Thursday, June 30, 2011

NATO's military mission is over

A short history

NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) was created in 1949 by President Truman and 11 other countries; England, Iceland, France, Luxemburg, Belgium, Canada, Portugal, Italy, Norway, Denmark and Netherlands. It was deemed necessary to prevent Russia from taking control of Europe. The overriding mission stated that an attack on one would be considered an attack on all.
Major bases were located in France. West Germany was allowed to join in 1955. Dissention led France to gradually separate. A complete break occurred in 1966. All bases in France were closed, most of which were re-located to West Germany. By 1979 Tactical Nuclear missiles were installed capable of destroying Russian tank formations. They included GLCM and Pershing II missiles. East Germany was re-united with the West in 1990. An agreement with Russia mandated reductions in forces on both sides. NATO forces were not to be deployed in East Germany. NATO did so anyway.
With the end of the Cold War in 1991 NATO was extended into Eastern Bloc countries, one at a time which caused unease with Russia. France rejoined NATO in 1995 and attained full membership by 2009. In the ensuing years more Eastern nations have joined. A missile base scheduled for installation in Poland under President Bush was halted by President Obama lessening the threat of military action by Russia against Poland.

Where NATO is today

In June 2011 Secretary of Defense Gates scolded the members for not contributing their full effort in the bombing of Libya. He threatened that this could be the end of NATO. Only eight of the 28 member States contributed forces to the Libya campaign. They were America, England, Canada, Germany, Poland, Spain, Netherlands and Turkey. Gates was critical of Poland, Spain, Norway, Turkey and Germany. Norway is ending operations August 1, 2011. The British Navy has stated operations are not sustainable and the Danes have run out of bombs. How ridiculous is this. What it means to me is that NATO is a hollow shell militarily, only held together by the might and treasure from America. I have felt from the beginning that the Libya campaign was doomed to failure.
It is the same old story repeated decade after decade with halfhearted efforts not capable of finishing successfully. Can you remember the American Air Campaign against the Serbs in Kosovo? The Serbs were systematically driving Muslims out of the country, killing many in the process. This should have been up to Europe to intervene if they felt compelled to do so. Instead President Clinton took on the responsibility using only air forces similar to the current campaign in Libya. Serbia was not a threat to European nations and certainly not to America. The point I am trying to make is that this was a regional conflict of a minor nature that Europe was incapable of resolving without the might of America. The concern about the USSR had diminished with the breakup on the Soviet Union. Russia while still powerful in and of itself had diminished as a concern. In actual fact around this time Russia had requested being included in NATO. The request was not approved.
The mighty coalition that had been NATO was now a shell of what it once had been. This would have been the time to re-evaluate the Alliance towards cooperation economically while reducing the American presence which even today is by far the largest contingent of NATO.
As I write this I understand that there are other nations ready to sign on to become members of NATO. There obviously is a need felt to join with others for the mutual good. Economic alliances are almost always beneficial. My concern is that the thought of overwhelming military force to combat Russia or some other major power does not exist without America.
We, as a country, are so deep in debt we are approaching a critical point where we won’t be able to continue being the hero. Now would be a good time to re-evaluate, while the debate is raging in Washington concerning the deficit. They won’t of course, as any retrenchment will be considered soft on defense. The horrendous cost of the current three wars plus maintaining bases throughout the world will continue. Our leaders will continue to muddle along until that fateful day not too many years from now when the rubber band snaps and fiscal reality sets in forcing drastic measures on Americans such as the people of Greece are now going thru.

Jack B. Walters
June 30, 2011

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