NATO: Definition, Purpose, History, Members

NATO is an alliance of 28 countries bordering the North Atlantic Ocean. It includesthe United States, most European Union members, Canada, and Turkey. NATO is an acronym for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

At the July 11, 2018, NATO summit, President Trump requested that NATO nations increase their defense spending to 4 percent of GDP. In 2017, the United States spent 4.5 percent. That's $886 billion in military spending divided by $20 trillion in U.S. GDP.

Trump also criticized Germany for asking the United States to protect it from Russia while importing billions in natural gas from it.

Trump has accused NATO of being obsolete. He argued that the organization focuses on defending Europe against Russia instead of combating terrorism.Member countries worry that Trump's criticism of NATO and praise of Russia's leader, Vladimir Putin, mean they can no longer rely on the United States as an ally in case of attack.

NATO's mission is to protect the freedom of its members. Its targets includeweapons of mass destruction, terrorism, and cyber attacks.

At its July 11, 2018, meeting, NATO approvednew steps to contain Russia. These include two new military commands and expanded efforts against cyberwarfare and counterterrorism. It also contains a new plan to deter Russian aggression against Poland and the Baltic States. Trump agreed to these measures.

On November 16, 2015, NATO responded to theterrorist attacks in Paris. It called for a unified approach with the European Union, France, and NATO. France did notinvoke NATO'sArticle 5. That would be a formal declaration of war uponthe Islamic state group. France preferred to launch air strikes on its own. Article 5 states, "an armed attack upon one... shall be considered an attack upon them all."

NATO's protection does not extend to members' civil wars or internal coups. On July 15, 2016, the Turkish military announced it had seized control of the government in a coup. But Turkish President Recep Erdogan announced early on July 16 that the coup had failed. As a NATO member, Turkey would receive its allies' support in the case of an attack. But in case of a coup, the country will not get allied help.

NATO's secondary purpose is to protect the stability of the region.

If the stability is threatened, NATO would defend non-members. On August 28,2014, NATO announcedit had photos proving that Russiainvaded Ukraine. Although Ukraine is not a member, it had worked with NATO over the years. Russia's invasion of Ukraine threatenednearby NATO members. They worried other former USSR satellite countries would be next.

As a result, NATO'sSeptember 2014 summitfocused on Russia' aggression. President Putin vowed to create a "NewRussia" out of Ukraine's eastern region.President Obamapledged to defend countries such as Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia.

NATO itself admits that "Peacekeeping has become at least as difficult as peacemaking." As a result, NATO is strengthening alliances throughout the world. In the age of globalization, transatlantic peace has become a worldwide effort. Itextends beyond military might alone.

NATO's 28 members are: Albania, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary,Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Turkey, United Kingdom, and the United States.

Each member designates an ambassador to NATO. They supply officials to serve on NATO committees. They send the appropriate official to discuss NATO business. That includes a countrys president, prime minister, foreign affairs minister or head of the department of defense.

On December 1, 2015, NATO announced its first expansion since 2009. It offered membership to Montenegro. Russia responded by calling the move a strategic threat to its national security. Its worried by the number of Balkan countries along its border that have joined NATO.

NATO participates in three alliances. They expands its influence beyond its 28 member countries. The Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council helps partners become NATO members.Itincludes 23 non-NATO countries that support NATO's purpose. It beganin 1991.

The Mediterranean Dialogue seeks to stabilize the Middle East. Its non-NATO members include Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Mauritania, Morocco, and Tunisia. It began in1994.

The Istanbul Cooperation Initiativeworks forpeace throughout the larger Middle East region.It includes four members of theGulf Cooperation Council. They are Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates. It began in 2004.

NATO cooperates with eight other countries in joint security issues. There are five in Asia. They are Australia,Japan, Republic of Korea, Mongolia, and New Zealand. There are two in the Middle East: Afghanistan and Pakistan.

NATO'sprimary purpose was to defend member nations from threats by communist countries. The United States also wanted to maintain a presence in Europe. It soughtto prevent a resurgence of aggressive nationalism and foster political union. In this way, NATO made the formation of the European Union possible.U.S. military protection gave European nations the safety needed to rebuild after World War II's devastation.

During the Cold War, NATO's mission expanded to prevent nuclear war.

After West Germany joined NATO, thecommunistcountriesformed theWarsaw Pact alliance. That included the USSR, Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania, Poland, Czechoslovakia, and EastGermany. In response, NATO adopted the "Massive Retaliation" policy. It promised to usenuclear weaponsif the Pact attacked. NATO'sdeterrence policy allowed Europe to focus oneconomic development. It didn't have to build large conventional armies.

The Soviet Union continued to build its military presence. By the end of theCold War, it was spending three times what the United Stateswas with only one-third the economic power. When theBerlin Wallfell in 1989, it was due to economic as well as ideological reasons.

After the USSR dissolved in the late 1980s, NATO's relationship with Russia thawed. In 1997, they signed the NATO-Russia Founding Act to build bilateral cooperation. In 2002, they formed the NATO-Russia Council to partner on shared security issues.

The collapse of the USSR led to unrest in its former satellite states. NATO got involved when Yugoslavia's civil war becamegenocide. NATO's initial support of aUnited Nationsnaval embargo led to the enforcement of ano-fly zone. Violations then led to a few airstrikes until September 1999. That's when NATO conducted a nine-day air campaign that ended the war. By December of that year, NATO deployed a peace-keeping force of 60,000 soldiers. That ended in 2004 when NATO transferred this function to theEuropean Union.

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NATO: Definition, Purpose, History, Members

Member states of NATO – Wikipedia

FlagMapEnglish common and formal names[6][7][8]Domestic common and formal names[6][7]Capital[8][9][10]Date of accession[11]Population[a][12]Area[a][13]NotesAlbania[i]

Republic of Albania

Albanian: Tiran

Kingdom of Belgium

French: Belgique Royaume de Belgique

German: Belgien Knigreich Belgien

Dutch: Brussel

French: Bruxelles

German: Brssel

Republic of Bulgaria

Bulgarian: (Sofia)

French: Canada

Republic of Croatia

Croatian: Zagreb

Czech Republic

Czech: Praha

Kingdom of Denmark

Danish: Kbenhavn

Republic of Estonia

Estonian: Tallinn

French Republic

French: Paris

Federal Republic of Germany

German: Berlin

Hellenic Republic

Greek: (Athna)

Hungarian: Budapest

Republic of Iceland

Icelandic: Reykjavk

Italian Republic

Italian: Roma

Republic of Latvia

Latvian: Rga

Republic of Lithuania

Lithuanian: Vilnius

Grand Duchy of Luxembourg

French: Luxembourg Grand-Duch de Luxembourg

German: Luxemburg Groherzogtum Luxemburg

Luxembourgish: Ltzebuerg

French: Luxembourg

German: Luxemburg

Montenegrin: , Podgorica

Kingdom of the Netherlands

West Frisian: Nederln Keninkryk fan de Nederlannen

Papiamento: Hulandu Reino di Hulanda

The Hague (seat of government)

Dutch: Amsterdam

West Frisian: Amsterdam

Papiamento: Amsterdam

Dutch: 's-Gravenhage / Den Haag

West Frisian: De Haach

Papiamento: Den Haag

Kingdom of Norway

Nynorsk: Noreg Kongeriket Noreg

Northern Sami: Norga Norgga gonagasriika

Norwegian: Oslo

Republic of Poland

Polish: Warszawa

Portuguese Republic

Portuguese: Lisboa

Romanian: Bucureti

Slovak Republic

Slovak: Bratislava

Republic of Slovenia

Slovene: Ljubljana

Kingdom of Spain

Spanish: Madrid

Republic of Turkey

Turkish: Ankara

United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

Welsh: Deyrnas Unedig Teyrnas Unedig Prydain Fawr a Gogledd Iwerddon

United States of America

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Member states of NATO - Wikipedia

Formation of Nato – Purpose, Dates & Cold War – HISTORY


In 1949, the prospect of further Communist expansion prompted the United States and 11 other Western nations to form the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). The Soviet Union and its affiliated Communist nations in Eastern Europe founded a rival alliance, the Warsaw Pact, in 1955. The alignment of nearly every European nation into one of the two opposing camps formalized the political division of the European continent that had taken place since World War II (1939-45). This alignment provided the framework for the military standoff that continued throughout the Cold War (1945-91).

Conflict between the Western nations (including the United States, Great Britain, France and other countries) and the Communist Eastern bloc (led by the Union of Soviet Socialists Republics or USSR) began almost as soon as the guns fell silent at the end of World War II (1939-45). The USSR oversaw the installation of pro-Soviet governments in many of the areas it had taken from the Nazis during the war. In response, the U.S. and its Western allies sought ways to prevent further expansion of Communist influence on the European continent. In 1947, U.S. leaders introduced the Marshall Plan, a diplomatic initiative that provided aid to friendly nations to help them rebuild their war-damaged infrastructures and economies.

Did you know? NATO continued its existence beyond the Cold War era and gained new member nations in Eastern Europe during the late 1990s. That development was not well received by leaders of the Russian Federation and became a source of post-Cold War tension between the East and the West.

Events of the following year prompted American leaders to adopt a more militaristic stance toward the Soviets. In February 1948, a coup sponsored by the Soviet Union overthrew the democratic government of Czechoslovakia and brought that nation firmly into the Communist camp. Within a few days, U.S. leaders agreed to join discussions aimed at forming a joint security agreement with their European allies. The process gained new urgency in June of that year, when the USSR cut off ground access to Berlin, forcing the U.S., Britain and France to airlift supplies to their sectors of the German city, which had been partitioned between the Western Allies and the Soviets following World War II.

The discussions between the Western nations concluded on April 4, 1949, when the foreign ministers of 12 countries in North America and Western Europe gathered in Washington, D.C., to sign the North Atlantic Treaty. It was primarily a security pact, with Article 5 stating that a military attack against any of the signatories would be considered an attack against them all. When U.S. Secretary of State Dean Acheson (1893-1971) put his signature on the document, it reflected an important change in American foreign policy. For the first time since the 1700s, the U.S. had formally tied its security to that of nations in Europethe continent that had served as the flash point for both world wars.

The original membership of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) consisted of Belgium, Britain, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal and the United States. NATO formed the backbone of the Wests military bulwark against the USSR and its allies for the next 40 years, with its membership growing larger over the course of the Cold War era. Greece and Turkey were admitted in 1952, the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) in 1955 and Spain in 1982. Unhappy with its role in the organization, France opted to withdraw from military participation in NATO in 1966 and did not return until 1995.

The formation of the Warsaw Pact was in some ways a response to the creation of NATO, although it did not occur until six years after the Western alliance came into being. It was more directly inspired by the rearming of West Germany and its admission into NATO in 1955. In the aftermath of World War I and World War II, Soviet leaders felt very apprehensive about Germany once again becoming a military powera concern that was shared by many European nations on both sides of the Cold War divide.

In the mid-1950s, however, the U.S. and a number of other NATO members began to advocate making West Germany part of the alliance and allowing it to form an army under tight restrictions. The Soviets warned that such a provocative action would force them to make new security arrangements in their own sphere of influence, and they were true to their word. West Germany formally joined NATO on May 5, 1955, and the Warsaw Pact was signed less than two weeks later, on May 14. Joining the USSR in the alliance were Albania, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, the German Democratic Republic (East Germany), Hungary, Poland and Romania. This lineup remained constant until the Cold War ended with the dismantling of all the Communist governments in Eastern Europe in 1989 and 1990.

Like NATO, the Warsaw Pact focused on the objective of creating a coordinated defense among its member nations in order to deter an enemy attack. There was also an internal security component to the agreement that proved useful to the USSR. The alliance provided a mechanism for the Soviets to exercise even tighter control over the other Communist states in Eastern Europe and deter pact members from seeking greater autonomy. When Soviet leaders found it necessary to use military force to put down revolts in Hungary in 1956 and in Czechoslovakia in 1968, for example, they presented the action as being carried out by the Warsaw Pact rather than by the USSR alone.

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Formation of Nato - Purpose, Dates & Cold War - HISTORY

NSO > Home – natoschool.nato.int

By Ms. Liliana Serban, ROU-CIV,Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) Course Director/ Liaison Officer

On 17 Oct 19, the NATO School Oberammergau (NSO), together with the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS), Monterey, USA, concluded the second cyber security course at the NATO-Istanbul Cooperation Initiative (ICI) Regional Centre in Kuwait.

The first course, Introduction to Network Security, held from 24 Mar to 04 Apr 19, was followed by an Introduction to Network Vulnerability Assessment & Risk Mitigation, from 06 to 17 Oct 19. The courses were organised under the auspices of the NATO Science for Peace and Security (SPS) Programme and brought together 40 IT specialists, network security administrators, technicians and engineers from different governmental agencies representing all the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries.

These tailor-made courses are aimed at strengthening the ties between the countries in the Gulf region and NATO and at developing local cyber expertise by addressing the bits-in-transit aspect of network security and potential vulnerabilities and their mitigation in networked systems.

"The security and stability of the region heavily depend on reliable cyber infrastructure, and these courses represent a significant added value to NATOs efforts on projecting stability to the South of the Alliance", underlined Colonel Brian Hill, USA-AF, the NSO Dean of Academics, in his closing remarks.

Inaugurated in Jan 17, the NATO-ICI Regional Centre is the hub for education, training, and other cooperation activities between NATO and its ICI partners in the Gulf, including Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

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NSO > Home - natoschool.nato.int

Milestones: 19451952 – Office of the Historian

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization was created in 1949 by the United States, Canada, and several Western European nations to provide collective security against the Soviet Union.

Signing of the NATO Treaty

NATO was the first peacetime military alliance the United States entered into outside of the Western Hemisphere. After the destruction of the Second World War, the nations of Europe struggled to rebuild their economies and ensure their security. The former required a massive influx of aid to help the war-torn landscapes re-establish industries and produce food, and the latter required assurances against a resurgent Germany or incursions from the Soviet Union. The United States viewed an economically strong, rearmed, and integrated Europe as vital to the prevention of communist expansion across the continent. As a result, Secretary of State George Marshall proposed a program of large-scale economic aid to Europe. The resulting European Recovery Program, or Marshall Plan, not only facilitated European economic integration but promoted the idea of shared interests and cooperation between the United States and Europe. Soviet refusal either to participate in the Marshall Plan or to allow its satellite states in Eastern Europe to accept the economic assistance helped to reinforce the growing division between east and west in Europe.

In 19471948, a series of events caused the nations of Western Europe to become concerned about their physical and political security and the United States to become more closely involved with European affairs. The ongoing civil war in Greece, along with tensions in Turkey, led President Harry S. Truman to assert that the United States would provide economic and military aid to both countries, as well as to any other nation struggling against an attempt at subjugation. A Soviet-sponsored coup in Czechoslovakia resulted in a communist government coming to power on the borders of Germany. Attention also focused on elections in Italy as the communist party had made significant gains among Italian voters. Furthermore, events in Germany also caused concern. The occupation and governance of Germany after the war had long been disputed, and in mid-1948, Soviet premier Joseph Stalin chose to test Western resolve by implementing a blockade against West Berlin, which was then under joint U.S., British, and French control but surrounded by Soviet-controlled East Germany. This Berlin Crisis brought the United States and the Soviet Union to the brink of conflict, although a massive airlift to resupply the city for the duration of the blockade helped to prevent an outright confrontation. These events caused U.S. officials to grow increasingly wary of the possibility that the countries of Western Europe might deal with their security concerns by negotiating with the Soviets. To counter this possible turn of events, the Truman Administration considered the possibility of forming a European-American alliance that would commit the United States to bolstering the security of Western Europe.

Signing of the Brussels Treaty

The Western European countries were willing to consider a collective security solution. In response to increasing tensions and security concerns, representatives of several countries of Western Europe gathered together to create a military alliance. Great Britain, France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg signed the Brussels Treaty in March, 1948. Their treaty provided collective defense; if any one of these nations was attacked, the others were bound to help defend it. At the same time, the Truman Administration instituted a peacetime draft, increased military spending, and called upon the historically isolationist Republican Congress to consider a military alliance with Europe. In May of 1948, Republican Senator Arthur H. Vandenburg proposed a resolution suggesting that the President seek a security treaty with Western Europe that would adhere to the United Nations charter but exist outside of the Security Council where the Soviet Union held veto power. The Vandenburg Resolution passed, and negotiations began for the North Atlantic Treaty.

In spite of general agreement on the concept behind the treaty, it took several months to work out the exact terms. The U.S. Congress had embraced the pursuit of the international alliance, but it remained concerned about the wording of the treaty. The nations of Western Europe wanted assurances that the United States would intervene automatically in the event of an attack, but under the U.S. Constitution the power to declare war rested with Congress. Negotiations worked toward finding language that would reassure the European states but not obligate the United States to act in a way that violated its own laws. Additionally, European contributions to collective security would require large-scale military assistance from the United States to help rebuild Western Europes defense capabilities. While the European nations argued for individual grants and aid, the United States wanted to make aid conditional on regional coordination. A third issue was the question of scope. The Brussels Treaty signatories preferred that membership in the alliance be restricted to the members of that treaty plus the United States. The U.S. negotiators felt there was more to be gained from enlarging the new treaty to include the countries of the North Atlantic, including Canada, Iceland, Denmark, Norway, Ireland, and Portugal. Together, these countries held territory that formed a bridge between the opposite shores of the Atlantic Ocean, which would facilitate military action if it became necessary.

President Truman inspecting a tank produced under the Mutual Defense Assistance Program

The result of these extensive negotiations was the signing of the North Atlantic Treaty in 1949. In this agreement, the United States, Canada, Belgium, Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Luxemburg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, and the United Kingdom agreed to consider attack against one an attack against all, along with consultations about threats and defense matters. This collective defense arrangement only formally applied to attacks against the signatories that occurred in Europe or North America; it did not include conflicts in colonial territories. After the treaty was signed, a number of the signatories made requests to the United States for military aid. Later in 1949, President Truman proposed a military assistance program, and the Mutual Defense Assistance Program passed the U.S. Congress in October, appropriating some $1.4 billion dollars for the purpose of building Western European defenses.

Soon after the creation of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the outbreak of the Korean War led the members to move quickly to integrate and coordinate their defense forces through a centralized headquarters. The North Korean attack on South Korea was widely viewed at the time to be an example of communist aggression directed by Moscow, so the United States bolstered its troop commitments to Europe to provide assurances against Soviet aggression on the European continent. In 1952, the members agreed to admit Greece and Turkey to NATO and added the Federal Republic of Germany in 1955. West German entry led the Soviet Union to retaliate with its own regional alliance, which took the form of the Warsaw Treaty Organization and included the Soviet satellite states of Eastern Europe as members.

The collective defense arrangements in NATO served to place the whole of Western Europe under the American nuclear umbrella. In the 1950s, one of the first military doctrines of NATO emerged in the form of massive retaliation, or the idea that if any member was attacked, the United States would respond with a large-scale nuclear attack. The threat of this form of response was meant to serve as a deterrent against Soviet aggression on the continent. Although formed in response to the exigencies of the developing Cold War, NATO has lasted beyond the end of that conflict, with membership even expanding to include some former Soviet states. It remains the largest peacetime military alliance in the world.

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Milestones: 19451952 - Office of the Historian

LAWSON: NATO’s 70th anniversary marks a decisive moment for its future – University of Virginia The Cavalier Daily

Earlier this week, President Donald Trump and other world leaders convened in London for a NATO summit commemorating the military alliances 70th anniversary. As predicted, Trump focused his attention on many member countries failure to devote 2 percent of their GDP to national defense a financial obligation for participants in the alliance. The tense meeting came to a tumultuous end on Wednesday, after footage of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau mocking Trump with European leaders came to light. Trumps abrupt cancellation of the summits closing news conference, and his denunciation of Trudeau as two-faced, are revealing of the deep-seated disjointedness in the organization.

The aggravation of longstanding problems with NATOs solidarity, going back to its founding, threatens its future in a decisive period for the worlds balance of power. In order to counter mounting military threats from adversaries like China and Russia, NATO must reevaluate its collective goals and commitments.

From its founding in 1949, NATO has been one of the most effective international alliances in modern history. It was devised by Western powers in response to rising Soviet influence in Europe, and has been financially and strategically bulwarked by the United States ever since. For 42 years, the organization created a period of strained coexistence between the worlds competing hegemons in all likelihood, preventing a nuclear conflict. When the threat that prompted its conception disintegrated in 1991, NATO struggled to reorient and coordinate its unifying objective in an entirely new geopolitical environment. Beginning with the Clinton administration, the alliance has experienced a gradual recession from global prominence politically, militarily and financially.

Despite Trumps rhetorical attacks on the organization and its member states, however, American commitment to NATO remains disproportionately firm. Almost 70 percent of national defense spending is supplied by the United States, well over the 2 percent GDP threshold set for member states at 3.4 percent of the U.S.s GDP. In the past three years, the U.S. has significantly raised the budget for the European Defense Initiative, pledged to increase its military presence in Poland and headed the effort to counter Iranian aggression in international waterways. At its creation, the United States asymmetrical power and financial responsibility in NATO was a way to help weakened European countries counter a growing military threat from the Soviet Bloc with the implication that European members would eventually uphold their end of the deal. Even as Western Europe has accumulated wealth over the past 70 years, it has never set about fulfilling this task.

As the United States seeks to displace the financial burden of NATO on its allies, it faces increased criticism. Leading up to last weeks summit, French President Emmanuel Macron called into question Americas willingness to contribute to the alliances collective defense, stating, What we are currently experiencing is the brain death of NATO. His statements from last month came in response to Trumps decision to pull U.S. forces out of northern Syria, leaving the Syrian Kurds vulnerable to a Turkish offensive. To President Macron, Americas abrupt decision signalled the decline in U.S. collaboration with its transatlantic allies.

However, the real failures of NATO arise not due to a lack of coordination across the Atlantic, but due to the disjuncture between its European member states. Since the organizations founding, France has sought to cultivate European unity by propagating hostility toward American influence. Overall, these efforts have been ineffective because of Frances inability to estimate the goals of its European neighbors. Macron advocates for the creation of an independent European army under its lead, but disregards the aims of Germany which would be primarily responsible for financing the project. And far from rallying Europe under a common cause, Macrons comments about NATOs brain death at the hands of the U.S. have provoked harsh criticism from German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

NATO is at a crossroads. Although many of the issues it faces have plagued the organization for decades, the exacerbation of these tensions could lead to the downfall of the worlds most effective defensive alliance. This breakdown would coincide with rising threats to international security from China, Russia and terrorist organizations in the Middle East. To restore the transatlantic alliance to its former prominence, the U.S. must play a leading role in establishing consensus among member states. It must set collective goals for the organization and promote mutual investment from countries not paying their dues. NATOs challenges extend beyond the trivial spats of world leaders, and must be met with corresponding commitment.

Charlotte Lawson is an Opinion Columnist for The Cavalier Daily. She can be reached at opinion@cavalierdaily.com.

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LAWSON: NATO's 70th anniversary marks a decisive moment for its future - University of Virginia The Cavalier Daily

Stop The Madness of NATO Expansion Breaking Defense – Defense industry news, analysis and commentary – Breaking Defense

Secretary Pompeo meets with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, in Brussels in December 2018.

Little noticed amid the controversies President Trump sparked at the recent NATO summit, the United States will support North Macedonias membership in the NATO alliance. Although fewer than one in 100 Americans could find North Macedonia on a map, the United States will pledge its entire arsenal of ground, air, naval, and even nuclear capabilities to defend North Macedonia. In return, North Macedonia cant provide much. It has only 12,000 troops in its armed forces, using old equipment and possessing little military capability.

Its time to stop NATO expansion. A larger NATO embroils the United States in obscure regional disputes, commits it to defend exposed countries, and unnecessarily antagonizes the Russians. By incorporating weak states with short democratic histories, expansion also undermines public support for NATO, one of the worlds most successful military alliances.

Mark Cancian

NATO expansion began at the end of the Cold War, bringing the former Communist states of eastern Europe into the Western alliance. This made a lot of sense for countries like Poland, the former Czechoslovakia, Hungary and Romania. But the process kept going, incorporating countries progressively weaker and closer to Russia. NATO came to be regarded like the United Nations, where broad membership was desirable, and anyone could join after meeting some minimal requirements. Thats how the Baltic countries of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania and Balkan countries like Montenegro, Albania, and Croatia were able to join.

Lost in the good feelings of expansion was the alliances purpose: military security. Extending NATOs security guarantee to the Baltic countries, for example, later created a major new military challenge to prevent a Russian incursion. Meeting this challenge required greatly expanded deployments to Eastern Europe and billions of dollars of additional spending. Yet, expansion continues. At the 2018 Brussels Summit, the alliance invited the Republic of North Macedonia to begin talks to join NATO.On November 22 the U.S. Senate voted 91-2, with virtually no debate, to approve the accession.

North Macedonia is not a bad country. It has transformed itself from a communist economy and polity and has contributed troops to NATO. However, incorporating it into NATO creates several problems.

First, eastern expansion angers Russia. When the Cold War ended, Russia believed it was promised that NATO would not expand eastward. Whether the United States made such a promise is still hotly debated. What is clear is that Russia believes NATO made the promise. Now Russia sees a hostile NATO increasingly squeezing its periphery. It notes that, except for Belarus, NATO with its client state Ukraine is today at the Wehrmacht front line of 1942. That NATO might someday launch an attack on Russia seems ludicrous to us. NATO has a hard time agreeing on anything. If the United States said the weather was partly sunny, the French would say it was partly cloudy just to show they were an independent force. Russia, however, looks at military capability, not intentions, and sees an existential threat.

Source: DIA, current as of Oct. 2018

Expansion also inflames anti-NATO sentiment by feeding skepticism about its benefits. One of the strongest arguments for the alliance is that it is better to have lots of rich, powerful allies when facing threats. Adding weak nations undermines this argument. Thus, President Trump has regularly criticized NATO as a bad deal for the United States while French President Emmanuel Macron has called NATO brain-dead.Finally, expansion incorporates countries with short and shallow democratic traditions. North Macedonia, like the newly added NATO countries of Croatia, Montenegro, and Albania, has made great strides in improving governance, for which they all deserve credit, but they lack the robust institutions that justify military burdens to NATO publics.

Someday this over-expansion will produce a crisis. Perhaps the crisis will arise from an intra-NATO dispute; perhaps from a local dispute that involves, for example, long-standing tensions between Serbia and its NATO neighbors Croatia or North Macedonia; or perhaps the treatment of an ethnic minority like Russians in the Baltic countries.

If dragged into messy conflicts in which they have few interests, countries may come to openly question the entire NATO project and endanger a key element of European, indeed, global stability.

NATO needs to draw the line now. Behind North Macedonia are nearly 20 other partners who might also want to join NATO. And who can blame them. By joining NATO they gain security and status at little cost. Stopping expansion does not mean abandoning the many partner countries working with NATO. They can remain as partners, participating in military training and diplomatic coordination, but without the security commitment that is so costly to the United States and irritating to Russia.

Mark Cancian, a member of the Breaking D Board of Contributors and former senior OMB official, is a defense expert at theCenter forStrategic andInternational Studies.

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Stop The Madness of NATO Expansion Breaking Defense - Defense industry news, analysis and commentary - Breaking Defense

Senate committee passes bipartisan bill to stop Trump withdrawing from Nato – The Guardian

Legislation to stop Donald Trump from withdrawing the US from Nato has been approved for a Senate vote, amid uncertainty over the presidents intentions towards the alliance.

The Senate foreign relations committee on Wednesday voted unanimously for the bipartisan bill which will now await a slot to go to the Senate. Senator Tim Kaine, the draft legislations lead Democratic sponsor, said it was a response to fears that the Trump administration is actively considering withdrawal.

Were aware that it has been seriously debated and seriously considered in the White House at the highest levels, Kaine told the Guardian. Trumps former national security adviser, John Bolton, reportedly warned last month that, if re-elected in 2020, Trump could go full isolationist and withdraw from the 70-year-old North Atlantic alliance.

Kaine predicted his bill to block a Nato withdrawal would gain overwhelming support from the House of Representatives and win a veto-proof majority in the upper chamber of at least 67 votes.

I dont think [Trump] would veto this bill if it came to his desk because of the signal that it would send would be such an unfortunate one, Kaine told the Guardian. It would be seen as so destabilizing by our allies that I dont think he would do it. And furthermore, I dont think the president would veto a bill if he thought hes going to be overridden, and I think he would be overridden on this one.

The bill aims to close a loophole in the US constitution, which requires a two-thirds vote in the Senate to ratify a treaty, but is silent on what it takes to exit a treaty. Kaines bill requires the president to seek the advice and consent of the Senate to pull the US out of Nato. The president would have to notify Congress of any effort taken towards termination of US membership, and any no congressionally mandated funds could be spent on withdrawal. Congressional legal counsel would be authorized to challenge the White House in the courts over any presidential attempt to withdraw.

It specifies clearly, that the the law of the land will now be that a president cannot withdraw from Nato absent a congressional vote, Kaine said. So he could announce he was withdrawing, but that would be an illegal action, and we would feel completely confident that a court would uphold us.

Trump has raised doubt over whether he would order the US to fight if certain Nato allies were attacked, as required by article 5 of the alliances founding document. The president has suggested that collective defence should be made conditional on member states meeting the alliance goal of spending at least 2% of GDP on defence.

At a leaders meeting to mark the 70th anniversary of Nato in the UK earlier this month, Trump defended Nato against criticism from the French president, Emmanuel Macron, but did little to allay fears that he did not fear bound by Natos collective defence obligations.

We may not change Donald Trumps minds about these things. But I think what our allies are looking for is some assurance that the American public still finds value in the alliance, Senator Kaine said. And I think a bill like this, in addition to having some practical effect, would start to answer that question positively.

Constanze Stelzenmueller, the Kissinger chair on foreign policy and international relations at the Library of Congress, said the legislation, if passed, might go some way to steadying European nerves ahead of the 2020 US elections.

For Europeans, its reassuring to know that there is support for Nato in Congress, Stelzenmueller said. But there is also a sense in Europe that if, if there is a second Trump term, then all bets are off. Secondly, the more important issue is how Trump is already changing the world in ways that make Natos work obsolete or impossible.

She added: There is still a strong feeling in Europe that his default attitude to Nato has been a sense that this is a con that attempts to take advantage of America.

Officials from some European Nato members privately voice concerns that, whatever the views of the Congress, a reluctant US commander-in-chief raised doubts over whether the US would come to their defence in a crisis.

Kaine acknowledged that it was a novel dilemma.

Presidents have sometimes wanted to go to war and Congress has said no, but if youve hardly had a situation where Congress was wanting to go to war and a president said no, the Virginia senator said. You could potentially foresee that here, although frankly, my worry about this president is more that he will blunder us into a war we shouldnt be in.

Originally posted here:

Senate committee passes bipartisan bill to stop Trump withdrawing from Nato - The Guardian

NATO Conference Is Canceled After U.S. Ambassador Barred a Trump Critic – The New York Times

The United States ambassador to Denmark barred an American NATO expert critical of President Trump from speaking at an international conference hosted by the American embassy and a Danish think tank, prompting the events cancellation, organizers said.

The expert, Stanley R. Sloan, was scheduled to give a keynote speech at the conference, which was celebrating the 70th anniversary of NATO, on Tuesday.

Mr. Sloan, a visiting scholar at Middlebury College in Vermont, a fellow at the Atlantic Council and a former analyst for the Central Intelligence Agency, planned to speak about the future of trans-Atlantic relations.

One day before he was set to leave for Copenhagen, Mr. Sloan was informed that the United States Embassy in Copenhagen had vetoed his participation because of his previous criticisms of President Trump, Mr. Sloan said on Facebook on Saturday.

Carla Sands, the United States ambassador to Denmark, did not want Mr. Sloan to participate, and the Danish Atlantic Council had no other option than to revoke his invitation to speak, Lars Bangert Struwe, the secretary general of the council, said in a statement.

Mr. Sloan said the decision had left him stunned and concerned about our country.

On Sunday morning, Mr. Struwe canceled the NATO conference.

After serious consideration, we have decided not to proceed with the conference, he said on Twitter. The progress of the process has become too problematic; and therefore, we cannot participate in the conference, let alone ask our speakers to participate.

From a Danish point of view, the decision to bar Mr. Sloan would turn the conferences focus to internal American politics and away from the future of NATO, Mr. Struwe said in an interview on Sunday. There were 12 people scheduled to speak, and about 100 attendees were expected, he said.

We have all the time known that Mr. Sloan has a critical approach towards President Donald Trump, Mr. Struwe said in the statement. That is no secret, especially when following his Twitter and Facebook profile. We have, however, never doubted that Mr. Sloan at our conference would deliver an unpolitical and objective lecture.

In his book, Defense of the West, published in 2016, Mr. Sloan discussed the impact that the Trump administration could have on the deterioration of trans-Atlantic relations, given its questionable support for NATO, its relationship with Russia and its response to threats from the Islamic State.

The United States Embassy in Denmark in a series of tweets on Sunday said Mr. Sloan had been added to the program at the last minute without the same joint decision-making used in recruiting the other speakers.

The events cancellation was unfortunate, the embassy said, as it would have provided speakers and attendees an opportunity to exchange views and strengthen NATO for the future.

Mr. Sloan posted the speech he had prepared for the conference on Facebook, in which he thanked Ms. Sands for her expression of support for the democratic values that the alliance promotes.

Ms. Sands, who previously worked in the entrepreneurial, investment and philanthropic sectors, was confirmed by the Senate in 2017, according to the embassys website. She also served as a board member of several arts and education institutions in California and has a doctor of chiropractic degree from Life Chiropractic College, now Life University, in Marietta, Ga.

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NATO Conference Is Canceled After U.S. Ambassador Barred a Trump Critic - The New York Times

News: Another milestone in enhancing defence education in Afghanistan, 24-Nov.-2019 – NATO HQ

The 2019 Executive Senior Leaders Seminar (ESLS) took place at SHAPE and at NATO Headquarters from 24 to 29 November. Fourteen executive-level officials and practitioners representing Afghanistans defence sector ministries participated. This year, for the first time, three women delegates took part and gender integration in defence and society was one of the subjects on the agenda.

ESLS has been a component of the defence institution-building portfolio of NATOs Defence Education Enhancement Programme with Afghanistan since 2010. It brings carefully selected Afghan civilian and military officials together with experienced academics, subject matter experts and senior officials from NATO countries in the setting of NATOs strategic headquarters.

The Seminar is unique and achieves impressive results over time by focusing on building strategic thinking and practical skills at the senior leadership levels and within the Marshal Fahim National Defense University.

Delegates form interagency working groups in an academic setting that is firmly grounded in Afghanistans strategic and operational circumstances. The methodology includes historic case studies, lectures, Socratic dialogue, practical exercises, engagement with subject matter experts and presentations by the Afghan participants.

ESLS is more than an academic endeavour promoting how to think strategically. It also embraces practical reality and fosters professional relationships and intellectual operability among the Afghan participants and between NATO and Afghanistan.

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News: Another milestone in enhancing defence education in Afghanistan, 24-Nov.-2019 - NATO HQ

Turmoil at the NATO Summit Should Be a Wake-Up Call for Trump | Ivan Eland – The Beacon

Ivan Eland Thursday December 12, 2019 11:23 AM PST

Last weeks brief NATO celebratory summit meeting for the alliances seventieth anniversary displayed tumult and dysfunction. Three of NATOs crucial players proceeded to roil the proceedings. And such disruption is not all bad.

Before the meeting, French President Emmanuel Macronfurious at President Trumps lack of coordination with NATO allies in the U.S. troop pullback in Syria and other instanceslamented that NATO had suffered brain death, a clear jab at the alleged lack of U.S. leadership under Trump, and renewed his call for Europeans to augment their own alternative military capabilities. Unsurprisingly, Trump took personal umbrage at this remark aimed clearly at him, replying that Macrons comment was very insulting. Also, the two NATO allies got into a bilateral trade tussle that threatened to expand Trumps international trade war to yet another country.

Trumps The United States always get screwed complaint was also again heard in alliance burden-sharing, as the NATO bureaucracy crowed about alliance members contributing an added $130 billion in defense spending since 2016curiously the year that Trump was elected. The alliances effort to mollify Trump comes after previous summits in which he declined to reaffirm NATOs Article 5 mutual defense commitment and threatened that he might withdraw from the alliance unless other members stepped up their defense spending.

Meanwhile, the third recalcitrant alliance member, Turkey under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, held up a classified NATO military plan to defend the Baltic nations until NATO assumes tougher language against U.S.-allied Kurds in Syria, whom the Turks regard as terrorists. The Turks also bought an advanced Russian air defense system, which the U.S. claims could compromise the F-35 fighter. As a result, U.S. export of the aircraft to Turkey and Turkish production of parts for the plane both have been frozen.

NATO was originally created to counter the Soviet Union during the Cold War, but after that ended, the alliance became a fig leaf for U.S. military interventions outside Europe, so they wouldnt seem unilateralfor example, in Afghanistan. The formidable Soviet tank army in central Europe has long resided in the dustbin of history, but the alliance just moved forward to Russias contracted borders while the Russians were weak in the initial years after the Cold War. Despite Trumps lukewarm rhetoric toward the alliance, U.S. troop deployments in Europe have been rising.

Although the threat from Russias undemocratic leader, Vladimir Putin, has been overhyped in the media, Russias military, except for its modernizing nuclear arsenal, is patchy at best in quality and would not, in most cases, be any match for the U.S. military. The exception might be in the Baltics, where Russia would have local superiority in its own back yard and NATO would have long, vulnerable supply lines. In addition, the U.S. Navy would not be happy about operating aircraft carriers in the confined waters of the Baltic Sea. So maybe the Turkish freeze on the NATO plans to defend the Baltic nations is not all bad. However, by foolishly letting the Baltics into NATO, the United States de facto obligated itself to lead an alliance in defense of them, approved plans or not.

President Trump has intimated here and there that it might be time for the U.S. to withdraw from the NATO alliance. French President Macron is either trying to use this U.S. unreliability to become the leader of a European substitute for NATO or is trying to shame the United States to reassume its leadership role in the alliance. Macron correctly has implicitly concluded that the Russian menace has been hyped because he said terrorism was the worst threat, which international law enforcement is a better tool against than is a military alliance. However, for once, Trump is right that the United States has not gotten much in political or economic concessions from the Europeans for pledging to defend them all these decades. However, Trumps solution to bully them into increasing their defense budgets is not the answer.

The answer is a long-overdue U.S. reassessment of what a Cold War-era alliance is now good for. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said the preservation of NATO is as important, or more important than during the Cold War. Yet, although Putin invaded Crimea, the rich Europeans, with a combined GDP many times greater than that of Russia, could be the first line of defense against any Russian mischief. The United States could instead be the offshore balancer of last resort, the more traditional pre-Cold War U.S. policy used effectively during World Wars I and II. The main threats from Russia are the potential for a nuclear or cyber attack, neither of which the NATO alliance is well equipped to counter and the latter of which the last two presidential administrationsTrump and Obamahave failed to do much of anything about.

Trump was originally on the right track, questioning NATOs long-term relevance, but the resulting outrage from the U.S. security establishment has made him content with merely rattling a cup for a few more coins from his European allies.

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Turmoil at the NATO Summit Should Be a Wake-Up Call for Trump | Ivan Eland - The Beacon

NATO conference canceled after US ambassador Carla Sands blocks speaker critical of Trump – USA TODAY

President Donald Trump said that French President Emmanuel Macrons recent comments about NATO were very insulting. USA TODAY

A conference celebrating the 70th anniversary of NATO was canceled after the U.S. ambassador to Denmark, Carla Sands, objected to a speaker who has made statements critical of President Donald Trump, the Danish think tank co-sponsoring the event announced Sunday.

Stanley Sloan, a former CIA analyst and author of "Defense of the West,"had planned to deliver an address on the challenges facing the transatlantic alliance, and the West in general, at the conference, which was scheduled to take place Tuesday at the U.S. Embassy in Copenhagen.

A day before Sloan left for Denmark, he said he was informed by the Danish Atlantic Council thatthe U.S. Embassy "vetoed my participation due to my critical evaluation of Trump's impact on transatlantic relations."

"Stunned and concerned about my country," Sloan said in a tweet.

The next day, the Danish Atlantic Council announced the conference had been canceled altogether.

U.S. Ambassador to Denmark Carla Sands arrives for the New Year reception for the diplomacy at Christiansborg Castle, Denmark, Jan. 3, 2019.(Photo: Philip Davali, AP)

"We have all the time known that Mr. Sloan has a critical approach towards President Donald Trump. That is no secret especially when following his Twitter and Facebook profile," the Danish Atlantic Council Secretary-General Lars Bangert Struwe said in a statement.

But Struwe said they "never doubted" that Sloan "would deliver an unpolitical and objective lecture," as he promised he would.

When Sands objected to Sloan's appearance, Struwe said the council decided to pull the plug on the event because "the process has become too problematic."

In a series of tweets, the U.S. Embassy said it "supports freedom of speech as enshrined in the First Amendment" and that it was "unfortunate" the Danish Atlantic Council decided to cancel the conference.

"This event would have provided speakers and attendees an important opportunity to exchange views on security cooperation and strengthening #NATO for the future," the U.S. Embassy said.

The American officials objected to Sloan's "proposed last-minute inclusion in the program," which "did not follow the same deliberative process of joint decision-making and agreement that we followed when recruiting all other speakers."

But Struwe disputed that explanation and told The Washington Post that the U.S. Embassy, which was paying for the event, had not given any input on the other speakers.

"I'm sorry that you objected to my inclusion in the conference," Sloan tweeted in reply to the embassy. "I am an experienced public diplomacy lecturer who always represents his country well."

"I have given presentations during Republican and Democratic administrations that criticized to one degree or another administration policy," he said. "I have always praised the State Department for its willingness to display our freedoms to foreign audiences. I hope we can return to that."

Sloan posted the text of theaddress he had planned to give online. In the speech, he commendsSands for her "expression of support for the values on which the alliance is based as well as its strategic importance for both Demark and the United States."

And he planned to say the "current crisis" facing NATO "did not start with Donald Trump, even though he certainly has brought it to a head."

Sands is an entrepreneur,former chiropractor and former actress who appeared in the soap opera "The Bold and the Beautiful." She was appointed ambassador to Denmark by Trump and was approved by the Senate in November 2017.


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NATO conference canceled after US ambassador Carla Sands blocks speaker critical of Trump - USA TODAY

Getting Out of the NATO Nuclear Task Would Not Increase Dutch Security – War on the Rocks

Do the U.S. nuclear weapons deployed in the Netherlands keep the country safe, or do they make it the target of Russian nuclear forces? For some, the answer is obvious. One nongovernmental organization, PAX, has recently put out a report calling on the Dutch government not to allow the deployment of modernized American B61 bombs on Dutch territory. It argues that the [r]emoval of US nuclear weapons on our territory reduces the chance that the Netherlands will become a military target of preventive or retaliation attacks. This argument is not new. One of the first petitions with the same argument was launched by the Dutch Peace Council, with support from the Dutch communists, in 1958.

The argument to remove American nukes from the Netherlands is seductive, but its wrong. The Netherlands is a target of Russia because of its strategic location and its position as NATOs logistics hub. Thanks to its geography, the Netherlands has key relevance for NATO in case of future conflict. As long as the Netherlands remains a member of NATO (which even PAX supports), the country will be in Moscows crosshairs. As a recent report by the Dutch governments independent Advisory Council on International Affairs spelled out, the Netherlands continues to host U.S. nuclear weapons because successive governments have considered nuclear weapons to be a crucial part of NATO deterrence and defence. Furthermore, unilaterally giving up this task might lead to their transfer farther east within the alliance, which could be interpreted as provocative by Russia. Withdrawing U.S. nuclear weapons would not make the Netherlands safer, and would add instability to NATO at a time when that is the last thing it needs.

U.S. Nuclear Weapons in the Netherlands

American nuclear weapons have been deployed in the Netherlands since April 1960. At present, 1020 nuclear weapons are believed to be deployed to Volkel Air Base. Similar to the arrangements in other European countries that host American nuclear forces Belgium, Germany, Italy, and Turkey U.S. nuclear weapons deployed in the Netherlands are under the custody of the U.S. government. The U.S. president holds the control over their use in war situations. However, they would be delivered by Dutch dual-capable F-16 fighter aircraft flown by the Dutch airmen.

Yet the Dutch government aware of the strong anti-nuclear feelings among the Dutch, especially among civil society has never confirmed the presence of the nuclear weapons in the Netherlands. The parliament remains active on the issue of nuclear disarmament more broadly, and the societal relevance drives the continuing interest in nuclear disarmament. Therefore, whenever the Dutch government wants to even approach talking about the issue of nuclear weapons deployed in the Netherlands, it talks of either the NATO nuclear task or the dual-capable aircraft.

Most recently, the Netherlands justified its nuclear policy by arguing that NATOs deterrent contributed to stability and predictability in Europe. The cabinet also argued that while removal of non-strategic nuclear weapons from Europe (from the Atlantic Ocean till the Ural Mountains) is desirable, unilateral withdrawal of the U.S. nuclear weapons from Europe is politically and militarily imprudent. It added that future disarmament steps (including the withdrawal of non-strategic nuclear weapons from Europe) must be complete, mutual, verifiable and irreversible, and pointed to the unwillingness of Russia and other states possessing nuclear weapons to take such steps. This view clearly places U.S. non-strategic nuclear weapons within discussions about global arms control and nuclear disarmament.

What the Netherlands Gets Out of Hosting U.S. Nuclear Weapons

The Dutch government hosts U.S. nuclear weapons for political, economic, and strategic reasons. In the early years of the Cold War, the Dutch feared becoming a second-class ally and were deeply distrustful of schemes for a European deterrent between France, Italy, and Germany, as they saw it as opening doors to French hegemony over Europe. The obvious solution was, for the Dutch, to seek as close ties with the United States as possible. The stationing of U.S. nuclear weapons was a means to cement its relationship with Washington. The Dutch government was committed to rebuilding the armed forces after World War II, but it faced economic headwinds. Hosting Americas nuclear deterrent provided an option to save on defense expenditure.

A strategic rationale was also clear the NATO plan to defend Western Europe along the Rhine-IJssel line meant that the Netherlands would be divided into two in case of conflict. As a result, about two-thirds of the Netherlands would be left undefended from an invading Soviet army. This caused significant unease in The Hague. The deployment of nuclear weapons in the Netherlands, according to Dutch scholar Jan van der Harst, was seen by the Dutch political and military elite as moving the battlefield away from the Netherlands toward Germany (where the incoming Soviet forces would be engaged using nuclear weapons) and making the country safe from the nuclear fallout.

Although the nature of the threat has changed since the end of the Cold War, some of the benefits remain the same for keeping the nuclear task. This is particularly true with respect to the political benefit of being seen as a first-class NATO member, with special responsibilities (and, presumably, rights) when it comes to the NATO nuclear mission. The Dutch government also emphasizes that continuous participation in the NATO nuclear task brings tangible benefits to Dutch businesses, and helps prop up niche expertise, such as the aerospace industry. Most fundamentally, however, the Dutch government sees the nuclear deterrent as fundamental to the maintenance of European and Dutch security. The government speaks of taking responsibility for its own security, but also of having an enhanced role in the arms control discussions. In this way, the government attempts to bridge the difference between difference between its commitments to and interests in disarmament and nonproliferation (also widespread in the public), and the security needs perceived at the top. If the Dutch government were to renounce the nuclear task, the thinking goes, then other NATO members closer to Russia could become interested in picking it up. Such a step would, according to the Dutch governments Advisory Council for International Affairs, be probably interpret[ed] as a serious provocation by Russia. Unnecessarily irking the Russians would not contribute to peace and security, seen from The Hague. The contribution to the NATO nuclear task is therefore seen as the lesser of two possible evils.

From the perspective of the United States, the purpose of stationing U.S. nuclear bombs in Europe is to reassure European allies that Washington remains committed to their security, prevent allies from developing their own nuclear weapons, and deter aggression against NATO allies. Yes, its true that the presence of American nuclear weapons in the Netherlands makes it a potential target for a Russian nuclear strike in case of a future conflict. However, the Netherlands would be a target regardless of the presence of U.S. nuclear weapons.

The Netherlands Would Be a Nuclear Target No Matter What

The chief reason the Netherlands would be a target is not a few bunkers at Volkel Air Base it is the port of Rotterdam. The port is a logistical hub for U.S. reinforcements in case of future conflict. American materiel is already being supplied to the whole of Europe via Rotterdam, because of the excellent logistical network that the port of Rotterdam, and the Dutch railway (and road) system, offer. In case of future conflict, this is likely to be the spot where the reinforcements would arrive. And therefore, whether the Netherlands hosts B61s or not, it would still be a target for a potential nuclear strike. Of course, there is a way out, which would be for the Netherlands to step out of NATO. However, that option is extremely unlikely in the foreseeable future.

While we do not have any information about the Soviet, or later Russian, nuclear targeting practices, we do know something about the American plans from the 1950s. American targets included many smaller cities in Soviet satellites that had nothing to do with the nuclear enterprise. They were simply targeted because they were Soviet allies with some industrial value. The Soviets did, however, plan for a nuclear attack on France in case of war with the West. As the Czech historian Petr Luk wrote in his book Plnovn nemyslitelnho (Planning the Unthinkable), Czechoslovak forces were meant to fight in a war on French territory in which the use of nuclear weapons was contemplated. This is important, because although the plans were drafted when France was a full member of NATO, they remained in force even after France withdrew from the NATO military command structure in 1966, and thus was not a member of NATOs nuclear planning group or of NATO defense planning. In a way, France sought to distance itself from the NATO military mission including the nuclear mission to an even greater extent than some propose than some propose for the Netherlands. Yet in case of war, this would not have helped the French, as the Eastern blocs military planners considered them still a legitimate target.

Current Russian nuclear targeting plans are, of course, unknown. However, theres no reason to think that Russia would spare the Netherlands if the Dutch government would only remove U.S. nuclear weapons from its territory. A new Russian missile, SSC-8, which Russia developed in violation of the now-dead Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, is exactly the type of equipment that can target strategic facilities such as the port of Rotterdam.

Conclusion: No Safer Disarmed

As long as the Netherlands remains a member of NATO, it will be a possible target in the event of a conflict with Russia. Since NATO membership is considered vital to Dutch security, leaving the alliance is a non-starter. Refusing to allow the United States to deploy nuclear weapons at Volkel or signing disarmament treaties like the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, as some suggest would not protect the country. The idealism of anti-nuclear activists is understandable, but it does not make them right. The Netherlands a small, vulnerable, but strategically essential country cannot wish away threats from Russia. Getting rid of U.S. nuclear weapons on Dutch soil, or signing a disarmament treaty, will not make the Netherlands safer.

Michal Onderco is Assistant Professor of International Relations at Erasmus University Rotterdam and associate at the Peace Research Center Prague. He writes on the politics of nuclear nonproliferation regime.

Image: U.S. Air Force

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Getting Out of the NATO Nuclear Task Would Not Increase Dutch Security - War on the Rocks

Emmanuel Macron’s Strategy With NATO and the EU Is Disruption – Foreign Policy

The last few weeks have seen a flurry of diplomatic activity and disruptive new rhetoric emerging from Paris. In a blunt and wide-ranging interview on the future of Europe last month, French President Emmanuel Macron said NATO was experiencing brain death, a few weeks after starting a new diplomatic initiative toward Russia to design a new architecture based on trust and security in Europe and opposing the opening of European Union accession talks to Albania and North Macedonia. Just a few days after last weeks NATO summit in London, Paris hosted the first summit in three years with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, to reignite peace talks about eastern Ukraine.

Why and how should Europeans respond to the French president? On trips over Europe in the last weeks, from Berlin to Budapest, Bratislava, and Athens, I repeatedly heard the same mixture of interest and puzzlement, if not outright distrust, about French intentions. Does the French president want to push the United States out of Europe? Is Macron trying to kill EU enlargement? Did he come to a secret agreement with Putin?

Europeans shouldnt read more than what Macron has actually said. Instead, they should seize Macrons comments as a provocationan opening bid intended to solicit their own views and red lines. Macron wants to seize Brexit and German paralysis as an opening for France to shake things up in Europe, but he knows he will need new partners. Macrons visionlike any ambitious proposalis riddled with blind spots that constructive partners can steer him away from. Europe should engage Macron to shape his agenda, rather than try to block or ignore him.

What is driving Emmanuel Macron? Traditional historical references are obsolete. Some have seen in Macrons NATO comments a resurgence of old-fashioned Gaullist nationalism or French anti-Americanism. But theres no way to reconcile that with Macrons history of campaigning with EU flags waving at his rallies and investing heavily in the relationship with U.S. President Donald Trump. Its no accident that France is the country that Trump has visited the most since his election, while Macron remains the only official state guest of the Trump presidency. The two men also led military strikes on Syria together. France is an active NATO member that General Mattis called Washingtons new partner of choice after Brexit. So much for anti-Americanism.

A closer reading of the Economist interview shows that Macrons main point was about Europe, not the NATO alliance. The French president is convinced Europeans are sleepwalking into strategic irrelevance, in a world dominated by the U.S.-China rivalry, where shifting U.S. priorities will move it away from areas critical to Europes interests. This is a shift that started before Trump and will likely outlast him.

Elected president on the ruins of a powerless French political establishment, Macron treats Brexit or the Trump election not as mere warnings or accidents but as symptoms of a fundamentally shifting international system in which Europe faces the threat of getting left behind. His bid for a sovereign Europe that protects its citizens is a direct response to the challenge. He believes Europe must make the case to its citizens that EU institutions can protect them from unruly migration waves, from terrorism, and from unfair international competition. Can Europe seize back the initiative from its adversaries and assume its power, control its borders, defend its economic interests, define the rules, make swift decisions: act like an actual polity?

The French presidents recent approach can be regarded as brutal and unilateral. Why the sudden change of tone, two and a half years into his presidency? In Paris, analysts and officials dont hesitate to clearly identify the culprit: Berlin. Early in his presidency, Macron invested heavily in the personal relationship with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, hoping that in her last term she would rise to the occasion and accept structural reforms to the EU, such as eurozone integration and stepped-up defense plans. The thinking was that Berlin would overcome its reluctance when it realized it had a partner in Paris willing to tackle structural reforms to the French economy, such as the famously rigid labor market or the pension system. The feeling in Paris is now one of betrayal: Not only did Berlin not follow through, it didnt even answer Macrons proposals in his Sorbonne speech on European sovereignty or his letter calling for renewal.

Thus the new method. Nothing in Europe moves without a crisis, so were engineering crises, someone familiar with the lyses thinking told me. Macron likely will continue seeking to disrupt the European status quo. The outcry provoked by his interview will no doubt convince him he has tapped into uncomfortable taboos and hypocrisies in need of dismantling. Despite the way Macron became an object of controversy during the most recent NATO summit, Paris believes it was a success. Macron was intent on forcing reflection on the future of the alliance, and thats what he got. Paris was especially pleased with NATOs format commitment to an expert panel to discuss the alliances future and the mention of terrorism as a threat in the summits final communique.

Similarly to its NATO provocations, France circulated a memo proposing a more gradual enlargement process a few days after opposing the opening of new enlargement talks with Albania and North Macedonia at the October European Council meeting. The proposal included more stringent conditions on the rule of law for applicant countries and the possibility to reverse the accession process given a lack of progress. If other EU member states wish to reopen the door to accession talks next spring, they should seriously examine and discuss Macrons proposals and make counterproposals of their own. While Frances partners rightly want to keep the EU open and engaged in its periphery and are eager to support North Macedonias courageous peace agreement with Greece, many EU officials also agree in private that the enlargement process had become too bureaucratic, running on autopilot. Candidate countries such as Serbia and Turkey had exposed the EUs ineffectual procedures by backsliding on democracy with little European reaction.

Other European countries should likewise reach out to Paris to shape Macrons renewed European agenda. Greece and Italy could seize on Macrons sovereignty rhetoric to ask for stronger support in carrying the burden of migration at the steps of the Mediterranean. Central and Eastern European countries could engage Macrons desire to rethink Europes security architecture, after the U.S. withdrawal from the INF treaty, by organizing a summit on the threats still posed by Russia and making clear their concerns over his attempt to engage Moscow. Instead of focusing on theological debates overs terms such as strategic autonomy or European pillar of NATOneither of which mean the same thing in Paris and Warsawthe debate could focus on developing actual capabilities and showing real solidarity.

France should itself take the lead here. If France thinks NATO is brain-dead, why doesnt it send troops to Poland to show Europeans can step up to defend each other? Frances relationship with Estonia could be a good precedent. While Estonian troops serve in Mali to fight al Qaeda, 200 French troops are stationed in rotation in Estonia within NATOs Enhanced Forward Presence.

Such steps could help assuage one of the blind spots in the French vision: its treatment of Central and Eastern Europe. French presidents since the fall of communism have generally shown little empathy for the historical experience of the nations that the writer Milan Kundera once called the kidnapped West. Macron has tried to assuage these tensions but comes with the baggage of his predecessors. A visit to Poland or Slovakia shows leaders have not forgotten then-French President Jacques Chiracs contemptuous Iraq War jab that they missed a good opportunity to shut up. Macrons opening to Russia, a long-term gamble to break the current impasse with Moscow, risks playing into that category. In a strong speech in Prague last week, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian showed a shift in tone, reckoning that France had to listen and understand and that different national memories must be at the heart of European integration. Central European elites should read the speech as an invitation to engage.

Macron is right: The EU needs to seriously look at itself and prepare to compete in the new world. Amid rising international tensions, rising nationalist forces, and an increasingly vulnerable EU, denial is not an option. But the way forward cant be a French vision of Europe or further unilateral measures. But to prevent that, others will have to step up. Presented with the choice between Berlins offer of stasis and Macrons offer of disruption, Europeans should embrace the disruption and shape it.

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Emmanuel Macron's Strategy With NATO and the EU Is Disruption - Foreign Policy

NATO needs to change to survive, analysts say – CNBC

Nato heads of government (front row L-R): Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, US President Donald Trump and Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (middle row L-R) France's President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban, Iceland's Prime Minister Katrin Jakobsdottir, (top row L-R) Netherland's Prime Minister Mark Rutte, Norway's Prime Minister Erna Solberg, Lithuania's Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis, Portugal's Prime Minister Antonio Costaa and Montenegro's Prime Minister Dusko Markovic pose for the family photo at the NATO summit at the Grove hotel in Watford, northeast of London on December 4, 2019.

ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images

LONDON As NATO members gather in the U.K. to celebrate 70 years since its inception, there are pressing questions about the organization's future and its relevance on the global landscape.

Leslie Vinjamuri, the head of the U.S. and the Americas Programme at think tank Chatham House, believes there will now be "several years of grappling" to reform the military alliance.

She added that one of the main issues is that the institution is not set up to deal with the current geopolitical landscape. NATO was created in the aftermath of World War II with the overall aim to protect its members against any threats posed by the Soviet Union.

But the rise of the world's second-largest economy, China, has posed new challenges to the West and trade and political tensions between Beijing and Washington have come to the fore in the last two years. The disagreements have involved the tech sector with the U.S. taking steps to ban the Chinese firm Huawei from selling its technology in the United States.

U.S. officials have expressed concern over the company's links to the Chinese government and the security threat it could pose something which the Shenzhen-based tech firm has denied. This issue has sparked division within NATO allies, with Germany and France taking a different stance to the U.S. administration.

"NATO is at a crossroads," Agathe Demarais, global forecasting director at the research firm The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), highlighted to CNBC Monday.

Meanwhile, French President Emmanuel Macron said in an interview published last month that the alliance was currently experiencing "brain death." His comments sparked a wave of criticism from other NATO countries and Trump told reporters in London Tuesday that Macron's words were "very, very nasty" and "very insulting."

"The relationship between the U.S. and the EU is under strain in a number of sectors, and the military one is only one of them," Demarais from the EIU, told CNBC Monday.

Trump has criticized his NATO allies on different occasions for not respecting the 2% of GDP (gross domestic product) contribution rule. At the same time, some European leaders have grown hesitant to the U.S.' commitment to the organization, given the president's "America first policy." Their division became even more evident when Trump decided in October to withdraw troops from northeast Syria, without consulting NATO allies.

NATO will need to evolve in the depth of its cooperation, its objectives, and financial contributions of its members to reflect a less dominant U.S. role.

Athanasia Kokkinogeni

Analyst at consulting firm DuckerFrontier

"An implosion of NATO, should it take place, would not happen in the short term. Instead, a gradual deterioration in the levels of trust between NATO members is the more likely scenario," Demarais from the EIU told CNBC.

"This is especially the case with Turkey, which has recently bought Russian-made defense equipment that is not interoperable with NATO standards," she added. Turkey joined NATO in 1952 three years after it was created. However, some NATO members are worried about Turkey's ties with Moscow.

For NATO to maintain its relevance, it will need to strengthen the ties among its own members and extend its agenda, Leslie Vinjamuri, from Chatham House, told CNBC.

"We can't afford to wait (to see NATO reforming) but imagine having to start from the beginning. Working with what we have is easier," she said.

Athanasia Kokkinogeni, a Europe senior analyst at consulting firm DuckerFrontier, also told CNBC that NATO's future is likely to include a broader range of aims.

"NATO will need to evolve in the depth of its cooperation, its objectives, and financial contributions of its members to reflect a less dominant U.S. role," Kokkinogeni said.

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NATO needs to change to survive, analysts say - CNBC

‘Very, very nasty’: Trump clashes with Macron before NATO summit – Reuters

LONDON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump and French leader Emmanuel Macron clashed over the future of NATO on Tuesday before a summit intended to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Western military alliance.

In sharp exchanges underlining discord in a transatlantic bloc hailed by backers as the most successful military pact in history, Trump demanded that Europe pay more for its collective defense and make concessions to U.S. interests on trade.

Macron, the French president, stood by comments he made last month describing NATO as suffering from a lack of strategic purpose akin to brain death, and criticized fellow NATO member Turkey, which he accused of working with Islamic State proxies.

Washington and Paris have long argued over NATOs purpose - France opposed the 2003 Iraq war - but the new tensions will add to doubts over the alliances future that have grown with Trumps ambivalence over U.S. commitments to defend Europe.

Trump said Macrons criticism of NATO was very, very nasty and questioned whether the U.S. military should defend any countries that were delinquent on alliance targets for national military spending.

Its not right to be taken advantage of on NATO and also then to be taken advantage of on trade, and thats what happens. We cant let that happen, Trump said of transatlantic disputes on issues ranging from the aerospace sector to a European digital services tax on U.S. technology giants.

All 29 member states have a target of spending 2% of their gross domestic product on defense and Trump has singled out Germany for falling short of that goal.

But Macron stood by his criticism of NATO and said its real problem was a failure to forge a clear purpose since the end of the Cold War.

If we invest money and put our soldiers lives at risk in theaters of operation we must be clear about the fundamentals of NATO, he said in a tweet at the end of a day overshadowed by tensions between the French and U.S. leaders.

A French presidency official said Trump often makes strident statements ahead of bilateral meetings and cools his rhetoric later. He noted that Macron and Trump exchanged jokes and were very relaxed at a joint news conference in London.

Turkey threatened to block a plan to defend Baltic states and Poland against Russian attacks unless NATO backed Ankara in recognizing the Kurdish YPG militia as terrorists.

The YPGs fighters have long been U.S. and French allies against Islamic State in Syria. Turkey considers them an enemy because of links to Kurdish insurgents in southeastern Turkey.

If our friends at NATO do not recognize as terrorist organizations those we consider terrorist organizations ... we will stand against any step that will be taken there, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said before traveling to London.

Erdogan has already strained alliance ties with a move to buy Russian air defense systems. Trump said he was looking at imposing sanctions on Ankara over the issue.

The uncertainty over the plan for Poland and the Baltic states, drawn up at their request after Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014, raises issues about security on all of NATOs frontiers.

Under the North Atlantic Treaty Organizations 1949 founding treaty, an attack on one ally is an attack on all its members, and the alliance has military strategies for collective defense across its territory.

The summit, in a hotel in Hertfordshire just outside London, begins on Wednesday.

On Tuesday evening, alliance leaders attended a reception hosted by Queen Elizabeth at Buckingham Palace.

The British monarch, in a teal-colored matching jacket and skirt, greeted the summiteers and accompanying partners, including former fashion model Melania Trump, who was wearing a bright yellow dress with matching cape and purple sleeves.

They were then welcomed to 10 Downing Street by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, host of the summit a little over a week before the country faces an election.

Several hundred protesters gathered in Londons Trafalgar Square, holding placards reading: Dump Trump and No to racism, no to Trump. A police line divided them from a small group of Trump supporters wearing Make America Great Again caps, waving American flags and shouting: Build the wall.

In Washington on Tuesday, Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives laid out their impeachment case against Trump, accusing him of using the powers of his office to solicit foreign interference in the 2020 election.

Hoping to placate Trump, Europe, Turkey and Canada will pledge at the summit some $400 billion in defense spending by 2024, and agree to a reduction of the U.S. contribution to fund the alliance itself.

The allies will approve a new strategy to monitor Chinas growing military activity, and identify space as a domain of warfare, alongside air, land, sea and computer networks.

Trump said he believed Russia wanted deals on arms control and nuclear issues, and that he would be willing to bring China into such accords.

Reporting by Steve Holland, Phil Stewart, Robin Emmott and Iona Serrapica in London, Ali Kucukgocmen in Istanbul, Joanna Plucinska in Warsaw and Vladimir Soldatkin in Moscow; Writing by Mark John and John Chalmers; Editing by Timothy Heritage and Peter Cooney

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'Very, very nasty': Trump clashes with Macron before NATO summit - Reuters

It’s Time to Rethink NATO’s Deterrent Strategy – War on the Rocks

President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron dont agree on much. During a tense joint press conference ahead of the NATO leaders meeting, the two sparred over the fate of captured ISIL fighters, Macrons recent comments about the brain death of the alliance, and Turkey. Some of their disagreements are less important but just as serious. Trump thinks America has better wine than France. Macron, presumably, doesnt. The two leaders do, however, appear to agree on one thing something is wrong with NATO.

Both leaders are right to point out that NATO is ailing, but their diagnoses are wrong. The real issue isnt European shirking on defense expenditures, and neither is it a lack of American commitment. These, rather, are symptoms of a larger disease: NATOs long-lived attachment to a presence-heavy model of deterrence that a new study suggests may no longer be necessary.

Whinging and whining about burdens shared and unshared aside, NATO endures because all parties to the alliance recognize they gain more from the arrangement than they lose. The Europeans get an American security guarantee, while the United States gets a foothold on the Eurasian landmass to prevent threats from emerging and projecting power. The question therefore is much less whether NATO will persist into the future, and much more whether it will do so as an expensive object lesson in inertia or as something more useful.

NATOs deterrent strategy and posture is not well-matched to the contemporary threat environment. It is too focused on presence and not focused enough on mobility. Holding stubbornly to a presence-first approach appears to be a formula for gridlock as the costs it imposes become less tolerable: large financial expenditures on both sides of the pond, wearying grind on U.S. servicemembers and families, and tiresome internal frictions about burden-sharing. It is time for NATO meaningfully to consider alternative strategies that might achieve the same deterrent effect while offering a different balance of costs and benefits. The cure for impending brain death, in other words, is thinking.

Location, Location, Location

NATO is not primarily a warfighting alliance. Its purpose, in fact, is to not fight war. During the bad old days of the Soviet Union, thinking about how to do deterrence in Europe focused by necessity on the balance of forces, addressing such questions as how many military assets and of what type, used either for denial or for punishment, would be enough to persuade Moscow that any effort at encroachment would not be worth the salt.

The collapse of the Soviet Union changed continental power dynamics entirely, yet the U.S. presence-heavy deterrent posture in Europe persisted. Although the permanent stationing of ground and air forces were scaled back, reductions ultimately were, and continue to be, largely offset by heel to toe rotational deployments. In 2008 and 2014, far from jarring NATO into a rethink of the strategic dynamics on the continent, Russias actions in Georgia and in Ukraine non-NATO members, it bears noting instead precipitated a reflexive call to bolster the U.S. footprint in Europe.

NATOs posture thus persisted out of inertia, without the careful tuning successful deterrence requires. Todays Russia is not yesterdays Soviet Union. Its actions in Georgia and in Ukraine arguably have addressed its most acute Cold War territorial complaints, and its other motivating interests are fairly inoffensive by historical standards it is a major power that wants to be acknowledged as such.

The current NATO deterrent strategy is expensive, and there are important areas in which it is unlikely to be useful. The United States and NATO, for example, profess great concern about Russian so-called gray-zone activities behaviors such as information operations and disinformation campaigns that challenge the Wests interests in ways other than outright kinetic action. So too are alarms being raised about the possibility of another fait accompli on the order of Russias maneuver in Crimea. A presence-focused strategy, however, is ill-suited to preventing gray-zone malfeasance, and the lingering agitation about a fait accompli in the Baltics derives primarily from the proposition that such a move is operationally possible, rather than that Russia finds it especially appealing.

So what is NATO buying with its continued commitment to presence, and do alternatives exist? The empirical record indicates that they do.

Mobility, Mobility, Mobility

Effective deterrence depends upon convincing an adversary that one has both the means and the motivation to make good on a threat. During the Cold War, denial by presence made sense the scale of Soviet land forces meant that a late-arriving Western counter simply could not catch up. Today, while a late arrival would make pushing a Russian intervention back costly, it could be done. NATO does not need presence in amounts able to stop a Russian incursion into the Baltics, it just needs to convince Moscow that any such attempt would be met with immediate resistance and rapid reinforcement. The challenge in convincing Russia to keep its powder dry, in other words (assuming it is even inclined in the first place), is not to demonstrate NATOs ability to respond but rather its willingness to do so.

A forthcoming study by the Stimson Center and the University of Maryland Center for International Development and Conflict Management produced statistical evidence that when it comes to conveying ones resolve to an adversary, the most persuasive indicator is the movement of forces from outside the theater of contested interests into it. That is, flowing forces from outside in, whether ground, air, or naval, increases significantly the likelihood of achieving deterrent or compellent policy objectives. This finding, moreover, is consistent and robust across multiple tests of potentially confounding contextual features, including, notably, the nature, type, and size of forces already stationed in theater. Pre-existing presence, in other words, does not seem to answer questions about resolve, but the movement of new or additional forces does.

This insight suggests an alternative deterrent strategy for NATO, one based not on presence but on agility. Such an approach would prioritize continental mobility getting forces quickly forward. In addition to retaining deterrent effect, this shift could have the added benefit of easing ongoing tensions about the contributions made by European partners to the collective defense. Allowing the allies to invest in the roads, bridges, tunnels, seaports, airfields, and rail lines needed to move personnel and material across the continent would constitute a win-win-win scenario. Infrastructure enhancements would increase NATOs capability; Russian awareness of enhanced NATO mobility, and even more so its demonstration, would have a deterrent effect; and such spending is more politically viable for European governments, making the now-infamous 2 percent reach seem not so far from grasp.

Whats more, this adjustment would not cause any degradation in overall NATO, or U.S., readiness. To the contrary, it fits neatly with the new U.S. emphasis on so-called dynamic force employment. The defense community awaits a clear operationalized definition of what exactly dynamic force employment entails, but for these purposes it is adequate to interpret it as a nimbler force, able to move assets quickly either to take advantage of opportunities or, if needed, to respond to threats. In the European context, this would mean holding U.S. presence steady for now, and eventually reducing it, in favor of buying increased continental mobility, and running the drill if ever there are indicators Russia is readying to take its chances.

For the United States, a mobility-based deterrent strategy should have prima facie appeal if for no other reason than that the math works so decidedly in its favor. In 2018, U.S. direct funding for NATO was $6.7 billion, and the cost of the full retinue of U.S. presence in Europe that is, maintaining the current allotment of operating bases was $24.4 billion. In 2019, U.S. spending on its European Deterrence Initiative, designed to bolster post-Crimea presence, reached $6.5 billion, marking a sixfold increase over only four years time. These outlays, or roughly 5 percent of the U.S. defense budget, notwithstanding, fears that Russia will make a move persist, and the ability of NATO forces to move from where they are, with the things they need, to where they need to use them, remains an unsolved problem.

Washington certainly can continue to foot-stomp about the 2 percent goal, all the while increasing its own expenditures and wear-and-tear on servicemembers and families to beef up presence, but it should not expect more return in deterrent effect or force mobility than it has already seen. Or, it can work with its partners to consider alternative deterrent strategies. This one offers the benefits of allowing the United States to conserve money, enhance readiness, and give advice and counsel on NATO construction planning and execution while asking in return only that the United States relax its insistence that NATO partners buy equipment. Other strategies will offer different tradeoffs.

A Better Strategy for NATO

There is great comfort in the familiar, and so the tendency to hold tightly to an understanding of deterrence in Europe as dependent primarily on size and strength is understandable. It also, however, will continue to lead the United States to spend a lot of money and to the continuation of the long-past tedious infighting about partner expenditures, neither of which will achieve more than marginal gains in defense. NATO does not need more eastern presence to convey its resolve; what it needs is for Russia to believe that its forces have the ability, and that its governments have the willingness, to get there fast. In a world where the West continues to see presence as panacea, a smart Russia will poke and prod to induce more, and more and more, of it. In a world where it is the West thats smart, NATO will stop bickering, start thinking, and find new ways to remind Russia that there are some lines that still should not be crossed.

Melanie W. Sisson is senior fellow with the Stimson Center Defense Strategy and Planning Program and editor of the forthcoming book Military Coercion and US Foreign Policy.

Image: U.S. Air National Guard (Photo by Tech. Sgt. Patrick Evenson)

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It's Time to Rethink NATO's Deterrent Strategy - War on the Rocks

NATO leaders gather in London to mark the 70th anniversary of the Alliance – NATO HQ

Allied Heads of State and Government are gathering in London on Tuesday (3 December 2019) to commemorate the 70th anniversary of NATO. In 1949, the United Kingdom was one of NATOs twelve founding members and London was the home of NATOs first headquarters. Leaders will take decisions to further strengthen the Alliance and continue its adaptation. This evening, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will host a reception for NATO leaders at Buckingham Palace.

Also on Tuesday, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg will discuss the main themes of the leaders meeting at a major public diplomacy event in London, NATO Engages: Innovating the Alliance.

On Wednesday leaders will meet at The Grove Hotel to address current security issues and take decisions to ensure that NATO remains fit for the future. They are expected to agree on a number of measures, including further improvements to the readiness of Allied forces, recognizing space as an operational domain, and updating NATOs action plan against terrorism.

Leaders are also due to have a strategic discussion on Russia, the future of arms control, as well as the rise of China. Allies are also expected to assess the progress being made on burden sharing in the Alliance. This has been the fifth consecutive year of rising defence investment, with European Allies and Canada due to spend $130 billion extra by the end of 2020, with that figure rising to $400 billion by the end of 2024.

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NATO leaders gather in London to mark the 70th anniversary of the Alliance - NATO HQ

NATO meets as challenges, threats and tensions face the alliance from outside, and within – CNBC

US president Donald Trump is seen during his press conference at the 2018 NATO Summit in Brussels, Belgium on July 12, 2018.

NurPhoto | NurPhoto | Getty Images

LONDON As heads of state and government meet in the U.K. for the 70th anniversary of the military alliance NATO, discussions are likely to focus on shifting geopolitical relations and military threats, that thorny issue of defense spending and, crucially, the alliance's future.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said earlier this year that the summit on Dec. 3 and 4 will give members the opportunity to address "current and emerging security challenges and how NATO continues to invest and adapt to ensure it will remain a pillar of stability in the years ahead."

The summit, being held on the outskirts of London, comes at a tricky time for NATO with unsettled relationships and challenges; How to approach a rising military power like China, for example, is countering NATO's older insecurities like its relations with Russia. Furthermore, the commitment of its most powerful member, the U.S., to the alliance is now more uncertain than ever.

On Monday, Stoltenberg told CNBC that while NATO doesn't see any "imminent threat, military threat" against any NATO ally, the alliance does see "a more assertive Russia using military force against neighbors in Ukraine and Georgia. We see the rise of China, but we believe that it is important to try also to avoid increased tensions," he told CNBC's Hadley Gamble in London.

"We strongly believe in dialogue with Russia. We believe in arms control. We must avoid a new arms race that's dangerous, especially when it comes to nuclear weapons. We think also China should engage in relevant parts of arms control talks because they have more and more advanced nuclear weapons."

"Rarely has NATO not been under verbal siege over these past few months," Judy Dempsey, a non-resident senior fellow at Carnegie Europe, said in an editorial piece on Tuesday last week.

"The fact that that this meeting will not be called a summit shows how NATO's seventieth birthday is not being celebrated with great fanfare but instead with a degree of self-doubt, if not anxiety."

That anxiety comes after a tough few years for the alliance, especially when it comes to the issue of who pays the most. NATO agreed at a summit in Wales in 2014 to reverse the trend of declining defense budgets and to raise them over the coming decade, a move that was designed to "further strengthen the transatlantic bond." Then, members agreed to spend a minimum of 2% of their GDP (gross domestic product) on defense.

At last year's summit in Brussels, President Donald Trump chided other members of the group for not meeting spending targets agreed at the NATO summit in 2014.

Experts note that discussions at this NATO "Leaders Meeting," as it's being called, will be informed as much by issues not on the formal agenda as those that are.

"Member states will be keen to bring their political differences back behind closed doors, whilst emphasizing the military coherence and credibility of their alliance," Sarah Raine, consulting senior fellow for geopolitics and strategy at the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), told CNBC.

"The degree to which Europe should do more not just for itself, but also by itself, remains highly contentious. Assessment of the scope of NATO's engagement on China's challenge, including the U.S. push to include the issue of 5G within these discussions, risk further highlighting these sensitivities," she said.

Spending is likely to be a key issue again this week with the latest figures not making for comfortable reading. NATO estimates for 2019, released in June, show that only the U.S., U.K., Greece, Estonia, Romania, Poland and Latvia have met or surpassed that target. The highest defense spend was made by the U.S., at 3.4% of its GDP, while the lowest spend was by Luxembourg which only spent 0.55%.

Given the slow progress made by members, Trump is likely to be heavily critical again. Germany has been singled out for especially harsh treatment because of its budget surplus. The European nation only spent an estimated 1.36% of its GDP on defense spending in 2019, setting up another potential clash with the U.S.

Defense spending, or the lack thereof, has created so much ire in Trump that there are reports that he frequently discussed pulling the U.S. out of the alliance, even with Congressional support.

In July, he also likened countries not meeting the defense spend target, like Germany, to delinquents.

"We're the schmucks that are paying for the whole thing," Trump said at a rally in July. "Frankly, many countries owe us a tremendous amount of money for many years back, where they're delinquent, as far as I'm concerned, because the United States has had to pay for them," singling out Germany as "the number one" culprit.

Perhaps the only thing Trump has in common with his predecessor Barack Obama was their shared dismay at the perception that the U.S. bears the brunt of NATO spending. Obama called out "free riders" in NATO that benefit from U.S. military support without contributing enough to defense themselves.

Ironically, questions over members' commitment to NATO could come from closer to home (it's headquartered in Brussels) with increasing talk in Europe about strengthening the EU's cooperation and coordination on defense.

French President Emmanuel Macron has caused a stir ahead of this week's NATO meeting after he said in early November that "what we are currently experiencing is the brain death of Nato."

Speaking to The Economist magazine, Macron cited the U.S. failure to consult NATO before pulling out of Syria as a reason for his comment, and also questioned NATO's validity. He argued that Europe should focus on its own defense alliance, although German Chancellor Angela Merkel believes the continent is too weak "for now" to defend itself.

Speaking to lawmakers last week, Merkel said that "we rely on this trans-Atlantic alliance, and that is why it is right for us to work for this alliance and take on more responsibility."

IISS's Raine told CNBC that the short-term priority for the alliance "must be to get NATO's public messaging back on track."

"That includes the presentation of an alliance that is militarily more capable than ever before, and that is adapting to the evolving security threats its members face, not at the expense of its traditional focus but in addition to it," she said.

The NATO secretary general will be hoping for summit headlines that focus attention away from the state of NATO's brain, Raine said, "and towards admiration for NATO's muscles, by highlighting the range and depth of NATO's operational commitments and capabilities."

NATO was set up in 1949 as a military alliance between 10 European countries, the U.S. and Canada "to promote cooperation among its members and to guard their freedom," the alliance says, "within the context of countering the threat posed at the time by the Soviet Union."

Seventy years on, and after several decades of relatively good relations and cooperation, NATO's relations with Russia are tense.

This comes after Moscow's 2014 annexation of Crimea and its role in a pro-Russian uprising in eastern Ukraine. NATO says that the channels of communication remain open with Russia but that "Russia's destabilizing actions and policies go beyond Ukraine" citing its "provocative military activities near NATO's borders stretching from the Baltic to the Black Sea."

It has also cited its "irresponsible and aggressive nuclear rhetoric," its support for the regime in Syria as well as the U.K. nerve agent attack which it said was "a clear breach of international norms." NATO has said it supported the U.S.' decision to withdraw from the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty in response to "Russia's material breach."

On Russia's part, perhaps the most controversial NATO decision has been the decision to deploy NATO missile defense systems in Romania and Poland (although completion of this Aegis Ashore a land-based missile defense system site is delayed to 2020). Along with the deployment of thousands of NATO troops to the Baltic nations and Poland in the last few years, these developments appear to have served only to exacerbate tensions with Russia.

Russia has widely criticized the deployment of missile defense shields in its former backyard. The prospect of Ukraine and Georgia, both of which used to be part of the former USSR, joining NATO (and even potentially the European Union) is also an unsavory prospect for Moscow.

In September 2019, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that "NATO approaching our borders is a threat to Russia." That view was echoed by Russian President Vladimir Putin this month, when he told Russia's Security Council that he was "seriously concerned about the NATO infrastructure approaching our borders, as well as the attempts to militarize outer space."

Questions over NATO's future are bound to dominate this year's coverage of the meeting. Asked if NATO remained relevant, IISS' Raine replied with an emphatic "yes."

"NATO's responses to persistent and aggressive destabilizing actions by Russia have ensured the relevance of the alliance as the cornerstone of European security. The irony is that whilst NATO has become military more relevant, political debate within the alliance has become more fractious," she said.

"It is political deficiencies, not military deficiencies that are now threatening the future relevance of the alliance."

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NATO meets as challenges, threats and tensions face the alliance from outside, and within - CNBC

Princess Anne Was the Real Winner of the NATO Summit – Vanity Fair

Light royal attendance at this weeks NATO Summit might have been a preview of what Prince Charles imagines as a streamlined monarchy, but one royal proved why its nice to have the whole family around. Princess Anne has gotten a glow from her relatable portrayal on season three of The Crown, and while she hasnt always shown her sassy side to the public, her presence at a NATO reception Tuesday made the biggest royal splash. After the conclusion of the Queens reception for the leaders of NATO, videos began to circulate that showed Anne having a great time. In one, the Queen looks over to her daughter and appears to motion for her to greet Donald and Melania Trump. Anne responds with a shrug that would make a perfect reaction gif.

The interaction went viral as a snub of Trump, and even led Democratic congressman and Trump critic Ted Lieu to speak out in Trump's defense. Though plenty of other Trump critics welcomed her shrug (welcome to the resistance, Princess Anne!), that's probably not what she intended. On Wednesday morning, the Timess Valentine Low attempted to give more clarity to what actually happened. He tweeted that Trump was the last person in line to meet the Queen, and that an onlooker said Anne was simply trying to telegraph to her mother that the receiving line was overnot that she didn't want to meet the Trumps. Anne raised her hands in the air, laughed and said: It's just me, adding a moment later and this lot as she pointed to the members of the household behind her, he wrote.

It was a second viral video, though, that may have revealed her true feelings. Standing in a circle with Canadas Justin Trudeau, Frances __Emmanuel Macron, and __ Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Anne seemed to laugh as the leaders indulged in a little bit of gossip about Trumps lengthy performance at a press conference earlier in the day.

Ultimately, it seems like Anne was just doing exactly what anyone would do at an awkward cocktail party: avoid the people youre not fond of, congregate with the ones you like, and generally join in the merriment. In a 1988 Vanity Fair article, Georgina Howell called young Anne stroppy and churlish, though noted that she eventually became the exemplary royal workaholic and patron of the Save the Children Fund. But sometimes what reads as catty or glib might just be honest in a situation as odd as a NATO summit centered on Trump, NATOs biggest critic.

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Princess Anne Was the Real Winner of the NATO Summit - Vanity Fair