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NATO 2.0: Five ways Obama should bring "change" to Alliance

It is time for Obama to bring his change campaign to NATO, writes James Jay Carafano of the Heritage Foundation in Washington Times. Carafano argues Obama should use NATO's 60th anniversary to launch a new vision for the military alliance, which he refers to as NATO 2.0. Specifically NATO needs to take action on five major issues:

1. Identify common threats; 
2. Reaffirm NATO's commitment to an open-door policy that does not give Russia veto-power;
3. Establish a more flexible decision-making process;
4. Clearly identify roles between EU and NATO, with NATO doing military and EU doing more of the constabulary non-military “soft power” missions that it excels at;
5. Develop new burden-sharing rules.

All of these are important issues that should be considered; in fact, most are  already being debated within the Alliance.  However, each of them will also face an uphill battle in the reform process.

Consider proposition five, developing new burden-sharing rules.  Carafano argues that a country should lose voting powers if it fails to match the two-percent defense spending requirement set by NATO.  At this time, only five European countries meet this requirement, three of those with declining defense budgets, according to 2007 numbers released by NATO (pdf).
 
Carafano's plan for a "more flexible decision making process" will mean that a country's influence in the decision making process of an operation should be tied to its contribution.  Specifically, he argues:
Currently, nothing gets done unless everyone agrees. Group decisions should not require unanimity. States should be able to pursue allied missions under the NATO flag even if some members don't participate. Moreover, only those countries that substantially contribute to a mission (with troops and other resources) should be involved in the planning and execution.
Up front this seems a great incentive for countries to be more proactive in the organization, and also means the organization could cut down on bureacratic sloth. It certainly warrants consideration.

However, policy-makers need beware that tying voting rights to operational contributions or defense spending, and any other policy that detracts from an Ally's voting rights threaten a core tenet of NATO: it is an alliance based on consensus.  Once you remove that consensus, smaller states will be walked on, neglected, and ultimately may lose confidence in the Alliance.  The beautiful thing about NATO is exactly that each Ally has a say at the table - even the smallest member has a voice.  Any reform proposal will need to take this into consideration.

NATO's perrenial burden-sharing problem is not likely to get any easier in the coming years, particularly as European Allies face an economic crisis.  Supreme Allied Commander General Craddock made exactly this argument last week, Deutsche Welle reports:
The economic crisis raises the risk that European allies will pull back from Afghanistan at a time when president-elect Barack Obama is expected to reach out to them for help, NATO's supreme commander warned Friday.

At the same time, General Bantz Craddock predicted that US forces will be in Afghanistan for "at least" a decade, and likely have a presence there for decades to come.

[snip]

Craddock said that, although European allies were expecting Obama to ask them to do more, "I think it's going to be harder for them to do it because of decreasing defense budgets."

[snip]

"Absent this financial crisis, still we're challenged. With this financial crisis, we're challenged ever more greatly," he said.
Another issue already making the headlines regularly is NATO's "open-door" policy.  The Alliance was divided in 2008 whether to move forward with membership for Georgia and Ukraine, particularly after the Russia-Georgia war in August. The United States had been in favor of moving Georgia closer toward membership by granting it a Membership Action Plan, but was unable to secure unanimity among the Allies.  Last week the US and Georgia settled for a dyadic Strategic Partnership Pact, Reuters reports:
"This is the stepping stone which will bring Georgia to Euro-Atlantic structures, to membership within NATO, and to return to the family of Western and civilized nations," said Georgian Foreign Minister Grigol Vashadze.

[snip]

Under the charter, Georgia would get U.S. help in modernizing its military through training and equipment, postwar reconstruction assistance, support for financial and economic reforms, and expanded access to the U.S. market for Georgian goods.
It is not hard to imagine that from the Georgian perspective this is great, but short-change compared to the Alliance-wide sanctified MAP that it did not receive.

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Zyme on :

No matter how intensively Obama pursues these 5 points, at least point 4 is doomed to failure. This is because the point is out of his reach. All EU members agreed to the implementation of basic military structures into the EU when signing the Lisbon Treaty. And many of them want to go far beyond that. In the coming decades core EU members will most likely create a parallel structure which may one day threaten Nato's existance.

Pamela on :

"at least point 4 is doomed to failure. This is because the point is out of his reach." THANK YOU!! Sheesh, I was reading this thinking "Oh, so now Obama is supposed to single-handedly revamp NATO?" The other remark on point 4 is about this: "EU doing more of the constabulary non-military “soft power” missions that it excels at". It does? Someone please refresh my memory. And if my memory hasn't completely disintegrated in my dotage, I seem to recall something from the constitution that basically said the EU would consider NATO as the ultimate guarantor of EU security. As for point 5: The can write down all the burden-sharing rules they want - when it hits the fan, the rules might be worth the paper they're written on. As to your point Zyme - "In the coming decades core EU members will most likely create a parallel structure which may one day threaten Nato's existance." If they were at all serious about it, I think we would have seen at least a glimmer of progress by now. I don't see a thing.

Zyme on :

There has been progress on the technical foundation, may I remind you about Europe's satellite systems set up or being set up. But serious progress can only be achieved once the legal foundations are laid. In other words - to implement what we got at hand (think of the Lisbon Treaty as a first step), we first have to make the Irish jump.

Zyme on :

I can only repeat a analogy which may explain the difficulties even to an American far away from here: If you had to form an American Union with all the countries in mid- and south- America and with all their different traits, do you think this would be a matter of weeks?

Pamela on :

Sorry to take so long to get back - real life can be - irritating! I don't give a monkey's butt about Galileo or legal foundations. A military force must have soldiers, equipment, leadership and morale. I see nothing of the kind in most of the EU. The Brits have the soldiers and leadership on the line level, but their gov't has basically sent them on a suicide mission because they aren't properly equipped. Belgium considers the military a jobs program - they unionized back in the 1970s. I think we're all aware of the German performance in Afghanistan. The French? Congo. Basically, the EU talks the talk but in DECADES (not weeks) has never walked the walk. This opinion piece in the Telegraph (the UK) pretty much takes the same attitude. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/telegraph-view/4241149/It-is-time-the-rest-of-the-EU-played-their-part-in-Afghanistan.html --------------- The pusillanimity of some of the bigger EU powers in Afghanistan has been shameful. For years they have resented US dominance of the alliance while at the same time expecting the Americans do the heavy-lifting and take the casualties. A NATO summit in Budapest last spring saw the US calling for greater commitment yet nothing has changed. The French remain under-resourced, the Germans avoid combat zones [ ] But don't expect our leading EU partners to make real sacrifices. Doesn't it make their grandiloquent talk about an EU army sound pathetic? -------------- Yep, sure does. BTW, I'm reading the Lithuanians kick ass in Afghanistan. And a friend in Iraq says the Lithuanian women he's worked with are drop-dead beautiful.

Marie Claude on :

Pamela, what do you mean "the French ? Congo" that I don't know the crimes against the women that are comitted there ?

Pamela on :

"The Swedish military has accused French soldiers of torturing civilians during the EU-led Operation Artemis in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2003, one of the bloc's first joint missions. Five years ago, the European Union sent some 1,500 soldiers to DR Congo as part of a UN mission to take action against the bandits marauding the north-eastern part of the country. The troops were there to protect the civilians. Now the Swedish military is saying that French soldiers tortured Congolese civilians during the operation. http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,2144,3223692,00.html ---------------- Marseille (France), Nov 3 (DPA) New rules of military engagement are necessary for the 17,000 UN peacekeeping troops stationed in the Democratic Republic of Congo, French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said here Monday. “The rules of engagement now are very restrictive,” Kouchner said ahead of an informal meeting of European Union (EU) foreign ministers in this southern of France. “We can not have soldiers there who are not allowed to shoot. I’m not saying we should make war. But we should be able to carry out defensive missions.” http://www.thaindian.com/newsportal/world-news/new-military-engagement-rules-needed-for-congo-kouchner_100114677.html GREAT IDEA!! Send soldiers who aren't allowed to shoot, let alone make war. What the hell are they? Social workers in berets?

Pat Patterson on :

During similar troubles in the Ivory Coast my sister was serving as a teacher with a small American missionary school and health clinic. When the rebels who were fighting both the government and the French made a push into Abidijan most people quite sensibly stayed indoors. During the height of the fighting a platoon of US Marines made their way into the heart of the capital to secure the embassy. Government troops and rebels who had been shooting and hacking each other disappeared from the mistaken idea that the Marines were there to free the city. The odd thing was that the parents and students who had been hiding in the school as well as citizens from all over the city rushed out into the street and began applauding the Marines and asking my sister to beg them to kill the government soldiers, the rebels and the French. She wouldn't ask them that but told the Marines that the city welcomed them and to please shake hands with as many of the people as possible as long as it was safe. I would say that the French were not particularly popular in the capital of Ivory Coast on that day.

Marie Claude on :

uh oh Pat, OK, always the French are well known for their bad behaviour LMAO your sister may have been there, but is she a reliable source for the whole crisis that occured in november 2004 ? http://www.racismeantiblanc.bizland.com/silenceselectif/bid57.htm I'm afraid, the "supposed" Gbagbo's government was hunting the French, but not only, the whites !!!! I had recently the opportunity to explain the french position there on another blog : "The Ivory Coast Air Force attacked rebel concentrations. Since when does anybody count black people at all? That's it, to the bombers, bad luck. 9 French were killed by accident. Soldiers. Not civilians." (ok, a parallel with IDF in Gaza, was supposing to illustrate how the French didn't get the medias reprobation, while Israel is condomned) as far as the frenchs soldiers, right, that not counting the local population that was not pro Laurent Gbagbo, that was massacred by his militias. "The French were angry. So angry that they wiped out the entire Ivory Coat Air Force and took control of the country's airport. And that was only the beginning. When it was the natives turn to get angry, the French were sure to enforce order in a very aggressive way, which included killing 27 protesters The Ivory Coast didn’t announce that its intention is to destroy France. And yet, the reactions of NATO and French were harsh and hard. The Security Council did not call for a cease fire. Au contraire. It was obvious that it’s necessary to get rid of the bad guy in the story. It took a lot of time. In the end he had to bend." (idem, IDF vs Gaza) I stop you on that, what was the army corps there ? the legionnaires, and a legionnaire always operates a retaliation when his "brothers" are maliciousely attacked, cause this wasn't a fair attack, the frenchs soldiers were there to empech that a genocide occured between 2 tribes that wanted to manage the country, and, of course, to empech the massacre of the whites, comprise the foreigners, some Americans were very happy that they were helping them, BTW they were also white and the Gbagbo militias went after any whiteys. So, in that case the military response wasn't ordonned by our government, the legionnaires made it, and they didn't care to offend any government in that case, it was kinda jusstified in an "anarchic" country, whose government was hunting the white population , thas was looted , raped... "The Ivory Coast didn’t announce that its intention is to destroy France." no, but the french population in Abidjan !!! which had to hide and fly away, thus causing the following ruin of the Ivory Coast state budget, as the business owners were white (not only French), they also were the only ones to pay charges and assure employment "And yet, the reactions of NATO and French were harsh and hard." if you had been there you would have been happy to be protected as a white, besides which country wants to send troops in Black Africa ? we are mostly alone with the Brits, the other EU countries don't see (and don't feel) the concern, Americans, hmmm, busy somewhere else ! So Mr Bush was happy that the Frenchs were doing a "boring" job. "The Security Council did not call for a cease fire. Au contraire. It was obvious that it’s necessary to get rid of the bad guy in the story. It took a lot of time. In the end he had to bend". yeah, the bad guy is also an averred socialist (that you abhorre for good raisons, socialists = fashists, LMAO), OK pro-America, don't get confused, pro american money !!! as the casualties number goes, for november 2004 : le total est de 2 226 blessés dont 291 par balles (soit 13%) 10% des blessés l'ont été par armes de guerre, balles ou éclats d'obus (il est donc difficile d'imputer plus de 1% des blessés à l'armée française) l'hôpital de Cocody, voisin de l'hôtel Ivoire, a accueilli 954 blessés dont 71 par balles (soit 7,5%) le CHU de Treichville, situé près des ponts d'Abidjan, a accueilli 350 blessés dont 25 par balles ou éclats d'obus (7%) l'hôpital de Port-Bouët, proche de l'aéroport où a eu lieu la bataille opposant l'armée française aux FANCI, 350 blessés ont été accueillis dont 167 par armes de guerre (48%). Au total, plus de 90% des blessés l'ont été par l'effet de la manifestation (piétinement, chevrotine, blessures aux armes blanches) ; le ministère de la Santé n’a pas donné de chiffres concernant les morts. Les bilans dans les autres villes sont : 9 morts et 29 blessés dont 21 par balles à Duékoué où des manifestants et des militaires ivoiriens ont tenté de bloquer l'avance d'une colonne de blindés français 7 tués et 55 blessés (4 par balles) à Gagnoa 1 mort et 91 blessés (1 par balle) à Abobo (l'armée française n'y était pas présente) 7 morts et 297 blessés (19 par balles) à Yopougon, un quartier populaire d'Abidjan traversée par l'armée française (entrée Nord d'Abidjan) pour se rendre au Sud.

Pat Patterson on :

No, actually I still have her letter from Jan of the next year. The French, et al., were unpopular because neither side seemed interested in stopping the fighting but on merely grabbing as much as possible before a truce was declared. The French just months before were also seen favorably until they took the government's side instead of acting as peacekeepers as promised.

Marie Claude on :

ok, cuz of the Marcoussis treaty, that Gbagbo, apparently, didn't want to honnor anymore, though that he signed are you or you sister denying the facts that the French and or the whites were not "hunted" ?

Marie Claude on :

BUT their mission was not to influence the political choices there

Marie Claude on :

oh, well, I was wondering what the French did well bad there, that our american friend wouldn't make(cuz, they just watch and do nuthin) humm the Swedish military discovered the African reality, too bad !!!! the Congo is well know to respect the human right at the moment, read that in the american papers , the women are complaning of multi abuses, rapes, tortures from their compatriots, OK not of the same tribe !!!! "Les militaires européens se sont retrouvés plongés dans un univers d'une extrême violence, avec des tueries, des scènes de cruauté et des actes d'anthropophagie. [J'ai personnellement vu des photos qu'aucun journal respectable n'oserait publier]. La violence nourrit la violence, mais ne pas (trop) y succomber est justement ce qui distingue une armée d'une bande armée. Au Rwanda, en 1994, des soldats du 3ème RIMa, choqués par le spectacle des massacres, avaient maltraité un homme, présumé comme étant l'un des bourreaux. Leur officier avait aussitôt mis fin à ces mauvais traitements." http://secretdefense.blogs.liberation.fr/defense/2008/04/des-forces-spci.html read the comments there too, edifying !!!! War isn't "clean", sometimes you may have to conduct some "rules" that are not in the human right constitution, while it may save a lot more people, Africa isn't Laponie, I am afraid !!!!

Pamela on :

"War isn't "clean", sometimes you may have to conduct some "rules" that are not in the human right constitution, while it may save a lot more people" Careful, Marie Claude - someone may mistake you for - GASP! - an American. Actually, my greater disgust is with the misuse - abuse, really - of French soldiers who are put in a lethal environment and not allowed to be actual soldiers. That's no different than the no-equipment suicide mission the British gov't is sending their soldiers on.

Zyme on :

[Totally offtopic: Pamela I think the following might interest you - watch the video without reading the text above it and then make a guess where this scene has happened just a few days ago ;) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eb7HwukSXKw Hint: The guy behind the window is a policeman ]

Kevin Sampson on :

Kristalltag

Pamela on :

Morning Zyme, Yes, I saw it some days ago. If you are expecting some glib remark about antisemitism among Germans, I'm afraid I must disappoint you. The police had a responsibility to keep people safe. While I applaud the couple's courage for publicly supporting Israel in the face of a rabid mob, they were jeopardizing not only their own safety but that of others in the apartment building. It's unfortunate, but when the police say, "Look, we're not certain we can protect you in these circumstances", you probably should give them the benefit of the doubt. BTW, I've read similar reports about anti-Israel protests here in the U.S. A few Israeli supporters come out and the cops just tell them the danger for them is too great. (I'll comment on your military remarks later. If I try to do so now, it would be caught in Joerg's spam filter).

Joe Noory on :

If this has mattered so much to the European members of NATO, why haven't they pursued any of these points in the past in any meaningful way? Why on earth do they need the US to define the relationship between the EU and NATO? Or don't Europeans think their own soverignty and need to be decisive matters? It is THEIR security and stability that is the core mission of NATO. The passivity of their leaders is chilling, when you concider that this might be the nth year and the nth time this question has been raised to no avail and accompanied by virtually no action. I've mentioned it in the past: the US might be forced to alter that relationship for them if Europe plans on talking their lives away by unilaterally changing the party with who they are willing to communicate and talking to some designated EU entity and abandoning the communication channels to the NATO member states that are also in the EU.

Marie Claude on :

fortunately, Joe your not in charge of the policy, cuz some good ol guis would have to regret their Nato comrades, the tigers http://wiki.france5.fr/index.php/TIGRES_EN_PLEIN_CIEL

Marie Claude on :

http://www.dailymotion.com/relevance/search/%2522tigers%2522%2Bfrance%2B5/video/x80x3y_7x9-tigres-en-plein-ciel_sport check the 9 videos of "the tigers of the sky" especially that one with the german guy :lol:

Joe Noory on :

What does the French aerobatic team have to do with the way NATO is structured? Your national sentimentalism might be important to you, but it's unrelated to the issue. However it might be indicitive of some deeply irrational self-absorbed attention seeking behaviour.

Marie Claude on :

simple the whole Nato nations are training together and sharing their competences but I understood that you don't like that !!!!

Joe Noory on :

Because I want NATO to actually function? I realize that they work together. I was once intimately familiar with that "working together" routine.

Marie Claude on :

were you a tiger ?

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