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Rupert Murdoch: Alliance Based on Shared Values, not Geography

Rupert Murdoch, chairman and CEO of News Corp., wrote about Alliance enlargement in his own newspaper this week, the Wall Street Journal.  Mr. Murdoch argues that a proactive Alliance—one willing to take on new members who share and are willing to fight for Western values—is necessary to address the various threats faced by the West today.

According to Murdoch however, many Allies have not carried their own weight in NATO’s Afghanistan mission.  To little surprise, Europe has been identified as the source of weakness in the Alliance:
We must face up to a painful truth: Europe no longer has either the political will or social culture to support military engagements in defense of itself and its allies. However strong NATO may be on paper, this fact makes NATO weak in practice. It also means that reform will not come from within.

In other words, a strong and successful Atlantic alliance will have to ground itself more on shared principles rather than accident of geography. And we need to show we are serious about defending those principles by standing with those who are standing up for them.
To date, NATO has been active and fairly flexible in its recruitment of new member-states.  At the NATO Bucharest Summit earlier this month, the Allies granted membership to Albania and Croatia, and promised future membership to Georgia and Ukraine (although some, including Germany, have wavered largely due to protests from Russia). NATO also places heavy emphasis on developing various partnership programs, such as the Partnership for Peace and the Euro-Atlantic Partnership.

However, Mr. Murdoch wants more: full members completely outside the West—at least outside the geographical West.  He specifically cites Australia, Japan and Israel as a few of many potential Allies.  In his own words:
As a rule, when an organization expands, the expansion dilutes its principles. For today's NATO, it is just the opposite. Around the world, there is no shortage of nations who share our values, and are willing to defend them.
Many have speculated (including extensively on Atlantic Review), that NATO is doomed if it fails in Afghanistan—or that NATO is doomed, period.  The concern is that the end of the Cold War has made NATO an anachronism.

However, there are reasons to believe NATO will not simply disappear altogether:
•    NATO is an organization with an extensive history, and such organizations tend to find new purpose, rather than vanish.

•    Current members on both side of the Atlantic continue to find value in the Alliance, regardless of the Afghanistan outcome. 

•    Non-member hopefuls continue to undergo extensive military and political reform to qualify for admittance, demonstrating a fresh interest in the organization.
Should the status-quo Alliance become untenable, Murdoch’s article suggests an alternative worth considering: rather than vanishing altogether, perhaps NATO will morph into a new organization based on shared values, untethered by geographical coincidence.  The Alliance has already begun to take on missions beyond Europe; perhaps the next step is taking on partners outside of Europe and North America as well. Should NATO become a more global Alliance in a more globalized world? 

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David on :

This is a sad example of how Murdoch is determined to destroy a once-great newspaper. Does anyone seriously believe it would be a good idea to replace France and Germany in NATO with Colombia - a country where union organizers are routinely murdered, and the government controls paramilitary death squads? My guess is that Murdoch has hie eye on media assets in Bogota.

Pat Patterson on :

No, actually no one believes that Columbia will take the place of any European nation in NATO for the simple reason that Mr. Mudoch made no such plea. However what he did ask was that the trade deal with Columbia be approved arguing that act would bolster Columbia's economic and political institutions. Which seems fairly reasonable considering how often Rep. McDermott and the former Rep. McKinney introduced measures demanding that the US normalize relations with Cuba. But then independent trade union officials haven't been executed in Cuba simply because there is no independent trade union movement. So when they are executed they are called traitors or spies. As to destroying a "...once great newspaper," time will tell, even though the NYT managed to destroy its credibility and corporate value without any help from Murdoch. I generally agree with the intent of Murdoch's argument except I am more than a little uncomfortable in his diminishing the role geography plays. Japan may indeed be an ideal candidate but the protection of the sea lanes through the Straits of Formosa and the inner routes around Indonesia will limit Japan's ability to act in the sort or world wide NATO that Murdoch and some others see. It will need to address the limits of defense budgets and geography to then successfully deal with the terrorists.

Joe Noory on :

David: The rate of violent deat is far higher in the worker's paradise of [url=http://no-pasaran.blogspot.com/2008/01/is-it-safer-to-walk-around-in-baghdad.html]Venezuela[/url] that it is in Columbia. Moreover, it's a far wiser and more equitable society. In spite of what forced redistribution has done to any nation that flirted with marxism, it astonishes me that people are yet still foolish enough to encourage it because it's disepowering and impirically is known to create poverty and diseffection. Maybe these people promoting that red relic of civilization are getting fixated on teh fact that one can KNOW what unpleasantness happens in a free and positive society in a way one could have never known it in the DDR except by trying to believe the eracity of the whispers one could hear. Personally, I don't know what's so precious about NATO membership that can't be modified. To boot, it will have to. After it's done backing up the EU's stability in their present phase of construction which might lead to nationhood, (if the project isn't permanently put on hold), the population might not want the EU to be part of NATO - or perhaps not in the way member states are now. It make take an adjuct status that France did in the middle of the night once. Either way, it isn't an organization whose composition is driven by natural soverignty so much as member-states world view, objectives, add merit. For example: if Zimbabwe was a member, do you think the alliance wouldn't terminate their treaty? As for the Europen members, it isn't simply a case of the very specialness of being European that would keep them in good stead with the rest of the members, especially those that aren't European. It is a treaty organization for a common defense, not a royal marriage.

John in Michigan, USA on :

Murdoch's editorial covers several different issues. As far as I can see, his issues have nothing more in common other than they are all current issues that he wants to sound off about. David, it seems clear to me you simply read the editorial too quickly and jumped to a conclusion. Put another way, you responded only to what you thought was the sub-text, without actually bothering with the text -- something we all do at times. Why not admit publicly to the simple mistake of assuming that that Murdock called for replacing France or Germany with Columbia in NATO? Really, it's the human thing to do. -------- Expanding NATO by adding member states that actually care about defense is a good idea. Emerging (or for those with a sense of history, re-emerging) states like Ukraine and Georgia correctly understand that there are real threats in the world. So in theory, they are good candidates. However, adding them to NATO, or even promising to add them to NATO (via MAP) is premature at this moment. These countries have the potential for a low-intensity border conflict that has flared up in the recent past and could easily flare up in the near future. So we in NATO have to ask ourselves: does it strengthen the alliance to add countries that may well draw the alliance into a conflict in the near future? If we are to maintain the principle that an attack on one NATO country is an attack on all of them, it is illogical to add members who may in fact be attacked in the very near future, unless of course we are prepared to actually fight their attackers today. I would ask my fellow Americans and others who support the additional members: It may not come to that, but if it does, is NATO really prepared to do that? Really? I am not proposing we abandon the Ukraine or Georgia, they've suffered enough at the hands of the Russians. It seems to me an [i]ad-hoc alliance of former Iron Curtain countries[/i], plus any other European countries that care to join, is a much better way to keep the Russians deterred until the situation becomes more stable. When the chance of a war in Ukraine or Georgia becomes as low as the chance of a war in say Poland or Bulgaria, then we should add them into NATO. -------- Murdock is also correct about the Columbia free trade deal. Does anyone really think that tiny Columbia is a threat to the US work-force? Besides, Venezuela used to have a strong labor union of oil field professionals and laborers who understood that a profitable, financially sound domestic oil industry was critical to lifting Venezuela out of poverty and avoiding the "oil curse". When Chavez stole the election the first time, and threatened to raid the oil ministry to finance his fantasy economics, they went on strike along with other labor unions. Chavez used the armed forces to bust the unions wide open. Oil rigs that had been safely and cleanly shut down by the strikers, were restarted by enthusiastic but unskilled soldiers who created a massive environmental disaster on the surface, did permanent damage to the oil-bearing strata, and ruined valuable drilling and extraction equipment. In spite of record oil prices, Venezuela still hasn't recovered the lost capacity, and so the country is only seeing a fraction of the windfall it would have otherwise seen. Meanwhile, the damage done to Venezuela's once-growing financial reputation will only become apparent when Chavez dies or leaves office and an honest audit can be performed. Columbia hasn't always treated its independent unions correctly, but they are treated far, better than those of Venezuela. We should support that.

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