The Split of NATO members

NATO’s seventy years birthday will be celebrated at the London summit in December, but not in a festive atmosphere as it will appropriate and given the criticism of French President Emmanuel Macron as to how he sees NATO’s function.

Of course, President Macron particular criticism that NATO is “brain-dead” is based on the ever-increasing autonomy of the US from NATO, and the acceptance by the US of Turkey’s new role in the Alliance (NATO) which Turkey although participates as a full member in NATO but on her own terms.

In fact, Turkey operates semi-autonomous in relation to the Alliance, allowing it to work closely with Iran and to cooperate with Russia, without the other members of the alliance being able to exercise autonomous criticism and pursue a corresponding autonomous policy and are not in a position to limit Turkey’s stance.

by Thanos S. Chonthrogiannis

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US View of NATO

The USA and given the powerful geo-strategic area of the Pacific and Indian Ocean equally and due to China and since this area is the richest area on the planet gradually began to turn that way away from Europe.

This US stance on its external and geostrategic policy did not begin under the Presidentship of Donald Trump but under the Presidentship of Barack Obama. But this policy became evident under the Presidentship of Donald Trump with the implementation of the ‘America First’ election slogan.

Donald Trump and Barack Obama
The US Stance over NATO started to change on Presidenship of Barack Obama and became evident under the Presidenship of Donald Trump,
Photo by Air Force Staff Sgt. Sean Martin, Public Domain

President Trump has a negative view of the EU by supporting the Brexit and cauterizing the tendency of European allies to flee from their defense and financial obligations to the Alliance.

The Americans believe that NATO has a future if the allies can give NATO the means it needs to ensure the benefits of the security it provides. Otherwise NATO will become obsolete. In fact, the United States considers that the American taxpayer cannot have to protect those countries of the Alliance who do not want to protect themselves.

The Americans are right in expressing this view, but Europeans by not deliberately paying their obligations to the Alliance may do so because they want other more equal roles with USA within the alliance to apply.

The US focuses more on China and the Indian-Pacific Ocean region because East Asia is the most important economic region in the world and why China is now a superpower. Gradually, American policy towards Europe will increasingly become part of the general perception of whether this policy can help or undermine the American attitude towards China.

In other words, anything that takes place in areas of the world such as the Middle East, the Black Sea in fifteen or twenty years from today will be about the type and state of the Sino-American relations.

The wrong strategy of Presidentship Trump is based, in that US competes with China by keeping its distance if not a hostile attitude towards the EU.

EU‘s View of NATO

A possible approach to the wants of Europeans begins with Germany’s stance where it considers that it should be upgraded as an equal partner with the US within NATO and given that Germany itself is a global economic and political superpower and regardless that it is not allowed until today to develop powerful armed forces such as other forces of the West, e.g. the US, the UK and France (WWII winners). In this case, Germany would be a military, political and economic superpower such as the United States and would have an equal role and influence in NATO.

The France of Emmanuel Macron while having the political will and the military force in relation to the other European member-states of the Alliance to star in the military arm does not have the economic power to develop on its own the EU defense with the goal through the EU common defense of making the EU an equal member with the US into NATO (only Germany has the economic power among the member-states of EU to serve this purpose).

At the same time, this position of France and Germany in relation to the USA is putting them in a very difficult position when they see that the US for purely geostrategic reasons allow Turkey to be virtually detached from the Alliance’s common line, while the other members of the Alliance should follow a common line on all issues, which a common line is largely determined by the US. Alliance common line not only on the Middle East issues but on the issues of Russia, Iran and China.

On the other hand, Germany, through its energy dependence on Russia, has begun to form a common line in its Foreign Policy, with France agreeing that Russia should also be involved in a new security framework under consideration for Europe, resulting in an ever closer rapprochement between the EU and Russia, gradually moving the EU away from US positions and views.

Coat of arms of the European Union Military Staff,
licensed Public Domain

At the same time, both Germany and France, seeing Turkey to operate as autonomous in its behavior regarding NATO’s common lines, have substantially responded to any imposed common lines that the United States is trying to achieve in NATO.

In fact, Turkey’s stance and its geostrategic importance forcing the US to allow the “autonomy” of Turkish behaviour towards the common lines both of NATO and the US. This US stance will slowly and steadily “decompose” the Alliance by triggering a more general “guerrilla” among the established common lines between West-European countries which are member-countries of EU and US within NATO.

The “division” among Europeans which is causing by NATO

The EU has shown that it can exert great political and economic influence on Ukrainian society. But it has failed to give Ukraine’s economy that necessary growth and to relieve it from the corrupt oligarchic establishment which, based on its selfish interests, is moving between Russia and the EU-US.

On the other hand, NATO failed to make it impossible either the annexation of Crimea from Russia or the autonomy of Russian speaking regions in Ukraine. One could, of course, say that Russian intervention in Ukraine would be even greater if NATO were not there to support Ukraine. In general terms, however, Russian intervention in Ukraine has achieved its objectives.

The Logo of NATO
licensed Public Domain

But NATO has succeeded in drastically limiting Russian intervention in Poland and the Baltic countries, and today these EU member-countries enjoy the security of their participation in NATO.

The EU’s imposed economic sanctions against Russia as a result of the Crimea’s annexation proves that the EU can influence developments due to its international economic size. Both France and Germany mediate as an intermediary link between Ukraine and Russia to find a compromise solution.

Russia’s aggression in the Ukrainian issue was the fear that Russia has historically caused, which feared reappeared with the annexation of Crimea and forced Poland and the Baltic states to turn to the arms of NATO and the EU.

The current outcome of this geo-strategic turn of Poland and the Baltic countries was the stifling embrace of these countries with NATO. That is why the leaders of these Eastern EU member countries have sharply criticized the criticism of the President of France about NATO, who said that “the Alliance is brain-dead”.

The harsh criticism of the leaders of these Eastern EU member-countries is based on the view that the US and NATO are the main guarantors of their territorial integrity towards the aggression of Russia. So, until the EU has its own credible defense which ensures the territorial integrity of all its member-countries, there will be this ‘division’ among Europeans in terms of the perspective of what NATO means.

EU military arm as NATO’s autonomous pillar

EU defense spending could be more effective with goal to create all those conditions for the creation of a common European defense and common European armed forces, respectively, which together with the US armed forces would be the main two pillars of NATO.

More on how the EU armed forces can be created-organized and at the same time how will have to homogenize the European defence industry please read the analysis «The Creation of EU Defense & its Defense Forces».

At this time, where the US is withdrawing (e.g. Syria) the vacuum is occupied by Russia’s armed forces, accepting Russia the political cost of casualties to its soldiers, a policy that EU member-countries do not want to hear about for their selves.

The EU member countries do not want their armed forces to participate in military campaigns abroad, given the mistakes they have made in the past and the negative results they have gained by participating in regional wars. More on this topic please read the analysis «The Causes of Mistakes that brought to International Geopolitical Weakness the EU».

This makes the political costs for the EU prohibitively high in the event of any new engagement involving anything outside the framework of EU and NATO. The fact that US President Donald Trump has led the US to a peculiar type of isolationism does not help co-operation with the EU and “dazzes” the value of any allied guarantees within NATO.

Coat of arms of the NATO School
Photo by Auhtor North Atlantic Treaty Organization
licensed Public Domain

As a result, the dysfunctions and problems that Europeans should include in their plans are exponentially increasing. In addition, the US is continually demonstrating a tendency to degrade if not to mock any cooperation they have with the EU.

EU malfunctions will exacerbate the EU’s planning to create a common defence since geopolitical developments are not on their side. The Brexit will leave the EU with a very large gap, given that the UK is one of the two strongest military forces in Europe. In fact, the EU only stays with France, the only member-country which has a serious power projection in other countries and generally internationally.

Germany, and given the new emerging political power of the European Greens both in the EU and in Germany, want to implement an EU autonomy policy from NATO on security issues and a reduction in Germany’s defence spending. This policy alone will bind Germany and will not be able to participate in the creation of a common European defence.

The EU, because of the aforementioned geopolitical developments, will either seize the opportunity so that with its country leaders such as France, Germany, Poland and the other EU member countries, they will all create a strong military pillar that will be an equal member within NATO with the corresponding US military pillar complementing each other’s own military pillar by burdening each pillar with its own expenses or the EU will be sidelined in relation to the US defence capabilities and of China.

The EU will have to cover huge territory in many areas in order to reach a level of defensive operation comparable to that of the USA and China equally. This is due to the technology of artificial intelligence and the digital economy that is constantly being applied to the defence sector. Such areas are the management of data in the areas of defence and security, the digital cloud services (Cloud) with the corresponding developing service of the EU to be Gaia-X, the control of space for telecommunications, information, military and economic reasons correspondingly etc.

The EU will have to spend huge sums in all these areas to strengthen the common European defence and the creation of common European armed forces. For the EU, the issue it faces is not its military autonomy within NATO, but it is addressing the challenge of China, which will require close cooperation with the US in the future.

Otherwise NATO will slowly and gradually lose ground in the eyes of the Great Western European powers by continually downgrading its role by making it an outdated security organization.

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