What is NATO for? Not for fighting wars. It proved in Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Libya that NATO is not an effective fighting alliance. The wars it fights are fought by committee: or, worse, by bureaucracy. They are clumsy, inefficient, and violate the unity of command, one of the basic principles of war-fighting. Kosovo ended when the Kosovo Liberation Army began to make progress in ground combat and President Clinton appeared to be rethinking his no-ground-forces rule. Afghanistan has only turned around (barely) since the United States effectively re-Americanized the war starting in 2009 (Americans did not make up a majority of international military forces in Afghanistan until then). And Libya is likely to remain stalemated until NATO changes its approach or the United States takes over.As noted in the piece, the U.S. spends a lot of money on defense and some portion of that is to allow us to defend our NATO allies under Article 5.
Our guest on the Midrats show argues that Article 5 (which requires all NATO nations to come to the defense of any NATO member that comes under attack) ought to be done away with while NATO shifts its mission - something about whether it makes sense for us to commit to "we will fight to the death of the last American for Estonian boundaries."
Some of us question whether or not NATO is needed at all - having successfully completed its mission, let's fold its flag and move on.
More at CDR Salamander's place where he has some nice graphics on European defense spending liberated from The Economist:
As I tried to pose in a question on the show, after 60+ years, haven't the European countries of post war activity grown economically sound enough to shoulder more of the financial burden of providing the military cover that allows parts of the world to be made safe for democracy?They end up with a phrase right off the front porch.... why should outsiders bother to protect countries that won’t take their own defence seriously?
Mr. Miller and Dr. Fedyszyn sort of reach the same point - let NATO morph into what is good at, but let's take a hard look at what Article 5 costs the U.S. in terms of the military benefits we get out of it.
UPDATE: This kind of highlights one of the issues addressed during the radio show about how slow the NATO decision processes can be:
"Nato decisions are very slow and very complicated. Nato send aircraft for reconnaissance, they take a picture, they take time to analyse the picture, then take time to take the decision to send the fighter to attack the target. Then the target moved.Deliberate is okay unless you are the guy on the ground getting his ass shot off.