Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
October 19, 2021

More Brain Death At NATO

Two years ago France President Macron diagnosed NATO's 'brain death':

"What we are currently experiencing is the brain death of Nato," Mr Macron told the London-based newspaper.

He warned European members that they could no longer rely on the US to defend the alliance, established at the start of the Cold War to bolster Western European and North American security.

Since then NATO's condition has further deteriorated.

The second biggest army under NATO command, Turkey's, is now hostile to the U.S. which continues to support PKK terrorists who are fighting against the Turkish state. Since the 2016 coup attempt against President Erdogan Turkey had leaned towards Russia. It has bought Russian air defense systems which enables it to defend itself against NATO attacks. The relations with the U.S. and with NATO have since further declined.

Macron's diagnose came when the U.S. pulled some forces out of Syria. The NATO allies had not been informed about the move. This year's U.S. retreat from Afghanistan was likewise not communicated before its announcement even as NATO had an official mission in Afghanistan. Getting ignored by the U.S. does not create the trust needed for an enduring military partnership.

Then came the new AUKUS alliance which put the U.S. focus on China while screwing France out of a huge submarine contract with Australia.

When U.S. President Biden called Macron to apologize for the insult Macron gained a statement of U.S. support for an independent European army:

The United States also recognizes the importance of a stronger and more capable European defense, that contributes positively to transatlantic and global security and is complementary to NATO.

The folks at NATO's headquarter in Brussels will have read that with deep fears. A separate European Union army, which France has long promoted, will inevitably diminish NATO's role.

NATO's original mission, to keep the U.S. in Europe, to keep Russia out of Europe and to hold Germany down, has withered away. The U.S. is concentrating on China and will do so for the foreseeable future. Russia is no longer interested in Europe. Germany is militarily irrelevant, has an aging population and no interest in any expansion.

With Russia having no interest in Europe NATO also lost its favored enemy. While the Baltic states, Poland and the United Kingdom are still hyping Russia as an enemy - mostly for domestic reasons - no one in Italy, France or Germany believes that Russia has plans to attack anyone.

The NATO bureaucrats know all this. To stay in business they continue to lash out at Russia. Most recently by sending some Russian diplomats at NATO's headquarter back home without any sane reason. Russia wasn't impressed by the move. It has resolved to from now on ignore NATO:

Russia plans to cease its diplomatic engagement with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the Russian foreign minister said on Monday, in the latest sign of unraveling relations between Moscow and the West.
By early next month, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said, Russia will halt the activities of its representative office at NATO headquarters in Brussels and withdraw diplomatic credentials from emissaries of the alliance working in Moscow.
Earlier this month, NATO ordered eight Russian diplomats to leave Belgium by Nov. 1, saying they were undeclared intelligence officers. The alliance also reduced the size of the Russian representative office.
Relations with the alliance had in any case long ago gone off the rails, he said. NATO had already twice reduced the size of the Russian delegation, in 2015 and 2018, he said. “On the military level there are absolutely no contacts taking place,” he said.

He said NATO had set up a “prohibitive regime” for Russian diplomats in Brussels by banning them from its headquarters building. Without visiting the building, he said, they could not maintain ties with alliance officials.

Mr. Lavrov suggested the expulsions of Russian diplomats had come as an unwelcome surprise, as he had met in New York just days earlier with the alliance’s secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg, and discussed de-escalating tensions.

“He in every way underscored the honest, as he said, interest in the North Atlantic alliance in normalizing relations with the Russian Federation,” Mr. Lavrov said.

Since his surprise move against Russian diplomats NATO's secretary general has visited the U.S. where he received new marching orders. He announced these in an interview (paywalled) with the Financial Times. Alex Lantier takes it apart:

Speaking yesterday to the Financial Times of London, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg demanded that the military alliance intensify its threats against China. His remarks highlighted both the extremely aggressive policy pursued by the NATO alliance and explosive divisions emerging among the NATO imperialist powers.
Stoltenberg was returning from a meeting with Biden in Washington, where he also spoke at Georgetown University, provocatively demanding that NATO “step up and do more” to allow countries on Russia’s borders to join the NATO alliance. His Financial Times interview was a barely disguised message from the White House calling for the EU powers to fall in line with the mounting US war drive targeting China.

NATO, Stoltenberg insisted, should target not only Russia but China as well. He criticized “this whole idea of in a way distinguishing so much between China, Russia, either Asia-Pacific or Europe,” adding, “it’s one big security environment, and we have to address it all together. … It’s about strengthening our alliance to face any potential threat.”

He denounced China, claiming it was a major security threat in Europe.

Good luck with selling that to European taxpayers. China is by no means a security threat to Europe. Certainly none which a military alliance bound to the North Atlantic's geography has to or can confront. China has good relations with most European countries, is trading with all of them and is Germany's largest customer.

NATO was created when it was in the common interests of its members to counter the Soviet Union.

With regards to China U.S. and European interests diverge strongly. What the U.S. sees as a serious competitor to its outsized role in the world is seen in Europe as a non aggressive partner that creates new economic opportunities.

During next years NATO summit in Madrid the U.S. will want to put China firmly on NATO's agenda. But I highly doubt that the European NATO countries will commit to anything but mealy mouthed statements. They will certainly not cough up money to create new NATO capabilities that could actually be used against China.

NATO is dead. It has outlived its purpose and utility.

To keep peace in Europe the creation of a new military cooperation framework in parallel to the European Union makes much more sense. It should not be the aggressive imperial force France envisions to defend its interest in Africa. To keep peace within Europe a defensive cooperation, operationally limited to its members' European geography, makes the most sense. The incoming new German government could take the initiative to create it.

Posted by b on October 19, 2021 at 17:31 UTC | Permalink

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But... erm.. Danged if I can understand what kinda stupid game Erdogan thinks he's playing here.. Warning Turkey Could Deploy Heavy Weaponry Against Syria.. unless he's in cahoots with the US terror proxies all along..
Russia should kick his treacherous ass out.

Posted by: Barrie VVeiss | Oct 21 2021 16:23 utc | 101

BM @ 73
"was likewise not communicated before its [public] announcement."
I would disagree. An announcement is a specific type of communication, ie public.
The default assumption in context is that was discussed by the stakeholders beforehand. Then announced.
Hence the problemo.

Posted by: David G Horsman | Oct 21 2021 16:54 utc | 102

Barrie VVeiss @Oct21 16:23 #101:... unless he's in cahoots with the US terror proxies all along.

I see too many inconsistencies to believe otherwise.

Now he's creating an economic crisis in Turkey by lowering rates. The resulting instability will then lead him to act aggressively elsewhere to distract the public and shore up his regime. Typical.

Cui bono? (besides Erdogan himself, of course)


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Oct 21 2021 17:21 utc | 103

NATO can become an impotent zombie but it can’t die. It’s the basis for too much money to be dropped on our munitions industry and our primary policy is to ensure that special interests never suffer any financial loss.

Posted by: Hart Liss | Oct 21 2021 19:24 utc | 104

When discussing NATO and it’s viability, I think it’s important to remember that it was, at least is part, a reaction to the North Atlantic agreement between Canada and Sweden. And those Nordic countries in-between. We all needed a little fortification against the seat of the empire, which at the time was the British monarch. Maybe Patrick Armstrong or someone from CAF could give us a history lesson… and a sitrep ??

Posted by: Bruised Northerner | Oct 21 2021 19:37 utc | 105

What exactly would happen if an American was overtly put in charge of Nato? It has been hiding behind various European appointees over the years. We don’t see the US ‘Nato’ forces of Europe marching together ceremoniously in the various nations which they are integral militarily to.

Given that a large proportion of defence spending ends up in the US based MIC the case of having the yanks defend Europe from an extinct ussr is nullified. Decades ago!

Most citizens aware of just that fact would say thanks Yankee cousins again for saving us ...but you can go home and rest. Bye.

There used to be talk of ‘Fortress Europe’ at the end of the last millennium- which was about keeping the rest of the world poor enough so they would be encouraged to migrate to the safe secure wealthy Western Europe of the Empires, always keeping a healthy supply of cheap labour to do the dirty work. This seemed to have a line drawn at the Bosphorus. With the Turks to guard the wall. I guess there was also a desire to extend Europe officially to the southern Mediterranean, but as they say the best laid plans ..

Posted by: D.G. | Oct 21 2021 21:53 utc | 106

RE: Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 19 2021 23:48 utc | 47

“Who knows, maybe his crap was the last straw? “

The “estimation” of the agency and significance of others and themselves often prove difficult for would be “exceptionalists”.

They often attempt to censor such notions thereby illustrating their ignorance of some benefits of the “surveillance state” :

“RE: susan mullen
October 19, 2021 at 02:55

"Why does Mr. Putin continue to allow NED to operate in Russia?"

Thank you for your acknowledgement of the culture of others by usage of Mr. Putin rather than Putin.

However you appear simultaneously to be immersed in the illusion that "decision making" in the Russian Federation is restricted to Mr. Putin or President Putin.

To address some other aspects of your question in modified form:

"Why does the Russian Federation continue to allow various organisations to operate in the Russian Federation ?"

Doing so aids facilitation of some purposes of The Russian Federation, and when this is no longer the case, various organisations are no longer allowed to operate in the Russian Federation.

However those who were/are of the belief that "The United States of America won the cold war (which was never cold)" or that "The United States of America controlled/controls Russia during the 1990's and subsequent" do not deem this to be "plausible belief" - hence the inclusion of comments in Mr. Lawrence's observation entitled Psyops and elsewhere, here and there.”

Why not try another speculation?

Posted by: MagdaTam | Oct 22 2021 10:50 utc | 107

Further to my comment @105 — While I’d still like to hear the perspective of Patrick Armstrong or his Canadian, Swedish or Nordic equivalent, I can’t see Canada and Sweden breaking their mutual defence ties or whatever the ties are precisely. So. I don’t understand European politics nearly well enough to speculate what that might mean for NATO or other trans-Atlantic defence agreements.

Today, Lavrov spoke to the BEAC Barents Euro-Arctic Council. He gave a very user-friendly Q&A session:

And here is an nice overview in an infographic about BEAC:

Posted by: Bruised Northerner | Oct 22 2021 22:10 utc | 108

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