Skip to comments.A Hard Look at NATO is Long Overdue
Posted on 03/22/2008 7:38:19 AM PDT by fweingart
ARTICLE SYNOPSIS: Sold to the American people in 1949 as a buffer against possible Soviet expansion to the West, NATO has always been a creature of the United Nations. It is now being employed as an armed force for the world body, just as was intended from its outset.
COMMENTARY: Afghanistan is immensely distant from what has always been known as the North Atlantic region. Yet forces from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) are now conducting the military operations in that country. This situation came about because NATO is a United Nations subsidiary and is, once again, being employed as the UNs military arm.
Formed in 1949 under Chapter VIII of the United Nations Charter, the leaders of the alliance have rarely been forthcoming about it being a "regional arrangement" subject to the world body. But, when membership in the pact was being considered almost 60 years ago, Secretary of State Dean Acheson told the nation that it is an essential measure for strengthening the United Nations. Only 13 senators voted against membership in NATO and the 12-nation alliance was launched.
After the U.S. became a founding member in July 1949, American military personnel took up stations in Europe. From its original 12 nations, the alliance has grown to include others since the breakup of the Soviet Union. Anyone who thought that NATO was formed only to provide a deterrent against Soviet advance to the West should now know that this wasnt its fundamental role from the beginning.
The very existence of NATO has the potential for creating hostilities. The former USSR satellite nation of Ukraine has asked to be included in NATO. Russian President Vladimir Putin has made very clear his intention to aim nuclear missiles at neighboring Ukraine if its once docile satellite joins NATO and allows the West to set up a missile defense system. Putin has made similar threats against Poland and the Czech Republic. Were there no NATO, this saber-rattling would likely not be heard.
Non-NATO member Australia has protested that its 970 troops fighting in Afghanistan are shouldering more of the burden of fighting than should be expected. Canada is threatening to pull its 2,500 troops out of the conflict. Germany has told the U.S. that it has no intention of sending additional forces to the region. The United States, ever willing to do whatever it takes to strengthen the UN, maintains the largest force by far and has suffered the greatest number of casualties.
Just last month, Hungarian native Sandor Laborc was named chairman of NATOs intelligence committee. A veteran of six years service during the 1980s at the KGBs training center in Moscow, Laborc is now the top NATO official assigned to deal with gathering and overseeing the alliances intelligence. Many in NATO now expect member nations to be less willing to share intelligence data within the alliance.
Laborcs years in Moscow were spent at the Dzerzhinsky Academy, a school named after the founder of the bloody USSR secret police. His appointment to this strategically important NATO post could not even gain approval from the national security committee of the Hungarian Parliament. But he was nevertheless named to the rotating post by Hungarian Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany, a former communist. An unnamed diplomat from a Western nation was quoted by the New York Times as saying, It would have taken one phone call by the U.S. ambassador to NATO to stop this appointment. Obviously, that call was never placed.
For decades, any high-level member of the Nazis Gestapo has been shunned, imprisoned, or worse. A veteran of the KGB during the years of Soviet rule should be treated equally. The naming of Laborc to the NATO post actually says more about the UN than it does about NATO.
If the United States has any good reasons to be fighting in Afghanistan, it should do so under its own flag and under its own leaders. Allowing our forces to be under NATOs overall command is a betrayal of all who wear the uniform. Our nation should never have joined NATO, and the same can be said for U.S. membership in its United Nations parent.
With ex-KGB goon Laborc as chairman of NATO intelligence, how can Americans look upon that organization with anything other than disdain?
McManus is an ignoramus or he is dishonest.
[quote]Afghanistan is immensely distant from what has always been known as the North Atlantic region. Yet forces from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) are now conducting the military operations in that country. This situation came about because NATO is a United Nations subsidiary and is, once again, being employed as the UNs military arm.[/quote]
WRONG. NATO is engaged in Afghanistan because a NATO member was attacked by a terrorist organization harbored by Afghanistan’s Taliban regime. That is totally within the NATO charter. That was the whole purpose of the alliance.
Apparently it's to simple for the author to understand.
That's true, but I also think it's more of a formality than anything else -- since NATO has also been used in ways that have nothing to do with the mutual defense of its member nations. I've always viewed NATO as little more than a legal/diplomatic mechanism under which the U.S. has basically been given carte blanche to conduct a benign military occupation of Europe for its own interests. There's nothing wrong with that, but it makes no sense to pretend NATO is something other than what it really is.
You must have slept through that whole “Cold War” thing.
Which begs the question, why are we in this alliance, when most of the other members failed to adhere to the spirit or letter of their treaty obligations.
Seems this alliance, like a lot of the deals we have with other countries, is a one-way burden.
NATO has outlived its usefulness and it is long past time for our “allies” to foot the bill for their own defense to the degree that they are interested.
Germany in particular has done next to nothing in Afghanistan, other than to send a few soldiers to stand on street corners in Kabul.
But the Brits have nearly 8,000 troops in Afghanistan, Canada 2500 and France is about to send 1000 to the most violent areas.
Most of the other NATO members have token forces in parts of the country where there is almost no violence.
In other words, the only real help we’re getting is from countries that would have helped us anyway without the treaty.
And NATO is in Kosovo because?
UN Charter Chapter Eight is about the creation of regional alliances. It does not create NATO nor does it say NATO or other alliances are the puppets of the UN. The author of this article is letting his prejudices get in the way of his understanding of English, just as gun grabbers let that happen in regards to the second amendment.
That one I am against. But I am not for disbanding NATO because of one bad political decision and ill-advised operation.
Re post 11, I could never figure out which Nato country was attacked by Serbia. Maybe someone could enlighten both of us.
LSU, you just made Alberta’s point for him. NATO’s commitment to Afghanistan is both lukewarm & tenuous. While they went in initially as a ‘solidarity’ move under the Treaty, every member country has made noises about withdrawing or severly limiting their combat role. Doesn’t sound like much of an alliance to me.
Because the German experience in Serbia worked out so well in 1914? Seriously, the whole Balkan thing has been on auto-pilot since (a re-united) Germany recognized Croatia & Slovenia.
I don’t think there is any point at all.
If not for the alliance, we would have no bases and depots to stage stuff out of and our troops would be much further away from advanced hospital care.
Moreover, our NATO allies perform a significant naval role in the Persian Gulf, the Arabian Sea and the Eastern Med.
No one in NATO spends enough on defense. Including the US. But that neo-isolationist claptrap about ending the alliance is just plain silly and ignorant.
Beats me, I didn't say they should be there.