lot of countries who simply cannot contribute, even if they want to, because they lack the capability because they categorically refuse to maintain their militaries at a level where they are capable of actually doing anything? In that case, the US again needs to reconsider - if the point of NATO is to organize Western nations militaries so we can intervene when we wish, then everyone who is a part of NATO needs to kick in some. Obviously the US will always bear the lions share of that burden, but surely countries like Germany can manage to spend a third of the amount as a percent of GDP that the US does? I mean, if they are serious about participating, that is.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Sheilbh on June 11, 2011, 06:28:48 pm
That is what I mean by the US should scrap the alliance, if in fact the position of the NATO countries is that it only exists to cover its original mandate, and anything more is someone elses problem. If that is the case, the US should most certainly get out. Europe does not need us for that - they are perfectly capable of doing it themselves, and us staying in simply means that we are doing it for them for no benefit.
What do you think the US is putting in and getting no benefit from?  I'm not clear.

My view is that there is an EU-like comparison in that I think for many countries NATO had a purpose which they all agreed on - it's how two member states could fight a war in the 70s wwithout causing too much difficulty for the alliance - and there's since been a gradual addition of new responsibilities and understanding that lots of countries didn't really sign up for and aren't necessarily very keen on.  It's like the EU's move from a single market in the 90s, through monetary union to bailout.  The US is Germany and Germany's Ireland.

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Hell, with the creation of the EU largely driven as a means of allowing the European nations to compete with the US economically, it seems downright asinine for the US to spend our resources defending Europe, which appears to just allow Europe the ability to better compete with the US, since they can spend so little on defense knowing the US is carrying the load.
The EU's nothing to do with competing economically with the US - neither in its origins in the 50s or in the creation of the EU in the 90s. 
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Iormlund on June 11, 2011, 06:29:47 pm
Berkut, you are onto somehitng but missing the mark. Money has nothing to do with it. It's all about political will.

If you combined just 1% of EU members budget and used it to deploy a coherent military force nothing except the US military would compare.

But there's simply no political will to do so.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Berkut on June 11, 2011, 06:30:11 pm
Every single NATO member voted in support of the current intervention in Libya.
That may be but the Turks were very ambivalent about it from the start, similarly the Germans abstained at the UNSC on the subject.  They all support it to enable their allies to go ahead, using the NATO command structure, but that's not necessarily the same as actually supporting it.

So at what point does being in an alliance, and enjoying the benefits that being in an alliance brings, ever actually impose upon a country like Germany to actually do something other than what they want to do anyway? Does it ever?

It's not like for the past 60 years the US *wanted* to spend trillions of dollars parking tanks and planes and men in Germany. But they did so because it was worth it despite the cost.

What you are saying is basically that the alliance should only mean something when alliance members decide it is in their direct interest for it to mean something, and when not, oh well - we can just ignore it, or go along to get along, but don't ask the Germans to actually DO anything...gosh no!

And this doesn't even address the fact that some nations DID want to do something, were not ambivalent, and yet still needed to ask for help from the US to handle...Libya? That is just not right.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Sheilbh on June 11, 2011, 06:33:46 pm
Indeed. Problem is, what do you do when said NATO alliance includes a lot of countries who simply cannot contribute, even if they want to, because they lack the capability because they categorically refuse to maintain their militaries at a level where they are capable of actually doing anything? In that case, the US again needs to reconsider - if the point of NATO is to organize Western nations militaries so we can intervene when we wish, then everyone who is a part of NATO needs to kick in some. Obviously the US will always bear the lions share of that burden, but surely countries like Germany can manage to spend a third of the amount as a percent of GDP that the US does? I mean, if they are serious about participating, that is.
I don't think the point of NATO is to be able to intervene when we wish.  There are lots of countries in NATO who don't want to intervene in North Africa and the Middle East and in my experience they don't really understand why we want to either.

I think there's always going to be issues with how useful many countries can be in NATO because there are lots of minnows who won't be able to contribute effectively simply because their military may not be able to justify having x capability. 

And I think Germany's a bad example for anyone.  I don't think Americans get this about Germany but she is nothing like America in her attitude to military force and probably won't ever be.  The best that Germany could contribute to NATO, really, is money and post-combat support.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Berkut on June 11, 2011, 06:34:29 pm
That is what I mean by the US should scrap the alliance, if in fact the position of the NATO countries is that it only exists to cover its original mandate, and anything more is someone elses problem. If that is the case, the US should most certainly get out. Europe does not need us for that - they are perfectly capable of doing it themselves, and us staying in simply means that we are doing it for them for no benefit.
What do you think the US is putting in and getting no benefit from?  I'm not clear.

Defending Europe from external threats - ie the original mission of NATO.

The US gets nothing from doing this today. Historically, without US help, we thought the USSR would crush Western Europe. Now, without US help, there still isn't any nation that can crush the EU, if the EU was forced to spend a reasonable amount on their own defense - which of course they would have to do without US help.

I am saying that if the EU was thrown on their own resources, they are perfectly capable of defending themselves (although of course they would have to spend a lot more on defense than they do now). Hence the US gains nothing from helping them.

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My view is that there is an EU-like comparison in that I think for many countries NATO had a purpose which they all agreed on - it's how two member states could fight a war in the 70s wwithout causing too much difficulty for the alliance - and there's since been a gradual addition of new responsibilities and understanding that lots of countries didn't really sign up for and aren't necessarily very keen on.  It's like the EU's move from a single market in the 90s, through monetary union to bailout.  The US is Germany and Germany's Ireland.

I agree. Which is why I think the US should abandon the alliance if the alliance members are not interested in the alliance becoming something more than a strictly "defend Europe from the Soviet...errrhhh Russian, hordes". They don't need us for that, and if that is all they want NATO to be, they can damn well do it themselves.

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Hell, with the creation of the EU largely driven as a means of allowing the European nations to compete with the US economically, it seems downright asinine for the US to spend our resources defending Europe, which appears to just allow Europe the ability to better compete with the US, since they can spend so little on defense knowing the US is carrying the load.
The EU's nothing to do with competing economically with the US - neither in its origins in the 50s or in the creation of the EU in the 90s. 


Yeah, right.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Berkut on June 11, 2011, 06:38:20 pm
Berkut, you are onto somehitng but missing the mark. Money has nothing to do with it. It's all about political will.

If you combined just 1% of EU members budget and used it to deploy a coherent military force nothing except the US military would compare.

But there's simply no political will to do so.

Of course there isn't - because there doesn't need to be. They don't even have to spend that 1% because the US is spending nearly 5% and guarantees the integrity of the NATO nations.

I completely agree with you. The EU could easily protect themselves without ANY help from the US. Therefore, if the only purpose of NATO is the defense of Europe, then the US should shake everyones hands, wish them all the best, and be on our way. Why in the world would the US share in the expense of defending Europe if Europe can do so without our help? All that means is that the US is spending money of defense so that the EU does not have to.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Berkut on June 11, 2011, 06:40:29 pm
I don't think the point of NATO is to be able to intervene when we wish.  There are lots of countries in NATO who don't want to intervene in North Africa and the Middle East and in my experience they don't really understand why we want to either.

OK, then what is the point of NATO?

If your argument is that NATO is strictly a defensive alliance, then the US does in fact need to GTFO ASAP.

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I think there's always going to be issues with how useful many countries can be in NATO because there are lots of minnows who won't be able to contribute effectively simply because their military may not be able to justify having x capability. 

We aren't talking about minnows though. We are talking about the EU carrying its own weight. It does not. A few particular countries do, but as a whole, they do not.

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And I think Germany's a bad example for anyone.  I don't think Americans get this about Germany but she is nothing like America in her attitude to military force and probably won't ever be.  The best that Germany could contribute to NATO, really, is money and post-combat support.

They don't contribute that either though, not at the levels to make up for their lack of direct support.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Slargos on June 11, 2011, 06:41:35 pm
Defense spending in Europe has atrophied, I think.

Swedish spending has officially more or less been unchanged the last decade or so, effectively reduced through inflation. However, AFAIK around 50% of it is just money being bounced around by different departments billing eachother. The Military rents buildings and land from the State at overinflated prices and while it's of course going to be impossible to say for certain I would wager 0.5% is closer to the truth than 1.2%.

Much of the rest is locked up in materiel purchases. The recent switch to a professional army is grinding to a halt because, unexpectedly (  :rolleyes: ) it turns out that it was far more expensive than previously calculated.


Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Sheilbh on June 11, 2011, 06:45:05 pm
So at what point does being in an alliance, and enjoying the benefits that being in an alliance brings, ever actually impose upon a country like Germany to actually do something other than what they want to do anyway? Does it ever

It's not like for the past 60 years the US *wanted* to spend trillions of dollars parking tanks and planes and men in Germany. But they did so because it was worth it despite the cost.
Well the US gets bases in Germany which is useful for projecting power in places like the Middle East and North Africa, that is a tangible benefit to the US.  I mean I believe that in the last 10 years alone the US bases in Germany have been very useful in terms of Afghanistan and Iraq.

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What you are saying is basically that the alliance should only mean something when alliance members decide it is in their direct interest for it to mean something, and when not, oh well - we can just ignore it, or go along to get along, but don't ask the Germans to actually DO anything...gosh no!

And this doesn't even address the fact that some nations DID want to do something, were not ambivalent, and yet still needed to ask for help from the US to handle...Libya? That is just not right.
I think it's reasonable for countries to only participate in military operations they support and consider in their interests.  I think Libya was a mistake, I don't think the US should have participated.  And I think the countries that really pushed for it, the UK and France, are pretty committed.  The ones who weren't supportive aren't that's fine.

What I mean is that I think NATO should operate as a braod strcuture for facilitating military and intelligence contacts and some general strategising and that there should be a general defence alliance - Article V.  But if NATO countries decide that they want to intervene somewhere unless other members are fiercely opposed - Iraq, for example - then NATO's structures should be put at the disposal of those member states.  So an attack on one is an attack on all, but an attack by one isn't necessarily an attack by all. 

I think expecting anything else from so large an organisation is just implausible - I mean there are disagreements in SEATO and that's only really got the Kiwis and Ozzies in it.  And I think this is only an issue because the meaning of NATO's been confused by interventions like Kosovo and Libya.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: CountDeMoney on June 11, 2011, 06:46:05 pm
Defense spending in Europe has atrophied, I think.

Stunning analysis there.   :lol:
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Berkut on June 11, 2011, 06:51:12 pm
Well the US gets bases in Germany which is useful for projecting power in places like the Middle East and North Africa, that is a tangible benefit to the US.

BUt the US did not spend trillions on NATO forces in order to get some bases in Germany. We can get bases in Germany (or wherever) simply by negotating deals for them directly, like we do all over the world that is not NATO.

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What I mean is that I think NATO should operate as a braod strcuture for facilitating military and intelligence contacts and some general strategising and that there should be a general defence alliance - Article V. 

I think in that case the US is foolish to participate in the manner that it does. Europe does not need our help to defend themselves. At this point they *want* our help, simply because it saves them money. Individual European nations need help from someone, but not from us, and hey, look! There is this incredibly wealthy set of countries with much more direct shared defensive concerns with them they can get that help from.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Slargos on June 11, 2011, 06:55:13 pm
Defense spending in Europe has atrophied, I think.

Stunning analysis there.   :lol:

Perhaps I expressed myself unclearly. What I meant was that it has deteriorated to the point where rebuilding it is going to be difficult at best.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Sheilbh on June 11, 2011, 06:55:16 pm
We aren't talking about minnows though. We are talking about the EU carrying its own weight. It does not. A few particular countries do, but as a whole, they do not.
But the EU doesn't have a military.  Of the 28 NATO members a majority are smaller than Pennsylvania, economically they'll come off even worse.  Yet they've each got a military with their own fighter planes to defend their territory and all the rest.  Because of that aspect of NATO it actually provides sort-of reverse economies of scale.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Slargos on June 11, 2011, 06:59:34 pm
We aren't talking about minnows though. We are talking about the EU carrying its own weight. It does not. A few particular countries do, but as a whole, they do not.
But the EU doesn't have a military.  Of the 28 NATO members a majority are smaller than Pennsylvania, economically they'll come off even worse.  Yet they've each got a military with their own fighter planes to defend their territory and all the rest.  Because of that aspect of NATO it actually provides sort-of reverse economies of scale.

:yes:

Without a common command and procurement infrastructure, the synergy effect of a "European" army is obviously not going to be very big.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Sheilbh on June 11, 2011, 07:00:34 pm
BUt the US did not spend trillions on NATO forces in order to get some bases in Germany. We can get bases in Germany (or wherever) simply by negotating deals for them directly, like we do all over the world that is not NATO.
What are you meaning by the trillions?  What's the spending that's not been useful.

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I think in that case the US is foolish to participate in the manner that it does. Europe does not need our help to defend themselves. At this point they *want* our help, simply because it saves them money. Individual European nations need help from someone, but not from us, and hey, look! There is this incredibly wealthy set of countries with much more direct shared defensive concerns with them they can get that help from.
I think the US and UK especially are foolish for trying to turn a large, ungainly defensive alliance into a nimble alliance that's able to intervene in a wide range of situations.  On the other hand I also think there's value in that defensive alliances structures and the rest being place when some NATO members decide to intervene.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: CountDeMoney on June 11, 2011, 07:05:36 pm
I think the US and UK especially are foolish for trying to turn a large, ungainly defensive alliance into a nimble alliance that's able to intervene in a wide range of situations.  On the other hand I also think there's value in that defensive alliances structures and the rest being place when some NATO members decide to intervene.

In this day and age, collective security requires an expeditionary posture.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Sheilbh on June 11, 2011, 07:11:22 pm
In this day and age, collective security requires an expeditionary posture.
I disagree in NATO terms.  I don't really thing any of NATO's interventions - or the West's - have significantly increased our security.  Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq and Libya haven't done that.  I think Afghanistan probably has but that was a defensive war and is NATO's longest operation and probably it's most supported.  I think the intelligence sharing and infrastructure that runs alongside NATO has probably done more for our collective security than any of those wars - with the exception of Afghanistan.

Aside from that probably the most useful things for collective security have been things like the drone attacks and cyber-attacks on Iran's nuclear program.  And I believe NATO's actually been pretty helpful on the whole 'cyber-war' thing because of the experience in the Baltic states.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Slargos on June 11, 2011, 07:16:55 pm
I think the US and UK especially are foolish for trying to turn a large, ungainly defensive alliance into a nimble alliance that's able to intervene in a wide range of situations.  On the other hand I also think there's value in that defensive alliances structures and the rest being place when some NATO members decide to intervene.

In this day and age, collective security requires an expeditionary posture.

If by "expeditionary" you mean large scale deployment of MOABs against population centers in the Arab world, then I am in complete agreement.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Jacob on June 11, 2011, 07:22:17 pm
I don't disagree with any of this, except to note that unlike the situation during the Cold War, Europe does not need the US to protect them from the USSR.

...

That is what I mean by the US should scrap the alliance, if in fact the position of the NATO countries is that it only exists to cover its original mandate, and anything more is someone elses problem. If that is the case, the US should most certainly get out. Europe does not need us for that - they are perfectly capable of doing it themselves, and us staying in simply means that we are doing it for them for no benefit.

There's certainly nothing wrong with a radical reassessment of NATO, what it's for and whether it's worth it for the US and if not what it should do. Personally, I think it would be a real shame for all involved if it came down to "you're being a bunch of cheap skates, screw you we're going home." There's enough shared history and goodwill and enough shared interests that NATO ought to be reassessed and wound down in a way that doesn't jeopardize those.

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Hell, with the creation of the EU largely driven as a means of allowing the European nations to compete with the US economically, it seems downright asinine for the US to spend our resources defending Europe, which appears to just allow Europe the ability to better compete with the US, since they can spend so little on defense knowing the US is carrying the load.

I don't think the creation of the EU was driven as a means to compete with the US economically, like at all.

If a complete cost-benefit analysis suggests that it's not worth it maintaining an alliance to defend Europe then that's one thing, but to predicate it on "because the EU is set up to compete against the US" seems way off.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Iormlund on June 11, 2011, 07:23:39 pm
In this day and age, collective security requires an expeditionary posture.
I disagree in NATO terms.  I don't really thing any of NATO's interventions - or the West's - have significantly increased our security.  Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq and Libya haven't done that.  I think Afghanistan probably has but that was a defensive war and is NATO's longest operation and probably it's most supported.  I think the intelligence sharing and infrastructure that runs alongside NATO has probably done more for our collective security than any of those wars - with the exception of Afghanistan.

To be fair the only successful part of Afghanistan had been completed long before NATO showed up.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Jacob on June 11, 2011, 07:28:05 pm
It's not like for the past 60 years the US *wanted* to spend trillions of dollars parking tanks and planes and men in Germany. But they did so because it was worth it despite the cost.

To be fair, though, the US did benefit a fair bit from being the leader of the Free World. Yes, you spent a lot of money to maintain that position and lots of non-Americans benefitted from it, but America did pretty well out of it for a while - business was good, people went along with what you wanted in global politics and so on.

That's not to say that it may not be worth it anymore.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Camerus on June 11, 2011, 07:42:15 pm
Can't the US significantly curtail its defence spending and involvement in missions without leaving NATO wholesale?  Seems a bit like a false dichotomy, and one that wouldn't make strategic sense.

How so?

Political and strategic benefits of maintaining NATO for the US (albeit with significantly reduced US military spending and reduced involvement in things like Libya) > benefits of cancelling / withdrawing from the alliance willy-nilly.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Jacob on June 11, 2011, 07:54:14 pm
Political and strategic benefits of maintaining NATO for the US (albeit with significantly reduced US military spending and reduced involvement in things like Libya) > benefits of cancelling / withdrawing from the alliance willy-nilly.

Yeah. I mean, if the scenario that Berkut paints is accurate, that the Euros don't really want the US there and the US feels like it's wasting money on European defense, it should be possible to cut that down substantially without too many hurt feelings.

Why not keep the integrated command structure, procurement, intelligence processing and training bits in place. So if at some point in the future it becomes necessary (for defence or expeditionary purposes) to work closely together it's possible to do so without too many hiccups.

I don't see what the downside of doing that is.

If it makes sense to cut expenses from having forces stationed overseas and expensive programs that are more about Europe than the US, fair enough, but I don't see the need to throw everything associated with NATO out.

I mean, if the US decides that acting as a guarantor of Europe is too expensive to be worth it even that is not enough to entirely trash NATO in my opinion.

The strategic and diplomatic benefits of keeping NATO around in one shape or other is still worth it for all involved parties, even if there's a complete restructuring of goals and disposition (and attendant costs).
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Berkut on June 11, 2011, 07:56:24 pm
It's not like for the past 60 years the US *wanted* to spend trillions of dollars parking tanks and planes and men in Germany. But they did so because it was worth it despite the cost.

To be fair, though, the US did benefit a fair bit from being the leader of the Free World. Yes, you spent a lot of money to maintain that position and lots of non-Americans benefitted from it, but America did pretty well out of it for a while - business was good, people went along with what you wanted in global politics and so on.

That's not to say that it may not be worth it anymore.

Hey, I do not argue at all that it has not been worth it historically.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Jacob on June 11, 2011, 08:01:24 pm
A related question to the Americans here:

How does this sort of reciprocal thinking apply to other places where you have alliances? I mean, the US are pretty much guarantors of Korean, Taiwanese and Israeli defence for example. Those countries are, I imagine, spending proportionally more on their own militaries than Europe is but does that significantly reduce American costs for her commitment? Are the benefits the US gains from acting thusly disproportionately higher than those it gains from being a guarantor of European defence?

Or does this sort of thinking apply there too, that it may not be worth it anyhow, and the sentiment is trending towards isolationism?
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Admiral Yi on June 11, 2011, 08:06:20 pm
Political and strategic benefits of maintaining NATO for the US (albeit with significantly reduced US military spending and reduced involvement in things like Libya) > benefits of cancelling / withdrawing from the alliance willy-nilly.

When I asked my question originally I was hoping you would elaborate said benefits.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Jacob on June 11, 2011, 08:13:26 pm
Hey, I do not argue at all that it has not been worth it historically.

Okay cool :cheers:

How about this scenario then:

It seems that the sentiment is that there is that the threat to Europe has receded significantly.

Couldn't the pulling out of American resources be done more along the lines of "well, it looks like things are pretty chill here, so we'll take our crew and go home or maybe go hang out in Asia where there may be trouble brewing. We're still best pals and if the shit hits the fan, we'll be back, of course, but it'll probably take longer now than if we kept our guys here. But that shouldn't be a problem, because we agree that things look pretty chill, right?"

Pull out the resources, save a bunch of money but maintain the alliance. While you agree to help Europe in case someone attacks it, nothing says you'll have to be able to solve the problem immediately. Maybe, just like WWII you'll have to spend some time arming up and getting your shit together before you show up, but that's okay because we don't expect WWII (or III) to happen in this neighbourhood for the next little while.

You get to save your money, you still get the same amount of help with various interventions (not too great in military terms, but political and logistical support is still useful) and Europe and the US can still remain really good friends.

That, to me, seems much better for both parties than a "screw you, you're not pulling your weight so we're going home" American withdrawal from NATO. I mean, personally I'd prefer it if other NATO members pulled their socks up a bit, but that doesn't seem like it will happen in the foreseeable future.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: CountDeMoney on June 11, 2011, 08:18:23 pm
A related question to the Americans here:

How does this sort of reciprocal thinking apply to other places where you have alliances? I mean, the US are pretty much guarantors of Korean, Taiwanese and Israeli defence for example. Those countries are, I imagine, spending proportionally more on their own militaries than Europe is but does that significantly reduce American costs for her commitment? Are the benefits the US gains from acting thusly disproportionately higher than those it gains from being a guarantor of European defence?

Or does this sort of thinking apply there too, that it may not be worth it anyhow, and the sentiment is trending towards isolationism?

We do not have alliances like we have with NATO.  Korea and Taiwan are bilateral defense agreements, and we don't have shit on paper with Israel.

And I would argue that the parameters driving Korean and Taiwanese defense expeditures are directly in relation to a still-active state of war and 50 years of direct threats to sovereignty respectively.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Admiral Yi on June 11, 2011, 08:21:36 pm
Couldn't the pulling out of American resources be done more along the lines of "well, it looks like things are pretty chill here, so we'll take our crew and go home or maybe go hang out in Asia where there may be trouble brewing. We're still best pals and if the shit hits the fan...

...we might come and help out or we might not, depending on what mood we're in.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Jacob on June 11, 2011, 08:24:04 pm
When I asked my question originally I was hoping you would elaborate said benefits.

Here are a few things that make sense to me:

Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Jacob on June 11, 2011, 08:25:34 pm
...we might come and help out or we might not, depending on what mood we're in.

What do you lose by saying you *will* come help, if the risk of needing to is low?
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Admiral Yi on June 11, 2011, 08:27:56 pm
What do you lose by saying you *will* come help, if the risk of needing to is low?

Free riders.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: CountDeMoney on June 11, 2011, 08:30:10 pm
How about this scenario then:

It seems that the sentiment is that there is that the threat to Europe has receded significantly.

Couldn't the pulling out of American resources be done more along the lines of "well, it looks like things are pretty chill here, so we'll take our crew and go home or maybe go hang out in Asia where there may be trouble brewing. We're still best pals and if the shit hits the fan, we'll be back, of course, but it'll probably take longer now than if we kept our guys here. But that shouldn't be a problem, because we agree that things look pretty chill, right?"

Pull out the resources, save a bunch of money but maintain the alliance. While you agree to help Europe in case someone attacks it, nothing says you'll have to be able to solve the problem immediately. Maybe, just like WWII you'll have to spend some time arming up and getting your shit together before you show up, but that's okay because we don't expect WWII (or III) to happen in this neighbourhood for the next little while.

You get to save your money, you still get the same amount of help with various interventions (not too great in military terms, but political and logistical support is still useful) and Europe and the US can still remain really good friends.

That, to me, seems much better for both parties than a "screw you, you're not pulling your weight so we're going home" American withdrawal from NATO. I mean, personally I'd prefer it if other NATO members pulled their socks up a bit, but that doesn't seem like it will happen in the foreseeable future.

Because the political theme since the end of the Cold War has been proactive collective security predicated upon humanitarian concerns, and that there is a political premium placed on using military muscle to supplement and enforce humanitarian efforts.  That is what the liberal western democracies want to accomplish with this alliance;  it's in alignment with their overall political aims, as well as that of the United Nations.  That's the new hotness.

With rare exception, Euros that have wanted to talk the talk, but simply have not been able to walk the walk.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Jacob on June 11, 2011, 08:32:10 pm
And I would argue that the parameters driving Korean and Taiwanese defense expeditures are directly in relation to a still-active state of war and 50 years of direct threats to sovereignty respectively.

Fair enough.

But since it seems that there's no still-active state of war or direct threat to European sovereignty, can't the US just scale back the costs and level of preparedness for the European theatre without pulling out of the alliance?

I mean, can't we still be best pals even if we don't think we might get in a scrap every night?
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Admiral Yi on June 11, 2011, 08:41:35 pm
FYI Jake, the US does not have a formal defense treaty with Taiwan, and is most definitely not the guarantor of Israel.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Jacob on June 11, 2011, 08:41:56 pm
Free riders.

But what does that matter if it's not costing you any extra cash (since what's being proposed is that you scale back spending money on European defence, because it seems there's not much of a threat)?

If you're not there much physically, by the time a credible threat materializes the Euros will start spending money on their own defence and thus they won't be free riding anymore.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Jacob on June 11, 2011, 08:43:53 pm
FYI Jake, the US does not have a formal defense treaty with Taiwan, and is most definitely not the guarantor of Israel.

Ah okay. Though functionally, you pretty much are their guarantors, no?

... I gotta go drink beer and eat meat cooked over an open fire. Hopefully this discussion continues to develop :)
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: CountDeMoney on June 11, 2011, 08:49:47 pm
But since it seems that there's no still-active state of war or direct threat to European sovereignty, can't the US just scale back the costs and level of preparedness for the European theatre without pulling out of the alliance?

I mean, can't we still be best pals even if we don't think we might get in a scrap every night?

I don't see why not.  The argument could be made that the nuclear deterrents possessed by the UK and France in essence eliminates the need for a conventional presence in Europe.

But NATO is more than a nuclear umbrella.  And it does more than "protect against teh Russia".  It provides anti-terrorism support along the periphery of the alliance.  It conducts anti-piracy actions in the Indian Ocean and Southeast Asia.  It projects conventional power beyond Europe to ensure European security.  All these missions and capabilities are still in line with the explicit mission statement of NATO “on the principles of democracy, individual liberty and the rule of law.”

Unfortunately, it has a split record on stopping genocide in Europe without outright American assistance.  Bosnia was and should be a fucking embarrassment to all of Europe.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Admiral Yi on June 11, 2011, 08:50:14 pm
But what does that matter if it's not costing you any extra cash (since what's being proposed is that you scale back spending money on European defence, because it seems there's not much of a threat)?

If you're not there much physically, by the time a credible threat materializes the Euros will start spending money on their own defence and thus they won't be free riding anymore.

Well, if you can just assume away that when a threat materializes that the Yuros start arming like mad men, then you could assume the same about the US without the need for any guarantees.

The thing about standing forces pre-committed to a unified command is that a) they act as a deterrent, and b) the amount of assistance each member of the organization provides doesn't have to be negotiated at the state level and debated through the domestic political system after a crisis has emerged.  Let's say in 20 years time everyone's army has been reduced to a palace guard (Belgium will have a 50,000 strong marching band of people waiting for their pensions to kick in).  Then Putin's son sends his troops into Estonia in hot pursuit of Estonian terrorists.  How many troops are each NATO member supposed to contribute?  As much as their national self interest tells them to.  In other words exactly the same amount they would supply without a treaty obligation.

Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: CountDeMoney on June 11, 2011, 08:50:31 pm
FYI Jake, the US does not have a formal defense treaty with Taiwan, and is most definitely not the guarantor of Israel.

Ah okay. Though functionally, you pretty much are their guarantors, no?

Depends on who is in the White House when Beijing decides to drop the ballon.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: jimmy olsen on June 11, 2011, 08:54:57 pm
No. The Tim has spoken.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Admiral Yi on June 11, 2011, 08:58:35 pm
Ah okay. Though functionally, you pretty much are their guarantors, no?

Functionally we are definitely not Israel's guarantor.  They've been invaded several times and we never fired a shot in anger.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Neil on June 11, 2011, 09:10:14 pm
Canada is going to increase military spending by quite a bit, as our main enemy looks like it is going to be the US.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: CountDeMoney on June 11, 2011, 09:13:53 pm
Canada is going to increase military spending by quite a bit, as our main enemy looks like it is going to be the US.

If relocating hockey teams from Canada to cities in the US that don't want them doesn't get Canada to do anything, then nothing will.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Zoupa on June 11, 2011, 09:14:32 pm
Libya is now an American military adventure? Huh?

You are basically arguing that the US should in fact ditch NATO, since the mission of NATO (defending Europe from Russia) is no longer relevant. I will maek you down in the "This the US should stop spending so much money on NATO" column.

Afghanistan was an American military adventure. So was Iraq (although not a NATO event, it was supported by a number of NATO members, such us the UK, Poland, Denmark, Canada).

Canada was never in Irak, noob.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Zoupa on June 11, 2011, 09:14:55 pm
I don't know about Germans, but it certainly true in Spain, especially since Ceuta, Melilla and the rest of our African possessions are excluded from the Treaty so we can't expect help where we're actually vulnerable.

Like the subway?

Classy.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Zoupa on June 11, 2011, 09:15:45 pm

I bet Poland is pretty keen on it (Marty not withstanding).  Though, you know, it might be fun if this time, we took Russia's side.  Make it a game, "What ever you can take in 90 days, you get to keep.  Go nuts.".
I think the US should take our dimes and go home. We can setup a different alliance amongst those who care about security beyond strictly European borders, or make ad hoc deals as necessary, or simply go it alone when needed.

k   :)
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Zoupa on June 11, 2011, 09:16:08 pm
Couldn't the pulling out of American resources be done more along the lines of "well, it looks like things are pretty chill here, so we'll take our crew and go home or maybe go hang out in Asia where there may be trouble brewing. We're still best pals and if the shit hits the fan...

...we might come and help out or we might not, depending on what mood we're in.

So, par for the course?
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Admiral Yi on June 11, 2011, 09:19:17 pm
So, par for the course?

You must be confusing the US's history of defense treaties with France in the interwar period.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Neil on June 11, 2011, 09:19:27 pm
Libya is now an American military adventure? Huh?

You are basically arguing that the US should in fact ditch NATO, since the mission of NATO (defending Europe from Russia) is no longer relevant. I will maek you down in the "This the US should stop spending so much money on NATO" column.
Afghanistan was an American military adventure. So was Iraq (although not a NATO event, it was supported by a number of NATO members, such us the UK, Poland, Denmark, Canada).
Canada was never in Irak, noob.
Well, there were those warships doing the blockade thing, although that was separate from the invasion.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Zoupa on June 11, 2011, 09:20:49 pm
So, par for the course?

You must be confusing the US's history of defense treaties with France in the interwar period.

Yeah, I must be.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Camerus on June 11, 2011, 09:24:08 pm
When I asked my question originally I was hoping you would elaborate said benefits.

Here are a few things that make sense to me:

  • Being in a formal alliance reduces the chance of long term drift into strategic rivalry.
  • Maintaining a common command structure framework, procurement standards and so on makes co-operative operations of various sorts easier to pull off in the future.
  • It's a good forum for coralling political and diplomatic support.
  • While the US military is obviously the most advanced, NATO allows the US to maintain contacts with and influence several of the closest runners up.
  • Sharing tech and intel is much easier, I expect, within an alliance structure than outside of it. Once in a while, Europeans do develop things you might want to have a look at and I'm pretty sure that European intel comes in handy once in a while.

Jake summed it up pretty well. 

Now what would be the benefits of abandoning the alliance?  Being able to say, "fuck you, freeloading Euro parasites!" would be kind of emotionally fulfilling at some level, and I guess reducing the US' commitment to Europe to 0 (instead of just reducing spending significantly) would save some money, but ultimately neither of those reasons provides long-term strategic or security benefit to America.  What other benefits would there be?
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Admiral Yi on June 11, 2011, 09:31:39 pm
What other benefits would there be?

It depends on how you percieve your treaty obligations.  If you think the obligation is to send as many armed men as you're in the mood for, then the benefits are nonexistent.  On the other hand if you think you're obligated to send enough men to repel any invasion of a member state, then the benefits are nontrivial.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: MadImmortalMan on June 11, 2011, 09:59:01 pm
It depends on how you percieve your treaty obligations.  If you think the obligation is to send as many armed men as you're in the mood for, then the benefits are nonexistent.  On the other hand if you think you're obligated to send enough men to repel any invasion of a member state, then the benefits are nontrivial.

And that can't be assessed without some type of commitment requirement from each member rather than a simple blanket US guarantee. The treaty isn't the problem. The structure is. I'd favor some type of guidelines like the Eurozone has for deficit spending and such. If you want to be in the alliance, X% of GDP needs to go towards defense.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: starbright on June 11, 2011, 09:59:08 pm

Here are a few things that make sense to me:

  • Being in a formal alliance reduces the chance of long term drift into strategic rivalry.
  • Maintaining a common command structure framework, procurement standards and so on makes co-operative operations of various sorts easier to pull off in the future.
  • It's a good forum for coralling political and diplomatic support.


This sums up everything I wanted to say. There is still value in an alliance without a clear purpose.

Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Camerus on June 11, 2011, 10:17:43 pm
What other benefits would there be?

It depends on how you percieve your treaty obligations.  If you think the obligation is to send as many armed men as you're in the mood for, then the benefits are nonexistent.  On the other hand if you think you're obligated to send enough men to repel any invasion of a member state, then the benefits are nontrivial.

Well, that is a debatable statement.  For one, as enumerated earlier, there are a variety of benefits to maintaining the alliance beyond that of direct defence after an attack. 

Secondly, in the event of an attack, it would be better to have an existing command structure and defence system in place than nothing at all. 

Thirdly, apart from the US' invoking of NATO after the Twin Towers were attacked - an attack which wasn't committed by a state and which certainly posed no serious existential threat to the US - there hasn't been a single instance of a NATO country being seriously threatened by an outside foe.  What's more, NATO nations have participated in that (perhaps somewhat pointless) war.  So it may be unwarranted to assume that, in such an event, EU countries would do nothing. 

Lastly, if Russia were to become resurgent again, would it really be in the US' interest to sit back and let the EU be dominated by Russia?  An existent NATO would be a deterrent against that type of problem in the first place.

Anyhow, I've still yet to see many benefits put forth that would justify the US' abandoning NATO...
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: CountDeMoney on June 11, 2011, 10:24:36 pm
I don't know about Germans, but it certainly true in Spain, especially since Ceuta, Melilla and the rest of our African possessions are excluded from the Treaty so we can't expect help where we're actually vulnerable.

Like the subway?

Classy.

It's not like their Socialists wanted to be in it anyway;  I'm fine with Spain remaining in the African hemisphere, where they belong.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: CountDeMoney on June 11, 2011, 10:36:28 pm
Anyhow, I've still yet to see many benefits put forth that would justify the US' abandoning NATO...

Listening to all the Euro static about it would be one.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Berkut on June 11, 2011, 10:56:58 pm
The benefits are obvious, aren't they?

We save giant piles of cash.

I don't think you guys understand the pressure the defense department budget is under right now, and is going to be under for the next decade. Gates has done a pretty good job of cutting a lot of stuff that needed to be cut - but now, in order to cut more, they are talking about carving away meat, not fat.

They are talking about the need to start reducing active ships, active airplanes, and active boots on the ground. Well, maybe not the boots.

One way to do all that is to re-define what the US actually needs. Right now, the definition of how many planes, ships, and tanks we need includes a presumption that the US be prepared to go to war in Europe if necessary. You can cut a lot by just assuming that is no longer the case.

I am convinced that Europe does not need the US to defend them. Period.

The US commitment to NATO as it historically existed is non-sensical. What I am hearing is that expanding the role of NATO beyond a strictly defensive alliance is a non-starter. If that is the case, the US should get out of NATO.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Camerus on June 11, 2011, 11:08:57 pm
Except you assume that the one cannot happen without the other.  I am still not clear about why the US can't significantly reduce spending in Europe (just as the Euros themselves have done) - and reduce, as you say, active ships and planes - without leaving NATO wholesale? 

Saving $$$ is important, and you'll find no greater a proponent for balancing the budget than me, but you are throwing the baby out with the bathwater.  There are all kinds of benefits derived from the US maintaining NATO (just look at earlier comments in this thread to see them) that out-weigh the potential feel good "fuck you!" that ending NATO would provide.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Berkut on June 11, 2011, 11:31:55 pm
I don't hold a toothless alliance as something worth keeping around for forms sake. If an alliance does not impose anything on its members beyond words, why bother? If anything, it simply creates a false sense of security which restricts the ability to enter into more meaningful security arrangements.

I don't think anyone has cited any potential feel good of saying "fuck you" as one of the reasons to get out of NATO. Not sure why you are mentioning it.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Berkut on June 11, 2011, 11:36:00 pm
It seems like your basic argument is that we should practically ditch NATO, while keeping up the pretense of it. Which is fine, I guess - but I think the US gutting their practical commitment to NATO certainly falls under "reevaluating our commitment". If the pols decide that the figurehead of NATO has some value, I can certainly live with it stumbling along - can't be much worse than what we have now. But only as long as it is made perfectly clear that European security is 100% dependent on Europeans. They can have exactly as much as they are willing to pay for.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Berkut on June 11, 2011, 11:44:04 pm
Quote from: Jacob
Here are a few things that make sense to me:

    Being in a formal alliance reduces the chance of long term drift into strategic rivalry.

I don't see this - or rather, I think this is a bad deal for the US. What does "strategic rivalry" mean? Military rivalry? Yeah, I don't see that as being an issue since the fundamental problem is that the EU won't spend more than token amount son defense.
Economic rivalry? That is already happening, with the EU making it clear that they consider themselves an economic rival to the US.
Political rivalry? We all basically have the same political system - I don't think the US and EU are going to ever become enemies in the traditional manner, and that has nothing to do with NATO, and everything to do with a shared culture and political ethos.

Quote
    Maintaining a common command structure framework, procurement standards and so on makes co-operative operations of various sorts easier to pull off in the future.

This would be an excellent reason, except that the basic problem is that it is clear that the only possible way there can be actual cooperation with most NATO countries is if Russia invades Poland. Absent that, NATO as a whole is not interested in cooperation, so what is the benefit of maintaing this supposed "common command structure"?

Quote
    It's a good forum for coralling political and diplomatic support.

Apparentlly not really though - 100% of the NATO members voted in favor of the intervention in Libya, and yet most countries still refuse to do anything. So yeah....doesn't seem so useful. Would rather just deal directly with countries actually willing to do something when needed.
Quote
    While the US military is obviously the most advanced, NATO allows the US to maintain contacts with and influence several of the closest runners up.
    Sharing tech and intel is much easier, I expect, within an alliance structure than outside of it. Once in a while, Europeans do develop things you might want to have a look at and I'm pretty sure that European intel comes in handy once in a while.

I don't see NATO as being necessary for any of that though. In fact, having an alliance where the bulk of the members aren't actually willing to do those things just means you have to spend time dealing with them rather than just dealing directly with the ones who DO want to do something. And again, there are plenty of ways to share intel without some giant alliance structure. The US does it all the time with countries outside of NATO.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: alfred russel on June 12, 2011, 12:18:28 am
What I don't think Berkut understands is that if the US pulled out of every military engagement it is involved (Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and any other minor countries we are bombing on a semi regular basis) and cut our military spending down to 2% of GDP, many if not most Europeans would see that as a positive development. You would get some concerned editorials from European conservatives, but most Europeans see us as too trigger happy with too large of a military. The sky wouldn't fall and there wouldn't be a radical ramp up in European military spending.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Admiral Yi on June 12, 2011, 12:28:01 am
Anyhow, I've still yet to see many benefits put forth that would justify the US' abandoning NATO...

I thought I did that.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Jacob on June 12, 2011, 01:29:07 am
I don't see this - or rather, I think this is a bad deal for the US. What does "strategic rivalry" mean? Military rivalry? Yeah, I don't see that as being an issue since the fundamental problem is that the EU won't spend more than token amount son defense.

Economic rivalry? That is already happening, with the EU making it clear that they consider themselves an economic rival to the US.

Political rivalry? We all basically have the same political system - I don't think the US and EU are going to ever become enemies in the traditional manner, and that has nothing to do with NATO, and everything to do with a shared culture and political ethos.

It means that the fewer areas where there is explicit co-operation and the fewer fora there are for communication and resolution, the greater the scope for conflict.

Being intimately familiar with each others doctrines and capabilities and having extensive communication between militaries, and having a fair bit of transparancy, lessens the chance of paranoia and the resultant tension.

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This would be an excellent reason, except that the basic problem is that it is clear that the only possible way there can be actual cooperation with most NATO countries is if Russia invades Poland. Absent that, NATO as a whole is not interested in cooperation, so what is the benefit of maintaing this supposed "common command structure"?

Let's say, for some reason, the US has the need to be involved somewhere and the best staging point is in Europe. If the Europeans are familiar with US requirements, because they're similar to their own, the logistics will be easier than if the Americans have to set everything up from scratch.

On a higher level, if the complaint is that the Europeans don't provide enough concrete support for expeditionary forces, it would seem counterproductive to degrade the ability for them to do so. If there's a common command framework in place, shared logistics network, shared specs and similar doctrines then it's much easier for the Euros to actually provide this support if and when the political will to do so is existent.

For example, I doubt you'd have the Danes and Norwegians flying sorties over Libya if their airforces didn't fit within the NATO framework.

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Apparentlly not really though - 100% of the NATO members voted in favor of the intervention in Libya, and yet most countries still refuse to do anything. So yeah....doesn't seem so useful. Would rather just deal directly with countries actually willing to do something when needed.

I'm pretty sure it's politically a lot easier for several NATO countries to provide concrete support under the NATO aegis than due to bilateral arrangements. Again, I'm pretty certain that the Danish and Canadian commitments to Afghanistan would've been much smaller or non-existant if they had not happened within the NATO framework.

Similarly, I'm pretty certain that the practicalities of getting them there and working with the US forces there would have been much more complicated if the NATO framework wasn't already in place.

Quote
I don't see NATO as being necessary for any of that though. In fact, having an alliance where the bulk of the members aren't actually willing to do those things just means you have to spend time dealing with them rather than just dealing directly with the ones who DO want to do something. And again, there are plenty of ways to share intel without some giant alliance structure. The US does it all the time with countries outside of NATO.

But why throw out what you have if you're just going to replicate it anyhow?

I'm not saying that NATO shouldn't be restructured and repurposed to better fit the current needs of the members, but it seems silly to just get rid of it. There's decades of understanding, established lines of communications and inter-military goodwill already there. Why trash that?
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Jacob on June 12, 2011, 01:31:43 am
Anyhow, I've still yet to see many benefits put forth that would justify the US' abandoning NATO...

I thought I did that.

It seemed pretty abstract, to be honest.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Admiral Yi on June 12, 2011, 01:46:31 am
It seemed pretty abstract, to be honest.

A loan guarantee is pretty abstract too until it's excercised.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Martinus on June 12, 2011, 02:05:53 am
Precisely. Gates (and Americans here) seem to equate the ability to send troops to Afghanistan or Libya with an ability to defend the NATO countries against an external invasion (i.e. NATO's purpose). It's apples and oranges.
And since the defense against external threats is meaningless any more, NATO has served its purpose and should be folded, if that was its sole purpose.  I don't see why you (and Euros here) don't see this.

Fine, but that's not what the premise of the article was.

The premise was that the NATO members now are just not pulling their weight enough, so the US is doing all the heavy lifting (except for a handful of other states that chip in).

It seems to me the following is true, however: the US wants the NATO to become something else than it was originally intended for, and this is where other member states disagree. So the US wants to withdraw from its earlier commitments seeing them as not being worth the expenses any more (whether they are right or not is another matter).

So please don't structure this as "others are not upholding their side of the deal", while it seems to be that the US is trying to find a way to withdraw from the deal itself.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Martinus on June 12, 2011, 02:19:38 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.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Zanza on June 12, 2011, 02:22:39 am
What I don't think Berkut understands is that if the US pulled out of every military engagement it is involved (Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and any other minor countries we are bombing on a semi regular basis) and cut our military spending down to 2% of GDP, many if not most Europeans would see that as a positive development. You would get some concerned editorials from European conservatives, but most Europeans see us as too trigger happy with too large of a military. The sky wouldn't fall and there wouldn't be a radical ramp up in European military spending.
This. The Europeans think they spend enough on defense, no matter if the USA is still there or not. Germany certainly wouldn't start to spend any more money to replace US units currently stationed in Germany. It didn't with any of the units that the USA already withdrew in the last 20 years. 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.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Zanza on June 12, 2011, 02:25:25 am
Berkut's argument reminds me of all those people that want to end the EU immediately because they dislike its institutions, but want to keep the single market. If there should be any kind of cooperation in the future, having a framework like NATO to facitilitate it is beneficial.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Razgovory on June 12, 2011, 02:31:01 am
Precisely. Gates (and Americans here) seem to equate the ability to send troops to Afghanistan or Libya with an ability to defend the NATO countries against an external invasion (i.e. NATO's purpose). It's apples and oranges.
And since the defense against external threats is meaningless any more, NATO has served its purpose and should be folded, if that was its sole purpose.  I don't see why you (and Euros here) don't see this.

Fine, but that's not what the premise of the article was.

The premise was that the NATO members now are just not pulling their weight enough, so the US is doing all the heavy lifting (except for a handful of other states that chip in).

It seems to me the following is true, however: the US wants the NATO to become something else than it was originally intended for, and this is where other member states disagree. So the US wants to withdraw from its earlier commitments seeing them as not being worth the expenses any more (whether they are right or not is another matter).

So please don't structure this as "others are not upholding their side of the deal", while it seems to be that the US is trying to find a way to withdraw from the deal itself.

It's not just the US who wants to change the NATO mission.  This Libya adventure was a Euro idea.  They just can't do it.  Besides, the old NATO mission involved turning Warsaw into radioactive glass, you should be thankful that we aren't stubbornly holding to that.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: The Brain on June 12, 2011, 02:51:10 am
If I were in a military alliance like NATO I wouldn't be very interested in military spending as % of GDP. Costs can be manipulated and inefficiency shouldn't be rewarded. I'd be more interested in explicit numbers of troops, tanks, planes, ships etc, and deployable now? 30 days? 180 days? And projected where? Europe? ME? Global?
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: CountDeMoney on June 12, 2011, 06:04:33 am
I don't think you guys understand the pressure the defense department budget is under right now, and is going to be under for the next decade.

I don't think it's going to be under as much pressure as you think.  Cutting any sort of real defense spending is anathema to the Republican Party.  It's right behind raising taxes as off-limits in budget discussion.
Unless its the Veterans Administration and healthcare for servicemen.  Then they'll cut like a surgeon.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Neil on June 12, 2011, 08:16:11 am
I don't think you guys understand the pressure the defense department budget is under right now, and is going to be under for the next decade. Gates has done a pretty good job of cutting a lot of stuff that needed to be cut - but now, in order to cut more, they are talking about carving away meat, not fat.
Given that the USAF exists, I very much doubt that's the case.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Martinus on June 12, 2011, 08:19:26 am
This Libya adventure was a Euro idea.  They just can't do it.
Again, I would like to hear which countries exactly where the ones asking for gas and whatnot (the article does not offer any details). As far as the perception down here is concerned, the Libya thing was a UK/French event (with the US supporting, and Italy to some extent, but mainly due to its physical proximity), not a pan-NATO event. So if it's France or the UK (or to a less extent, Italy) asking for help, it's indeed worrying.

But if it is someone else, then probably it's something inconsequential.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: grumbler on June 12, 2011, 08:33:58 am
I don't think Alfred Russel understands that Gates is talking about NATO members other than the US.  If the US fled all the wars it is involved in and cut its defense spending to 2%, the other members of NATO would still be unable to fulfill their defense obligations.  So, addressing what the US spends on Afghanistan is a red herring.

NATO, except as a discussion group, seems to have fulfilled its purpose.  I don't see any argument here for continuing to pay anything for it.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Crazy_Ivan80 on June 12, 2011, 08:50:00 am
I don't think you guys understand the pressure the defense department budget is under right now, and is going to be under for the next decade.

I don't think it's going to be under as much pressure as you think.  Cutting any sort of real defense spending is anathema to the Republican Party.  It's right behind raising taxes as off-limits in budget discussion.
Unless its the Veterans Administration and healthcare for servicemen.  Then they'll cut like a surgeon.

ah, the republicans and their "social welfare systems" eh :p
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Zanza on June 12, 2011, 09:28:17 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.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Neil on June 12, 2011, 09:39:56 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.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Slargos on June 12, 2011, 09:44:22 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?
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Iormlund on June 12, 2011, 09:47:11 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?
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Neil on June 12, 2011, 09:47:56 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?
Yeah, but some of those facilities (Ramstein, for example) serve purposes far beyond defending Europe.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Zanza on June 12, 2011, 09:49:07 am
Just saw this on the Economist website:
(http://media.economist.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/original-size/20110611_WOC883.gif)

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. 
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Neil 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.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Iormlund 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.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Ed Anger 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.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: The Minsky Moment 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?
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: The Minsky Moment 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.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: grumbler 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.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Gups 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?
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: The Minsky Moment 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.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Zanza 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?
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Berkut 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.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Valmy 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.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: grumbler 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.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: The Minsky Moment 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.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Ed Anger on June 13, 2011, 11:47:11 am
Quote
the Vietnamese foreign minister invited international intervention

HEY GI JOE, ME LUV YOU LONG TIME.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: The Minsky Moment on June 13, 2011, 11:56:37 am
HEY GI JOE, ME LUV YOU LONG TIME.

When you think about what must have been involved for the Vietnamese Communist Party to make what amounts to an official appeal to the US for aid, it says a hell of a lot about their likely assessment of the potential threat from China. 
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Ed Anger on June 13, 2011, 12:06:51 pm
Everybody comes back to big daddy.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Warspite on June 13, 2011, 12:18:53 pm
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.

For me, Gates's speech (which I welcomed) is just the latest play in the decades-old argument over burden sharing. He's right. One hopes it will give the UK and France some more political capital to spend at home securing defence budgets. I don't have much expectation that it will shift the Belgiums of Europe, however.

I think the biggest outcome so far of the Libyan intervention has actually been to kill even the fiction of "European defence". Now, it is unambiguously a Franco-British project. Perhaps a reshaped German military might provide a more significant contribution to out-of-area operations once it has completed its transition to a professional military, but I doubt it.

Given that this reorientation of US attention to the Pacific is most likely set to continue, then NATO serves a useful purpose in that it keeps, ticking over, a basic level of military interaction between the US and a number of potentially willing European partners. It's not quite as grand a project as the Soviets Out and Germans Down, but neverthless could offer a profitable outcome for a modest outlay.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Ed Anger on June 14, 2011, 09:55:51 am
Quote
The Bracken briefing came a day after a top British military officer admitted that the bombing campaign was straining British resources.

"If we do it for longer than six months, then we have to reprioritize our forces," Admiral Mark Stanhope said Monday.

"That does not mean we won't be doing it," he added.

lolz.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: jamesww on June 14, 2011, 10:14:22 am
HEY GI JOE, ME LUV YOU LONG TIME.

When you think about what must have been involved for the Vietnamese Communist Party to make what amounts to an official appeal to the US for aid, it says a hell of a lot about their likely assessment of the potential threat from China.

They knew all about that by 1979.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Jacob on June 14, 2011, 10:16:23 am
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.

What would you say are the US' main interests in the Pacific, and how are they different from their interests in Europe?

I've seen it repeated fairly regularly that the US' attention ought to shift and is shifting away from Europe and towards the Pacific, but I don't recall too much about why that's the case. I mean, there's a lot that boils down to "keeping China from getting too uppity", but that's a means to an end, not an end in itself right?
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: The Brain on June 14, 2011, 10:18:49 am
Dominoes.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: garbon on June 14, 2011, 10:42:07 am
Given that this reorientation of US attention to the Pacific is most likely set to continue, then NATO serves a useful purpose in that it keeps, ticking over, a basic level of military interaction between the US and a number of potentially willing European partners. It's not quite as grand a project as the Soviets Out and Germans Down, but neverthless could offer a profitable outcome for a modest outlay.

What role can Europe play in the pacific?
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Razgovory on June 14, 2011, 10:46:00 am
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.

What would you say are the US' main interests in the Pacific, and how are they different from their interests in Europe?

I've seen it repeated fairly regularly that the US' attention ought to shift and is shifting away from Europe and towards the Pacific, but I don't recall too much about why that's the case. I mean, there's a lot that boils down to "keeping China from getting too uppity", but that's a means to an end, not an end in itself right?

US wants to maintain the status quo in the Pacific.  In particular it wants to keep the trade lanes open, maintain favorable trade agreements, and prevent an arms race.  The issue of China is somewhat tricky as the US hasn't fully decided what to do.  It seems to be going about trying to include China into the world system but at the same time align the surrounding powers into something resembling containment.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Razgovory on June 14, 2011, 10:47:04 am
Given that this reorientation of US attention to the Pacific is most likely set to continue, then NATO serves a useful purpose in that it keeps, ticking over, a basic level of military interaction between the US and a number of potentially willing European partners. It's not quite as grand a project as the Soviets Out and Germans Down, but neverthless could offer a profitable outcome for a modest outlay.

What role can Europe play in the pacific?

They can lose Dien Bien Phu again.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Zoupa on June 15, 2011, 06:27:07 am
Given that this reorientation of US attention to the Pacific is most likely set to continue, then NATO serves a useful purpose in that it keeps, ticking over, a basic level of military interaction between the US and a number of potentially willing European partners. It's not quite as grand a project as the Soviets Out and Germans Down, but neverthless could offer a profitable outcome for a modest outlay.

What role can Europe play in the pacific?

They can lose Dien Bien Phu again.

(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/9/95/Saigon-hubert-van-es.jpg)

I'm sorry what?
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: grumbler on June 15, 2011, 06:46:03 am
I'm sorry what?
He was just noting that the main effect of the many trees lining Paris boulevards is to allow the German Army to march in the shade.
(http://img11.imagehosting.gr/out.php/i1403068_20081126-044nazis-in-paris-w.jpg)
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: The Brain on June 15, 2011, 06:47:05 am
:cheers:

(http://i13.photobucket.com/albums/a299/Slayhem/ago.jpg)
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Valmy on June 15, 2011, 08:09:53 am
He was just noting that the main effect of the many trees lining Paris boulevards is to allow the German Army to march in the shade.

Good because these days if the German Army discovers they have to march in the sun their government will pull them out.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Zoupa on June 16, 2011, 02:02:35 am
I'm sorry what?
He was just noting that the main effect of the many trees lining Paris boulevards is to allow the German Army to march in the shade.
(http://img11.imagehosting.gr/out.php/i1403068_20081126-044nazis-in-paris-w.jpg)

Oh I'm sorry, I didn't know, are we doing the "I'm posting totally unrelated pictures I think might rile up the poster I'm replying to"?

I'm hesitating between the dude jumping from the WTC on sept. 11th or the one where I defecate all over your Babylon 5 discset.  :hmm:
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Zanza on June 16, 2011, 03:35:58 am
Good because these days if the German Army discovers they have to march in the sun their government will pull them out.
As half of them are overweight and most are smokers, they drive. Marching is for third-worlders. ;)
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: CountDeMoney on June 16, 2011, 04:55:23 am
I'm hesitating between the dude jumping from the WTC on sept. 11th or the one where I defecate all over your Babylon 5 discset.  :hmm:

Oooh, oooh, Babylon.  Much more visceral.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: CountDeMoney on June 16, 2011, 04:57:38 am
Proof positive that craziness is bipartisan.

Quote
Bartlett, colleagues, sue Obama over Libya
Bipartisan group is angered over U.S. military involvement


WASHINGTON ——Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett joined a bipartisan group of lawmakers Wednesday in filing a lawsuit against President Barack Obama over U.S. involvement in Libya, alleging that the White House overstepped its constitutional authority when it launched the military effort in March.

Amid growing criticism in Congress of President Barack Obama's handling of airstrikes against Libya, a bipartisan group of lawmakers including Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett of Maryland sued the president Wednesday, saying he overstepped his authority when he committed the U.S. military to the conflict in March.

Bartlett, Republican Rep. Ron Paul, Democratic Rep. Dennis Kucinich  and seven other House members say Obama has violated the Constitution and the 1973 War Powers Resolution by failing to seek congressional approval for the military involvement against the government of Moammar Gadhafi.

White House officials largely dismissed the lawsuit. But the effort underscored growing discontent among lawmakers of both parties, even as Obama has stressed that the continuing operation is being led by NATO and the U.S. military has "no boots on the ground" in Libya.

"He clearly violated the Constitution," Bartlett, a Western Maryland Republican, said after the lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in Washington. "This is not the king's army. This is a terribly dangerous precedent."

The administration, in its latest attempt to frame the conflict, asserted in a report to Congress on Wednesday that it has the authority to continue action in Libya because the military is not involved in full-blown "hostilities."

The Vietnam-era war-powers resolution is interpreted as allowing a president to initiate military action but requires a military withdrawl after 90 days — including a 30-day extension — unless Congress approves of the action.

Republican leaders have said that Obama will hit that deadline Sunday.

Debate over the president's authority as commander in chief to wage war is not new. Congress has not formally declared war since World War II. President Ronald Reagan did not notify Congress of the 1983 invasion of Grenada. President Bill Clinton did not seek approval more than a decade later for deploying U.S. troops to Bosnia and Kosovo.

In a report sent to every member of Congress on Wednesday, the administration argued for the first time that the resolution does not apply in the case of Libya. After the initial strikes, the U.S. military has taken a support role in the NATO action, the White House said.

"U.S. operations do not involve sustained fighting or active exchanges of fire with hostile forces, nor do they involve the presence of U.S. ground troops, U.S. casualties or a serious threat thereof, or any significant chance of escalation into a conflict characterized by those factors," the document read.

Still, members of both parties have grown increasingly anxious about the cost and scope of the mission. The White House report came in part as a response to a nonbinding resolution approved by the House on June 3 calling on Obama to provide a "rationale" for operation.

Maryland's two Republican House members, Bartlett and Rep. Andy Harris, supported that measure.

"For decades, the War Powers Act has been hotly debated," Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger, the top-ranking Democrat on the Select Committee on Intelligence, said Wednesday. "I think the important thing the president needs to do is communicate with Congress. We need to be involved."

So far, the Baltimore County lawmaker said, that communication has taken place. Ruppersberger said that he and other congressional leaders attended two briefings by the president on Libya in March.

The administration estimated that the total cost of the military and humanitarian effort in Libya has run about $800 million as of this month.

Bartlett was an early supporter of a similar lawsuit filed against Clinton over U.S. involvement in Kosovo in 1999. A federal judge dismissed the suit a month later, ruling that the courts could not get involved in the issue unless Congress and the White House had reached "a constitutional impasse."

A senior White House official dismissed the most recent lawsuit Wednesday, saying past litigation suggests "the likely course of something like this where members seek to engage the federal courts in these sorts of issues."

Peter J. Spiro, a law professor at Temple University, said courts have dismissed such suits on jurisdictional grounds rather than dealing with the merits of the case.

"That's probably as it should be," he said. "The political branches have adequate tools for protecting their institutional interests."

One such tool is the power of Congress to take away the money for military actions. But Bartlett argued that stripping funding is problematic because opponents can cast that decision as an attack on military personnel.

Bartlett has stressed he does not necessarily disagree with the justification the White House has offered for U.S. involvement in Libya — the protection of civilians — but with the method of engagement.

"It's terribly difficult to separate the troops from the effort," Bartlett said.

Asked whether the lawsuit over Libya would follow the same unsuccessful path as the suit in 1999 over Kosovo, Bartlett said, "it's a new court, with new people on it."

Joining Bartlett, Kucinich and Paul are Democratic Reps. John Conyers of Michigan and Michael Capuano of Massachusetts and Republican Reps. Walter Jones of North Carolina, Dan Burton of Indiana, Howard Coble of North Carolina, John Duncan of Tennessee and Timothy Johnson of Illinois.

The lawsuit names Obama and Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates as defendants.

"We believe that the law was violated," Kucinich said in a statement. "We have asked the courts to move to protect the American people from the results of these illegal policies."
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: grumbler on June 16, 2011, 07:47:54 am
Oh I'm sorry, I didn't know, are we doing the "I'm posting totally unrelated pictures I think might rile up the poster I'm replying to"?
I'm not, and if you are, you are failing epic-style.

Quote
I'm hesitating between the dude jumping from the WTC on sept. 11th or the one where I defecate all over your Babylon 5 discset.  :hmm:
I can see this matters to you, so I will leave you to your pondering.  Either choice is fine with me.  :hug:
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Ed Anger on June 16, 2011, 07:54:19 am
The inner German in me wants to see Zoup shit on a B5 box set.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Razgovory on June 16, 2011, 09:21:08 am
I'm a bit bemused that Zoupa can't tell the difference between a battle the US lost and a Battle that South Vietnam lost.  Or a Battle the US lost and a terrorists attack.  Or a battle the US lost and photos of Zoupa defecating on a bunch of DVDs.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Berkut on June 16, 2011, 10:16:53 am
I'm a bit bemused that Zoupa can't tell the difference between a battle the US lost and a Battle that South Vietnam lost.  Or a Battle the US lost and a terrorists attack.  Or a battle the US lost and photos of Zoupa defecating on a bunch of DVDs.

I am surprised you find Zoupa in full on crazy mode bemusing.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Neil on June 16, 2011, 10:36:45 am
I'm a bit bemused that Zoupa can't tell the difference between a battle the US lost and a Battle that South Vietnam lost.  Or a Battle the US lost and a terrorists attack.  Or a battle the US lost and photos of Zoupa defecating on a bunch of DVDs.

I am surprised you find Zoupa in full on crazy mode bemusing.
He hasn't really done anything crazy.  He's just countertrolling.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Valmy on June 16, 2011, 11:04:22 am
I am surprised you find Zoupa in full on crazy mode bemusing.

Bah.  He is just countering lameass trolls on him.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: crazy canuck on June 16, 2011, 11:22:18 am
Waiting for B5 to be available on Netflix.  No chance of Zoupa tampering with Disks that way.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Neil on June 16, 2011, 11:32:13 am
Waiting for B5 to be available on Netflix.  No chance of Zoupa tampering with Disks that way.
:lol:
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: grumbler on June 16, 2011, 02:14:15 pm
I am surprised you find Zoupa in full on crazy mode bemusing.

Bah.  He is just countering lameass trolls on him.
Nah. I was countering (very effectively, I might add) lameass trolls.  Talking about defecating on DVDs is crazy-mode talk.*  Expecting someone to be bothered because one is going to defecate on some DVDs is full-crazy-mode talk.  :bowler:

Zoups is your classic "I can dish it out but cannot take it" poster.  What makes him endearing is that, when his thin skin is pierced without effort, he threatens to do things his target couldn't care less about.  Zoups in vengeance mode is like a snake in bicycling mode.


*unless German, of course.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Valmy on June 16, 2011, 02:20:12 pm
Nah. I was countering (very effectively, I might add) lameass trolls.

I was mainly talking about Raz.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Razgovory on June 16, 2011, 02:33:24 pm
Nah. I was countering (very effectively, I might add) lameass trolls.

I was mainly talking about Raz.

Seemed effective.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Zoupa on June 16, 2011, 02:47:24 pm
I am surprised you find Zoupa in full on crazy mode bemusing.

Bah.  He is just countering lameass trolls on him.
Nah. I was countering (very effectively, I might add) lameass trolls.  Talking about defecating on DVDs is crazy-mode talk.*  Expecting someone to be bothered because one is going to defecate on some DVDs is full-crazy-mode talk.  :bowler:

Zoups is your classic "I can dish it out but cannot take it" poster.  What makes him endearing is that, when his thin skin is pierced without effort, he threatens to do things his target couldn't care less about.  Zoups in vengeance mode is like a snake in bicycling mode.


*unless German, of course.

Sure  :lol: My thin skin is all ablaze!
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Berkut on June 16, 2011, 03:04:43 pm
Yeah, we know.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Zoupa on June 16, 2011, 03:15:29 pm
It's telling that when the frog replies to an outrageous statement by posting something relevant to point being made, he's the one that dishes it out but "can't take it". Yet when senile amerikkkan gets riled up and posts a trolling reply about something totally unrelated, no problemo.

Yeah, I'm the one with thin skin.  :lol:

Of course, this is grumbler and Berkut we're talking about here. CdM is my peoples, Monkeybutt has a kitten avatar so gets a pass, Raz is insane but funny and Valmy is practically french. :frog:

Anyhoo. Carry on folks. You should ask derspiess for that picture of the crying french guy from 1940, he's got it bookmarked somewhere.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Valmy on June 16, 2011, 03:17:03 pm
Valmy is practically french. :frog:

 :w00t:
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Zoupa on June 16, 2011, 03:21:38 pm
lol. Signature'd! Nice.  :hug:
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Berkut on June 16, 2011, 03:44:20 pm
It's telling that when the frog replies to an outrageous statement by posting something relevant to point being made, he's the one that dishes it out but "can't take it". Yet when senile amerikkkan gets riled up and posts a trolling reply about something totally unrelated, no problemo.

Yeah, I'm the one with thin skin.  :lol:

Of course, this is grumbler and Berkut we're talking about here. CdM is my peoples, Monkeybutt has a kitten avatar so gets a pass, Raz is insane but funny and Valmy is practically french. :frog:

Anyhoo. Carry on folks. You should ask derspiess for that picture of the crying french guy from 1940, he's got it bookmarked somewhere.

I am just glad you don't have thin skin is all.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: garbon on June 16, 2011, 03:49:28 pm
It's telling that when the frog replies to an outrageous statement by posting something relevant to point being made, he's the one that dishes it out but "can't take it". Yet when senile amerikkkan gets riled up and posts a trolling reply about something totally unrelated, no problemo.

Yeah, I'm the one with thin skin.  :lol:

Of course, this is grumbler and Berkut we're talking about here. CdM is my peoples, Monkeybutt has a kitten avatar so gets a pass, Raz is insane but funny and Valmy is practically french. :frog:

Anyhoo. Carry on folks. You should ask derspiess for that picture of the crying french guy from 1940, he's got it bookmarked somewhere.

I thought it was a French cultural thing that Anglos can't understand.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Zoupa on June 16, 2011, 03:53:21 pm
I am just glad you don't have thin skin is all.

I do. I had eczema on my left elbow as a kid and my mum used too much cortisone cream. Skin is thinner there  :(
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Zoupa on June 16, 2011, 03:54:35 pm
I thought it was a French cultural thing that Anglos can't understand.

You wouldn't get it, only Valmy and I do.

(I have no idea what you're referring to).
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Valmy on June 16, 2011, 03:55:24 pm
To be fair I only practically get it.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Ed Anger on June 16, 2011, 04:31:36 pm
Quote
Monkeybutt has a kitten avatar so gets a pass

Business kitten. Get those reports in right meow.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: CountDeMoney on June 16, 2011, 05:03:48 pm
Zoups is your classic "I can dish it out but cannot take it" poster.  What makes him endearing is that, when his thin skin is pierced without effort, he threatens to do things his target couldn't care less about.  Zoups in vengeance mode is like a snake in bicycling mode.


*unless German, of course.

To be fair, Zoupa gets rather defensive when it comes to French-bashing, and rightfully so.  He gets a lot of shit around here, especially when it comes to French military history, which does not begin and end with WW2, all that "Freedom Fries" bullshit, and that uberweenie deVillepin.

I respect and adore the French for Lafayette and their powder-blue Catholic Bourbonism and their making love with their faces and the Revolution and the DeGaullist penchant for acting in their own interests.

So when I bash Zoups, I bash him as an anti-semitic Eurotard, not as a Frenchman.  Any other way is not fair to him, or to France.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Neil on June 16, 2011, 05:27:45 pm
It is unamerican to be anti-French.  America is most of the best parts of France and Britain, merged together into something entirely unique.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: garbon on June 16, 2011, 05:32:16 pm
It is unamerican to be anti-French.

Not really, not really at all. Although I can understanding that as an ethnic Albertan you might be confused.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Zoupa on June 16, 2011, 05:40:56 pm
Zoups is your classic "I can dish it out but cannot take it" poster.  What makes him endearing is that, when his thin skin is pierced without effort, he threatens to do things his target couldn't care less about.  Zoups in vengeance mode is like a snake in bicycling mode.


*unless German, of course.

To be fair, Zoupa gets rather defensive when it comes to French-bashing, and rightfully so.  He gets a lot of shit around here, especially when it comes to French military history, which does not begin and end with WW2, all that "Freedom Fries" bullshit, and that uberweenie deVillepin.

I respect and adore the French for Lafayette and their powder-blue Catholic Bourbonism and their making love with their faces and the Revolution and the DeGaullist penchant for acting in their own interests.

So when I bash Zoups, I bash him as an anti-semitic Eurotard, not as a Frenchman.  Any other way is not fair to him, or to France.

I love you too, man.  :cry:
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: grumbler on June 16, 2011, 09:03:52 pm
To be fair, Zoupa gets rather defensive when it comes to French-bashing, and rightfully so.  He gets a lot of shit around here, especially when it comes to French military history, which does not begin and end with WW2, all that "Freedom Fries" bullshit, and that uberweenie deVillepin.

I respect and adore the French for Lafayette and their powder-blue Catholic Bourbonism and their making love with their faces and the Revolution and the DeGaullist penchant for acting in their own interests.

So when I bash Zoups, I bash him as an anti-semitic Eurotard, not as a Frenchman.  Any other way is not fair to him, or to France.
Disagree.  One can tweak the hypersensitive without disliking what they are hypersensitive about.  I am quite the Francophile myself, what with publishing books on French military history mostly to satisfy my own desire to own the books, and all.

Zoupa is Zoupa, whether he is whining about me being "riled up" when nothing could be further from the truth, or threatening to shit on a DVD because somehow he thinks I will burst into tears over that (or a picture of The Falling Man, or whatever).   So, when I bash him, I don't do so as a "Frenchman" (for that would be, as you note, unfair to France), but as a garden-variety asshat.  He is his own unique self.  And his tears taste wonderful. Best of all, when he trolls, he reliably bursts into tears when I countertroll.  Life is good here at Languish.  :cool:
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: grumbler on June 16, 2011, 09:05:38 pm
It is unamerican to be anti-French.  America is most of the best parts of France and Britain, merged together into something entirely unique.
What you say is untrue, but it should be true.  France and the US are probably more alike in the fundamentals of national character than Britain and the US.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Ed Anger on June 16, 2011, 09:06:30 pm
I don't think Grumbler has any DVD's. 8mm reels and a Edison phonograph, maybe.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Caliga on June 16, 2011, 09:14:52 pm
His wax cylinders melted in the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, though. :weep:
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Zoupa on June 16, 2011, 09:33:11 pm
Grumbler, I think you overestimate the effect your posts (or anybody's posts for that matter) have on people. Nobody is really getting riled up or crying or whatever. It's just a message board.  :mellow:

Do you really think folks are affected in their daily lives by what some random guy is writing on the internet? We're just shooting the shit here.

Anyways. If you want to claim that I "reliably bursts into tears when you countertroll" ( :cool:) so that you can score internet points, that's fine by me.  It takes a lot to get me angry in real life, I imagine it would take even more on the interwebz.

Maybe this has to do with that "avatar" thread a few weeks back. I didn't really understand or care about the concept. :shrug:
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Ed Anger on June 16, 2011, 09:45:08 pm
Dammit, threaten to shit on his Sousa cylinders.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Zoupa on June 16, 2011, 09:50:20 pm
The girlfriend lost my camera battery though  :glare:

Unless you don't mind cell phone pics.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Barrister on June 16, 2011, 11:13:43 pm
It is unamerican to be anti-French.  America is most of the best parts of France and Britain, merged together into something entirely unique.

Are you sure you're not confusing America with Canada?   :hmm:
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Tonitrus on June 16, 2011, 11:26:07 pm
It is unamerican to be anti-French.  America is most of the best parts of France and Britain, merged together into something entirely unique.

Are you sure you're not confusing America with Canada?   :hmm:

I'd have thought that British and French Canadians haven't really merged yet.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Barrister on June 17, 2011, 12:26:45 am
It is unamerican to be anti-French.  America is most of the best parts of France and Britain, merged together into something entirely unique.

Are you sure you're not confusing America with Canada?   :hmm:

I'd have thought that British and French Canadians haven't really merged yet.

Well I know a few who have. :perv:
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: Slargos on June 17, 2011, 01:55:29 am
Ah yes. When you merge British chav culture and belligerence with French snooty arrogance, great things are bound to happen that will upset no one.
Title: Re: Is it time for the US to re-evaluate our commitment to NATO?
Post by: grumbler on June 17, 2011, 07:25:10 am
I don't think Grumbler has any DVD's. 8mm reels and a Edison phonograph, maybe.
  :lol:  If you play the 8mm film synchronized to the phonograph player, it's almost like being at the talkies!