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Is NATO Relevant?

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Al Jassas View Drop Down
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    Posted: 07 Aug 2009 at 18:48
Hello to you all
 
This was inspired by the previous thread about Russia joining NATO:
 
NATO was established in 1949 in order to counter the "Red threat" which by that time has taken over the Balkans, central europe and eastern europe. At that time it was a purely military alliance since the imminant threat at that time was from a war to erupt between the US and the USSR. At that time (1948-49) the USSR which has began to dismantle it massive army after the 45 victory began to rearm and rebuilt its forces. By 1949 it had some 4 million men, 125 divisions, 12000 planes and 10s of thousands of tanks.
 
Also between 48 and 1950, communist regimes took over all the countries in the Balkans, eastern and central europe except Austria, Finland and Greece. Some during military coups some after elections. The Soviets immediately began to support these clients states with money, weapons and it became obvious that those states were to be buffer states between it and the West then symbolized by the Anglo-Americans and France.
 
Seeking protection, the small states of europe were involved in several treaties to predated the NATO agreements. The Truman doctrine, the civil war in Greece and the threat to Turkey all made the US rethink the strategy against the Soviet union.
 
The US, France and the UK found that establsihing a military alliace that protects europe was necessary and thus NATO was established as a military alliance to protect europe against the USSR first, communist movements and insurgents second and apply the theory of containment across the world since europe still ruled most of the world.
 
During the initial years of NATO it performed its task of being a military alliance perfectly. Military men ran it, military people staffed it and it issued standards on training, weapons, armed formation, military theory and other military subjects. Later on the alliance began to deviate away from its initial task by interfering in the politics of countries and foreign policy (Operation Gladio, Turkish and Greek Coups etc.).
 
However, by the late 1980s it was obvious that the USSR was no longer a threat strategically. The revolutions in europe that brought down the communists regimes raised serious questions about the alliance's necessasity, questions that obviously weren't raised enough since the alliance still exists.
 
As I said in the thread above, on a pure military basis, there is no need for NATO. There is simply no viable threat to europe's existence that matches the USSR threat. Iran isn't interested and isn't powerful, Russia has its own economic and social problems. China is too far and India has 12 miniature civil wars and still too poor to make any kind of threats.
 
So why is NATO still here? Why is this relic of the cold war still in existence draining the financial resources of member countries and in many cases (like the Irish troubles, Falklands, Kurdish rebellions etc) did little to protect its member countries.
 
Al-Jassas
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Al Jassas Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 Sep 2009 at 17:55

No comment whatsoever?

Al-Jassas

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote DukeC Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 Sep 2009 at 19:03

yesSmile

we have a blind date with destiny..and it looks like she's ordered the lobster
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Al Jassas Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 Sep 2009 at 19:18
Why?
 
Al-Jassas
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Act of Oblivion Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 Sep 2009 at 21:05

I am no authority on this matter, but what the hell, opinions are opinions eh? and I hope this might help kick start your thread Al Jassas?

It is probably true that there exists no realistic threat capable of seriously undermining or damaging European interests as a whole, but it could be argued that the reason for this situation is the very existence of NATO in the first place?  (it might be important to note that pre-war collective arrangements were formed under different social, economic and provincial conditions and although they generally failed, the difference in the post-war pre-conditions in which NATO was formed appears to demonstrate that collective security can work when common rather than regional interests can be discerned).   

It is a bit of a what if scenario but without a collective defence arrangement, smaller countries (or indeed larger countries) might indeed find themselves politically or militarily threatened or their general interests endangered. Without the form of a safety net such as provided by membership of NATO, I doubt there would be such countries could do much ensure their stability and security in the long-term. That means unrest and instability in whatever region this takes place. Without a collective security arrangement, regional disputes might evolve or escalate into far more dangerous conflicts, in turn involving bordering neighbours and/or global friends. It might or might not, who can tell for sure. Of course, there have been military disputes in Europe so in putting a value on the role of NATO, it might be worth asking how successful NATO has been in the past?
 
Generally speaking, the countries that belong to NATO share economic, political as well  as military interests  and membership of NATO tends to ensure mutual benefit in all these areas whether there is a perceived outside threat or not. I think here, the key word would be shared economic interests. It appears to me that most who are pushing for membership of NATO have their economic interests as a priority although no doubt the military weight of NATO adds to the overall safety factor.
 
For anyone interested, the NATO website offers up its interpretation of why NATO is relevant. Could be worth reading first and I guess the question comes down to whether one agrees or not with NATO’s own vision. It might therefore be more fruitful to examine what the situation might be without NATO?  

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation

All the best AoO

 

 

 



Edited by Act of Oblivion - 02 Sep 2009 at 21:07


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Act of Oblivion Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Sep 2009 at 16:47
...here is a recent opinion and perspective from the journalism world on the very issue you have decided to discuss Al-Jassas....hope it is of some interest for this thread...
 
 


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pikeshot1600 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Sep 2009 at 19:47
AoO,
 
Mary Dejevsky's commentary seems to reflect "current fashion" that has consigned the Alliance to the scrap heap.  Her concern is that Britain might wind up as odd man out.  Odd man out of what?
 
Britain will continue to trade with the Continent.  NATO is not an economic engine (although there have been economic benefits).  Britain's diplomatic voice can still be heard; it's good offices utilized, and it's physical geography still makes it an important strategic location.
 
Journalists rarely reflect opinion - more often their credibility and job security require that they create it.  What better way to do so than to cater to current fashion?  Here again, historical perspective does not sell, so it is ignored.
 
We all understand that NATO originated with a purpose.  However, by the 1960s, and after the demise of DeGaulle, I think both the US and the USSR looked upon NATO more as an instrument to both discourage and, if necessary, restrain either, or both, Germany and France from thoughts of acting as major powers.  The major reason WW II had been fought was to deny any power hegemony over the resources and geographic position from the Atlantic to the Urals.
 
Germany remained essentially under occupation with 250-300,000 troops in the International zones and with 400,000 Russians in the east.  Twenty or thirty years after WW II, emotions and memories were still powerful forces.  A reunified Germany after The Wall was validation of armed forces under NATO command. 
 
The opinion that NATO is now irrelevant flows somewhat from fading memory.  A century after Napoleon, Europe was happy to go to war in 1914.  There seems the myopic attitude (as before 1914) that such a thing will never happen again. 
 
Let me postulate two things:
 
1)  The states of Europe having their armed forces under one command (NATO=US) or even two (Warsaw Pact), acts as a brake against some localized conflicts that are both confusing to outsiders and that tend to draw in other conflict players (Balkans; Greece and Turkey).  In the absence of command influence, no one wants to get involved, no one takes responsibility and conflicts (as they historically have) can escalate and become uncontrollable.
 
In the absence of the United States, the other members states of NATO would have done nothing in the Balkans.  In the absence of the USSR and it's influence, who can say what revanchist conflicts would have occurred in east Europe, similar to what happened in the 1990s Balkans?
 
2)  Since Ms Dejevsky writes from a perspective of British interests, let me state that for the last 20 to 30 years, British geostrategic interests have essentially been the same as those of the United States, also including Canada.....a North Atlantic and Anglo-centered interest bloc of no small importance.  Britain remains, as it has been since 1940, an important part of US strategic thinking.  It is highly unlikely that the UK will be odd man out in that interest bloc. 
 
Britain is part of Europe's economy, regardless of the currency, and will not be odd man out on the Continent unless Britain wants it that way.
 
Finally, the usual cry is heard that "oh our soldiers are becoming casualties."  We hear it in the US as well.  So what are we to think about these highly motivated professionals, who volunterred and who often re-enlist?  It seems that many of them want to be soldiers.
 
NATO has played it's part in preventing a general war after WW II; acted as a deterrant to conflict both from the outside of Europe as well as internally, and belatedly did it's job in the Balkans - although that is still a long term question mark.
 
It ain't broke, so don't fix it.
 
   
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Act of Oblivion Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Sep 2009 at 20:37
Originally posted by pikeshot1600 pikeshot1600 wrote:

AoO,
 
Mary Dejevsky's commentary seems to reflect "current fashion" that has consigned the Alliance to the scrap heap.  Her concern is that Britain might wind up as odd man out.  Odd man out of what?
 
  
 
..i must point out though that Dejevsky's words do not necessarily reflect my own thoughts....i came across this article from today's news and thought it would add something to the thread...


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote opuslola Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Feb 2011 at 23:04
Without Russia as an enemy, then NATO is dead!
 
This is, of course, the easy answer!
 
But, of course, a radical Islamic state in France could very well recall the reasons for NATO?
 
Laugh!
 
Regards,
 
Ron


Edited by opuslola - 22 Feb 2011 at 23:06
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Feb 2011 at 23:13
NATO has a purpose: to increase the deficit in the developed countries.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Joe Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Feb 2011 at 23:45
"Inappropriate" 

Edited by Joe - 22 Feb 2011 at 23:49
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Feb 2011 at 23:48
Originally posted by Joe Joe wrote:

Pinguin your opinions are ridiculously uniformed and often have stupid agendas for your pathetic spanish country grow up dude.


What agenda, Jose... I mean, Joe? What is ridiculous is the way NATO countries have weakened themselves wasting money to play cowboys.

China is a lot smarter, indeed.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Joe Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Feb 2011 at 23:49
Actually what I said wasn't appropriate and I am inclined to agree with you but I saw it as a shot against America but you are correct.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Feb 2011 at 23:52
Fellow, the U.S. and Europe must realize they can't expend so much money in foreign conflicts!
Let the Japanese to deffend themselves from the Chinese, the South Koreans from the North, the Europeans from other Europeans, the Jews from the Arabs, the Arabs from the Arabs, etc!

The U.S. waste so much money "protecting" a world that doesn't care about America. That's why the U.S. is getting poor!

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Joe Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Feb 2011 at 23:58
Originally posted by pinguin pinguin wrote:

Fellow, the U.S. and Europe must realize they can't expend so much money in foreign conflicts!
Let the Japanese to deffend themselves from the Chinese, the South Koreans from the North, the Europeans from other Europeans, the Jews from the Arabs, the Arabs from the Arabs, etc!

The U.S. waste so much money "protecting" a world that doesn't care about America. That's why the U.S. is getting poor!


Pinguin if I'm president you'll get your wish a little to fast if i might add. I think the military needs to be downsized. Most of expenses go directly to an ineffective military thats wasted billions of our tax dollars finding one man and thats taken almost a decade. Billions of dollars on forces that deserve zero respect and honestly are wasting our money and boys on people who don't deserve our help. If it was up to me Israel would rot. Israel deserves nothing; NO MONEY, NO AID nothing.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Centrix Redux Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Mar 2011 at 00:55
One of my former responsibilities was to assist in training NATO allies in varying schools at the US Army Armor Center and then in the 21st Cavalry Brigade 'Apache' and as a Liason officer. NATO will always be relevent...if collectively they choose to be and that's rub.
 
But having said that I remain fully cognizant of it's shortcomings and internecine rivalries..politics and weakness. Which is to say a military alliance that requires uniformity in approval of action is always suspect and will always be held thru their political masters to agendas that suit nation states individually and not the alliance as a whole.
 
Good thread.
 
Thanks.
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