• “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.

If Your grandmother grows whiskers, would you call her your grandfather?!

What is this fixation that NATO has with making an anti-missile shield the center-piece of NATO and inviting Russia to join in this “shield.” Here’s a Reuter’s report on a planned speech by NATO’s Secretary General, Friday, September 17, 2010:

SM-3 Launch from USS Shiloh

Missile defense key to boosting Russia ties: NATO

(Reuters) – Russian participation in a planned missile defense shield in Europe could open the door to progress in other areas such as reducing nuclear and conventional weapons, the head of NATO will say on Friday.  <Read full Reuters story>

Here’s an organization that can’t find a few hundred trainers for Afghanistan, an Alliance that is about to see its biggest members cut out of the war in Afghanistan and go home, and it proposes setting up a missile defense network to protect half the planet!!! Who is going to pay for this “shield?” The big NATO countries are about to slash their defense expenditures 15%-20%

As for getting Russia to throw in its lot with NATO, I’m reminded of a recent conversation I had with Dmitri Rogozin, the Russian Ambassador to NATO. His reply to my question of the chances of Russia joining the new “Russia-friendly” NATO, was:

If your grandmother grows whiskers, is it now a grandfather?

 

NATO needs to figure out how to be relevant and live within its means. It would be a disaster for Euro-Atlantic security if NATO were allowed to fade away. But that will happen if it dreams these unrealistic, empire building dreams like setting up a missile defense project from Vladivostok to Vancouver.

NATO’s Mission? Je ne sais pas

NATO works on a pay as you play formula. Meaning, if a country deploys with NATO, the country pays all its expenses. And that is a real problem for Eastern European countries such as Poland that bend over backwards to please the United States and want to be out front in any American led war.  Poland has over 2000 troops in Afghanistan and they have been putting up quite a fight. But Poland cannot afford its ISAF commitment any more. <Read full story in Siffy News>Polish Mi-24 heavy attack helicopter

Poland’s participation in the NATO-led mission in Afghanistan is so expensive, about USD 1 billion a year (10% of Poland’s defense budget) that it is hampering efforts to modernize the country’s armed forces, Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski said Wednesday, on his first visit to NATO headquarters.

Poland has also had it with out-of-area operations such as the NATO mission in Afghanistan. President Komorowski wans NATO to focus on defending its members, not playing at being world cop. Though he did not say it, that means watching the Russians who still scare the Eastern Europeans more than any Taliban in Kandahar. The problem is, playing world cop is what the Western members of NATO want to do.

Is there a meeting ground? I don’t think so. NATO has a lot of soul searching to do before that fateful November meeting in Lisbon. The moment of truth is around the corner.