The Council adopted its conclusions on the European military capability development. The conclusions point out to measures such as exchange of information on defence budget cuts, capability pooling and sharing options (such as the recent UK-France Defence Cooperation Treaty), developing civil-military synergies in capability development, and developing cooperation with NATO regarding the development of military capabilities.
Now NATO is somewhat wary of EU’s military capability development, since it can divert important military infrastructure from the Alliance. The EU is not convinced of the success of most important NATO operation in the moment in Afghanistan. On the other hand experts say that the two organizations can align force development and mission-planning processes, and ensure closer communication and discourage any rivalry.
There is however a not-so-obvious threat both to EU and NATO military capabilities that at first looks somewhat anecdotal. OECD reports that over half of adults in the European are overweight. As Letters from Europe notes, this is a military problem, since too many European men and women, just like in the US, are too fat to fight.
Hence the idea – couldn’t EU and NATO work on a obesity mitigation program as a first step in improving overall military capability?
US defense minister Robert Gates said that:
“if there is anything to the notion that Turkey is, if you will, moving eastward, it is, in my view, in no small part because it was pushed, and pushed by some in Europe refusing to give Turkey the kind of organic link to the West that Turkey sought”.
I disagree. After all, the European Union is not the only link to the West for Turkey. Why not use NATO to break the Gaza blockade, as proposed by Egemen Bagiş, Turkey’s minister of European affairs and chief EU negotiator?
Netherlands will likely pull its troops out of Afghanistan by the end of this year. This comes after the Labour Party left the coalition, saying it could not agree to a Nato request to extend the Dutch mission beyond 2010.
The governor of Uruzgan where the Dutch troops are stationed has said that they “will leave a big vacuum” behind.
HIS Global Insight says that the psychological blow of the Dutch departure could set the scene for other nations to reduce their involvement in the Afghan mission in future.
A group of Eastern European intellectuals, including Vaclav Havel, Lech Walesa and Bulgarian political scientist Ivan Krastev, have signed an open letter to the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama.
The letter says that Central and Eastern European countries are no longer at the heart of American foreign policy. The authors believe that Central and Eastern Europe is at a political crossroads and today there is a growing sense of nervousness in the region. They say that the United States is likely to lose many of its traditional interlocutors in the region. The most important message in the letter is that the danger is that Russia’s creeping intimidation and influence-peddling in the region could over time lead to a de facto neutralization of the region.
The letter calls for a renaissance of NATO as the most important security link between the United States and Europe.
Posted in Energy, Environment, EU Reform, Foreign and Security Policy, Institutional Affairs
Tagged Barack Obama, Central and Eastern Europe, Energy, European Union, intellectuals, missile defense, NATO, open letter, Russia, security
The NATO Summit will celebrate the 6oth anniversary of the Alliance. The themes are: Afghanistan, Russia, and the new strategic concept for the Alliance.
A new Secretary General, replacing Jap De Hoop Scheffer may or may not be elected during the Summit.
Another historic moment – France will return to full NATO participation.
A report by Rem Korteweg and Richard Podkolinski from the Hague Centre for Strategic Studies claim that a trend of de-solidarisation of NATO is observed.
The authors find eight strategic dilemmas for the Alliance:
- The impact of the shift to a multipolar system and the global economic recession on the Alliance’s credibility and capabilities, and the increasing global demand for security;
- NATO’s role in resource scarcity;
- The need for NATO to address proliferation and redefine its deterrent posture;
- The demand to increase NATO’s strategic ambitions;
- The difficulty to achieve success in Afghanistan;
- The discord over NATO’s strategic orientation;
- Divergent views on NATO enlargement;
- The discord over relations with Russia.
The authors believe that a new Alliance Strategic Concept must find a resolution to these dilemmas.