Here
and
Now

opinions

Brain-dead at 70? NATO set to ask 'wise persons' for help

3 Comments
By Robin Emmott

NATO is expected to ask a group of "wise persons" to help reform the alliance after U.S. President Donald Trump questioned its relevance and French President Emmanuel Macron said it was dying.

At a London summit on Dec 4 marking NATO's 70th anniversary, leaders of the 29 member states will try to put on a show of unity but face questions about the future of the U.S.-led alliance.

Washington's allies in Europe and Canada are uncertain what to expect from Trump after he criticized Germany at a NATO summit in July 2018 and mulled quitting the alliance before praising it and taking credit for promised reforms.

Since then, Macron has also vented his frustration, over what French diplomats say is NATO's lack of coordination at a political level and a failure to tackle taboo subjects. In Macron's words, NATO is "experiencing brain death".

His remarks followed a U.S. troop withdrawal from Syria which prompted Turkey to launch an offensive against YPG militia in northern Syria which it sees as terrorists although they helped Washington defeat Islamic State. Ankara's NATO allies fear the assault will undermine the battle against IS militants.

To address the concerns about NATO's future, the summit is likely to adopt a Franco-German proposal to create a group of respected figures under alliance Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, diplomats said.

The "wise persons" would report back in late 2021, when NATO is due to hold its next summit, setting the ground for reform.

"We are trying to channel the electric shock produced (by Macron's comments) to structure a political debate," said a senior French diplomat involved in discussions.

The aim is to secure a "re-balanced transatlantic alliance," the diplomat said, with Europe recognizing Washington is carrying too much weight.

The group would probably be small, with a mix of elder statespersons and others who can propose more radical ideas.

As a gesture to Trump, a summit deal is expected for U.S. allies to share more of NATO's running costs and reduce Washington's share of annual funding for NATO headquarters and staff from 2021.

Leaders are also set to meet a U.S. demand that European allies have more NATO battalions, ships and planes ready for combat as deterrence against a potential Russian attack.

WHAT WILL TRUMP SAY?

"Of course no-one knows what Trump will say," said a senior European NATO diplomat. "But now we don't know what Macron or(Turkish President Tayyip) Erdogan will say either."

The one-day summit at a luxury golf club will be unusually brief to reduce the scope for diplomatic disputes though Britain is eager to host the showcase event as it prepares to leave the European Union.

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization was created in 1949 to confront the threat of the communist Soviet Union but found renewed renewed purpose after Russia annexed Crimea in 2014.

NATO is now under pressure to help solve some of the world's most intractable crises and Washington has pushed it to consider its position on China, a growing military power.

"The strain on the system is big," Norwegian Lieutenant-Colonel Stein Grongstad told Reuters during training of Norwegian soldiers who will help train local government troops in Iraq under a NATO flag.

"It is difficult for the army to do territorial defense, training and international operations at the same time."

This is sensitive for Germany, which is Europe's biggest economy but has struggled with outdated weaponry and does not aim to meet NATO's minimum spending target for individual nations until 2031.

"But the question is still whether politicians are ready to spend so much money," a German defense source told Reuters.

© (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2019.

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

3 Comments
Login to comment

NATO is expected to ask a group of "wise persons" to help reform the alliance after U.S. President Donald Trump questioned its relevance and French President Emmanuel Macron said it was dying.

Trump is making an understatement and Macro is (for once) telling the truth. Fact is NATO should not exist today. It was designed to be the counter part to the Warsaw pact during the cold war.

The cold war has ended, the Warsaw Pact does not exist any more and the Soviet Union is broken up. So why in the world do we need NATO today? Its existance is a continuing broken promise to Gorbachew, and it track record of illegal and stupid foreign interventions is shameful.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Zaphod NATO is still necessary because other dangers are there. Russia, under Putin is a menace - they commit cyberwar against neighbors like Poland, Estonia and the U.S.A. And when Yugoslavia self-destructed in the 90s a major problem for our European allies ensued. Milosevic was a serious problem - a newer kind of fascist. Then when the Libyans rebelled against Moammar Qaddafy (who was always a terror mongering trouble-maker for Europe, Middle East, half of Africa) the danger of him unleashing his terror again was very clear. He was a rogue pest, an international problem child and NATO needed to act together to settle that danger once and for all.

Trump is not fit to govern a garbage can and he is too immature and sociopathic to be its head. Since he is shaming the US so much, one of the other allies to step up into the circle. And Trump needs to removed from the WH and pushed aside into a corner and at least ignored because he is uncouth and unworthy to be in any social or diplomatic gatherings or affairs.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Russia, under Putin is a menace - they commit cyberwar against neighbors like

Not a world wide threat in the same way the Soviet Union was, and bullying neighbors is no different than what the US has done in Latin America for decades.

Then when the Libyans rebelled against Moammar Qaddafy (who was always a terror mongering trouble-maker for Europe, Middle East, half of Africa) the danger of him unleashing his terror again was very clear.

Removing Qadaffi has been a disaster, creating hundreds of thousands of refugees, flooding Europe with migrants leaving from Libya, and replacing him with even more oppressive factions. It takes a true believer to claim that removing him was somehow a success for NATO.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites