NATO Assesses Ukraine And Invites Montenegro: Who's Afraid Of Vladimir Putin?
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NATO Assesses Ukraine And Invites Montenegro: Who's Afraid Of Vladimir Putin?
NATO’s foreign ministers met last week to assess current security threats. They discussed Afghanistan and North Africa, considered the Russian challenge, and invited Montenegro to join. Alas, the meeting illustrated how NATO has become an expensive burden for America, reducing U.S. security.

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization was birthed during the Cold War. The Soviet Union was an “evil empire,” in Ronald Reagan’s words. The war-ravaged states of Western Europe were vulnerable to Soviet pressure if not conquest. America’s defense shield allowed them to recover economically and politically.

However, the threat of Soviet invasion ebbed. The Red Army mostly ensured the loyalty of Moscow’s nominal allies. Europe recovered economically. Yet the military capabilities of NATO’s European members did not keep pace. As President Dwight Eisenhower had predicted, permanent U.S. military deployments created European dependency. NATO remained North America and The Others.

With the collapse of the Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact NATO’s raison d’etre simply disappeared. There was no more threat to defend against. As Gertrude Stein said of Oakland, “there’s no there there.”

For a time alliance supporters worried about the organization’s future. Some proposed that NATO organize student exchanges and undertake drug interdiction. The alliance reinvented itself as a sort of Welcome Wagon for Moscow’s former republics and satellites, ignoring the security implications of issuing new defense guarantees.

Hence the inclusion of the largely indefensible Baltic States, which are attractive as friends but irrelevant to the safety of anyone else in NATO. As well as proposals to induct Georgia and Ukraine, which would bring their conflicts with Moscow into the alliance. The generally neutral Nordic countries, which managed the entire Cold War without U.S. protection, are being suggested as members. Macedonia’s bid has been blocked only by an esoteric national name dispute with Greece.

Newly invited Montenegro is noteworthy mostly for its reputation for high-level corruption and influential criminal networks. Why induct Podgorica? Robert Hunter of SAIS opined that “The simple answer is ‘Why not?” Prime Minister Milo Dukanovic said “You can count on us at any time.” Count on Montenegro for what he did not explain. NATO likely will spend more on extra paper to cc: Montenegro’s diplomats than Podgorica will spend on its 2,080 men under arms. The world’s greatest military alliance, created to hold back the Soviet hordes under Joseph Stalin, has become the social club of choice for tiny nations of no consequence.

The alliance also took on responsibility for “out-of-area” activities, including policing conflicts with no obvious security relevance to Europe. While NATO avoided military involvement during the Cold War, it has repeatedly gone to war since then for foolish and sometimes frivolous reasons. The Yugoslavian civil war was tragic, but with all parties guilty of atrocities the Balkans was a humanitarian, not security concern for the West.

While the initial action against the Taliban and al-Qaeda in Afghanistan was justified (though of minimal interest to Europe), nearly 15 years of attempted nation-building squandered thousands of lives and vast quantities of cash. European countries also participated in America’s debacle in Iraq. The intervention in Libya, pushed most vigorously by NATO’s European members, created chaos, loosed weapons, and empowered the Islamic State.

On his recent visit to Washington NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg talked about the work of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in Afghanistan, Africa, Georgia, Iraq, Kosovo, Libya, Middle East, and North Africa. NATO is helping interdict migrant ships in the Mediterranean. The German Marshall Fund recently argued that “placing the Open Door back at the heart of allied policy will project NATO’s credibility and resolve beyond its borders.” The group advocated maintaining partnerships with non-members, without which the organization “would see its action radius beyond its borders drastically reduced.”

Worse, though, the alliance has turned back to its more traditional anti-Soviet role as it courts war with nuclear-armed Russia. During the 2008 Georgia-Russia conflict the Bush administration apparently considered military strikes against Moscow’s forces. Multiple proposals have been advanced for U.S. and allied military support for Ukraine in its battle against Russian-back separatists.

More at link
http://www.forbes.com/sites/dougbandow/2...e4f8ff3fc9
2016 May 27 23:13
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