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Charles Kupchan about "The Next Era in Transatlantic Relations"

Charles A. Kupchan, Director of Europe Studies at the Council of Foreign Relations writes in the National Interest (Sept./Oct. 2006) about the new era in transatlantic relations after 9/11. Full article available for free at the Council of Foreign Relations. First paragraph:
The Atlantic order is in the midst of a fundamental transition. The transatlantic discord that has emerged since the late 1990s marks a historical breakpoint, not a temporary aberration. The foundational principles of the Atlantic security order that emerged after World War II have been compromised. American and European interests have diverged, institutionalized cooperation can no longer be taken for granted, and a shared Western identity has attenuated. We are at the dawn of a new era in the Atlantic relationship. Rather than trying to recreate the past, the Atlantic democracies should move forward by acknowledging that the tight-knit alliance of the Cold War years is gone for good. Instead, they should accept that the character of the Atlantic order is undergoing a profound transformation, seek to understand the attributes of the emerging order, and figure out how to make the most of its cooperative potential.

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David on :

I read Kupchan's essay and agree with much of what he says, but I prefer to think of the current transatlantic discord as a historical aberration. A Democratically-controlled Congress (and eventually, White House) will have much more commonality with EU ideals and norms - esp. with respect to basic human rights.

Zyme on :

Excellent article I fully agree with regarding our current situation and the reasons for this development. But I disagree with the author´s opinion regarding the future. It is quite naive to assume that the loss of a strategic friendship can only lead to a neutral coexistence with pragmatic cooperations. How many times have world powers remained neutral to each other in human history, after they realized the uselessness of their alliance? What happened usually instead?

Don S on :

Zyme, I think I har what you are implying and can't completely disagree But the battle may well have already been joined and the battlefield determined. Turtle Bay, Manhattan. Better known as UN headquarters. When postulating some kind of great-power war I think a fundamental question always needs to be asked and answered: what interests will the powers fight over and where will be the battlefield? Let's apply that dialectic to a potential war bwtween the US and China? What will they fight over? Well, Japan, possibly South Korea, Taiwan. Fair enough. OK, where will they fight? On the Chinese mainland? Unlikely as the advantage would lie heavily with the Chinese army. In the Pacific Ocean? Unlikely as the advantage would rest even more decisively with the US air force and navy. It would be a turkey shoot. A possible invasion of South Korea or Japan? It's difficult to see that happening. The 'Finlandisation' of South Korea is well-advanced and I expect the shift to be finalised within 20 years. Japan would be an exceedingly hard nut for the Chinese to crack. The major flash points for China are the Siberian border with Russia and in Central Asia - and potentially the Himalayas with India (or possibly Pakistan and Kashmir with Pakistan as a Chinese client. In neither place is a main role for the US military particularly a strategically sound move. One could apply similar logic to the breakup of the Atlantic Alliance - where would they physically fight? I don't count diplomatic daggers in the back such have already been repeatedly delivered from EU-land as actual fighting. Somewhere on the European periphery I assume. But where? In the French colonial empire? Hard to see the US caring that much about Chad or Equatorial Guinea. Turkey? Over what? Russia? Is the EU going to invade Russia? I've got it! Canada! After 250 years of more or less benign coo-existance with Canada the US goes postal (slang for crazy) and decides it must have Canada! Riiiigggghhhtttt. Not ferkin' likely! So I challenge you, Zyme. Show me a plausible flashpoint and a plausible battlefield and I might concede your point.

Zyme on :

As such a warfare would take place far in the future, it is hard to say where it would happen. My guess is: The battlefield will be in the orbit and beyond. Seriously, have you noticed the american nervousness when the european satellite navigation system (Galileo) was planned, that will be far superior to GPS? (which is of course not surprising, as GPS was started in the 1970s) Do you think it is a sign of confidence to the americans that the german army is launching its own espionage satellites? When two highly technological continents go to war, they can hurt each other a lot more by disabling the opponent´s satellites than by bombing some isles in the atlantic ocean. When the US published the plans of a permanent settlement on the moon, european politicians were quick to announce that "we may not leave the moon to the americans". The same applies to mars missions. Who knows what precious minerals await us there? While speaking of oceans: Since all industrial nations are very dependent on sea trade routes, I consider the development of german stealth submarines a wise decision. They would be useless when fighting a third world country. But it is a valuable addition for dealing with sea powers. [sorry for the late response, due to the threaded system here, I´ve just come across your comment]

ADMIN on :

The threaded system has advantages and disadvantages. At the top of the comments section you have the option to change the view from threaded to linear (=chronological), which enables you to see the latest comments at the end of the thread. Moreover, you could also subscribe to RSS feed for all comments: [url]http://atlanticreview.org/pages/rss-feeds.html[/url] Or subscribe via email...

Don S on :

"That NATO became only tangentially involved in a crisis of the magnitude faced by the United States in Iraq speaks volumes about the erosion that has taken place in Atlantic solidarity." Kupchan has a staggering grasp of the absolutely obvious. "In short, by denying the war a UN blessing, France and Germany arguably imposed considerable costs on the United States in terms of both resources and lives." No shit, Sherlock (er Charles). "This record makes clear that Europe and America no longer share the commonality of interest that they enjoyed during the Cold War. Instead, their interests have returned to being separate." Yup. This is a tectonic shift in the course of world politics. Kupchan seems to grasp that much. 'Business as usual' as occurred a few years ago over the Kosovo War where the US intervened decisively even though the US didn't have any great interests in the Balkans occurred under the rubric of NATO - because the European members of NATO DID have a large interest. That interest was not returned in the case of the Iraq War - or even in Afghanistan, really. A repeat of a major US intervention in the interests of Europe is now quite literally unthinkable - only 7 years after Kosovo. I think future historians will devote at least as much attention to the disasterous foreign policy of Jaques Chriac, Gerhard Schroeder, and Joshka Fischer as to that of George Bush in this era.

JW-Atlantic Review on :

"That NATO became only tangentially involved in a crisis of the magnitude faced by the United States in Iraq speaks volumes about the erosion that has taken place in Atlantic solidarity." What erosion? Apparently Kupchan believes that NATO got involved in the Vietnam war. We stayed out of that adventure. And we stayed out of the Iraq adventure. So... What has changed? What erosion? Britain, Italy and Spain have sent some troops to Iraq. Did these countries send any troops to Vietnam? If Wikipedia is correct, then they did not. Only Canada and Australia have send troops to Vietnam, but they are not European. Don, you bring up the Kosovo war very often. And you argue that the US fought this war, because "the European members of NATO DID have a large interest." You are suggesting that the US did not want to fight this war, but did so because the Europeans begged the US to do so. I don't think that is true. You can also argue that the US does not have an interest in democracy in Iraq. The European interest is much bigger. Yet the US invaded Iraq. The Kosovo conflict was the first test for Schroeder and Fischer. A few weeks after they got elected in 1998, they had to decide whether they would support a NATO ultimatum against Yugoslavia, incl. the threat of air strikes. In the German press, this was seen as test for the new government's loyalty to NATO, especially the US. Germany (and other European countries, I believe) were not pushing very hard for the Kosovo war. European countries were not begging the reluctant United States to support this war. The United Stated did not need to be convinced. Don, blame President Clinton and Secretary Albright, if you are against the Kosovo War. They believed that the war was in the US interest. Just like Bush and co believed that invading Iraq was in the US interest. Since you very often argue that the US was helping Europe in the Kosovo war, please, give me some quotes of Europeans begging the United States to get involved. I think the United States was at least as much a driving force in pushing NATO for this war as the European countries were. Besides, European countries were fighting in this war. Germany participated with Tornado bombers, drones, and a frigate in the Mediterranean. According to Wikipedia: "Military casualties on the NATO side were light — according to official reports the alliance suffered no fatalities as a result of combat operations. However, in the early hours of May 5th, an American military AH-64 Apache helicopter crashed not far from the border between Kosovo and Albania." The two American pilots died. [url]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kosovo_war#Military_casualties_and_losses[/url] When I brought up non-combat casualties in Afghanistan in the past, then someone here in the commments wrote that this does not count. There has been a large number of casualties in Iraq. And compared to zero combat casualties in Kosovo, there is a large number of combat casualties in Afghanistan as well. There are additional non-combat casualties. I think, 20 Bundeswehr soldiers were killed in Afghanistan, about half of them in combat. Sure, other NATO countries suffered much higher numbers of casualties. However, since you bring up the Kosovo war so often, why not compare the German casualties in Afghanistan with the US casualties in Kosovo and Bosnia etc. Again, please explain what indicates that the US got involved in the Kosovo war by the request of Europeans. "That interest was not returned in the case of the Iraq War - or even in Afghanistan, really." Why not Afghanistan? What has the United States done in Kosovo, what Europeans are not doing in Afghanistan? When you argue that the Kosovo war was more in the European rather than US interest due to geographical proximity, then you could also argue that the US fought the Iraq war on behalf of the Europeans because Europe would benefit much more from a stable and democratic and pro-Western Iraq than the United States. Yet, most Europeans were against the Iraq war. "I think future historians will devote at least as much attention to the disasterous foreign policy of Jaques Chriac, Gerhard Schroeder, and Joshka Fischer as to that of George Bush in this era." Why do you think that Schroeder and Fischer have done as much harm as Bush has done? What was disasterous of Schroeder's and Fischer's foreign policy?

JW-Atlantic Review on :

Don, I think bringing up the Bosnia war would serve your argument better than the bringing up the Kosovo war. When the war in Slovenia started (which then led to the Croatian and Bosnian wars), Jacques Poos was the foreign minister of Luxembourg, which held the Presidency of the Council of the European Union in 1991. He declared, "The hour of Europe has dawned." And we all know (now) that the EU was not ready in the early 90s.

Don S on :

Joerg, NATO did not get involved in Vietnam, 'tis true? Take one glance at the strategic situation circa 1963 and it is completely obvious. A little thing called the Red Army sitting on the borders of West Germany. The Bundeswehr was needed at home to defend against a Russina invasion. In what respect does the strategic situation in 2003 resemble that of 40 years ago? Not at all. The Bundeswehr could have come to Iraq - but Germany chose not to sent it. Situation #1 did not change the effective terms of the alliance. Situation #2 did.

JW-Atlantic Review on :

So your point is that Germany did not have the capacity to help the US in Vietnam. Same situation now in regard to Iraq. I just took issue with Kupchan's statement "That NATO became only tangentially involved in a crisis of the magnitude faced by the United States in Iraq speaks volumes about the erosion that has taken place in Atlantic solidarity." The US crisis in Vietnam was of greater magnitude than the one in Iraq now. Speaking of "erosion" of solidarity does not make sense to me. NATO's purpose was and is neither to fight communists in Vietnam nor to bring democracy to Iraq. Lord Ismay is often quoted, when the purpose of NATO is discussed, although nobody has yet found an original source of that quote. The supposed quote goes something like this: NATO's purpose is to keep the Russians out of Western Europe, the Americans in Europe and the Germans down. Those might have been some of the reasons why the Clinton admin wanted NATO to fight in Bosnia and Kosovo: a) Keeping the US in Europe; they were about concerned about European defence cooperation. b) Russia supported Serbia... And c) German Foreign Minister Genscher's early recognition of Croatia might have raised more than a few eyebrows in Washington... Okay, yes, a lot has changed. Keeping Germany down is not on the agenda anymore. Anyway, what are your thoughts on my previous Kosovo comment?

Don S on :

"NATO's purpose was and is neither to fight communists in Vietnam nor to bring democracy to Iraq." Nor was NATO's purpose to have anything at all to do with a civil war in the Balkans - certainly not a war not fomented by the USSR. It was to Germany's convenience that the terms of NATO were made more flexible. Also to Germany's convenience that they were again tightened in 2003 when the continental members of NATO refused to come or to give any political support whatsoever to the US government. Quite the opposite in fact; Germany, France, and a few others were by far the biggest obstacle. So be it. You have set the 'new' terms of the 'alliance'. Live with them - they will not be loosened absent a public repudiation by the French and German governments of the policies followed by the Chirac and Schoeder governments between 2001 and the present. I can visualize a future conversation between one 'AM' and one 'HRC' concerning a crisis in Romania circa 2011: AM: H, we have to talk about the crisis in R. We need NATO to do... HRC: A, permit me to ask - have the Red Army crossed the Elbe yet? AM: Well, no. It's the situation in R.... HRC: Sorry, not covered by the NATO treaty, as determined by the 2003 precedent. Anything else?

JW-Atlantic Review on :

> Nor was NATO's purpose to have anything at all to do with a > civil war in the Balkans Why not? The Balkans are in Europe. NATO is for Europe. Russia supported Serbia. NATO was meant to keep Russia out of Europe. That's why NATO is expanding to the East. > So be it. You have set the 'new' terms of the 'alliance'. What new terms? Nothing changed. As I said, NATO did not get involved with Vietnam. Why should NATO get involved with Iraq? The United States now wants to change the terms of NATO. Nobody else does. > Live with them - they will not be loosened absent a public > repudiation by the French and German governments of the > policies followed by the Chirac and Schoeder governments > between 2001 and the present. You keep saying that. The US always acts primarily in her interest. Not in other people's interest. If there is a war in Europe, the US will join it, if it is in her interest. Otherwise the US won't. It has always been like that and it will always be like that. It does not matter how betrayed and angry Don is. As I wrote before, the Europeans did not beg the US to fight in Kosovo. If you disapprove of Clinton's decision to go to war over Kosovo, then blame him rather than the Europeans. > I can visualize a future conversation between one 'AM' and > one 'HRC' concerning a crisis in Romania circa 2011: Can you also visualize the conversation between the US president and the Romanian president or prime minister, who reminds the US that he has said "Yes and Amen" to every US policy since Romania got independence. He will also remind the US people of how many Romanian soldiers were sent to Iraq. Fuchur has raised this point repeatedly with you. Why do you want to punish New Europe for the alleged wrongdoings of Old Europe? Why punish Romania for what Germany has done? I am sure Romanians read various blogs and they raise their eyebrows, when they come across statements like yours. Romanians will stop supporting US policies if they read comments like yours. You just don't care about Romania. You don't care that they supported the Iraq war. You will not remember it, if Romania will have a crisis. You will only support a US involvement, when it is in your interest. Americans are not so altruistic that they fight wars ONLY to help others. The primary objective has always to be the advancement of US interests. And that is fine. It is normal. That is sovereignty. Likewise, other countries fight a war, when it is in their interest. So, please, get over your frustration with the Kosovo war. Or at least direct your anger to Clinton rather than to the Europeans.

JW-Atlantic Review on :

@ Don "That interest was not returned in the case of the Iraq War - or even in Afghanistan, really." Why not Afghanistan? What has the United States done in Kosovo, what Europeans are not doing in Afghanistan? "I think future historians will devote at least as much attention to the disasterous foreign policy of Jaques Chriac, Gerhard Schroeder, and Joshka Fischer as to that of George Bush in this era." Why do you think that Schroeder and Fischer have done as much harm as Bush has done? What was disasterous of Schroeder's and Fischer's foreign policy?

Don S on :

David, I think you are wrong about it being an aberration. If you watch Europeans actions rather than their words one can see the roots of the current problem extending back into the Clinton Administration. The cracks were beginning to show but were papered over with words until 2001 when things became more open. Had 'President' Gore gone into Iraq or Iran the same thing would have happened as did with Bush.

Zyme on :

"NATO's purpose is to keep the Russians out of Western Europe, the Americans in Europe and the Germans down." This statement describes a good part of the emotions that accompany our enhancing partnership with russia - getting rid of Nato means getting rid of a shameful era. After our total defeat in the last war, Nato was spun like a huge web around our country. Each silk we cut gives us our sovereignty back.

JW-Atlantic Review on :

What was shameful about having NATO protect the West against the Soviets? Your understanding of sovereignty is too old fashioned. The world is very complex and interconnected in the 21st century. Sovereignty of nation states like in the 19th century does not advance any countries interest anymore.

Zyme on :

"What was shameful about having NATO protect the West against the Soviets?" When Europe was in need of nations from another continent to protect itself from a next door neighbour, this was the evidence of incapacity. This was only possible after two total inner wars, quite an unfortunate constellation. America, Britain and Russia were what is called "lachende Dritte". Each side vassalized one half of central Europe and used them against each other. Don´t you get it? After having fought against half of the world for two times, we suddenly needed help from others to stay alive. What could be even more shameful? If someone had been able to tell the Austrian Emperor what was going to happen, he probably would rather have committed suicide in 1914 than starting to invade Serbia! Back to present: The less we rely on other powers the better. By arming up our capacities, our possibilities will increase again. This (no matter in which century) is what makes a country sovereign: A certain number of options. Options we did not have as long as we were dependent on Nato and unable to make our own decisions.

JW-Atlantic Review on :

"Don´t you get it? After having fought against half of the world for two times, we suddenly needed help from others to stay alive. What could be even more shameful?" I think most Germans consider it shameful, an utter disgrace and the worst crime to start two world wars. I think you are in a very small minority, which considers NATO membership shameful. Well, some leftists consider it shameful, since they blame NATO for imperialism and all evil in the world. "Back to present: The less we rely on other powers the better. By arming up our capacities, our possibilities will increase again. This (no matter in which century) is what makes a country" The world does not work this way. Every military expert (generals and civilian professors of war and strategic studies) knows that. Please let me know of one expert, who supports your viewpoint. One link to a book or paper by an expert (not an armchair strategists or someone enthusiast of the boardgame "Risk").

Zyme on :

"to start two world wars" Didn´t you claim that austrians are no germans? If you are consequent, then we only started the second world war, right? "The world does not work this way. Every military expert (generals and civilian professors of war and strategic studies) knows that. Please let me know of one expert, who supports your viewpoint." Do you always rely on others when it comes to complicated matters? Why don´t you tell me what makes a country even more sovereign than a certain number of options according to your mind? You know, convincing others works best by providing arguments. "I think you are in a very small minority, which considers NATO membership shameful." Rather than the membership itself, I consider our position in the alliance shameful.

JW-Atlantic Review on :

"You know, convincing others works best by providing arguments." I agree. Since you started it, why don't you provide some arguments for your thesis that it would be best to cut all ties to our allies?

Zyme on :

"Since you started it, why don't you provide some arguments for your thesis that it would be best to cut all ties to our allies?" There is no need to exagerate. I am argueing against Nato - but not against its members. So by creating european battle groups instead of Nato response forces, we do only cut ties to some of our current allies. The ties with countries that have an interest in a growing importance of germany shall be increased, while the ties to those that want to weaken us (=keep us down) are reduced. Is this so surprising? You probably noticed the rising risks of the american economy and its currency over the last years. We cannot rely on a country that relies mostly on its economy while its basis is fragile. Even as long as the american economy works they do not fit to be a good partner: While their self-confidence is almost overflowing, they are willing to fight our industries in trade wars any time. Compare this to the friendly offers of Russia: They have realized that both of our countries can win most by working together closely. Even if their economy suffered from a xenophobic government in the long run, they remain dependent on the funds for their ressources. Our companies are preferred technological partners. We do not have to fight for a share of their market like in the USA, the doors are already open!

Zyme on :

Was ist das denn für ein Kommentar - Ausdruck von gekränktem Stolz, hoher nervlicher Belastung, Resignation oder Gleichgültigkeit?

JW-Atlantic Review on :

Wieso "gekränktem Stolz"? I just apologized for having put words in your mouth. Contrary to what I wrote, you did not claim that all ties to allies should be cut. Regarding your other points: Maybe someone else wants to debate them. I lack the time. Yes, in a sense it is resignation. Feel free to elaborate your ideas. Perhaps they will become more convincing then. Right now, I do not consider them convincing. Any idea, which spy master will take over after Putin's term in office ends?

Don S on :

Indulging in a little 'truthiness' yourself. Joerg? European pressure for the US to resolve the Kosovo situation apparently never happened. Or it did happen but Europe did not want to to come to war. Somehow President Clinton was supposed to parachute into Belgrade and persuade Milosevich and the other war criminals to cease and desist by the magic of his personality? One war criminal to another, I suppose. Riiiiight. Sorry, I don't have time to argue this - ever. ou just sit there inside that little bubble of unreality and reflect on the profound righteousness of all that is the German and French worldview. Do not under any circumstances entertain the possibility that many in the US do in fact see things rather differently; and not merely pissed-off Republicans who now hold a very large minority position in the US congress - but fairly exasperated Democrat 'realists' like Joe Biden - who may be the next Secreatary of State should a Democrat win the Presidentcy. Which is your best-case scenario. It doesn't bear thinking of what McCain or Guliani think of your lot - so don't think of it!

JW-Atlantic Review on :

Don, I have repeatedly asked you present some evidence of Germans (or Europeans) pressuring the United States to get involved in Kosovo. You have not provided a single quote of German (European) politican calling for the United States to fight in Kosovo or deal with Kosovo. "Sorry, I don't have time to argue this - ever." So why do you constantly bring up Kosovo and entertain this myth that the Europeans begged for US help and the US has saved Europe, but now the ungrateful Europeans refuse to fight in Iraq? Okay, you did not use those exact words, but that is the essence of what you have been saying in many comments under several posts. Rather than repeating yourself in so many comments, you could substantiate your argument with some quotes from European politician or prove me wrong, when I said that Clinton intervened in Kosovo to advance US interests. "You just sit there inside that little bubble of unreality and reflect on the profound righteousness of all that is the German and French worldview." I see. When I challenge your wishful thinking and ask you to substantiate your claims, you refuse to do so and accuse me of the unreality bubble and righteousness. You sound like you prefer to live in that bubble yourself and entertain righteousness. Again: Since you are angry about the Kosovo war, you should complain to Clinton, not the Europeans. "Do not under any circumstances entertain the possibility that many in the US do in fact see things rather differently; and not merely pissed-off Republicans who now hold a very large minority position in the US congress - but fairly exasperated Democrat 'realists' like Joe Biden - who may be the next Secreatary of State should a Democrat win the Presidentcy." You have said that many times before. You told us that we should not expect any US help in the future, because Americans are pissed of that we did not join the Iraq war. Am I supposed to be scared now? Are Americans angry that we did not fight in Vietnam? More and more Americans consider the Iraq war a mistake. Thus, why should they blame Europeans for not making the same mistake? Besides, why do you want to punish Romania (which supported the Iraq war) for Germany's opposition to the Iraq war?

Don S on :

One last thing. Why should I be angry at Clinton? I'm angry at the European reaction to the Kosovo war. The charges of 'war crimes', the trash talk, and the lack of rewciprocity. None of that is Clinton's fault, or Albrights, or Sandy Berger's. So why blame them?

JW-Atlantic Review on :

"Why should I be angry at Clinton?" Because you often write that Kosovo was not important for the US because it was so far away and that the US only intervened to help the Europeans. "I'm angry at the European reaction to the Kosovo war. The charges of 'war crimes'," Which European prosecutor has charged the United States for war crimes? None. As far as I know, only a prosecutor can charge someone with war crimes. A handful of leftists might have [b]accused[/b] the US of war crimes in Kosovo. Likewise, they are accusing Germany and all other NATO countries of war crimes in Kosovo. Don, what is the big deal? In an earlier post, I wrote: "A German federal court decided Thursday [October 26, 2006] that families of civilians killed in a 1999 NATO air strike on a Serbian town cannot seek compensation from Germany, affirming that civilians may not sue countries for war damages. Thirty-five survivors and victims' family members from the Serbian village of Varvarian had been seeking about 500,000 euros ($638,200) from the German government until the German Federal Supreme Court in Karlsruhe, Germany's highest court of appeals, ruled Thursday that civilian victims of war cannot claim such damages. The incident dates back to 1999 when a surprise NATO air strike in the town of Varvarian at the height of the Kosovo war killed 10 civilians and injured another 30. Although no German planes took direct part in the raid, the plaintiffs claimed that German troops serving with NATO helped select the target and that Germany therefore shared responsibility for the NATO action." [url]http://atlanticreview.org/archives/484-Prosecution-of-Secretary-Rumsfeld-in-Germany-UPDATE.html[/url] You see, they were filing a lawsuit to get compensation from Germany, although Germany planes did not take part. It is a free country. Everybody can file a lawsuit. Nobody in Germany is making a big fuss about them. [b]You make a big fuss and often talk about "charges of 'war crimes'", but you don't present any evidence. I assume you do not mean charges in the legal sense, but just some protests from left wing groups or a headline in Spiegel. No big deal! Schroeder, Fischer, Scharping have been accused of war crimes in Kosovo as well. Nobody is making a fuss about it. It's a free country. [/b] Another example: I wrote in a previous post that an association of peace groups filed a lawsuit against Chancellor Merkel and Defense Minister Jung for "preparing an offensive war." They claim that the White Paper on German Security Policy violates Germany's constitution, reports Die Welt (in German). [url]http://atlanticreview.org/archives/486-Two-American-Experts-Comment-on-the-European-Reactions-to-the-U.S.-Elections.html[/url] To conclude: [b]The US is not singled out. Those few leftists, who accuse the US of war crimes, accuse German politicians of war crimes as well. [/b] Besides, their number is small. Why do you and quite a few other bloggers/journalists exaggerate Anti-Americanism in Germany? See the latest post about the Dallas Morning News, which takes one comment in vlog and then writes an editorial (!) to accuse us Sourkrauts of laughing at the US. Why? Sometimes it seems that US journalists only listen to Anti-Americans in Europe, ignore everybody else and then pretend that all Europeans are Anti-American. I think it is time to call the exaggeration of European Anti-Americanism as a form of Anti-Europeanism. Medienkritik worte that German correspondents in the US would like to write articles that describe the US point of view, but their editors don't want those articles. It seems to be similar in the US: US editors like to print articles about Anti-American Europeans, but they are not interested in articles about pro-American Europeans. "lack of rewciprocity." Let me repeat my question: [b]What has the United States done in Kosovo, what Europeans are not doing in Afghanistan?[/b]

Don S on :

"What has the United States done in Kosovo, what Europeans are not doing in Afghanistan?" What did the US do in Kosovo that Germans aren't doing in Afghanistan? Sent soldiers in great numbers? Fought? Fought willingly? Not tried to shuffle off the dangerous jobs onto their allies? When Germany sends 25,000 troops to Afghanstans and takes the major combat role there (as the US did in Kosovo) I'll listen. Instead, what do we hear from Germany? If the US doubles it's 21,000 in Afghanistan Germany will doublte it's 2900 - but they still won't come out at night! Such a bargain.....

JW-Atlantic Review on :

Unlike in Afghanistan, the US did not send ground troops in the Kosovo war. Kosovo was fought from the air. Not a single American soldier died in combat. Two helicopter pilot crashed in a non-combat incident. Germans took similar risks in Kosovo as the Americans. Besides, Germans are taking higher risks in Afghanistan than Americans did in Kosovo. Some 20 Bundeswehr soldiers were killed in Afghanistan. Compare that to US fatalities in Kosovo. "Sent soldiers in great numbers?" Germany has 2900 soldiers in Kosovo and about 2800 in Afghanistan. The US only has 1700 soldiers in Kosovo left. I don't know how many the US had earlier. Perhaps you could look it up. It seems US committment to Kosovo was not that big compared to Germany's committment to Kosovo and Afghanistan. "Fought? Fought willingly? Not tried to shuffle off the dangerous jobs onto their allies?" It seems Blair and General Clark wanted ground-troops in Kosovo, but Clinton was not [i]willing[/i] to send them. Please, tell me what kind of [i]fighting[/i] has the US done in addition to dropping bombs from high up in the air with little risk to the pilots? Sure there have been risk and some fighting after the air campaign, but other nations (incl. Germany) participated as well. In fact, Germany participated in the air campaign as well. So, tell me, what was so special about the US participation in the Kosovo war? "When Germany sends 25,000 troops to Afghanstans and takes the major combat role there (as the US did in Kosovo) I'll listen." What is this number based on? What "major combat role"? Do you want Germany to drop some bombs over Afghanistan as the US did in Kosovo? Do you think that would be brave? Do you think that would lead to victory in Afghanistan? It won't. The US and the Brits and others have tried that for years now. The thousands of bombings did not defeat the Taliban, but killed many civilians, who hate NATO now and might be fighting against NATO now.

joe on :

JW Your comment about the air war in Kosovo is false when you compare the risks taken by the German Air Force to the USAF. The US flew 67% of all sorties and all the “hot” missions. Germans flew 1.7% of all sorties. Want to try to rephrase that comment?

JW-Atlantic Review on :

All the hot missions? Got a source for that? I do [i]not [/i]doubt your numbers regarding the share of sorties of the USAF and Luftwaffe, but still would be interested in the source. When I wrote "Germans took similar risks in Kosovo as the Americans." I meant that each pilot took similar risks. It was not like in Afghanistan, where Germany is in the North and the US is fighting in more dangerous South. You are right in the sense that the US and Britain (and others) provided much more pilots than Germany. So the total risk for the US that one of their soldiers would return in a body bag was bigger, because the USAF flew more much sorties than the Luftwaffe Still, my point was that Kosovo was an air war. I don't understand, why Don believes that Germany should send 25,000 troops to Afghanistan, because the US fought an air war in Kosovo. I assume he is thinking of 25,000 ground troops. A ground war in Afghanistan is more risky than dropping bombs over Serbia. Much more Germans died in Afghanistan than Americans who died in the Kosovo war.

joe on :

http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/ops/deliberate_force.htm You can also research under "Operation Deliberate Force" and get lots of links about lessons learned, after action reports, etc. I would suggest not putting too much trust in reports by NATO and AFSOUTH as they put the very best spin on it possible. A much better reading on this is from sources of the various nations who took part and comes from their senior military service colleges. An instead of saying "hot" missions, I should have used the term "strike" missions. Here are two other links with greater break down. http://www.danshistory.com/operations.shtml#dforce http://www.hri.org/docs/nato/summary.html And this link from AFSOUTH charged with exectuing the mission. http://www.afsouth.nato.int/factsheets/DeliberateForceFactSheet.htm

JW-Atlantic Review on :

All your links refer to the execution of "Deliberate Force" in Bosnia in 1995. The topic of discussion here is the Kosovo war in 1999. The percentages of sorties by USAF and Luftwaffe, which you mentioned earlier, refer to Bosnia as well. Not to Kosovo. The share might have been a bit different for Kosovo. In an earlier comment I told Don that he would make a better case, if we would refer to Bosnia rather than to Kosovo.

joe on :

JW OK you want to discuss Operation Allied Force, the air campaign in Kosovo. Here is the breakdown: There were a total of 38,004 sorties flown over a period of 78 days. Of these 10,484 were strike missions. Germany flew 536 sorties none of which were strike missions. This works out to be 1.4% of the total sorties. The US flew 30,018 sorties. This works out to be 78.9% of the total. You can use this link to calculate the number of US strike missions. The US did deliver 83% of the total munitions. http://www.danshistory.com/operations.shtml#af You might want to read the report contained in the below link. It is a report on Operation Allied Forces presented to the House of Commons by the UK MOD. It outlines some of the problems the UK and non US NATO forces had in conducting this operation as well as structural decision making problems within NATO as an organization. http://www.parliament.the-stationery-office.co.uk/pa/cm199900/cmselect/cmdfence/347/34707.htm Many of the problems identified during the Deliberate Force in Bosnia would later surface again and again during Allied Force, Desert Storm, Iraqi Freedom and the on going operations in Afghanistan. As Christpoh Bertram pointed out in his essay about NATO the consensus for Bosnia and Kosovo would have collapsed if NATO had decided to launch a ground attack. We see this happening now in Afghanistan.

JW-Atlantic Review on :

Thanks for looking that up, Joe!!! Quote from the House of Commons report, which you linked to: "Operation Allied Force was from the spectator's viewpoint, as our witnesses from the news media suggested, a rather undramatic, uneventful and relatively small scale operation, deploying (with some exceptions) only airpower operating at considerable height against a limited range of targets." Compare the risks in the Kosovo war with Afghanistan. Don, why do you think that Germany is obligated to send 25,000 ground troops to fight in Southern Afghanistan, because the US dropped bombs from a considerable height in Kosovo? Or am I misunderstanding your comments? Joe, "Germany flew 536 sorties none of which were strike missions." Wow. What were they doing? Identifying and marking targets in low altitude flights? Perhaps such a task is more dangerous than dropping bombs in strike missions? I don't know. I just wonder. I do NOT doubt at all that the US carried by far the largest burden in Kosovo. For Germany, the Kosovo war was a big shift from previous defense policies. Germany did much much more than it has done ever post 1945. "Many of the problems identified during the Deliberate Force in Bosnia would later surface again and again during Allied Force, Desert Storm," Desert Storm was before Bosnia. NATO was not involved in Desert Storm. "consensus for Bosnia and Kosovo would have collapsed if NATO had decided to launch a ground attack." I am not sure, I understand the "grammar" here. NATO is not one actor, but is the consensus of the NATO members. So...: If NATO had decided to launch a ground attack, then there had to be a consensus for this ground attack first, i.e. NATO can't break a consensus. [b]Or do you mean by "NATO" the US general[/b], who is the head of the military side of NATO? You see, this is what bothers many Europeans. They see NATO as primarily an American organisation. I know, you and others think that it is the European members who prevent NATO from being effective by not providing sufficient resources. Though, you have to at least see the European point: Many in Europe think that the US calls the shots in NATO, because it is always a US general, who heads NATO's military side as NATO's Supreme Allied Commander. The Europeans think that the NATO secretary general (who is always a European) is not all that important. He is just a secretary... Would the US be willing to change that? Would the US let a European general be Supreme Allied Commander? (Then an American can be the NATO secretary general.) I doubt it. [b]Americans don't want to put US troops under the command of a non-American general, while at the same time Americans expect other countries to send thousands of their troops to be led by an American generals[/b], who in the end follows orders from the Pentagon, which has not made such wise decisions lately. Yes, the US has committed about 10,000 troops to NATO in Afghanistan. Those troops are being led by a British general in Afghanistan. That is a noteworthy change. However, that is a fairly recent development. And in the end, NATO's overall strategy is determined by NATO headquarters, i.e. by a US general. My personal opinion is somewhere between: I see the European point of view, but I don't consider it all that important that NATO is run by a European general for a change. I think the Europeans have enough say in the various NATO decision making processes. Again and again, Americans say that the Europeanshave to share more of the burden. And again and again, continental Old European governments say that the US has to involve them more in decision making. The US sees itself as a leader and the Europeans have to follow the leader. That's why the Europeans are not ready to commit resources. They say: First let us play a bigger role in the decision making process and crafting of (military) strategy etc, then we provide more resources to NATO. The Americans say it has to be the other way round. I'd say both has to happen at the same time. Anyway, back to your statement: "consensus for Bosnia and Kosovo would have collapsed if NATO had decided to launch a ground attack." I remember that PM Blair and General Clark pushed a little bit for ground troops, but Clinton and Albright were against it. Thus, it was not the Europeans, who stopped America from sending ground troops. I think, NATO made the mistake of ruling out ground troops early on. If NATO had internally and secretly agreed not to send ground troops, but publicly threatened Serbia with ground troops, then Milosevic might have given in early and NATO did not have to bomb for some 78 days. IMHO, the damn politicians should never rule out anything, no matter how big public pressure is.

Don S on :

"Don, why do you think that Germany is obligated to send 25,000 ground troops to fight in Southern Afghanistan" Joerg, in earlier posts you seemed to equate Germany's contribution of 2900 troops (with severely limited rules of engagement) to the relatively quiet Northern front in Afghanistan with the US' leading or even dominant role in fighting the Kosovo War. Joe has provided statistics about what that effort was. I did not mean to imply that Germany was actually obligated to send 25,000 troops, but rather that Germany would have had to make an effort on that scale for it's Afghan effort to be anywhere near comparable the scale of the effort the US expended in Kosovo (and Bosnia before it). So please don't try to equate them - because they don't equate.

JW-Atlantic Review on :

I did not equate them. (I defintely did not mean to). YOU brought up Kosovo, when we discussed Afghanistan. You seemed to be arguing that Germany had to do more in Afghanistan because of what the US did in Kosovo. And I am trying to understand the reason behind your thinking. "... Germany would have had to make an effort on that scale for it's Afghan effort to be anywhere near comparable the scale of the effort the US expended in Kosovo (and Bosnia before it)." I wonder on what basis you compare the Kosovo air war ("only" two US casualties) with Germany providing ground troops in Afghanistan (20 German casualites). I consider patrolling in Northern Afghanistan riskier than dropping bombs over Serbia from the safety of a fighter jet high up in the air.

Don S on :

"I wonder on what basis you compare the Kosovo air war ("only" two US casualties) with Germany providing ground troops in Afghanistan (20 German casualites)." Joerg, none of the allies had important casulties in Kosovo. Such a basis for comparison is completely meaningless. Iceland had as many casulties as Germany did, as did Nicaragua. So let's compare effort. From joe: "There were a total of 38,004 sorties flown over a period of 78 days. Of these 10,484 were strike missions. Germany flew 536 sorties none of which were strike missions. This works out to be 1.4% of the total sorties." Effort. Germany has 2900 troops in the quieter sector of Afghanistan with 'interresting' rules of engagement. Negociated by IG Metall, perphance?

JW-Atlantic Review on :

Effort. Okay. So explain to me why it is a bigger effort for a few hundred pilots to drop bombs over Serbia from a high altitude for 78 days than it is for 1300-2900 soldiers to go on patrols on the ground in Northern Afghanistan for nearly five years. Anyway, IMHO you have to look beyond "effort" and "willingness to take risks," if you want to to judge a country's value as an ally. The US has taken high risks by invading Iraq and has put a lot of effort into Iraq and -- to a much much lesser extent -- into Afghanistan, but the US has also made many mistakes in Iraq and Afghanistan. The result is that the US has not achieved much in Afghanistan, and has matter worse in Iraq -- for itself, for Iraqis, for Israel and other US allies in the Middle East, and for Europe. Effort and risk taking is not enough. You need to have a strategy that works and produces results. At (nearly) every workplace, employees are judged by the results, not by how effort they put into something. Noble intentions are not enough.

joe on :

Don, Missed opportunity. Jorg always wants you to provide links. You missed the opportunity for him to provide one on his 20 number. If you had, you would have found the vast majority of those loses had nothing to do with combat but were accidents. This does not in anyway lessen the lost of these service members to their love ones. Also do not be too quick to discount the 29 hundred number of deployed soldiers. Remember the US only used 2600 to drive the Taliban from most of Afghanistan to the southern part of the nation where combat is currently taking place.

JW-Atlantic Review on :

"Jorg always wants you to provide links." He does. And you don't provide a link for your claim "the vast majority of those loses [German deaths in Afghanistan] had nothing to do with combat but were accidents." How do you define "vast majority"? Look at the numbers here: [url]http://www.icasualties.org/oef/byNationality.aspx?hndQry=Germany[/url] The website has not been updated for a year. It lists 18 fatalities till November 2005. Seven fatalities in helicopter crash. One in a vehicle accident. That makes a total of eight deaths by accident. Now tell me, why do you think 8 out of ten is a "vast majority" The other ten fatalities are not due to accidents. You claimed that the "vast majority" were "accidents." Six of the other ten fatalities are considered "hostile". Four of them are considered "non-hostile", but they were labeled "defusing anti-aircraft missile" and "ordnance explosion". That sounds pretty hostile to me. Now, Joe, explain to me why you think that the "vast majority" of German fatalities were caused by accidents. Do you call a death by defusing an anti-aircraft missile to be an accident like slipping in the bathroom? "Remember the US only used 2600 to drive the Taliban from most of Afghanistan to the southern part of the nation where combat is currently taking place." Too few troops. Big mistake. Bin Laden slipped away. The Taliban are still not defeated. You have been fighting the Taliban in the South for five years now. You have dropped a huge number of bombs. I can't remember the exact number of bombs that were dropped and how many civilians you accidentally killed, which just leads to more support for the Taliban. You have failed to defeat the Taliban in five years. Why do you think German troops could defeat the Taliban, if they entered the fight in the South? I think you don't expect to win. You just want to see more Germans sharing the burden for your losing strategy. [b]Yes, the US carried most of the burden in Kosovo and in Afghanistan. I have said that repeatedly. I only take issue with Don's claim in comments to several posts in recent weeks that Germany has to do more in Afghanistan because the US has done so much in Kosovo and that Germany has an obligation in Afghanistan because the US somehow saved us in Kosovo or so. You can't compare the 78 days air campaign in Kosovo with the ground operations in Northern Afghanistan for nearly five years. Patrolling on the streets is riskier than dropping bombs over Serbia from high altitude. Germany has made a bigger effort (more soldiers, more money, higher risks) in Afghanistan than the US has in Kosovo. About 20 German soldiers lost their lives in Afghanistan. 3 US pilots were killed in the Kosovo war. That tells you about the risks about those two different wars.[/b] Germany has still some 2800 troops in Kosovo. The US only has 1700 troops in Kosovo: Primarily Germany and other European countries finish the job, which primarily the US has started in Kosovo on behalf of NATO during the air campaign in 1999. There you have effort. Besides, there are not any US troops left in Bosnia, I believe. The EU is finishing that job as well. Germany has still some 800 or 900 troops there. It is unlikely that Germany will send a large number of ground troops to join the combat operations in Southern Afghanistan because US/UK strategies don't work there. You have tried for five years now. Not enough reconstruction work has been done by you guys in the South. Why are you repeating the same mistakes Russia made in the 80s and Britain made about a hundred years ago? Germany has to increase its efforts in the North. Build schools, hospitals, roads, create jobs, train the police etc. That is important. Germany has big shortcomings in those fields. We should do more in those fields rather than wasting resources and risking lives in Southern Afghanistan for a failed strategy. Why do you want Germany to support a strategy that has led to a success in the last five years? Do you really think, that all that is needed for peace and defeat of the Taliban are German troops in Southern Afghanistan? I rest my case.

Don S on :

Ok, that's it for me. I am calling a personal halt to this argument and to further participation on this blog. When discussions repeatedly get into a terminal state of logical absurdity (as this and others around here repeatedly have) it's time to go do something more rewarding. Such as search for body lint, cut your nails, whatever. Joerg is demanding 'proof' that the US efforts in Kosovo and Afghansiatan are greater than the German ones, when it's absolutely obvious that the CANADIAN efforts were greater - much less the US. Bye.

JW-Atlantic Review on :

"Joerg is demanding 'proof' that the US efforts in Kosovo and Afghansiatan are greater than the German ones," I never said that. Please read again what I wrote.

joe on :

Jorg, I count 6 out of the 18 listed as being the results of hostile action. That works out to be a 33%. I would consider 33% be less than a majority. However I am open to a discussion on how a third of something repersents a majority.

JW-Atlantic Review on :

Joe, I am giving up to argue with you. You wrote that "the vast majority" of German deaths in Afghanistan were "accidents." I showed you that 8 out of 20 fatalities were accidents. Then I asked you, why do you think 8 out of ten is a "vast majority"? Instead of admitting your mistake, you now talk about death in hostile action. Six of the other ten fatalities are considered "hostile". Four of them are considered "non-hostile", but they were labeled "defusing anti-aircraft missile" and "ordnance explosion". That sounds pretty hostile to me. "However I am open to a discussion on how a third of something repersents a majority." Whenever someone proves that you got your facts wrong and you are at the end of your wits, you make some ridicilous comment, that is supposed to be funny or cynical or whatever. It is just pathetic. I never claimed that all fatalities were in combat. I just showed that you are wrong in saying that the vast majority of fatalities occured due to accidents. You constantly downplay German contributions to the alliance, while you never actually argue why German should do more. Why do you want German troops supporting a failed strategy in Iraq or Southern Afghanistan? Be constructive. Argue your case! Getting killed with other NATO soldiers is not a sufficient argument. [b]Germany should not support a failed strategy in Southern Afghanistan in order to get more combat fatalities and prove loyalty to the alliance. [/b]First the US and UK etc. should describe what their strategy for victory in Southern Afghanistan is. I don't see such a strategy. A high number of combat fatalities in itself is not prove of commitment to the alliance.

Zyme on :

*lol* Joerg, have you ever thought about starting a political career? I bet you fit into that perfectly. I´m serious!

JW-Atlantic Review on :

Would you send soldiers to Southern Afghanistan? If yes, what is the purpose?

Zyme on :

Send soldiers to southern afghanistan? Pros: Improving relations to Nato-Members, Keeping the Taliban busy, Increasing combat experience, Testing new concepts of War, Get the german people used to active pursuit of interests Cons: Worsening relations to muslim countries, Increasing the Anti-West-Emotions in the muslim world, Risking german trade to the muslim countries (which also hurts the state´s budget via Hermes-Bürgschaften) and the german jobs in this sector, Risking security in the North of Afghanistan, Risking both the life of german soldiers and the disinterest of the german people, Exploding costs which would probably hurt the long term military research budget and the speed of modernization of our army, Increasing abstract terror threat in Germany So I would recommend NOT to send any soldiers into the south of Afghanistan. Waging war in another country instead would provide most of the Pros while avoiding many of the Cons above.

Anonymous on :

Pretty lucid analysis, Zyme. You have left out one thing however. Why should those countries who are fighting in yjr more dnagerous souht of Afghanistan put up with an 'ally' who insists on doing only the easier parts of the job? Oh, that's right - you think NATO is dead. I agree - and this is a major reason why.

influx on :

The German airforce is actually sending Tornado jets to South Afghanistan: http://www.spiegel.de/politik/deutschland/0,1518,455756,00.html Btw, this whole talk about how many people died for whatever reasons is truly sickening. joe, you should be ashamed for talking like that about people who were willing to give their lives for a good cause. I don't care whether those soldiers died in a car accident or were shot, and I am sure it doesn't matter to their families. Davids Medienkritik also neglected to mention the German casualties in Afghanistan (http://medienkritik.typepad.com/blog/2006/11/precious_german.html), but made sure to mention the four Dutch soldiers who died there. I wonder why?

JW-Atlantic Review on :

Thank you, influx. I feel bad now for having counted how many soldiers died. And I feel bad for having used statistics about fatalities to make an argument. I should not have done so. I find it sickening as well.

joe on :

JW You are correct. I should have used the word non-hostile instead of accidental. Non-hostile deaths are not as a result of enemy action. They usually can be attributed to a failure by the chain of command as they should have been and in most cases preventable. This does not change the fact that as of the latest information only 6 of the deaths suffered by German forces have been the results of hostile action. It also does not change the fact that to lover ones of these fallen soldiers that this was a tragic loss regardless of how it occurred. As to your perception as to what constitutes hostile and non hostile action, that is something you need to address to NATO. You will find, however, the way these classifications are made is pretty standard among western militaries.

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