Thursday, 16 June 2011
NATO - The slow death of a once so powerfulful military alliance
"In the Libya operation, Norway and Denmark, have provided 12 percent
of allied strike aircraft yet have struck about one third of the
"We have the spectacle of an air operations center
designed to handle more than 300 sorties a day struggling to launch
about 150. Furthermore, the mightiest military alliance in history is
only 11 weeks into an operation against a poorly armed regime in a
sparsely populated country – yet many allies are beginning to run
short of munitions, requiring the U.S., once more, to make up the
There is good reason to return to the important speech that U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates gave in Brussels on June 10. The reason is Angela Merkel´s Germany.
Robert Gates did not mention Germany specifically in his speech, but it is obvious which country he had on his mind when he said this:
In the past, I’ve worried openly about NATO turning into a two-tiered
alliance: Between members who specialize in “soft’ humanitarian,
development, peacekeeping, and talking tasks, and those conducting the
“hard” combat missions. Between those willing and able to pay the
price and bear the burdens of alliance commitments, and those who
enjoy the benefits of NATO membership – be they security guarantees or
headquarters billets – but don’t want to share the risks and the
costs. This is no longer a hypothetical worry. We are there today.
And it is unacceptable.
Also this was mostly directed at Germany, the richest and most powerful European country:
Indeed, if current trends in the decline of European defense
capabilities are not halted and reversed, Future U.S. political
leaders– those for whom the Cold War was not the formative experience
that it was for me – may not consider the return on America’s
investment in NATO worth the cost.
Gates concluded his article with a polite hope - although he must know that neither Germany nor any of the other major European NATO members are willing to increase defense spending:
Over the life of the transatlantic alliance there has been no shortage
of squabbles and setbacks. But through it all, we managed to get the
big things right over time. We came together to make the tough
decisions in the face of dissension at home and threats abroad. And
I take heart in the knowledge that we can do so again
The future of the once so powerful alliance does not look promising. Germany could and should take the lead in keeping NATO alive, but it is doing exactly the opposite. The only thing Germany - and the EU countries in general - are ready to fight - and finance - is imaginary human-induced global warming.
The New York Times´s Judy Dempsey seems to make the same kind of conclusion about the future of NATO as I in an article called "The beginning of the end for NATO?":
NATO as such will probably survive. The alliance will continue to be of use to the United States when it looks to build coalitions of the willing. It might also come in handy to confer some added legitimacy to future military missions. But its role as the central trans-Atlantic organization with a truly united purpose and solidarity among all of the allies is in doubt.