NATO's hawks

NATO general secretary Rasmussen was an unbearable hawk who made lots of stupid and aggressive remarks, but we got rid of him finally. The new general secretary is far from a pacifist, but at least he understands non-coercive diplomacy.

So he's not the warmonger-in-chief, which is why the NATO as an institution has its SACEUR, a general instead of a politician, in that function today: Gen. Breedlove. More about this here. The man mistakes his role as a politician's and goes even beyond what's acceptable for those.

I wonder what went wrong with the strictly defensive alliance after the end of the Cold War that it's breeding such voices and attitudes. I don't think it's all about the individuals, random or the influence of individual member countries.

Instead, the bureaucratic fear of dissolution or even only the aversion against a loss of prestige, budget and power after the loss of the original mission (keep the communists at bay) may have shocked the institution into a 'fight for survival' mode. Their panicky quest for "relevance" since the 90's reminds me of the U.S. Army's "relevance" panic after the 1999 Kosovo Air War. Both bureaucracies under (imagined) existential threat had outside allies who meant to use them as tools for their own ambitions.

I'd like to write that it would have been best to reduce NATO to a skeleton bureaucracy; maybe a single military HQ (less than 1,000 personnel) with AWACS transferred to the EU, but that wouldn't have eliminated the position of SACEUR and a bureaucracy under attack like this would probably have become even more shrill.

It might have helped if the supposedly obsolete original purpose of NATO - to provide collective security for its members against attack - would have been taken more seriously at the latest since the Baltic members joined in early 2014.


2009-05 The utility of NATO


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