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  #101  
Old 13.06.2011, 12:35
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Re: NATO Kaput?

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Bearing in mind the shift in modern warfare and defense towards countering terrorism rather than territorial issues, NATO will be challenged to adapt to changing times. There are only so many more Arab nations that need "persuasive reminders" to stop killing their own people. Maybe the dictators of the world could at least agree on taking their turn in quelling internal disquiet as NATO's assets are clearly rather thinly spread presently.
...
That's exact the way I see the issue here. The new enemy presents itself and new measures require the old chaps to adapt to the new warefare, which is clandestine. Now the trick is to balance negoatiations with demonstration of power so it doesn't lead to the global conflict in the long run but merely quell dangerous military groups that deny the peace in the world.
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  #102  
Old 13.06.2011, 12:40
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Re: NATO Kaput?

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NATO is far from dead. NATO has been the one solid organization that has held peace together during very unstable times and has been long sighted and defined beyond the realms of politics and personal egos.
Right, but from a US perspective (perhaps arrogantly, selfishly) some are wondering if NATO is a value-added institution for Americans. Some say NATO is simply an extension of US military power, so in tough times why should the US not simply focus on its direct military spending and operations. It has shown in recent times not to fear unilateral action--if it is blamed for being a "police force" why use the banner of NATO and not go in directly or with individual partners?

I am not saying this is right or wrong. But the issue remains: some in the US are doubting Americans are getting enough out of the alliance. There is no doubt Europeans benefit and have benefited--allowed scant military spending to focus on social reforms and humanitarian aid, as I said before. Would the "special relationships" with the US disintegrate without NATO: No. Would there be less cooperation in intelligence, operational security with some members: No. Would the US have more operational security...perhaps.
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Old 13.06.2011, 13:03
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Re: NATO Kaput?

So why does NATO have the right to interfere with Libya/Gadaffi?

Look at it this way. A gang of people in Liverpool decide that they do not like David Cameron as leader of the UK.
So they start kicking off.
The police try to handle the situation but the people then turn on them.
So David Cameron calls the army in to protect the infrastructure and people.

But hang on; Nato decide that David Cameron isn't being democratic and send their forces to bomb every air field and destroy all military aircraft at UK military air bases.
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  #104  
Old 13.06.2011, 13:21
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Re: NATO Kaput?

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So why does NATO have the right to interfere with Libya/Gadaffi?

Look at it this way. A gang of people in Liverpool decide that they do not like David Cameron as leader of the UK.
So they start kicking off.
The police try to handle the situation but the people then turn on them.
So David Cameron calls the army in to protect the infrastructure and people.

But hang on; Nato decide that David Cameron isn't being democratic and send their forces to bomb every air field and destroy all military aircraft at UK military air bases.
Rational, consistent treatment of oil bearing countries by Western leaders ?

Next thread please.
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  #105  
Old 13.06.2011, 14:00
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Re: NATO Kaput?

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Bit late to the party, had the opportunity to escape to the mountains for a few days.

NATO is far from dead. NATO has been the one solid organization that has held peace together during very unstable times and has been long sighted and defined beyond the realms of politics and personal egos. Notwithstanding the collapse of the Warsaw Pact nations, NATO has also been the working tool which has defined western thinking foreign policy on a worldwide scale way beyond the scope and foundations on which it was created post WW2. Even if there are some strange bedfellows with Greece and Turkey for example, the greater good of the whole has always led me to believe that NATO is there even when single government policies have gone awry. The undermining of NATO's ability to function is more under threat by defense spending cuts rather than the moral fiber of the participating membership nations.

Bearing in mind the shift in modern warfare and defense towards countering terrorism rather than territorial issues, NATO will be challenged to adapt to changing times. There are only so many more Arab nations that need "persuasive reminders" to stop killing their own people. Maybe the dictators of the world could at least agree on taking their turn in quelling internal disquiet as NATO's assets are clearly rather thinly spread presently.

I for one, would also like to see Switzerland get off the neutrality fence and stop hiding behind NATO's shadow of influence and commit and join up as a full member of NATO, even beyond the PfP (Partnership for Peace) level. Maintaining our own independent defense has become politically tough to answer to and taking an active rôle in European and even worldwide events befits our ability to play our rightful part in making the world a safer place to be. Our air force trains with NATO, we operate according to NATO doctrine and even throughout the Cold War period our reconnaissance always looked east, our forces would have fought alongside NATO if the tanks came over from the east and the MiGs penetrated western European skies.
I completely disagree. NATO has been far from a solid rock in a fast changing world. It is more an obsolete construct built to defend Europe from a potential Soviet invasion which is now trying to find a new purpose. Not because it is necessary, but because all the generals involved have a hard time to explain their national leaders why they still need such a big army... and because NATO offers some jobs and fun meetings for them in sunny places.

Every time the defense treaty is abused as an attack treaty, I am more annoyed by it. The US complaining that other members dare to not come out and play is extremely annoying: That's not what NATO was supposed to be about. At all. Quite the opposite actually. And yes, countries like Denmark know this and they would not have signed up for a "let's play world police" club.

Nato is systematically the worst possible solution to answer the future threats of terrorism or help in special situations as genocides - you'd need a small but very professional army that has the right equipment, no communication problems and can be deployed quickly by the decision of a single authority. Nato is some loose connection of armies speaking different languages, mainly still equipped to counter a Russian invasion (We have great main battle tanks in Germany... anyone needs some?) and till they finally decide that they want to bomb somebody (cause that's the only answer they have...) it is usually too late - see Yugoslavia.

A way forward would be an EU army or even UN one. But that would take the power away from national leaders and they are the ones who would have to decide on it - so it's not going to happen.
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  #106  
Old 13.06.2011, 14:12
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Re: NATO Kaput?

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Nato is systematically the worst possible solution to answer the future threats of terrorism or help in special situations as genocides - you'd need a small but very professional army that has the right equipment, no communication problems and can be deployed quickly by the decision of a single authority.
That kind of concentration of power is what turns good guys into bad guys.
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  #107  
Old 13.06.2011, 14:18
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Right, but from a US perspective (perhaps arrogantly, selfishly) some are wondering if NATO is a value-added institution for Americans. perhaps.
Not at all. Americans are waking up to the wide discrepancies in contributions to Nato. 1 member makes up 75%, while the other 27 make up the remaining 25%.

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A way forward would be an EU army or even UN one. But that would take the power away from national leaders and they are the ones who would have to decide on it - so it's not going to happen.
An EU air force is already on a mission in Libya...and let me tell you, they're performing rather badly against an Soviet-era equipped army in a sparsely populated desert nation.

A UN army? Srebrenica no more!

Last edited by MusicChick; 13.06.2011 at 14:55. Reason: Merging successive posts.
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Old 13.06.2011, 14:38
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So why does NATO have the right to interfere with Libya/Gadaffi?

Look at it this way. A gang of people in Liverpool decide that they do not like David Cameron as leader of the UK.
So they start kicking off.
The police try to handle the situation but the people then turn on them.
So David Cameron calls the army in to protect the infrastructure and people.

But hang on; Nato decide that David Cameron isn't being democratic and send their forces to bomb every air field and destroy all military aircraft at UK military air bases.
Ummm you missed the very important step of a UN resolution

Anyway UK is a democracy where people vote

Pretty poor example

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An EU air force is already on a mission in Libya...and let me tell you, they're performing rather badly against an Soviet-era equipped army in a sparsely populated desert nation.

A UN army? Srebrenica no more!
Considering the size of Libya & the different geographic features I think NATO has done pretty well. What did you expect without ground troops allowed?

Last edited by MusicChick; 13.06.2011 at 14:56. Reason: Merging successive posts.
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Old 13.06.2011, 16:24
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Re: NATO Kaput?

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Considering the size of Libya & the different geographic features I think NATO has done pretty well. What did you expect without ground troops allowed?
I'm no military expert, but here is an excerpt worth a read:

"But a NATO official said that, weather aside, only the United States has the ability from the air to strike at mobile troops and equipment...Specifically the A10s and the AC-130s nobody else but the U.S. has,...The transition from U.S. command to NATO command, and the subsequent halt to flights of U.S. fighter jets over Libya, was not supposed to lessen the coalition capabilities, U.S. officials had said"

-Nato official

http://edition.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/af...ato/index.html
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Old 13.06.2011, 18:37
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Re: NATO Kaput?

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I'm no military expert, but here is an excerpt worth a read:

"But a NATO official said that, weather aside, only the United States has the ability from the air to strike at mobile troops and equipment...Specifically the A10s and the AC-130s nobody else but the U.S. has,...The transition from U.S. command to NATO command, and the subsequent halt to flights of U.S. fighter jets over Libya, was not supposed to lessen the coalition capabilities, U.S. officials had said"

-Nato official

http://edition.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/af...ato/index.html

All true & this is the real reason NATO has deployed attack helicopters; they are to replace the US abilty of some US attack planes to fly lower & slower. But the helicopters are more vulnerable to attack from ground forces than the heavily armoured uS planes.

I do not think this conflicts with my statement that Nato has done pretty well. They have knocked out around 50% of the Libyan army heavy equipment without losing any planes or people - that impresses me anyway.

But the only way to win a war is with boots on the ground & the rebels are not doing so well there, for many reasons most of which are not their fault - like lack of suitable arms.
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  #111  
Old 14.06.2011, 13:21
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Re: NATO Kaput?

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All true & this is the real reason NATO has deployed attack helicopters; they are to replace the US abilty of some US attack planes to fly lower & slower. But the helicopters are more vulnerable to attack from ground forces than the heavily armoured uS planes.

I do not think this conflicts with my statement that Nato has done pretty well. They have knocked out around 50% of the Libyan army heavy equipment without losing any planes or people - that impresses me anyway.

But the only way to win a war is with boots on the ground & the rebels are not doing so well there, for many reasons most of which are not their fault - like lack of suitable arms.
I didn't mean to undremine NATO's accomplishments in Libya at all, but I think the alliance would emerge -or remain?- much stronger with non-EU member states...
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  #112  
Old 14.06.2011, 13:56
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Re: NATO Kaput?

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They have knocked out around 50% of the Libyan army heavy equipment without losing any planes or people - that impresses me anyway.
it does not impress me at all - sorry. The US flies long range heavy bombers all the way from the US and back to bomb airfields and manages to destroy everything parked there. Not a surprise is it? Lybia has nothing at all they could use against the B2s.

The point nobody mentioned so far: The French pushed very hard for air raids. Some say it's the oil. Others say it's because France did not manage to sell anyone the Rafale jet... half of Africa used to buy the Mirage, but since there is now plenty of US, Russian and EU models to choose from, the French lost a huge piece of this extremly lucrative market. They need some success stories. So the media even made a story out of it when some brand new Rafale with expert pilots manages to shoot down a Lybian G-2. That's not a fighter, that's a trainer. It's from the early 60s... from Yugoslavia. You need more to impress me, sorry.
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  #113  
Old 14.06.2011, 14:12
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Re: NATO Kaput?

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I completely disagree. NATO has been far from a solid rock in a fast changing world. It is more an obsolete construct built to defend Europe from a potential Soviet invasion which is now trying to find a new purpose. Not because it is necessary, but because all the generals involved have a hard time to explain their national leaders why they still need such a big army... and because NATO offers some jobs and fun meetings for them in sunny places.

Every time the defense treaty is abused as an attack treaty, I am more annoyed by it. The US complaining that other members dare to not come out and play is extremely annoying: That's not what NATO was supposed to be about. At all. Quite the opposite actually. And yes, countries like Denmark know this and they would not have signed up for a "let's play world police" club.

Nato is systematically the worst possible solution to answer the future threats of terrorism or help in special situations as genocides - you'd need a small but very professional army that has the right equipment, no communication problems and can be deployed quickly by the decision of a single authority. Nato is some loose connection of armies speaking different languages, mainly still equipped to counter a Russian invasion (We have great main battle tanks in Germany... anyone needs some?) and till they finally decide that they want to bomb somebody (cause that's the only answer they have...) it is usually too late - see Yugoslavia.

A way forward would be an EU army or even UN one. But that would take the power away from national leaders and they are the ones who would have to decide on it - so it's not going to happen.
I completely disagree. You can hardly blame NATO that the original East Bloc threat is gone, in fact, I'd say that the very fact that Soviet expansion never happened was because of NATO. Whilst the traditional structure of NATO was certainly to fight both a conventional and nuclear European war, this is no longer the case and it is constantly adapting to meet new global challenges. You can hardly expect to realign the whole organization in less than a decade just because other threats are now more prevalent. Cyber attacks, chemical warfare and other guerrilla methods are not something that you are going to use conventional or historical assets to counter, I think they know that in Brussels, but you're not going to read about it in your Janes Defense Weekly magazine just yet.

Either way, each contributing nation has slashed away defense spending on conventional hardware in favor of foreign deployments or for the complete downsizing of their forces. It's flippant to say that the generals want to party without having a mission; their job today is tougher than it has ever been and with the current scenarios playing out in the Middle East, you'll sleep better knowing that NATO is looking after your butt, whether directly or indirectly. It's insurance, high cost insurance, but one that has worked. I wasn't forced to speak Russian at school or have my history rewritten to meet Soviet ideals, for that I thank NATO.
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  #114  
Old 14.06.2011, 14:30
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Re: NATO Kaput?

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I completely disagree. You can hardly blame NATO that the original East Bloc threat is gone, in fact, I'd say that the very fact that Soviet expansion never happened was because of NATO.
I agree. Lucky us...
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Whilst the traditional structure of NATO was certainly to fight both a conventional and nuclear European war, this is no longer the case and it is constantly adapting to meet new global challenges.
That's my point: You have a threat - the Soviets. You build a strategy to fight against it - establishing NATO.

As soon as the threat is gone, NATO should go down the same path into the history books. We both agree that there are new threats and that they look completely differently. I just don't think that adapting NATO is a sensible strategy. "It's there, so we will use it somehow" seems to be the strategy and everyone involved has a very different idea what this "somehow" should mean.

If terrorism is the new threat - which I do not really agree but that's another story - you don't need NATO, you'd need a NATO type of collaboration of secret services. No more generals and tanks.

If the new goal is to intervene in extremly bloody conflicts in the third world, or say at least in the cases where they have oil - you need a "police force" type of organization.

Nato has some 20 something memeber and each will go through a massive process in their national governments. It takes therefore many thousands of people to decide if something should happen, what should happen, who joins who doesn't and what the goal it.

Lybia is the perfect example: The official goal was to stop a genocide. Currently there is a civil war going on with armies on both sides - not an army slaying civilian unarmed demonstrators. NATO rushing in with heavy arms bombing the presidential palace is absolutely not covered by the UN mandate... and while I think it is a good thing to remove Ghadaffi - if I was an African dictator I'd see once more that "the West" does not play by their own rules and in the end do what they want. I'd do whatever is in my power to get my hands on some WMDs... after all is nobody attacking a country that in fact DOES have them...
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Old 14.06.2011, 17:24
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Re: NATO Kaput?

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As soon as the threat is gone, NATO should go down the same path into the history books. We both agree that there are new threats and that they look completely differently. I just don't think that adapting NATO is a sensible strategy. "It's there, so we will use it somehow" seems to be the strategy and everyone involved has a very different idea what this "somehow" should mean.

If terrorism is the new threat - which I do not really agree but that's another story - you don't need NATO, you'd need a NATO type of collaboration of secret services. No more generals and tanks.

Nato has some 20 something memeber and each will go through a massive process in their national governments. It takes therefore many thousands of people to decide if something should happen, what should happen, who joins who doesn't and what the goal it.

Lybia is the perfect example: The official goal was to stop a genocide. Currently there is a civil war going on with armies on both sides - not an army slaying civilian unarmed demonstrators. NATO rushing in with heavy arms bombing the presidential palace is absolutely not covered by the UN mandate... and while I think it is a good thing to remove Ghadaffi - if I was an African dictator I'd see once more that "the West" does not play by their own rules and in the end do what they want. I'd do whatever is in my power to get my hands on some WMDs... after all is nobody attacking a country that in fact DOES have them...
Libya is a bad example because it didn't start out as a NATO organized campaign, each country had their own deal going on and even Sweden decided to get in on the act to show that their Saab Gripen can mix it up with the Rafale and Eurofighter (think foreign military sales). It's also very much like the second Iraqi war (third if you're a local) where air superiority was never in question.

Although NATO has indeed got 28 member nations, you can discount a bunch of them as being "receivers" and not "active participants" even if this belittles their rôles and it's therefore hardly surprising that the USA will take the lead in most instances. The main supporting nations (read USA, Canada and western European countries) have a mandate to protect member nations and their sovereignty and to this end, they are doing their job. I'll agree with you about NATO not having a clear written mandate to exercise force outside of the European theater, but in all honesty, do you think that there are many tears being shed about taking out Ghaddafi any more than there were for Saddam Hussein? If it were up to the politicians to agree amongst themselves, Stalin would probably have enclaves in the Caribbean. Again, NATO is insurance, just like any form of defense, it's expensive and most of the time very difficult to justify or defend, but when you need to turn up for a fight, you'll be glad you paid your membership fees.
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Old 14.06.2011, 17:48
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Re: NATO Kaput?

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Again, NATO is insurance, just like any form of defense, it's expensive and most of the time very difficult to justify or defend, but when you need to turn up for a fight, you'll be glad you paid your membership fees.
well, that's the point: Nato seems to be for anything nowadays but surely not defense... Lybia isn't, Iraq isn't, Afghanistan isn't, Kosovo isn't,... all the "out of area" campaigns are hardly defense, no matter how far you stretch the term. And out of area was easily some 80% of what Nato did in the past decades - with the exception of the rocket shield.

I fully agree to the "collective defense" idea - even to the point that this includes nuclear weapons in my home area (which would have therefore been flattened by the Russians first...). I do not agree to turn a defense treaty into a "military campaign machine" that's supposed to "tidy up" according to the wishes of some leaders and everyone has to join or doesn't get the defense part anymore. So Nato hast turned into a "coalition of the willing" club and lost its purpose completely in the past 20 years in my view.
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