NATO: Time To Re-Examine An Alliance

Authored by Conn Hallinan via Dispatches From The Edge blog,

The outcome of the July11-12 NATO meeting in Brussels got lost amid the media’s obsession with President Donald Trump’s bombast, but the “Summit Declaration” makes for sober reading. The media reported that the 28-page document “upgraded military readiness,” and was “harshly critical of Russia,” but there was not much detail beyond that.

But details matter, because that is where the Devil hides.

One such detail is NATO’s “Readiness Initiative” that will beef up naval, air and ground forces in “the eastern portion of the Alliance.” NATO is moving to base troops in Latvia, Estonia Lithuania, the Czech Republic and Poland. Since Georgia and Ukraine have been invited to join the Alliance, some of those forces could end up deployed on Moscow’s western and southern borders.

And that should give us pause.

A recent European Leadership’s Network’s (ELN) study titled “Envisioning a Russia-NATO Conflict” concludes, “The current Russia-NATO deterrence relationship is unstable and dangerously so.” The ELN is an independent think tank of military, diplomatic and political leaders that fosters “collaborative” solutions to defense and security issues.

High on the study’s list of dangers is “inadvertent conflict,” which ELN concludes “may be the most likely scenario for a breakout” of hostilities. “The close proximity of Russian and NATO forces” is a major concern, argues the study, “but also the fact that Russia and NATO have been adapting their military postures towards early reaction, thus making rapid escalation more likely to happen.”

With armed forces nose-to-nose, “a passage from crisis to conflict might be sparked by the actions of regional commanders or military commanders at local levels or come as a consequence of an unexpected incident or accident.” According to the European Leadership Council, there have been more than 60 such incidents in the last year.

The NATO document is, indeed, hard on Russia, which it blasts for the “illegal and illegitimate annexation of Crimea,” its “provocative military activities, including near NATO borders,” and its “significant investments in the modernization of its strategic [nuclear] forces.”

Unpacking all that requires a little history, not the media’s strong suit.

The story goes back more than three decades to the fall of the Berlin Wall and eventual re-unification of Germany. At the time, the Soviet Union had some 380,000 troops in what was then the German Democratic Republic. Those forces were there as part of the treaty ending World War II, and the Soviets were concerned that removing them could end up threatening the USSR’s borders. The Russians have been invaded—at terrible cost—three times in a little more than a century.

So West German Chancellor Helmet Kohl, U.S. Secretary of State James Baker, and Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev cut a deal. The Soviets agreed to withdraw troops from Eastern Europe as long as NATO did not fill the vacuum, or recruit members of the Soviet-dominated Warsaw Pact. Baker promised Gorbachev that NATO would not move “one inch east.”

The agreement was never written down, but it was followed in practice. NATO stayed west of the Oder and Neisse rivers, and Soviet troops returned to Russia. The Warsaw Pact was dissolved in 1991.

But President Bill Clinton blew that all up in 1999 when the U.S. and NATO intervened in the civil war between Serbs and Albanians over the Serbian province of Kosovo. Behind the new American doctrine of “responsibility to protect,” NATO opened a massive 11-week bombing campaign against Serbia.

From Moscow’s point of view the war was unnecessary. The Serbs were willing to withdraw their troops and restore Kosovo’s autonomous status. But NATO demanded a large occupation force that would be immune from Serbian law, something the nationalist-minded Serbs would never agree to. It was virtually the same provocative language the Austrian-Hungarian Empire had presented to the Serbs in 1914, language that set off World War I.

In the end, NATO lopped off part of Serbia to create Kosovo and re-drew the post World War II map of Europe, exactly what the Alliance charges that Russia has done with its seizure of the Crimea.

But NATO did not stop there. In 1999 the Alliance recruited former Warsaw Pact members Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic, adding Bulgaria and Romania four years later. By the end of 2004, Moscow was confronted with NATO in Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia to the north, Poland to the west, and Bulgaria and Turkey to the south. Since then, the Alliance has added Slovakia, Slovenia, Albania, Croatia, and Montenegro. It has invited Georgia, Ukraine, Macedonia and Bosnia and Herzegovina to apply as well.

When the NATO document chastises Russia for “provocative” military activities near the NATO border, it is referring to maneuvers within its own border or one of its few allies, Belarus.

As author and foreign policy analyst Anatol Lieven points out, “Even a child” can look at a 1988 map of Europe and see “which side has advanced in which direction.”

NATO also accuses Russia of “continuing a military buildup in Crimea,” without a hint that those actions might be in response to what the Alliance document calls its “substantial increase in NATO’s presence and maritime activity in the Black Sea.” Russia’s largest naval port on the Black Sea is Sevastopol in the Crimea.

One does not expect even-handedness in such a document, but there are disconnects in this one that are worrisome.

Yes, the Russians are modernizing their nuclear forces, but the Obama administration was first out of that gate in 2009 with its $1.5 trillion program to upgrade the U.S.’s nuclear weapons systems. Both programs are a bad idea.

Some of the document’s language about Russia is aimed at loosening purse strings at home. NATO members agreed to cough up more money, but that decision preceded Trump’s Brussels tantrum on spending.

There is some wishful thinking on Afghanistan—“Our Resolute Support Mission is achieving success”—when in fact things have seldom been worse. There are vague references to the Middle East and North Africa, nothing specific, but a reminder that NATO is no longer confining its mission to what it was supposedly set up to do: Keep the Americans in, the Russians out, and the Germans down.

The Americans are still in - one should take Trump’s threat of withdrawal with a boulder size piece of salt - there is no serious evidence the Russians ever planned to come in, and the Germans have been up since they joined NATO in 1955. Indeed, it was the addition of Germany that sparked the formation of the Warsaw Pact.

While Moscow is depicted as an aggressive adversary, NATO surrounds Russia on three sides, has deployed anti-missile systems in Poland, Romania, Spain, Turkey, and the Black Sea, and has a 12 to 1 advantage in military spending. With opposing forces now toe-to-toe, it would not take much to set off a chain reaction that could end in a nuclear exchange.

Yet instead of inviting a dialogue, the document boasts that the Alliance has “suspended all practical civilian and military cooperation between NATO and Russia.”

The solution seems obvious.

First, a return to the 1998 military deployment. While it is unlikely that former members of the Warsaw Pact would drop their NATO membership, a withdrawal of non-national troops from NATO members that border Russia would cool things off. Second, the removal of anti-missile systems that should never have been deployed in the first place. In turn, Russia could remove the middle range Iskander missiles NATO is complaining about and agree to talks aimed at reducing nuclear stockpiles.

But long range, it is finally time to re-think alliances. NATO was a child of the Cold War, when the West believed that the Soviets were a threat. But Russia today is not the Soviet Union, and there is no way Moscow would be stupid enough to attack a superior military force. It is time NATO went the way of the Warsaw Pact and recognize that the old ways of thinking are not only outdated but also dangerous.


Adolfsteinbergovitch Thu, 08/02/2018 - 02:02 Permalink

Solution is to dissolve that thing. "Superior military force"... maybe the author could have taken some time to proof read his paper. 

But then again who would buy these inferior American weapons if they are not forced to cough the dough they don't have? 

After that we're can start discussing about the relevance of UN blue helmets and their human and drug trafficking. 

Joe Trader Tiritmenhrta Thu, 08/02/2018 - 03:33 Permalink

LOL articles like this make ZH a joke.

Just the usual, one sided presentation of arguments - means this is merely propaganda. Keep at it all you want - there will be a full size NATO base in Poland.
















































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































In reply to by Tiritmenhrta

Brazen Heist II Tiritmenhrta Thu, 08/02/2018 - 06:06 Permalink

Joey is just an apologist for Anglo-Zionist imperialism and buys the Russophobic koolaid.

NATO is a racket to keep Europe hooked on the MIC's arms and within Washington's dying grasp. Washington can't keep allies around without extorting them and milking their paranoias. Hence why it constantly exploits useful idiots like Pollacks, Georgians, Kurds, spineless Arabs etc..

In reply to by Tiritmenhrta

Element Tiritmenhrta Thu, 08/02/2018 - 05:20 Permalink


Here's the reality, which is actually not going away:

... "What you see is a realization that you can’t defend Eastern Europe from Western Europe,” Cancian said. “If all your forces are in Germany and in an emergency, you try to rush them east, it’s just going to take too long. Just doing the paperwork [from Germany to Poland] takes a week. It’s clearly better to have your forces in Eastern Europe to start with.” ...…


Gird up thy diaper, have a little cry, insert your pacifier, and get used to it pootie-fans, NATO is going nowhere, but it is evolving--fast.


This is what happens when you invade Ukraine, kill its people, steal its forces, annex it, beat your chest, threaten to use nukes, talk drivel about oppressed Russian expats, and more drivel about great powers and spheres of influence, shoot down a civilian airliner, then pretend little green men and a wable of woudy webels did all of the above.


Sure. Whatever.


But no one's going to be listening to mere pootie and CHICOM-fans saying what NATO member states should do about their mutual defense alliance arrangements.


BTW, F-35s are about to be deployed in central and eastern Europe, and that'll probably be a permanent deployment, or rotation.


And FYI, there are currently 186 F-22As, and about 315 F-35s. So the total number of multirole stealth fighters flying just passed 500 in the last few weeks. About 55 of which are in allied hands, with about 90 in allied hands by the end of 2019. By Jan 2020 there will be over 650 stealth fighters, and close to 800 by Jan 2021. Almost 1,000 stealth strikefighters by early 2021.


And NATO naval forces are currently simply staggering. New and updated European aircraft carriers (some with F-35s and stealth missiles), New euro LHDs, Amphibs and resupply/oilers all over the place. New european destroyers, frigates and corvettes up the wahzoo. Too many advanced submarines to count.


So sorry if pootie and commie fans thought NATO was weakening out, or about to give up the ghost, as you could not have been more hopey on that front.


Whether you like it or not (whatever, don't care), but MAGA and MEGA are both occurring, regardless. You're going to need a whole new repetior of propaganda themes and naratives from here. Use by date has expired.


BTW, the Su57 and T-14 Armata main battle tank have both been cancelled. Russia's too broke. Pootie stole the Russian State's cash. But hey, his speaches kicked arse! Am I right?


"Here to help."


In reply to by Tiritmenhrta

moon_unit Element Thu, 08/02/2018 - 07:55 Permalink

you can’t defend Eastern Europe from Western Europe

Sure you can. It's easy to defend Eastern Europe from Western Europe - just build a wall to save the Poles from the Germans. They're obviously pissing their panties about it again. They only ever think about 2 superior nations. Germany is the main one that they won't talk about openly, since it is the economic boss of Europe, as usual.

Wait, there WAS a wall to save the Poles from the Germans, what's that again?

In reply to by Element

johnberesfordt… Thu, 08/02/2018 - 02:51 Permalink

Russian troll talk, as usual from ZH. It's becoming embarrassingly obvious that this site is clearly Russian Trollville. How many more pro-Putin, pro-Russia propaganda pieces can one stand? Of course, graduates of Trump University will disagree.  

Joe Trader NuYawkFrankie Thu, 08/02/2018 - 03:50 Permalink

John - and as usual they post these articles at 2am EST - aka middle of the day in russia to accomodate their trolls. I think articles like these are more about revenue generation instead of talking about the truth of the matter. "russia is completely innocent, transparent, and has no ulterior motives!!" give me a break - they're trying the game the west.

In reply to by NuYawkFrankie

smacker johnberesfordt… Thu, 08/02/2018 - 05:50 Permalink

You seem rather like those "Russia haters" in the UK Parliament who claim that when broadcast the other side of a story related to Russia (there's always another version of events to everything), that it's a Russian propaganda TV channel.

Oddly, they never produce a shred of evidence to dispute RT.

The conclusion is that people in the West are being systematically fed with State propaganda by MSM and anybody who dares to tell the truth or other side is immediately villified.

Is it any wonder that Western societies are slowly collapsing?

In reply to by johnberesfordt…

gwar5 Thu, 08/02/2018 - 04:00 Permalink

NATO without the USA doesn't have a functioning military. It will take 1-2 decades to build one. Trump knows the EU and NATO are fucked without the USA. They talk tough but got a quick lesson what a true Alpha Leader is like.

Trump's public take down of Merkel as a Russian pipeline colluder was EPIC! Quickly followed by Juncker coming to grovel. This shit just gets better and better....

Trump was born for this job.

Raisin Hail Thu, 08/02/2018 - 04:35 Permalink

Cheaper to make peace with Russia or anyone else for that matter than to defend Europe forever. In case no one mentioned it to you we are rapidly going broke to the tune of more than 100 trillion ( with a capital T) of black hole debt that we can keep afloat for a little longer. Russia is nowhere near the military threat that it was 7 decades ago. Talk about a country that imploded! Seems to me we should switch sides and be allies with Russia and not worry about Europe so much. They are all big boys over there. Man would we have fun making the Euro-Faggots dance to a new tune!

Joe Trader Raisin Hail Thu, 08/02/2018 - 05:04 Permalink

we should allie with russia and turn on mainland europe? what are you on?

being military and economic allies with europe - one of the richest parts of the world - is pretty important.. fact is russia stole land in Georgia, Ukraine, etc - not the other way around. With NATO in Baltic states - this will no longer be tolerated.

imo Trump's addressing your points by making NATO countries pay more - this makes the alliance stronger and saves the US money - which also puts pressure on russia to make peace with us. russia has nukes, and we have nukes - it goes both ways - forget conventional forces - that's what it comes down to. the nukes both sides has prevents war, and a NATO presence in weak Baltic countries also prevents russian invasion. The forces stationed around russia are completely insignificant.

ideally, eventually the US will develop enough air defenses against russia's missiles so that we call the shots - right now there's balance and all the russia's doing is creating a storm just because it dislikes its neighbors having small amounts of NATO troops and the fact Poland and Romania bought a couple dozen Patriot missiles vs. russia's THOUSANDS of nukes - give me a break, russia faces absolutely no threat whatsoever.

In reply to by Raisin Hail

smacker Joe Trader Thu, 08/02/2018 - 05:14 Permalink

"fact is russia stole land in Georgia, Ukraine"

Pray tell,which bit of Ukraine did Russia steal??

If you're going to say "Crimea", then I refer you to the referendum results carried out in Crimea several years ago where around 90%+ voted to rejoin Russia (which it used to be a part of historically).

If you have credible evidence that the referendum was false, please provide it, else accept that it was not false and it just happened not to be of the liking of Washingtown who wanted to carry out a smash & grab raid on the large Russian naval base there.

In reply to by Joe Trader

smacker Raisin Hail Thu, 08/02/2018 - 05:40 Permalink

And the interesting thing about important European countries is that none of them see Russia as the threat that Washingtown and NATO claims it is. (Perhaps with the exception of the mad woman Theresa May who appears to be locked into the past).

The only countries who claim Russia is really USSR II are piddling places like Latvia and Lithuania. And exactly what have they done for the benefit of mankind?...they just whine.

In reply to by Raisin Hail

Joe A Thu, 08/02/2018 - 04:46 Permalink

" But NATO demanded a large occupation force that would be immune from Serbian law, something the nationalist-minded Serbs would never agree to. "

Actually, nobody would agree to that because that effectively means an occupation. Just like the 1914 Austrian ultimatum to Serbia, this ultimatum was presented because they knew that Yugoslavia would and could not accept. Because NATO wanted this war. They thought they would need 48 hours but they needed 78 days and Milosevic only gave in after the campaign switched from targeting military objects (which NATO was not hitting enough) to civilian and infrastructure objects.

The war was illegal because it was not only not sanctioned by the UNSC, it was also against NATO's own regulations. Yugoslavia did not attack any NATO country and in international laws regarding wars, "huminatairy intervention" is not a reason to go to war.

But anyway, the West does not seem to learn from history. Russia did and they vowed to never fight a defensive war on their own territory again.

I am not a Putin fan but European countries take note, a war with Russia will be fought out in Europe, not in Alaska. In the long run Russia would not be able to win a conventional war. The Fulda Gap got moved 500km to the East which buys NATO time to bring in troops and material from the US but Russia's military doctrine prescribes that overwhelmed by conventional forces, battlefield commanders can use tactical nukes and Russia has plenty of those. That means Europe will be destroyed and things can easily get out of hands then globally. But then still the US can walk away from this conflict relatively unharmed.

smacker Thu, 08/02/2018 - 05:29 Permalink

I have never believed that Russia under Putin has (or had) any intentions of recreating Soviet Union II. That is pure bunkum.

I believe Putin sees that era as history and he wants to modernise Russia and turn it into a successful and prosperous nation which plays its due part in a multi-polar world order.

And let us be clear, it was not the Christian Russian people who took over Russia and turned it into the Communist Soviet Union. We all know who that was.

Putin is a Russian patriot and exceedingly gifted. That is why he is so popular with the Russian people (and respected in many other countries around the world). People respect patriotic leaders because the West is woefully lacking them.

When one looks closely at his military armament developments in recent years, they are entirely for defending Russian from attack by NATO or its controllers, not for aggressive purposes.

When Washingtown reneged on the agreement not to expand NATO eastwards after the USSR folded, what conclusion should Russia have drawn from that??

That the West wanted to continue the Cold War and surround Russia, based upon the necessity for there to be a bogeyman to justify expansion of NATO and the Imperial Power and its MISC (Military Industrial Security Complex).

It goes on.....

smacker Thu, 08/02/2018 - 07:10 Permalink

Uh oh. Looks like Joe Trader and his troll farm of Anti-Russian trolls are out in force in this thread red-downing every comment that isn't anti-Russian. tch tch.

Too bad they can't provide valid arguments...

Let it Go Thu, 08/02/2018 - 07:20 Permalink

When it comes to our nuclear arsenal, not only is America ready to launch but we are also about to spend a great deal of money to increase that ability.  What the world would look like following a nuclear war has been the subject of much speculation.

A great number of variables feed into such scenarios but we should be troubled that today it seems many people consider nuclear weapons as an acceptable tool or option for us to use in our defense if we are attacked. More on the size of our arsenal and the plans to spend a huge amount to upgrade the delivery system in the article below.

 http://Nuclear Weapons-We Are Ready To Launch.html

moon_unit Let it Go Thu, 08/02/2018 - 08:25 Permalink

Whats the point in improving the US delivery system, if we actually believe any of that jingoistic garbage - tech education, engineering and fabrication isn't what it once was in the West, which is why they can't recreate Apollo 11 anymore. Welding from complex blueprints, using aero engineering understanding and experience as they construct hands-on? Forget about it. Those people are retired, or dead and buried. They took their skills with them. Now we have "affirmative action" engineering. We can see exactly where that has lead.

Both sides have really not much need at all to upgrade if the West would stop being so aggressive - even the current weapon systems will wipe out all US cities and mil. bases many times over, and any allies dumb enough to be cheerleading war, the US govt. and military know this very well.

Didn't we sign up for bilateral total nuke disarmament anyway, was that all just another lie we signed our names onto, like everything else lately?

In reply to by Let it Go

Hulk Thu, 08/02/2018 - 10:44 Permalink

NATO :  the most massive of government scams that threatens world peace...

Unbelievable on how easy us citizen sheeples are scammed...