April 3, 2008

Why is NATO expanding?

The last line of an LA Times article about something else mentions:

The [NATO] alliance meanwhile is poised to offer membership to Croatia, Albania and Macedonia, though Greece has threatened to block Macedonia's bid.

Theoretically, at least, NATO is a serious thing -- it's a defense alliance. Article Five of the NATO treaty kind of sort of commits us to go to war for Croatia, Albania, or Macedonia if they get attacked by any of their numerous neighbors:

The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all and consequently they agree that, if such an armed attack occurs, each of them, in exercise of the right of individual or collective self-defence recognised by Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations, will assist the Party or Parties so attacked by taking forthwith, individually and in concert with the other Parties, such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area.

I guess it's just a personal moral failing of mine, but for some reason, I can't really see Macedonia as being all that crucial to vital American national interests. Albania, sure, it's at least as important to us as the Panama Canal. And Croatia's practically Canada in terms of strategic value to the U.S. What true American wouldn't gladly sacrifice his sons' lives for Croatia?

But Macedonia? I'd bet that 95% of Americans don't know Macedonia exists, and the other 5% are Greeks who hate it for stealing the name of Alexander the Great's homeland.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

43 comments:

SKT said...

An alliance like all exclusive clubs is based on keeping people out. What's the point of letting so many people join. 10 years from now, will we ask the Russians to join, and then the Chinese? More likely, I think it's going to become another UN.

neil craig said...

Since our Albanian KLA emplyees went to war with Macedonia shortly after we helped them "liberate" Kosovo & the country is now de facto divided, the chances look quite high that the NATO treaty will have to be invoked to protect Macedonia from aggression by Albania - or vice versa.

headache said...

A Greek girl I know was freaking out that a war would start over this Macedonia thing or something like that. So I had to try and figure out what this was all about, and it turns out it’s a name thing. So NATO goes into an identity crisis because somebody is misusing a name. Go figure! I like they away Albania is now also in the western fold. I guess I had not realised how vital this little Muslim enclave, a leftover of the so-far failed attempt by Muslims to conquer Europe, was to Europe. Only Europeans would waste their time with such self-defeating "embracing" nonsense. Everybody else always looks out for themselves and just abuse these perpetual reaching-out exercises of western nations.

Anonymous said...

Why do all these idiots in charge never listen to Pat Buchanan? I just don't get it. I've read most of his books and he makes so much sense to me -- and I'm an atheist Dutch guy living in Europe, who's never been to the US. Pat predicted and warned for all of the problems the US is facing today and tomorrow(maybe even yesterday).

Why don't Americans listen to him? Please do yourself a huge favour and, for once, take Pat's advice.
- Stop NATO's expansion,
- End immigration,
- Stop wars,
- Throw all of the faux Right degenerates, who edit National Review/ Pravda US, to reclaim your movement.

Please, listen to Pat, my dear Americans. I always wanted to move to the US someday. Keep my dream alive.

PS Don't let it come to Mr. President, mad John McCain.

-Maciano

Anonymous said...

This question can easily be answered with recourse to elementary chemistry.

rightsaidfred said...

It sounds like NATO is doing a bureaucratic growth by accretion.

Anonymous said...

NATO seeks expansion for the very fundamental reason that the first priority of an organization is to justify its existence. Its main beneficiaries are US military contractors and the generals who hope to join them when they retire.

Here's the part that troubles me: the US is diving into the same tangle of rivalries and cross-referenced alliances that started WW I (and, by extension, WWII) because of some pissing match in a remote corner of a middling empire.

We simply have no idea what we are getting into, but we are getting into it up to our necks.

--Doug

W Baker said...

I think we trying to build an organization to compete with the UN. After finding out the hard way in Iraq and Afghanistan that we can't be the UN all by ourselves, we're doing it through NATO. We've been beating the hell out of Iraq for about 17 years now in the name of the UN. Maybe an enlarged NATO will now give us other opportunities...!

McCrazy seems to want a new organization to track down third-world misfits and throw his weight around a little. NATO might just be that vehicle. Hopefully, it'll just be a sinecure for a few dopes, the occasional customer of some futuristic weapon which never develops past the initial payments, and not the means to another world war.

Peter said...

Yes, but if a foreign enemy invades the United States, the Macedonian armed forces will come to our aid!

Nero Caligula said...

Look, Steve, as much as you or I might prefer it otherwise, the world is a hard place and it takes hard men to live in it. Are you really prepared to let Slobodia become a regional super hegemon, knowing that 15 percent of Slobodians supported the candidacy of the jew hater and opponent of gay marriage, Wajtek Wasloslav? If you understand that, how can you possibly fail to see America's obligation to stand with it's brothers, the democratic people of Macedonia? I'm not saying that it's going to be an easy fight, taking on those Slobodian butchers, but then bringing the crystalline, pure resolve of our ideals into the real world rarely is. It takes the hard work, sweat and blood, lots of blood, of hard men. And America is a nation of hard men.

Further, while the MoveOn.org crowd would no doubt prefer that we all close our eyes and plug our ears to anyone not preaching the standard AmeriKKKa, bushitler line, can we as a nation really afford to ignore
the Kirgizahni surveillance footage that clearly shows Slobodian agents meeting with Osama bin Laden's 18th son, Osama Akbar Ali, and members of the elite Iraqi Republican Guards at a Tanzinian safe house in 1995? What we have here is branch on the decision tree that we've long delayed in making. We can either stand with the aforementioned liberal loonies and their racist, neo-isolationist Ron Paultard allies on the right, while the buildings come crashing down around us, or we can take action.
Going up that branch on the decision tree won't be easy, but the penalty we've payed already for not acting has amounted to more than a few pennies already, pal. That is essentially what my arg boils down to: that you, I and the rest of America had better make sure that we pay the Alis and Alyoshas of the world in shock and awe now, or you can be damn sure that they'll pay us back double for
our decadence and sloth later, brother.

MensaRefugee said...

All we really need is Russia, China, Pakistan, India and N.Korea to join NATO...and the liberals will finally achieve World Peace.

Steve,
You think too much. You need to feel the movement.

*Hands Steve an Obama Button*

bjdouble said...

I knew this day would come. I am so proud of my country. No doubt George Washington is looking down and smiling. Finally we Americans have recognized that no American will be free as long as Albania is has to pay for it's own security.

Anonymous said...

Is NATO really worth staying in for the US anyway? The contribution of many of it's continental European members to it seems lacklustre at best and their attitude to their obligations seems unenthusiastic - although I have no doubt they are very enthusiastic about the US's obligations. Also because of the provision you quoted there seems a real possibility of the US being dragged into some silly local conflict that escalates.

I suspect you'd (the US that is - I am an Australian) be better served by direct treaties with a few selected countries.

Anonymous said...

Albania still baffles me. What is the neocon and you know who's reason for being so pro Albanian? seething hatred of Easter European Christians

Anonymous said...

It's probably just a symbolic gesture, putting psychological pressure on Moscow.

Anonymous said...

I thing what we have here is a proof that the Neocons never were anti-communist, just anti-Russian.

- Zen Redneck

Anonymous said...

NATO's become nothing but a political symbol, backed up by high rhetoric.

Sooner or later someone's going to call our bluff and the entire thing's going to fall like a stack of dominoes.

Frankly, I think we're better off without such a chimera, so expand away! Let's bring in the entire world and call it the UN so we can dispense with the notion that this is a serious, tight Alliance that's worth fighting wars over to preserve.

Anonymous said...

Many members of the U.S. military are familiar with the country. There was a Macedonian contigent at the base where I was stationed in Iraq in 2006. Their flag is cool.

Anonymous said...

The Albania Lobby must more powerful than the Israel Lobby: even the Israel Lobby didn't manage to get the U.S. to sign a mutual defense pact with Israel.

Harry S.

testing99 said...

Steve, just a reminder that after 9/11, the German, French, and Italian representatives of NATO refused to consider 9/11 an attack and wanted to negotiate with the Taliban (to Colin Powell's fury) and did not participate in any of the attacks which were an all-American affair.

As a practical matter, NATO exists as a political cover for the US to provide for all of Europe's defense while Europe pretends it matters. European militaries are just for show -- they are incapable of fighting, see Bosnia, Afghanistan, etc.

The experience in Afghanistan, with Dutch, German, and French troops has been a disaster. Their home governments put caveats on their deployment so they will not see combat and take casualties. US commanders consider them useless. They don't even provide vehicles and so on. The Danish, British, Canadian, and Australian (not part of NATO) special forces are very good, but there is not very many of them and they are always short of equipment.

[It is not neocons but the Holbrooke-Albright crowd that loves Albania. I guess the thinking is that by being "nice" to Muslims with Albania they will stop attacking us. AFAIK Perle, Cheney etc. don't care about Albania and consider it a pointless antagonism of Russia. GWB is weak of course and goes along with a lot of Clintonian stuff. Dont' forget it was Clinton that first bombed Serbia.]

It's been US policy since Teddy Roosevelt to prevent any one power from dominating Europe, so I suspect we are stuck with NATO and providing Europe's defense for them. They really do have enemies who wish to exercise power over them: resurgent Russia, Iran (as patron of the Muslims in Europe). I don't see the point of Albania or Macedonia. Georgia was likely a bargaining chip with Putin -- the US needs his help for alternate resupply in Afghanistan should the new Pakistani government or the Taliban cut off resupply through the Khyber Pass.

Unspoken through this is the power-play between Putin, Bush, and Ahmadinejad. Missile Defense in Poland and Ukraine keeps Ahmadinejad from threatening Europe with missiles (the 'War of the Cities' in the Iran-Iraq War) and Putin has acted to block that through overt threats which coming from him are no idle matter. He's lately cranked those threats down, maybe Ahmadinejad has been too big for his britches, threatened Putin?

Your commentators upstream are right, I don't see NATO providing much use to the US, obligations flow only one way. But policy-wise I don't see anyone viewing it as positive for Europe to be dominated by Russian or Iranian threats.

The Balkans are a mess, after the Ottomans, Austrians, and Slavs all fought over the same territory for about 700 years. It should be Europe's job, but they're incapable of doing much of anything these days, so Americans are stuck with it because the alternatives are even worse. I agree though, Albania? Huh?

testing99 said...

Pat Buchanon makes no sense Anon because he is an isolationist (impossible outside North Korea) and thought fighting Hitler and Japan were stupid, because it expanded Government power. He's an updated Father Coughlin. [Japan doesn't let in lots of poor immigrants and is hardly isolationist.] That would be like a Cancer patient declining chemotherapy because it made him sick. You do what you have to in order to survive. WWII was a very close-run thing.

To put the best spin on it, Europeans might guess that NATO membership acts as a giant bribe to all parties not to start a fight and security guarantee. Both Greece and Turkey are NATO nations. They are hostile and hate each other. They'd each like to bite off chunks of each other's territory. Each has historically ruled the other. NATO membership sort of puts a blanket over the fire of their mutual animosity by giving each a security guarantee and minimizing independent action by each nation's military.

For Europeans looking at how their Continental Wars started -- independent actors dragging patrons into a bigger fight -- I can see the appeal. Cyprus aside, it's mostly worked for Greece and Turkey. Neither went to war with each other in a full-scale attack.

Macedonia, Albania, and a few other Balkan nations have historic designs and claims on Greek territory. Vice versa as well. That's the real reason behind the name deal with Macedonia.

Bribe and guarantee is certainly cheaper and easier than fighting, but it never seems to provide a comprehensive solution and after the strongman (Tito) or guaranteeing power (US) leaves or fades the fighting starts up again. But it's always easier to kick the can down the road for someone else to handle.

robert said...

Assume you want to preserve American hegemony in the world system. The current presumptive transnational parliament/executive function is the UN Security Council (never mind the General Assembly; it's good for laughs, but it doesn't mean squat). But it is fatally flawed: it has the wrong members.

Two European powers? Pleeeeze! Two GA members? Absurd! (Remember the spectacle of everybody courting Guinea and the Cameroons or whoever the hell it was in the runup to the Iraq Attaq?) Where's Japan? India?

The transnational parliament/executive is not going away, though. Instead, since the UN is so feckless, there's competition to see who will end up serving the function.

The UN could be reformed. The Security Council would need to look more like, say, the world's 12 biggest economies for it to be perceived as legitimate and relevant. Possible? Maybe, maybe not.

In the meantime, NATO is a competitor - and far more US-centric than the UN. It could end up being the seed of a world parliament. Horrid thought, I know, but if the UN grows more marginal and NATO gains ground, shouldn't the US be investing in it?

I confess I haven't had the energy to pay attention to the NATO summit, and the whole thing makes me queasy. But I assume that, insofar as there is any US interest at all, it is a question of positioning the US as strongly as possible in whatever transnational body gains ascendancy.

As for Macedonia, well - I visited Skopje in the eighties and found it notable chiefly for its cheap wine. I hope it has gotten better. If the place were ever attacked, I can only imagine that NATO's response would be like the UN's response to Sudanese genocide: rigorous avoidance of whatever language required response.

I agree with the commenter above who thinks its about hemming in Russia, too. As for me - speaking from Sweden - I'm with the Dutch guy who thinks Pat Buchanan's the man.

Elzair said...

Going up that branch on the decision tree won't be easy, but the penalty we've payed already for not acting has amounted to more than a few pennies already, pal. That is essentially what my arg boils down to: that you, I and the rest of America had better make sure that we pay the Alis and Alyoshas of the world in shock and awe now, or you can be damn sure that they'll pay us back double for
our decadence and sloth later, brother.


How will they be able to do that IF THEY CAN'T GET IN THE COUNTRY!!!!!

Ultimately, the grand strategy of al-Qaeda was to compel us into launching a full-scale invasion of a Muslim country where they could
1. bleed us dry in blood
2. drain our treasury
3. isolate us politically
4. make us look like fools

They failed to do that in Afghanistan; however, Bush then gave them what they wanted in regard to Iraq. The best possible solution is to extricate ourselves from the region. Evacuate all military personnel and place strict limits on entering the United States. I do not believe any Muslim nation has nuclear warheads capable of reaching the United States, and even if they did, what would be the point of attacking an enemy that would annihilate you? ICBMs or sub-launched missiles will never be a terrorist weapon. The preceding strategy will be much more effective and cheaper than your strategy.

testing99 said...

One more point. NATO has endorsed missile defense. Putin has reportedly signed on to the deal as well, getting coverage for Russia in the system.

If this is true (seen it on Yahoo News only) it's a huge political shift. It would mean Russia has moved away from backing Iran as a trouble-maker for the US, and is afraid of Iran's potential missiles. NATO has value under this shift because it can use Poland, Czech Republic, maybe Ukraine/Georgia (as non-NATO "partners").

Who knows, maybe NATO is sort of the "blanket" over regional conflicts and missile defense in Europe? Nations like Iran or Libya can smuggle in a few nukes, but suffer devastating nuclear responses from the Superpowers (Russia, US, China) which have thousands not hundreds of nukes. While the minor nations don't have Missile Defense.

If it's true (it might not be) it's a victory for "Big" Western science, cooperation, and technology.

Link here

(I dunno, maybe Albania has some use just for real estate, insurance against threats from the South maybe, or Turkey? WaPo has Turkey nuking up in response to Iran, to maintain balance of power. I sure as heck don't see Albania as useful in any other way other than real estate.)

anony-mouse said...

When Europe goes 100% Muslim it will be very advantageous for the US to already have bases in Europe rather than await attacks.

Anonymous said...

Damn Steve,
for a thread on NATO, this was pretty interesting. Lot's of good perspectives here.

My own guess is that if the idea is internationalist (invade the world), it's the new default position and you have to have a superb reason to be against it, you ignorant, Buchanonite, bigot.

Also, these things aren't meant to be noticed. People who know what they are doing are in charge. We can't leave foreign policy to the unwashed masses.

Anonymous said...

Thy must still be pissed off about the Tsar's pogroms.

Anonymous said...

Testing99

Europe's defense is Europe's business. Read that again and repeat it. Anyone here who seriously argues that Europe is incapable of defending itself is seriously mentally challenged. Europe is, you know, quite rich and if we have to, we will defend ourselves -- don't worry.

Don't read all these columns at National Review by proven liars like Mark Steyn and VDH.

You keep bashing Buchanan for the ignorant slogan "isolationism", which is channeled by the feeble minded idiots at Little Green Footballs, while your country is going bankrupt and your countrymen are dying. For nothing, I might add. I don't like what the US is doing to herself, listen to Pat, guys. Pat knows.

Except for Canada, Cuba and Mexico, I can't see any countries which the US should monitor closely or defend, because of self-interest.

So why expand? No reason at all. Except for power madness.

-Maciano

headache said...

nero caligula

aka

evil neocon.

headache said...

anony-mouse sed:
"When Europe goes 100% Muslim it will be very advantageous for the US to already have bases in Europe rather than await attacks."

Yeah, but by then the US will by run by blacks and mulattos, so what's the difference?

Anonymous said...

Evil anonymous Caligula,
you sound like testing 99.

headache said...

"Europe's defense is Europe's business. Read that again and repeat it. Anyone here who seriously argues that Europe is incapable of defending itself is seriously mentally challenged."

Germany signed a very restrictive armistice "treaty" at the end of WWII. As far as I know its still in place. This restricts the type of weapons and the number. In fact Germany still does not have a peace treaty with the US but is still treated as a vanquished nation, treaty-wise. So why should Germany take care of its own protection against the legal situation with the US? That would put it in exactly the same situation in which Hitler was after WWI when he began secretly training pilots and moving troops around in breach of the Versailles treaty.

Of course Germany has better weapons technology than the US; otherwise US companies would not be buying core technology off German firms, and be lusting after the new UBoat program for instance. And consider that most of the aeronautics and space technology came out of German labs and factories, which was one of the main reasons the Americans were determined to finish off Germany for good, even at the expense of more casualties. They really wanted to get their hands on all that fancy technology and feared the Russians would get there first.

So it’s obvious to anyone that Germany could once again become a large military player. But why should it, and then basically repeat the political and legal mistakes which lead to its defeats in WWI and WWII? If the US insists on being big boss, then let it act as big boss. But if its too poor to play the role, then its time the US lets down its pants and forgoes being the world’s policeman instead of hustling everyone in sight to pay for its wars, isn’t it?

jade said...

"I thing what we have here is a proof that the Neocons never were anti-communist, just anti-Russian."

- Zen Redneck

That's cause neocons are mostly Jewish and they resent their being kicked out of their former playground by Stalin.

poor richard said...

The big European powers (aside from Britain) have never been friends of ours. Repeat.

Our objective in Euro involvement should be placing missile launchers aimed at Berlin, Paris, and Moscow. Getting some warheads ready to strike the Middle East is also a good idea. Beyond that, leave them to their own problems.

NATO's priority should be securing North America. First, the Mexican immigrant issue needs to be straightenened out one way or another. I support integration of these workers in our society so that we can have some semblance of a self-contained economy. Once that issue is settled somehow, North America really can be an island fortress.

I have no problem with isolationism. In fact, it's a good idea these days. But we need to get our house straightened out first before we batten down the hatches.

fafnir said...

Why? Energy politics. Membership was offered in exchange for real estate access.

"Kosovo does not have oil but its location is strategic as the trans-Balkan pipeline - known as AMBO pipeline after its builder and operator the US-registered Albanian Macedonian Bulgarian Oil Corporation - will pass through it.

The pipeline will pump Caspian oil from the Bulgarian port of Burgas via Macedonia to the Albanian port of Vlora, for transport to European countries and the United States. Specifically, the 1.1 billion dollar AMBO pipeline will permit oil companies operating in the Caspian Sea to ship their oil to Rotterdam and the East Coast of the USA at substantially less cost than they are experiencing today."
...
"The US based AMBO pipeline consortium is directly linked to the seat of political and military power in the United States and Vice President Dick Cheney's firm Halliburton Energy. The feasibility study for AMBO's Trans-Balkan Oil Pipeline, conducted by the international engineering company of Brown & Root Ltd. [Halliburton's British subsidiary] has determined that this pipeline will become a part of the region's critical East-West corridor infrastructure which includes highway, railway, gas and fibre optic telecommunications lines.

"Coincidentally, White and Case LLT, the New York law firm that President William J. Clinton joined when he left the White House also has a stake in the AMBO pipeline deal."

"http://drfade3000.newsvine.com/_news/2008/02/20/1313474-large-potential-albanian-oil-and-gas-discovery-underscores-kosovos-importance"
The above could be all crap.

neil craig said...

One reason for expansion could be that NATO have found a product that is even more valuable than oil.

Human organs.

Carla del Ponte has just admitted knowing for years that our KLA allies were cutting up Serbian teens, & selling their organs to European hospitals (possibly American too though the flight time is longer). This was reported to her by "reliable journalists" who could be relied on not to report it to the rest of us. Clearly all western intelligence services & thus leaders must have known about it.

http://www.slobodan-milosevic.org/

Whatever one thinks of Obama he has no history of organlegging.

Anonymous said...

testing99,

"They really do have enemies who wish to exercise power over them: resurgent Russia, Iran (as patron of the Muslims in Europe)."

You really foresee Russian tanks moving into Berlin and Paris? Absurd. Russians no longer care to go bankrupt trying to rebuild the USSR. Even if they did, they are probably not going to be able to avoid their demographic time bomb.

Iran as patrons of Muslims in Europe? Where did you get this? European Muslims are Turks and Arabs.

--Doug

Martin said...

"testing99 said...

It's been US policy since Teddy Roosevelt to prevent any one power from dominating Europe, so I suspect we are stuck with NATO and providing Europe's defense for them."

Two words, testing99. What the....? Teddy Roosevelts administration had virtually no policy on europe - none that they could enforce. It wasn't until Wilson that we had such a policy - and that worked out so well. And even if TR did have such a policy, who cares? Policies of 100 year old administrations do not have the force of law.

rast said...

Psst Elzair,

I'm pretty sure Nero Caligula was just parodying Evil Neocon. He did a pretty decent job of it too.

Anonymous said...

Clinton's war in Kosovo was about more than averting a second Holocaust: among other things, the US hoped its support would result in a permanent NATO presence in SE Europe. My guess: Albania gets a seat in NATO in exchange for permitting NATO to keep its huge Kosovo base for the indefinite future.

ben tillman said...

An alliance like all exclusive clubs is based on keeping people out. What's the point of letting so many people join[?]

Good point.

Protestant said...

testing99's apparently-genuine idea that "Iran wants to dominate Europe" is one of the most foolish things I have read in..a long time.

As for NATO, it effectively does not exist anymore. It has become the armed wing of the dovish EU.

Svigor said...

I'm pretty sure Nero Caligula was just parodying Evil Neocon. He did a pretty decent job of it too.

Yeah, that was pure genius.