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How to Keep NATO Relevant?

General John Craddock, the Supreme Allied Commander Europe for NATO, got pretty outspoken about internal and external challenges in Afghanistan and elsewhere. Speaking at the Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies (RUSI) on October 20, 2008, General Craddock even raised the issue of NATO's relevancy:

A brief look at the will of our alliance in the mission in Afghanistan demonstrates some real shortcomings. In view of the more than 70 national operational restrictions, or 'caveats', and our continual inability to fill our agreed-upon statement of requirements in theatre, we are demonstrating a political will that is somewhat wavering. And it is this wavering political will that impedes operational progress and brings into question the relevancy of the Alliance here in the 21st century.´

Craddock made some good, but hardly surprising suggestions about funding and speeding up the decision-making processes. You can start the debate over at Atlantic Community: How to Keep NATO Relevant?

Atlantic Community is now addressing Afghanistan as a focus topic and also features an article by Morgan Sheeran, veteran of the US Armed Forces with 26 years of service including a tour in Afghanistan: Afghan Surge: More Police Trainers Essential. The first comment below that article is from Florian Broschk, who has been serving four tours with ISAF in Afghanistan. He also taught Dari (the second most popular language in Afghanistan) to Bundeswehr soldiers.


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It might be sorta off-topic but from time to time it should be remembered that Europe is developing its own security and defense politics within, meanwhile, less than 2 years. In 2010 Europe's forces should be ready to interact with NATO on any level, but actually it is already Africa that is clearly on our radar screen. When German MoD Jung insists the Bundeswehr is not at war in Afghanistan, then because his mind is already where Mohammed Ali fought his biggest fight... Errh...maybe you folks better keep talking about NATO and don't raise naive questions about France's junior partner's politics. :-D

Marie Claude on :

micro, uh, I don't quite catch your subtility, might be your universal sense of humor, Im also too naive... so !!! Well if you want some good reports on Afghanistan, Michael Yon has a clue

Zyme on :

The Georgia-crisis has given me the following idea why Nato membership might still be relevant for Germany. While the USA wanted Georgia to have a perspective for joining, Germany and other members torpedoed this plan due to differing interests. Without membership in Nato, the USA would be free to re-invent Nato into an effective alliance suiting American interests. Only as long as we remain a member, we can foil this strategy.

Kevin Sampson on :

It speaks volumes that you feel the need to 'foil this strategy'.

Don S on :

I fear Kelvin is spot-on with this. There are times when I strongly suspect that Germany views NATO not as an living alliance in which to be an actual participant, but as merely a lever to use to control the US.

joe on :

The question becomes why keep NATO. It seems by its demostrated actions it severs little or no purpuse except to employ a lot of military officers who would have nothing to do in their own nations. The real shocker which has not been addressed or I missed it is that Joreg who loved to talk about the German Special Ops forces committed to Afghanistan have done nothing since their deployment. Joreg now joins the rest of M$M .... sad actually but again not a bit surprising.

Joerg - Atlantic Review on :

"Joreg who loved to talk about the German Special Ops forces committed to Afghanistan" When did I do that?

joe on :

Actually quite a bit......

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