• “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.

Will The Real NATO Please Stand Up!

Two Libya/NATO related headlines caught my eye today:

Libyan air strikes prompt Nato rift with Britain and France  (The Guardian)
“Nato must “maintain and intensify” its efforts, foreign secretary William Hague said, while his French counterpart, Alain Juppé, said not enough was being done to combat Gaddafi’s troops. “Nato must play its role fully. It wanted to take the lead in

And

 
 
Did anybody say NATO was increasingly dysfunctional? The U.S. vs France + Britain.  Ouch.
 
 
Anne Applebaum summed it all up in her pointedly acerbic Washington Post colmnn:

Will the Libya intervention bring the end of NATO?

…Technically, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization operates only in the wake of an attack on a NATO member. The war in Afghanistan followed such an attack and was, in the beginning, widely perceived as a war against a common enemy. Libya is different: There was no attack, there is no common enemy, and now there is no consensus…

MY TAKE: Not only is there little consensus within NATO on what it is doing in Libya, the economic recession has bottled up the alliance’s effectiveness. It is not well known that each NATO member pays for its military operation in NATO missions. The Alliance itself has no funds or military assets to fight wars. In Libya, the UK and France (and whatever other countries have agreed to contribute to the war plan, and only a handful of NATO members have) pay for their military contribution out of their national treasury. As they have been doing in Afghanistan for a decade now. Not long ago the Prime Minister of Poland showed up at NATO headquarters to bemoan the country’s expenses in Afghanistan that total $1bn per year, fully one-tenth of Poland’s entire defense budget.

The United States spent upwards of $600 million in the first week of the Libyan war, now it expects to spend around $40 million over three weeks, at most. So who picks up the slack? Mainly France and Britain. No wonder the two would like other NATO members to step up to the plate.

Here’s an idea. NATO is busy building itself a new billion plus dollar headquarters outside Brussels. Maybe it could shelve the plan, donate the money to all those countries that can’t afford to join in NATO’s war in Libya and help poor France and Britain from going broke fighting…and save the poor American taxpayers from ultimately footing another war bill.

scale model of NATO HQ

 

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NATO’s future—generational perspectives

At a recent lunch with three CEOs, I asked them to tell what they thought about NATO. None of them could understand why NATO was still around. Only one of them knew NATO was deployed in Afghanistan. The CEOs ranged in age from the mid-thirties to the mid-fifties and were as well informed about current events as anyone in America. I’ve been asking my NATO question ad naseum at every opportunity I get. The results are very revealing of the gap between the “experts” and DC professionals on the one hand and the rest of the populace on the other.  I also believe there is a clear generational divide on NATO’s future. Witness these two opinions. One by Senator Lugar, a hugely respected voice in the foreign policy establishment, and the other by Anne Applebaum, Washington Post’s provocative columnist.

Sen. Lugar (from a speech at the Atlantic Council, Washington DC, September 28, 2009):

“The provision of security assurance within Europe has been a central challenge to American foreign policy since 1917. Our continued commitment to NATO does not come without costs, but remains the most promising vehicle for projecting stability throughout Europe and its political fault lines with Asia and the Middle East.  . .”         [Read Full Transcript]    Note: Emphasis in bold are in the original transcript.

Ms. Anne Applebaum: The Slowly vanishing NATO (Op-Ed , Washington Post, October 20, 2009)

“…NATO, though fighting its first war since its foundation, inspires nobody. The members of NATO feel no allegiance to the alliance, or to one another. On its home continent, NATO does precious little military contingency planning, preferring to hold summits…None of this might matter much in Afghanistan, since the outcome of current deliberations may well be some version of the status quo. But the next time NATO is needed, I doubt whether it will be there at all…]   [Read Full Column]