Wednesday, December 14, 2016

NATO and the EU

I haven't yet read the report available here on NATO and the EU, but I'd like to comment on the description of the report's focus:

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the European Union are in disarray. The former has fulfilled its mission. Were it not for Russia’s seizure of the Crimea and invasion of Ukraine and the refugee crisis in Europe spawned by the sectarian Muslim conflict raging in Iraq and Syria, it would be an empty shell without any obvious function. The latter has overreached. A great success as a customs union, it is a disaster as a currency union; and the attempt to turn it into a federation—oligarchic in governance and equipped with an intrusive administrative apparatus—will end in tears.

On the issue of the EU, they're preaching to the choir here at The Dignified Rant. I've long called the EU a proto-empire eager to erase that "proto-" part. It should die with festering boils.

Don't forget that the factors that lead to fragmentation of NATO are factors that fragment the EU.

As to NATO, I strongly disagree with the notion that NATO is an empty shell without external and close threats to Europe. As I wrote five years ago about Europe splintering, among other things, NATO has a value to America and the West apart from a close threat:

[The splintering of NATO Europe] doesn't eliminate the importance of NATO in at least setting some minimums for standardization for coalitions of the willing for specific military missions even if the alliance as a whole won't commit to them.

The Stratfor report on splintering in that post is interesting given that Stratfor has another report on that issue, focusing on the reaction of Russia's western neighbors to drift in the West:

The states that lie between Russia and Europe will no doubt feel the impact of the political upsets occurring outside their borders. Countries that once belonged to the Soviet Union have watched the changes underway with growing unease, and they are likely re-evaluating their stances toward the competing giants looming on their eastern and western flanks. All of them, from those in Eastern Europe to those in the Caucasus, will have to prepare for a new geopolitical environment in which Russia may no longer be able to be ignored and the West may no longer be able to be counted on.

Stratfor expects those countries in and out of NATO to cooperate to resist Russia, unsure of NATO's ability (and interest) to help them.

Which is interesting given that the evaporation of the Soviet threat harmed NATO unity yet Russia's aggression has not repaired NATO unity.

Since I thought we had an interest in NATO even between those events, as I quote above, I think we have to conclude that the problem isn't "them" (in Moscow).

The problem is the West. Why doesn't the West believe the West is worthy of defending?

UPDATE: This author quite rightly thinks little of the idea of a EU military that will inevitably harm NATO which actually does defend the continent.