2008/09/12

Overly aggressive allies

Germany has had very bad experiences with overly aggressive allies in its short history as nation-state.
The Cold War time didn't end in a disaster, but there were still enough examples.

1914:
The allied Austria-Hungary is aggressive in its stance towards Serbia and launched World War I. Germany was blamed after the war for this because its head of state had backed Austrian-Hungary.
But there would have been no WW I without Austria-Hungary's aggressive foreign policy in the Balkans - at least not the WW I as it happened.

1941:
The very new ally / brother in arms Italy decided to invade Greece while failing in the North African theatre. They failed badly in Greece as well and had to be bailed out by the Wehrmacht.
That was lucky for the Soviet Union and unlucky (it depends - losing is sometimes better than winning) for Germany, as the delay of the invasion of the Soviet Union saved Moscow and saved the Soviet economy from a collapse (Moscow was the planning economy's brain and a vital traffic node).

2003:
The USA - while being involved in the alliance's war in Afghanistan - starts the entirely needless war in Iraq and diverts important resources (not only its own, but also British ones) to Iraq.


Overly aggressive allies can be a real menace. Every nation with such an ally should think about quitting the alliance.

There are some strong arguments for calling such overly aggressive allies to order:

One is the Charter of the United Nations - every member state limits the legality of its foreign policy options by joining and staying in the United Nations. A violation of the charter can and should be considered as illegal, even if the action would be legal otherwise.

The Charter of the United Nation says in Article 2 (excerpt):
All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.
Source: Charter of the United Nations

Another document creates a direct link to the NATO alliance:

Ladies and gentlemen, I present you Article 1 of
The North Atlantic Treaty:

The Parties undertake, as set forth in the Charter of the United Nations, to settle any international dispute in which they may be involved by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security and justice are not endangered, and to refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force in any manner inconsistent with the purposes of the United Nations.
Source: The North Atlantic Treaty

NATO members shall refrain from attacking other states without explicit and unambiguous permission of the United Nations!
Any other attack on or threat to another state is a violation of the Charter of the U.N. and the NATO treaty and puts the obligation of the other NATO members to assist the aggressive state in case of a foreign attack in question.
A good ally doesn't violate the Charter of the United Nations or The North Atlantic Treaty. This is not open for debate.

S O

7 comments:

  1. And the US is now experiencing problems with totally non-aggressive "allies", who have turned out to be only fair-weather friends. Non-aggressive allies can be a real menace, causing some countries to do more of the work than other countries and expend more of their blood and treasure because their "allies" haven't kept up on their promises to the NATO alliance. Perhaps the countries that have let their militaries fall into disrepair, countries that can't support or transport a boy scout troop, much less an army, should be forced to quit the alliance.
    ----------------
    A few faux pas:
    "2003:The USA - while being involved in the alliance's war in Afghanistan - starts the entirely needless war in Iraq and diverts important resources (not only its own, but also British ones) to Iraq."

    FYI, NATO did not become involved in Afghanistan until it took over control of the ISAF from the UN in August of 2003, to prevent the UN from failing once again. The initial UN involvement before NATO is why there are Australian, Japanese, South Koreans and others there. They certainly aren't part of NATO. Hence there was no "alliance's war in Afghanistan", until well after the US went into Iraq, which you may recall was in February/March of 2003.

    ----------------------
    "There are some strong arguments with whom such overly aggressive allies can be called to order"
    This makes no sense, translation please?

    --------------------------
    Article 2 of the UN charter is relevant, but so is Article 51. Pacifists don't want to recognize this, but you can't pick and choose which regulations you follow.

    UN resolutions: Resolution 678 initially authorized the first Gulf War and "all subsequent relevant resolutions needed to restore international peace and security", and remained in effect in 2003. Resolution 1284 in 1999 reinforced that.

    Resolution 1441 gave the US whatever it needed to authorize military action against Iraq.

    And Resolutions 1483 and 1551 gave the authority to the postwar powers in Iraq.


    A reliable ally doesn't look for ways to avoid fulfilling their commitments by making specious arguments about illegality or non-existent violations of charters or treaties.

    Everything you post here is open to debate, unless you post the whole truth, not your very limited and uninformed perspective of the situation.

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  2. I'm not aware that any non-aggressiveness of NATO allies has so far caused damage to the U.S.. I can therefore not agree with your "fair-weather" accusation. Since you insist on considering all articles of a treaty; article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty says that the members decide how much assistance they give in case of an attack.

    "...such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area. "


    I'm really tired of these UN resolution discussions. People who believe that the UN had authorized the war against Iraq in 2003 never seem to be open for arguments.
    There was no intent to allow an invasion among the majority of the council and the text was very different to the texts that legalized the 1991 Kuwait liberation and the intervention in Korea. The deliberate misinterpretation by the pro-war crowd doesn't change the meaning of the resolution.


    Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations was not applicable for the 2003 Iraq war. The invasion was no act of self-defence at all.


    The Afghanistan war was a NATO affair as the 9/11 attacks had been declared to be an attack on a member state in 2001.
    U.S., British, French and iirc small contingents of other NATO countries were involved very early.
    Formal NATO leadership is not the only criterion here and the participation of non-NATO forces doesn't prohibit that it was a war of the alliance.

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  3. If you think the non-aggression of certain European members of NATO hasn't been noticed, even if they hide behind the wording of an increasingly useless defense pact, wait until the time when an enlarged UN Security Council is discussed. You will see the UK and the US racing each other to laugh the longest and loudest when Germany puts themselves forward as a possible member. I hope you aren't embarassed easily.

    I'm not misinterpreting anything, and the UN retroactively covering the US in Iraq proves it.

    Anybody that knows anything about Afghanistan would know the distinction between the American led OEF, which predated the Brussels led ISAF/NATO operations. Look it up.

    People were right, you do live in a very insular world.

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  4. The U.N. basically said that since the mess was already created, those who were responsible should be allowed to clean it up.
    The invasion of Iraq 2003 would have had the same serious consequences for the aggressor(s) as the invasion of Kuwait in 1991 if the aggressors had no veto powers in the U.N. Security Council and were no nuclear powers.

    About the German overseas missions;
    http://defense-and-freedom.blogspot.com/2007/10/german-overseas-military-operations.html
    ...already way too much imho.
    http://defense-and-freedom.blogspot.com/2008/02/in-october-07-i-suggested-that-loyalty.html
    The permanent-seat-in-the-UN-security-council thing was probably already given up one or two years ago and will be no disappointment.

    The U.S. is remarkably feeble in its ability to sanction Germany for anything to any degree. This is especially true in the NATO, as seen some months ago during the enlargement discussions.
    The U.S. is being laughed at these days much more often than Germany, for example by the Russian ambassador to the U.N. when the U.S. ambassador meant that the time of invasions of sovereign countries (in Europe) was over.

    I know about this Afghanistan/NATO time line thing. I've encountered it several times before - I do simply appreciate the situation differently.

    About the "insular" thing; well, that's funny. I know someone who has a lot to tell about U.S. insularity, real insularity. He used exactly that term (and sounded like many others who expressed it differently).

    I'm instead someone outside of the mainstream - that's something else.
    This blog is for readers who want to read a non-mainstream opinion.
    http://defense-and-freedom.blogspot.com/2007/09/about-myself.html


    By the way - I didn't add this to the original post - the whole AQ terror problem is being considered by many (and the congressional 9/11 report iirc) as a result of U.S. foreign policy in the Persian Gulf area, notably troops presence in Saudi-Arabia.
    It's a kind of self-provoked mess, that inflicted damage on several allies as well. That could be considered as just another problem.

    Even if the Europeans were fair-weather allies (maybe we should withdraw the 3,270 German ISAF troops immediately, since their service isn't appreciated much?); at least most of them strive for fair weather, instead of conjuring storms.
    An alliance works best if it doesn't need to be activated. Every activation begs the question "what was done wrong"?

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  5. Sanction Germany? What on earth for? They are largely impotent, a self imposed impotency because of their inability to deal with their past.

    You can "appreciate the situation differently", but facts are facts. You can't just ignore them and expect to be taken seriously.

    I didn't say Europeans were fair weather allies, some definitely are, most are not. You can express sympathy or solidarity all you want, that doesn't substitute for action.

    About your blaming the victim foolishness, do you blame Denmark for becoming a target because they published some cartoons?

    Alliances work best when not activated? The "alliance" has been exposed as a toothless tiger by those who don't honor their commitments. So it won't work much at all anymore, and probably won't scare the Russian bear as much as it used to. Partly, thanks to Germany.

    Are you trying to tell me Germany won't be displeased if India or Brazil are on the Security Council, and they are not? If not, maybe that is some indication how far your country has regressed.

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  6. I wrote "feeble", so I'll ignore your "impotent".

    There's still a comment policy, though - and I will delete any further comments that include insults.

    http://defense-and-freedom.blogspot.com/2008/05/comment-policy.html


    I am btw not of the opinion that privately published pictures are comparable to the U.S. foreign policy and troop presence in the Persian Gulf region in the 90's.


    The U.N. Security Council is a quite disfigured institution due to the several veto rights which pretty much guarantee hypocrisy and small influence of non-veto seats in the council.
    I'm convinced that a 1.15 billion nation and South Asian regional power like India has a stronger claim for a seat in that council than the 82 million nation of Germany.
    The same applies to the 189 million people nation Brazil, which is an important South American power.
    Both regions aren't represented yet (with permanent seats) while Europe is being represented by two EU veto powers, of which usually at least one has a similar opinion on issues as Germany.


    "Alliances work best when not activated?"
    No, read again. The quote was
    "An alliance works best if it doesn't need to be activated."
    The difference is significant and crucial.

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  7. The US does share intelligence with Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom on a different cooperation level than with Germany or the Netherlands.
    http://www.fas.org/sgp/othergov/dod/genser.pdf

    These are the core countries of the Anglosphere sea power alliance derived from the bonding of British Empire/Commonwealth and the United States, another former colony.
    All other alliance partners flock around that alliance core and as long as there is no mutual recognition of being in the club, you can try desperately to do everything to join, like Poland, or stand on your own with some links, like France.

    Germany did not welcome some of these US acts and provided diminished support. This reflected the majority will of the German population. If Germany had acted any different it would have abolished democracy. So tell your NATO partners when you prefer the Führers to take over for glorious days of neverending war.

    ReplyDelete

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