NATO, EU and Lost Causes

There’s a bunch of nervous nellies on both sides of the Atlantic. Concerned with NATO‘s dismal performance in Libya, Mr Kashmeri, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council offers this:

“After speaking with over fifty military and government leaders from Europe and the United States, I believe the answer to NATO’s woes is to bridge the alliance with the European Union’s Common Security and Defence Policy, and shift the responsibility for the defence of Europe and its periphery to the European Union. In a forthcoming report for the United States Army War College’s Strategic Studies Institute, I recommend that the President of the United States initiate a meeting with the leadership of the European Union and Canada to execute this change over a period of three to five years.”

Just shift responsibility? Now you just have to get the leaders and people of the 28 NATO nations to go along with raising more taxes, overcome their seemingly inbred inhibitions to force, and agree on the five ‘W’s for strategy, operations and tactics. Good luck.

EU nations are simply too pacifist to assume greater defense expenditures, even on their own behalf. European squishyness is so pronounced that the German defense minister was forced to resign because of civilian deaths in Afghanistan, even though, as mature cultures realize, such tragedies are inevitable in war. Many NATO nations don’t allow their soldiers combat roles. An American parent with a son in Afghanistan might wonder, what’s the point? Europe is long accustomed to the U.S. security umbrella, and like a spoiled child, consider Americans’ paying their way and dying on their behalf, a birthright.

The EU is collapsing under its own contradictions. In the long run you cannot tie a common currency to different cultures and diverse economies. And though the EU has a gross domestic product exceeding that of the U.S., it remains a fragmented entity of competing national interests (i.e., France, Germany). The EU will never act decisively for the common good simply because there isn’t a common good.

It’s ironic how Obama’s ineptness in Libya exposed NATO for the money sucking, rat’s nest for bureaucrats that it’s become. And just in time for U.S. taxpayers to consider the wisdom of a new billion dollar NATO headquarters in Brussels. Instead of shoehorning new security realities into the old NATO model, let emergence fashion new and improved structures and relationships.

What have you got to lose, except a billion dollars worth of power point, conference rooms in Belgium.


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