2018/11/10

NATO's boundaries

.
I suppose all readers have noticed that some (U.S.) Americans complain about NATO not being of use, just a drag.
Well, much of the costs of the U.S: military in Europe actually stem from either learning from exercises or from supporting stupid small wars using infrastructure in Europe.
The current gentleman's agreement appears to be a give-and-take that Europeans provide bases for U.S. politicians' military adventure games and the U.S. remains in turn involved in deterrence and defence for Europe(an NATO).*

- - - - -

Hawaii became a U.S. state in 1959, a decade after the original North Atlantic Treaty. It's not covered under the treaty.** The PR China could nuke Honolulu and the U.S.' NATO allies would not be obliged to do anything against the PRC under the North Atlantic Treaty.
 
Americans should maybe recognise that the alliance with European protects the continental United States; the Chinese may nuke Guam and launch missiles at Hawaii, but they surely wouldn't want to pull UK, France, Italy, Spain, Netherlands, Norway and Germany into a hot conflict against them. Low information Americans may disrespect the military of those nations, but their combined air and sea power is easily large enough to be undesirable for Chinese war planners and strategymakers.
So right now NATO is a factor that (likely) has a limiting effect on how a Sino-American 21st century war would look like. The treaty might make such a hot conflict a lot less messy by being restricted geographically.

- - - - -

Still, Americans may at some point wish to renegotiate the geographical limitations of NATO out of greed and obliviousness about the aforementioned effect. This could happen in the context of another accession treaty, that is when some country wants to join (Bosnia? Serbia? Finland? Ukraine?).

Europeans who do professionally think about the alliance or foreign policy strategy should be prepared for this, and make up their mind in time.
  1. Would we want to allow the Americans to drag us into a stupid Pacific (Cold) War?***
  2. How important is it to us to get some more country or countries into the boat?
  3. How important is the probable limiting effect that NATO has on a possible stupid Pacific War to us?
  4. Would we want to spend the extra resources on preparing for an air/sea war with extremely long logistics lines?
- - - - -

Personally, I'd reject such an expansion of coverage.

S O

*: I still suppose the biggest utility of NATO is that it kept the U.S. and EU from becoming antagonists over the many diverging interests and opinions, of course. The Europeans don't need the actually small American contributions to their deterrence and defence against Russia; most of the U.S. armed forces are irrelevant for Europe anyway, and almost all of the others would only come into effect long after a Russia could have overrun three European NATO members and possibly defeated the forces of a third one.
**: The original article 5 of the treaty was modified by the accession protocol for Greece and Turkey (in article 2) and still includes no Pacific islands.
***: Keeping in mind how needlessly aggressive and reckless their own behaviour is. Germany ought to have learned its lesson from standing by the side of an aggressive and reckless Austria-Hungary in 1914.

7 comments:

  1. The arrogance of Europeans always astounds me, blinded by memories of former glory.
    http://www.visualcapitalist.com/animation-the-worlds-10-largest-economies-by-gdp-1960-today/

    Europe isnt the centre of the world any more, the US overtook the entire EU28 a few years ago, and a few years in the future, China will have overtaken us as well.
    With third place going to Japan.
    "The Europeans don't need the actually small American contributions to their deterrence and defence against Russia; most of the U.S. armed forces are irrelevant for Europe anyway, and almost all of the others would only come into effect long after a Russia could have overrun three European NATO members and possibly defeated the forces of a third one."

    http://lindleyfrench.blogspot.com/2018/11/nato-trident-juncture-
    18-plugging-natos.html

    "That is why my friend and colleague Hans Binnendijk pioneered the 4 x 30 concept for the 2018 Brussels Summit by which 30 combat battalions, 30 combat squadrons and 30 combat ships would be ready to go within 30 days of an emergency being declared. Tellingly, the Americans wanted those forces ready to go in 10 days, but it was the Germans who led efforts to ease it out to thirty days. In other words, NATO European forces might be ready to go just when President Putin could be picking up the phone to some future German chancellor to tell her he has achieved his strategic objectives of rebuilding a buffer between the Russian Federation and NATO. The Baltic States?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Russian foriegn policy has long gone through periods of increased tension followed by retreat. Look at their last military spending review, they are currently going into a period of retreat. The EU should therefore match their deescalation (while continuing an at-current-budget root and branch military reorg).

      "Europe isnt the centre of the world anymore", I would argue it is, and moreso now than in the preceding half century. Old quote, "The fall of the east was mistaken for the rise of the west", that global rebalancing will pivot around Europe. Europe as the centre that the seesaw as the US falls and China rises.

      It isnt going to be an easy task to negotiate this polar shift, though many have seen it coming for a long time. The 'shock' is that it is happening so quickly, why? Trump. Macrons speech is quite a jump from allowed rhetoric 3-5 years ago, what is interesting is how easily it was accepted. Military independance in order to resist Russia, China AND the US. 5 years isnt normally a long time in geopolitics, but things are moving very fast at the moment.

      Homework for you; read the most recent russian defence plan GPV, read up about OBOR, string of pearls, etc

      TTFN

      Delete
    2. "Russian foriegn policy has long gone through periods of increased tension followed by retreat."
      Russia is building a military capable of a massive unsustainable burst of violence, thats far from retreating, and irrelevant to anything I posted?

      "that global rebalancing will pivot around Europe. Europe as the centre that the seesaw as the US falls and China rises."
      But the US isnt falling, Europe is falling, did you not see the handy video?

      https://tradingeconomics.com/european-union/gdp
      https://tradingeconomics.com/united-states/gdp

      "Macrons speech is quite a jump from allowed rhetoric 3-5 years ago,"
      Really, because theres nothing new there the EU has long wanted to subsume its provincial armies in to a national one.

      Delete
  2. Domo,

    thank you for supporting Svens post in a very impressive way. :-)

    Please, get relevant data, then come back, you sound like a moron. Hint: The baltic states are lost in much less than ten days, they are actually not defendable.

    Ulenspiegel

    ReplyDelete
  3. I wrote repeatedly about readiness and quickness being the current shortfall in Europe's armed forces. Half of the German brigades should be NE of Warsaw in very few days (ideally 90% in 36 hrs), the other half should (ideally) arrive no more than 60 hrs later. It's feasible if one focuses on this capability for two years.

    We have plenty European nuclear deterrent, we have plenty mil spending, we have plenty troops, and even heavy army equipment has decent numbers if we look at all of European NATO or EU. The strength isn't where it would be needed, it would trickle to the scene too slow and much of our high value equipment is too vulnerable to a strategic surprise attack.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thank you, very interesting outlook! New angle :) Though the deterrence concept against China appears more political than military, given the distances involved. In this case political multilateral statements might function as well or better than NATO - which would be more likely to convince the Chinese to relent on their arms race, NATO, or diplomacy? Ist es tatsächlich möglich sie sinnvoll abzulenken, oder würden sie gegeneinander wirken? My position is not hard to guess on this one :P - I suppose we'll see.

    "How important is the probable limiting effect that NATO has on a possible stupid Pacific War to us?" The war may very well be stupid, but it would have fairly bad consequences, in the immediate at least economically. Both exports and imports could be badly affected, since most Chinese trade flows through SCS (the overwhelming majority of ship flow in SCS is to and from China). Germany might that year no longer be Exportweltmeister - Ein Trauerspiel!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. *Conventions, Agreements, Treaties sogar not just Statements
      If the EU is serious about it's stated goal of being a broker of peace - I have my doubts about the implementation and effort dedicated to it - it might end up contraddicting NATO. Playing a double game openly will only weaken its diplomatic moves, not playing a double game would be difficult. Perhaps all the problems could be made to go away with increased European decisionmaking influence in NATO - meaning overruling / convincing the Amis not to do stupid things - given our own disunity is that feasible?

      Delete