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Is NATO Worth The Trouble?

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  • Is NATO Worth The Trouble?

    It can be seen is some other threads that some people are irritated by the US having to be involved in European problems.

    NATO was arguably about facing down a Soviet menace that is greatly diminished. Do Americans still value NATO for providing relatively like minded allies in what may become a multi polar future with challenges emerging to US hegemony, or is NATO just a nuisance and the US would be better goings its own way without having to agree with allies or become embroiled in their problems?
    31
    YES, NATO is still useful to the US
    70.97%
    22
    NO, the US should pull out of NATO
    19.35%
    6
    Unsure
    9.68%
    3
    Ne Obliviscaris, Sans Peur

  • #2
    NATO is very much a net positive for stability in Europe and Russia.

    For Europe it eliminated each nation's need to maintain a serious defense / military. That has allowed European nations to cut their military spending to near nil and fund the social-welfare states that Europeans enjoy today. Think of it like in Roman times. Europe thrived when Rome was providing the military muscle to defend it. The internal squabbles and warfare ended. NATO has done the same by making the US Europe's defense.

    The normal condition of regional or world political rivalries and warfare is that there are usually two or three nations that vie for power with each other. Unilateral dominance is rare. We see that even now. The US and Russia were the two rivals post WW 2. Now the US and China are becoming rivals with Russia as a potential third if they can get their economic act together.
    NATO simply brings Europe into the US camp in this. Abolishing NATO will force Europe to being an arms race to defend themselves or, they will be driven into another major power's camp.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
      NATO is very much a net positive for stability in Europe and Russia.

      For Europe it eliminated each nation's need to maintain a serious defense / military.
      Er... I'm generally positive towards NATO, but the idea that NATO meant national defenses weren't maintained is just plain wrong for as long as the Cold War lasted.

      The Europeans did build HUUUGE invasion defences. That it was all allowed to go to rot to the extent things were with the demise of the Soviet Union is another matter.
      Last edited by Johan Banér; 14 Feb 15, 10:11.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Johan Banér View Post
        Er... I'm generally positive towards NATO, but the idea that NATO meant national defenses weren't maintained is just plain wrong for as long as the Cold War lasted.

        The Europeans build HUUUGE invasion defences. That it was all allowed to go to rot to the extent things were with the demise of the Soviet Union is another matter.
        Without the US those forces would have had to have been even larger. With the threat of the Soviet Union gone, European states have let their militaries whither to noting for the most part.

        In fact, the US gains more by dumping NATO than anybody as they would no longer be responsible for defending Europe leaving the European nations to have to rearm or face an increasingly aggressive Russia.

        Look at Asia. Those nations are building up in response to China. More interestingly they have all but shut up about a US presence in their nation for the same reason. Having a major power backing you makes a big difference to what you have to spend for defense.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
          NATO is very much a net positive for stability in Europe and Russia.

          For Europe it eliminated each nation's need to maintain a serious defense / military. That has allowed European nations to cut their military spending to near nil and fund the social-welfare states that Europeans enjoy today. Think of it like in Roman times. Europe thrived when Rome was providing the military muscle to defend it. The internal squabbles and warfare ended. NATO has done the same by making the US Europe's defense.

          The normal condition of regional or world political rivalries and warfare is that there are usually two or three nations that vie for power with each other. Unilateral dominance is rare. We see that even now. The US and Russia were the two rivals post WW 2. Now the US and China are becoming rivals with Russia as a potential third if they can get their economic act together.
          NATO simply brings Europe into the US camp in this. Abolishing NATO will force Europe to being an arms race to defend themselves or, they will be driven into another major power's camp.
          France and the UK have significant defence budgets. Smaller than the US as a % of GDP but in the global top 10. Germany spends much less but is still top 10. The smaller Euro nations don't have the economies to support a big defence spend.

          http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_...y_expenditures

          Looking to the future, I'm not sure China alone can mount a significant challenge to the US. However China, plus Russia and a combo of other nations drawn into their camp might do so, especially if India went over to them for some reason. The US might be glad of friends some decades ahead, even if it does not need them now.
          Ne Obliviscaris, Sans Peur

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          • #6
            Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
            Without the US those forces would have had to have been even larger. With the threat of the Soviet Union gone, European states have let their militaries whither to noting for the most part.
            They were about as large as they could be made. The Soviet Union had five time the population of West Germany, about seven that of France or the UK. And the Soviet Union was about as productive per capita as Russia is today, in absolute prices — and the it spent upwards of half its GDP according to the highest estimates on its military. The European NATO forces were roughly what they could be, without starting to damage their economic performance (like the Soviets did theirs). Maybe a bit more play could have been found, but not a lot.

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            • #7
              We should pull out of NATO, let the new european generation handle their own problems.
              My worst jump story:
              My 13th jump was on the 13th day of the month, aircraft number 013.
              As recorded on my DA Form 1307 Individual Jump Log.
              No lie.

              ~
              "Everything looks all right. Have a good jump, eh."
              -2 Commando Jumpmaster

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              • #8
                You could do that, but expect all kinds of problems with implementing a new management sans-US, if the US takes down its sign and goes into retirement.

                The question the US might want to ask itself, is what it is it's hoping to achieve like that, and if the means used and the ends desired are aligned? It's been an actual partnership, and the US is still the "indispendable nation" as far as Europe is concerned.

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                • #9
                  Surely how the US feels about NATO is an internal matter ?

                  It's one member among many, and nobody's forcing it to stay.
                  Indyref2 - still, "Yes."

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by the ace View Post
                    Surely how the US feels about NATO is an internal matter ?

                    It's one member among many, and nobody's forcing it to stay.
                    Except if the US goes, it takes a bunch of strategic capabilities with it, that NATO so far has been OK with the US having a near-monopoly on (and the US at times has been guarding as just a kind of quasi-monopoly on capability, while the Europeans haven't been keen enough on the expense to get).

                    Without the US, there's not necessarily a NATO (not much "North Atlantic" without it), but the EU common defense union might need to become a LOT more intimate and capable sharpish.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by 101combatvet View Post
                      We should pull out of NATO, let the new european generation handle their own problems.
                      Hi

                      Doing that will add or weaken US interest & security?

                      US FP & security has/ is based upon not a single European power (France, Germany or Russia for example) controlling the European continent. US Presidents etc have acknowledged that if that were to pass, it would severely compromise America's security.

                      Regards

                      Andy H
                      "You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life." Churchill

                      "I'm no reactionary.Christ on the Mountain! I'm as idealistic as Hell" Eisenhower

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Johan Banér View Post
                        Except if the US goes, it takes a bunch of strategic capabilities with it, that NATO so far has been OK with the US having a near-monopoly on (and the US at times has been guarding as just a kind of quasi-monopoly on capability, while the Europeans haven't been keen enough on the expense to get).

                        Without the US, there's not necessarily a NATO (not much "North Atlantic" without it), but the EU common defense union might need to become a LOT more intimate and capable sharpish.
                        I have been thinking about this. The defense expenditure of Britain and France combined exceeds that of Russia. Add that of Germany and there should be no contest. The West does seem to be incredibly inefficient when it comes to bang for buck.

                        http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_...y_expenditures
                        "To be free is better than to be unfree - always."

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Andy H View Post
                          Hi

                          Doing that will add or weaken US interest & security?

                          US FP & security has/ is based upon not a single European power (France, Germany or Russia for example) controlling the European continent. US Presidents etc have acknowledged that if that were to pass, it would severely compromise America's security.

                          Regards

                          Andy H
                          That would depend on Europe's response. If Europe had to suddenly start dumping far more money into defense that would really hurt their overall economic status. Countries like Greece, Spain, or even Italy would have serious problems upping defense spending without having huge new deficits that could destabilize their economies and cause massive inflation.

                          France and Britain would be the least affected I'd think. France's defense policy is largely separate from NATO's while Britain alone is really spending on a defense and theirs is mostly aircraft and ships.

                          Eastern and Central European countries would have to start spending big bucks to build real armies to counter Russian "aggression." A little stronger a word than it really is but they would likely perceive that to be the case.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
                            That would depend on Europe's response. If Europe had to suddenly start dumping far more money into defense that would really hurt their overall economic status. Countries like Greece, Spain, or even Italy would have serious problems upping defense spending without having huge new deficits that could destabilize their economies and cause massive inflation.

                            France and Britain would be the least affected I'd think. France's defense policy is largely separate from NATO's while Britain alone is really spending on a defense and theirs is mostly aircraft and ships.

                            Eastern and Central European countries would have to start spending big bucks to build real armies to counter Russian "aggression." A little stronger a word than it really is but they would likely perceive that to be the case.
                            France and the UK have nuclear weapons. I don't know about France but our Trident submarine programme is incredibly expensive and this will account for a good whack of our spend. Nuclear weapons programmes must partly account for UK and France spending more than other Euro nations.
                            Ne Obliviscaris, Sans Peur

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Surrey View Post
                              I have been thinking about this. The defense expenditure of Britain and France combined exceeds that of Russia. Add that of Germany and there should be no contest. The West does seem to be incredibly inefficient when it comes to bang for buck.

                              http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_...y_expenditures
                              France and the UK both maintain stratetig nuclear forces, while also being able to between them whisk away about 60 000 troops for indefinite combat operations pretty much anywhere in the world. Those are expensive capabilities to maintain.

                              It's very much an unknown if Russia has capabilities anything like that — how limited Russia is in its sphere of operations, how large the forces, for how long deployments (suspected shortcoming in logistics, too high reliance of conscripts etc.)?

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