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World It's time for Biden to shut NATO's doors

15:45  09 june  2021
15:45  09 june  2021 Source:   businessinsider.com

NATO restricts HQ access for Belarus officials

  NATO restricts HQ access for Belarus officials BRUSSELS (AP) — The NATO military alliance is restricting access to its headquarters for a group of Belarus officials in the wake of Minsk’s decision to divert a Ryanair passenger plane to arrest a dissident journalist earlier this month. “We have decided to restrict the access of Belarusian personnel to the NATO headquarters based on our assessment of security measures at the headquarters,” NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg told reporters Monday.The move is expected to involve about five officials.

Jens Stoltenberg, Joe Biden are posing for a picture: NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and Vice President Joe Biden at the Munich Security Conference, February 7, 2015. CHRISTOF STACHE/AFP via Getty Images © CHRISTOF STACHE/AFP via Getty Images NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and Vice President Joe Biden at the Munich Security Conference, February 7, 2015. CHRISTOF STACHE/AFP via Getty Images
  • President Joe Biden's trip to the NATO leaders' summit will have significance as Biden tries to rebuild frayed alliances.
  • But it would be a mistake to avoid the structural changes NATO needs, and the size of the alliance is at the top of the list.
  • Daniel R. DePetris is a fellow at Defense Priorities and a foreign affairs columnist at Newsweek.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Next week, President Joe Biden will travel to Brussels for his first overseas trip. The summit with NATO heads-of-state comes two weeks after the alliance's foreign and defense ministers met to discuss the agenda.

NATO Still Unsure Who Will Protect Civilians, Secure Kabul Airport After Troop Drawdown

  NATO Still Unsure Who Will Protect Civilians, Secure Kabul Airport After Troop Drawdown NATO will continue its "civilian diplomatic presence in Kabul, to provide advice and capacity-building support to Afghan security institutions," said Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.The concerns of NATO's diplomats came before the organization's Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said its pullout is "progressing" on Tuesday. Less than 9,000 troops from NATO and the U.S. are still in Afghanistan ahead of the set withdrawal date of September 11.

The NATO summit will have special resonance for Biden, who entered office promising to improve Washington's relations with allies in Europe and bring the military alliance back to the center of US foreign policy.

It would be a major mistake and missed opportunity, however, if Biden and his NATO colleagues used the summit to simply wax philosophically about the so-called rules based international order and heap praise on the alliance for keeping Europe whole, free, and at peace.

Regurgitating talking points about NATO's history and legacy at the expense of difficult conversations merely delays the kind of structural change that is needed. At the top of the list is NATO's open-door policy, a principle in desperate need of reform.

Biden should remind Erdogan of NATO's basic tenets and values

  Biden should remind Erdogan of NATO's basic tenets and values Erdogan, who enjoys a close rapport with Russian President Vladimir Putin, remains a disruptive force within NATO. The Washington Post broke the news on May 26 that Ankara used its veto power to water down NATO's official condemnation of Belarusian strongman Alexander Lukashenko, who illegally forced down a passenger plane to arrest Roman Protasevich, a dissident journalist on board. Turkey reportedly also blocked punitive steps for which Baltic allies and Poland had pressed and even prevented calls for the release of political prisoners in Belarus.

a group of people standing in front of Cinquantenaire: NATO leaders pose for a group photo in the park of the Cinquantenaire, during a NATO Summit in Brussels, July 11, 2018. Thomson Reuters © Thomson Reuters NATO leaders pose for a group photo in the park of the Cinquantenaire, during a NATO Summit in Brussels, July 11, 2018. Thomson Reuters

Since the fall of the Berlin Wall, NATO has nearly doubled in size. A military organization that originally included 12 members is now up to 30. The alliance now covers territory from the United States to as far east and south as Turkey, constituting a massive behemoth protecting nearly 1 billion people and encompassing about half of the world's GDP.

These statistics remain a point of pride within NATO circles, as if the size of an alliance's membership is indicative of its overall strength and effectiveness.

This is not necessarily the case. While NATO is universally known as the world's oldest and most effective alliance, much of its combat power, ISR (intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance) capability, and funding to keep the organization operational is due solely to what the US military provides.

The Latest: NATO chief says it's time to set aside divisions

  The Latest: NATO chief says it's time to set aside divisions The Latest on the NATO summit taking place in Brussels: BRUSSELS — NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg says the 30-nation military alliance aims to set aside the divisions of the Trump era and focus on the security challenges posed by Russia and China. Stoltenberg says that NATO leaders are meeting Monday “at a pivotal moment for our alliance, and today we’ll open a new chapter in our trans-Atlantic relationship.” His remarks in BrusselsBRUSSELS — NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg says the 30-nation military alliance aims to set aside the divisions of the Trump era and focus on the security challenges posed by Russia and China.

While NATO's average defense budgets are slowly increasing over concern about Russian aggression, the US still accounts for nearly 70% of the alliance's total military expenditures.

Despite some internal opposition in NATO quarters about the Biden administration's withdrawal from Afghanistan, NATO as a whole is so reliant on US air support and logistics systems that it couldn't maintain a presence in Afghanistan even if it wanted to.

Indeed, if it weren't for the largess Washington provides, it is difficult to envision NATO maintaining its current pace of operations or continuing the kinds of (feckless) out-of-area training missions in Iraq and Afghanistan the organization has grown accustomed to. NATO-Europe continues to struggle with readiness, aging transport systems, and inadequate equipment.

Dalia Grybauskaite, Jüri Ratas, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic posing for the camera: President Donald Trump adjusts his jacket after pushing past Montenegrin Prime Minister Dusko Markovic the NATO Summit in Brussels, May 25, 2017. Reuters/Kevin Coombs © Reuters/Kevin Coombs President Donald Trump adjusts his jacket after pushing past Montenegrin Prime Minister Dusko Markovic the NATO Summit in Brussels, May 25, 2017. Reuters/Kevin Coombs

Of course, nobody is anticipating a US withdrawal from NATO. Even President Donald Trump, who reportedly threatened to leave NATO, would occasionally defend the alliance.

At NATO, Turkey hails its revival of dialogue with Greece

  At NATO, Turkey hails its revival of dialogue with Greece BRUSSELS (AP) — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who is vying to mend Turkey’s battered relations with its Western partners, said Monday that a revival of dialogue with fellow NATO member Greece to resolve long-standing disputes will serve “stability and prosperity” in the region. Speaking on the sidelines of a NATO summit, Erdogan also lamented what he said was a lack of support by Turkey’s NATO allies in its fight against terrorism. It was a veiled reference to Turkey’s disappointment with U.S. military support for Syrian Kurdish fighters, who Ankara argues are inextricably linked to a decades-long Kurdish insurgency in Turkey.

But just because the US is a fully committed member of NATO doesn't mean it should continue to support enlargement, a concept as antiquated as it is beloved.

The remaining contestants for NATO membership are either engrossed in corruption, hold little geostrategic significance or are financially unable to meet NATO spending benchmarks. Within this context, taking in new members is a strain on the US and NATO, not a gain.

Unfortunately, enlargement for enlargement's sake is precisely what NATO, with US support, has done over the last several years. The last two countries to be inducted into the transatlantic alliance, Montenegro and North Macedonia, aren't exactly behemoths that add much of value to NATO economically or military.

At $5.5 billion, Montenegro's economy is less than one-fifth the size of Vermont's. North Macedonia, embraced into NATO last year, boasts an active duty force (7,000 personnel) smaller than the size of the Los Angeles Police Department.

Can anyone argue with a straight face that including either country is a boon to NATO rather than a burden?

Joe Biden, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer are posing for a picture: Biden, left, and NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer after a NATO Council meeting in Brussels, March 10, 2009. JOHN THYS/AFP via Getty Images © JOHN THYS/AFP via Getty Images Biden, left, and NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer after a NATO Council meeting in Brussels, March 10, 2009. JOHN THYS/AFP via Getty Images

For many analysts and officials in Washington, the open-door policy is a core tenet best left untouched. Challenging the concept is akin to challenging the alliance as a whole.

Overnight Defense: Biden participates in NATO summit | White House backs 2002 AUMF repeal | Top general says no plans for airstrikes to help Afghan forces after withdrawal

  Overnight Defense: Biden participates in NATO summit | White House backs 2002 AUMF repeal | Top general says no plans for airstrikes to help Afghan forces after withdrawal Happy Monday and welcome to Overnight Defense. I'm Rebecca Kheel, and here's your nightly guide to the latest developments at the Pentagon, on Capitol Hill and beyond. CLICK HERE to subscribe to the newsletter.THE TOPLINE: President Biden was in Brussels on Monday for his first NATO summit since taking office.Upon arriving, Biden touted the "sacred obligation" of NATO's mutual defense commitment, known as Article 5."NATO is criticallyTHE TOPLINE: President Biden was in Brussels on Monday for his first NATO summit since taking office.

Yet this very same crowd is finding it increasingly hard to justify why stretching NATO's borders makes sense strategically. If anything, the opposite is true; the larger the alliance becomes, the more weight the US will have on its shoulders and the more risk the US military will incur as it is tasked with defending nations whose security and prosperity is largely irrelevant to US interests.

This is especially the case with Ukraine and Georgia, two states that are either involved in frozen conflicts with Russia or remain engulfed in intense bouts of violence with Moscow-backed separatists. Allowing either or both states to enjoy the privileges NATO membership affords all but puts US and Russian forces into conflict.

The costs of enlarging NATO's borders further to the east, which include minimizing any chance of a working relationship with Russia, simply outweighs the benefits.

During this month's NATO summit, the alliance should acknowledge the elephant in the room: NATO's open-door policy doesn't serve the interests of the alliance. And for the United States, continuing to support open doors means adding to an already cumbersome pile of security commitments.

Daniel R. DePetris is a fellow at Defense Priorities and a foreign affairs columnist at Newsweek.

Read the original article on Business Insider

A sense of relief over 'dear Joe' and post-Trump summit era .
BRUSSELS (AP) — Over the four years of Donald Trump's presidency and through the seeming eternity of pandemic misery and isolation, America’s partners in world affairs were waiting to exhale. As they cycled through Group of Seven, NATO and European Union summits over the last week, exhale they did, between bites of haggis mousse, pineapple weed and Dover sole. President Joe Biden — “dear Joe” to the European Commission's chief — engaged fellowAs they cycled through Group of Seven, NATO and European Union summits over the last week, exhale they did, between bites of haggis mousse, pineapple weed and Dover sole.

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This is interesting!