Mittwoch, 25. April 2012

NATO: From the Department of Unpreparedness

While NATO is gearing up for its Chicago summit, the Visegrad states just published a statement that includes some juicy language.

“The upcoming NATO Summit in Chicago will be a good opportunity to clarify mutual obligations on both sides of the Atlantic: a lasting and substantial U.S. commitment to Europe and Europe’s more coherent and visible investment in defence capabilities.”

Courtesy of the US Army on flickr 
The Visegrad group is also submitting a call for basing the upcoming exercises on Art. 5 scenarios, which is interesting in two respects. The first is that the Visegrad countries—and of course the Baltic states—have always been concerned first and foremost about Art. 5 scenarios. In contrast to Western European countries, who like to fancy themselves as being focused on what they ostensibly call emerging security threats. And with the US Asia pivot, they are concerned that a smaller US European footprint will leave a Europe unprepared for any serious contingency and they rightly ask themselves just how much the US is going to remain a European power, when its focus is elsewhere. But there is a second dimension to it. Operation Unified Protector in Libya was an intervention abroad, authorised by the United Nations Security Council. But in its initial phase it was very similar to what an early Art. 5 response would have looked like. And there were serious shortcomings in command and control during the early days of Operation Unified Protector. Twelve years after the Kosovo intervention, one would have to think that NATO had that covered. But the remaining shortcomings suggest that NATO still needs to work on that and invest more resources in enhanced and timely C4ISR capabilities. The most serious Art. 5 scenario would of course be the compromising of territorial integrity of one of the member states. And for most Eastern European countries, the problem is a resurgent Russia, as this thinly veiled reference to a traditional power demonstrates:

“NATO should also discuss the consequences of increased defence spending and acquisition of advanced capabilities by some traditional and emerging powers.”

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