• “Is NATO Relevant?” Sarwar Kashmeri with UK MP Mike Gapes, on Skynews

  • What’s Next For NATO: A “Reboot or Delete?” Robin Young, host of Here & Now asks Sarwar Kashmeri

  • Sarwar Kashmeri & NATO 2.0 on Fox News

  • To preserve NATO bridge it to the EU

    NATO used to be the world’s most formidable military alliance. But, its original reason for existence, the Soviet Union, disintegrated years ago, and its dreams of being a world cop are withering in the mountains of Afghanistan.

    Meanwhile, the European Union’s Common Security & Defense Policy (CSDP) has deployed twenty-seven successful military/civil missions from Africa to Asia in the last ten years. Through CSDP, Europeans are increasingly taking charge of managing their own foreign and security policy. NATO is no longer the sole and preeminent Euro-Atlantic security actor.

    But watching NATO fade into irrelevance would be a mistake. It is a tried and true platform to harness the resources of North America and Europe. NATO’s future usefulness depends on its willingness to accept its reduced role, to let the EU handle the day-to-day security needs of Europe, and to craft a relationship with CSDP that will allow North America and Europe to act militarily together, should that ever become necessary.

    It is time for NATO 2.0, a new version of NATO, to fit the realities of an ever more integrated Europe in the twenty-first century.

NATO’s existential crossroads

The United States’ department’s of State and Defense did something unusual this week. They coordinated and orchestrated a tough but constructive message to NATO and the Europeans.

      

Sec. of State, Clinton spoke at a reception for NATO’s senior team and high level officials, Monday, April 22. It was the kick-off to the one day NATO conference, Tuesday, Mar 23, to help draft the Alliance’s Strategic Concept for the next decade. Defense Sec. Gates opened the conference at the National Defense University the next day with as tough a description as I’ve every heard about NATO’s European members. Here’s how brutal it was.

The demilitarization of Europe — where large swaths of the general public and political class are averse to military force and the risks that go with it — has gone from a blessing in the 20th century to an impediment to achieving real security and lasting peace in the 21st…

<Read the NYT/International Herald Tribune Article> Gates Calls European Mood a Danger to Peace

Both Secretaries referred to each others remarks, built on what the other would say, and provided a one-two punch that was unusual, to say the least, in transatlantic circles.

Both Secretaries want NATO to expedite an overhaul of its bureaucracy (EG: over 300 committees, no integrated financial systems to track budgets, expenses, and projects) and to think about collaborating with the European Union and its security establishment: ESDP. No more double billing both Secretaries said, after all 21 of the 28 NATO members are EU members.

I was at the NATO conference, which was held under Chatham House Rules. So cannot offer quotations. I will tell you this, the mood was grim but determined. Grim because of the late hour for NATO. Determined because every person at the conference realized the importance of NATO to security and to the transatlantic alliance.

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Euro Debt Crisis: A Discussion with Currency Strategist Marc Chandler

 In my latest New Atlanticist Podcast for the Atlantic Council, Marc Chandler, the Chief Currency Strategist for the investment bank of Brown Brothers Harriman tackles the euro debt crisis and the recent hedge fund betting of over $8 billion in short positions against the common EU currency, and puts the headlines into perspective. Chandler’s last book is  Making Sense of the Dollar, published by the Bloomberg Press

 Listen to MP/3:

President Obama Dissed the EU. True? False?

Obama and Europe: My Atlantic Council Interview with Ewen MacAskill,  Washington Bureau Chief, “The Guardian

 

Atlantic Council senior fellow Sarwar Kashmeri sat down with Ewen MacAskill, the Guardian’s Washington bureau chief, for the latest installment of the New Atlanticist Podcast Series.  Following President Obama’s recent decision not to attend the U.S.-EU summit this May in Spain, he asks, “Why isn’t the President going to Madrid?”                                                                                                             

MacAskill discusses Obama’s announcement, the reactions of European leaders and the implications for U.S.-European relations and the Afghanistan mission.

 

NATO Will Protect Georgia From Russia. Ha! Ha!

If I lived in Georgia, I wouldn’t make any bets on being saved by NATO were Russia to flex its muscles again.

France today sold Russia an advanced, shallow water, attack helicopter carrier. Sales of 3 more are pending.  Had the Russians had them during their 2008 conflict with Georgia, the sophisticated warships would have allowed the Russians to capture Georgia’s Baltic ports in 45 minutes instead of the 26 hours it took them.

The indomitable Western Alliance!

Here’s the story from today’s Radio Liberty/Radio Free Europe

In A NATO First, France Agrees To Sell Warship To Russia

(RFE/RL) — French defense officials say France has agreed to sell Russia a technologically advanced battleship and is considering a request to sell Moscow three more.

If the sale is completed, it would be the first such arms sale between Russia and a member of NATO.

<Read the full story>

***UPDATE ***

From The Laura Rosen Blog on Politico, February 9, 2010

Diplomatically, Gates opposes French ship sale to Russia

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates told French officials Monday that he was concerned about their plans to sell Mistral-class amphibious assault ships to Russia, although there is little if anything the United States could do to block the deal, officials said.

<Read the full Politico column>