Author Topic: NATO, EU and "The Great European Defence Crisis"  (Read 2398 times)

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Offline MarkOttawa

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NATO, EU and "The Great European Defence Crisis"
« on: May 28, 2018, 13:37:11 »
Most of this applies equally to Canada too--start of a stinging piece:

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LINDLEY-FRENCH'S BLOG BLAST: SPEAKING TRUTH UNTO POWER
A Regular Commentary on Strategic Affairs from a Leading [British] Commentator and Analyst


The Great European Defence Crisis

 “All cruelty springs from weakness”.
Seneca

Alphen, Netherlands. 28 May. The great European defence crisis is upon us. It has been a long time coming and can even be traced back to the very founding of NATO. Most Europeans never got over World War Two and have been happy to do the least possible to defend themselves ever since, albeit commensurate with ensuring the Americans did their defending for them.  However, news that Germany, Belgium and in reality a host of other Europeans have absolutely no intention of honouring the NATO Defence Investment Pledge (the appropriately-named DIP). The DIP was the formal commitment made by the nations of the Alliance at the 2014 Wales Summit that by 2024 they would all spend 2% GDP on defence of which 20% each year would be on new equipment.

When the Cold War began spluttering joyfully to an end in 1989 ‘Europe’ re-defined itself as a civil power.  Subsequently, European armed forces were cut to the bone and often beyond in the decades that followed.  Slashing defence spending became a habit. Now, Europe again faces threats some of which demand a level of force commensurate with establishing a new level of deterrence, credible defence and meaningful engagement. Sadly, ALL Europeans are failing the test implicit in that challenge, whatever the small ‘dead cat bounce’ increases in defence spending that some leaders have championed.  What has caused the great European defence crisis and is there a way out?

Lack of money and unreformed militaries: Some leaders have questioned the commitment they made to the Defence Investment Pledge, whilst some have suggested that they spend c. 1% GDP on defence so well it is, in fact, the equivalent of 2%. This is nonsense. 2% GDP on defence spent moderately well would be at least twice as effective as the 1% currently spent very badly.  However, before such increases could take place many European forces and their procurement systems would need to undergo thoroughgoing reforms if new money is to be applied to any effect. There is little sign of such reforms taking place.

Financial crisis: The effects of the financial crisis that started in 2008 and the austerity that followed have had a disastrous effect on most European armed forces, even the strongest. Last week the much-respected Paul Johnson of London’s Institute for Fiscal Studies suggested the UK government can no longer take money away from defence to fund the National Health Service. The raiding of hard security to fund social security has been a phenomenon across Europe.   The Dutch armed forces are a case in point. Reduced to the verge of incapacity by successive governments they have just received a small cash inject that will do little to resolve the force-resource crisis in which they are mired.

Strategic pretence: In an effort to wiggle out of the DIP EU member-states last year re-invented Permanent Structured Co-operation or PESCO.  The idea at the core of PESCO is that by being more efficient and more together EU member-states could generate the same defence outcomes spending 1% GDP on defence as each state separately spending 2% GDP on defence.  This is again nonsense. I wrote my doctorate on European defence and I have seen the same political trick used time and again.  Indeed, there is an inverse correlation from which European defence suffers: the more acronyms created the more military capabilities lost.

Loss of strategic and political cohesion: Europeans either do not agree on what the main defence effort should be or still do not believe defence is that important or both [emphasis added, sounds just like Canadians]...

Julian Lindley-French is Senior Fellow of the Institute of Statecraft, Director of Europa Analytica & Distinguished Visiting Research Fellow, National Defense University, Washington DC....
http://lindleyfrench.blogspot.ca/2018/05/the-great-european-defence-crisis.html

Mark
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Offline Thucydides

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Re: NATO, EU and "The Great European Defence Crisis"
« Reply #1 on: May 28, 2018, 14:05:57 »
It is rather mind boggling that even in the face of clear changes in the defense environment right at their front doors (so to speak) and indeed at all 3 of our "doors" (Atlantic, Pacific and Arctic), governments have been so complacent.

While hoping for 2% of GDP may be a forlorn hope in Canada's current political environment, we might achieve something closer if we examine the methodology the US DoD apparently used to discover they could save $125 billion over the next five years simply by streamlining their internal bureaucracy. It would be interesting to see how much saving we could create internally and apply to funding things like purchasing training ammunition, buying fuel for exercises and hiring more soldiers, sailors and airmen to fill the empty billets as a stopgap. I would expect we could even use the extra funds freed up to get a jump on the most pressing capital projects as well. You will note in the article there is no "Washington Monument Strategy", all the savings come without the loss of a single service member

Just fixing our own self imposed inefficiencies would go a long way to making the CAF a more creditable force and instrument of hard power for some future government, and could serve as an example to our NATO allies (many of whom are also not going to be in a political position to reach their 2% GDP goals either). We certainly spend a lot of money without getting commensurate returns, fixing that is something we ourselves can do within our own boundaries and with our own efforts.

Edit to add: here is a link to the report: https://apps.washingtonpost.com/g/documents/investigations/defense-business-board-study-from-jan-2015-identifying-125-billion-in-waste/2236/?ref
« Last Edit: May 28, 2018, 14:20:22 by Thucydides »
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

Offline CBH99

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Re: NATO, EU and "The Great European Defence Crisis"
« Reply #2 on: May 28, 2018, 19:29:14 »
Totally agreed.  We are our own worst enemies - and I think everybody on these forums would be in agreement on that.

Currently, the DND actually has to return money each year because of the bureaucratic inefficiencies we have to actually spend the money we have. 

Projects that are instrumental to being an efficient force are taken care of by a separate government agency whom - despite it being their sole purpose - can't seem to actually conclude any large procurement projects.  And if they do, it's an uphill battle against themselves.

There truly is no point in spending 2% of GDP on defense if we can't even spend the 1.2% we have now.  Streamline internal systems, and cut the BS & just buy the basic kit that needs to be bought.  Remove the morons & get the train back on the tracks.
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Offline MarkOttawa

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Re: NATO, EU and "The Great European Defence Crisis"
« Reply #3 on: May 28, 2018, 19:55:50 »
Responses by knowledgeable friends of mine:

1)
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Better still Europe should take over its own defence given it has only one major foe, Russia, and let Americans get on with blundering into needless wars in the Middle East and East Asia.

2)
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As for Canada, defence of North America is our legitimate interest, if for no other reason than "defence against [US] help." Expeditionary follies cannot be afforded and the public will not stand for any kind of butcher's bill.

Mark
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Re: NATO, EU and "The Great European Defence Crisis"
« Reply #4 on: May 28, 2018, 20:23:37 »
I don't necessarily disagree with your knowledgeable friends response, Mark.  Perhaps if we had tended to our own garden patches more, we might not be in the mess we find ourselves today. 

That being said, now that we (the west) have whacked the crap out of that hornets nest, it's a little naive isn't it, to run home to our garden and not be astonished to find some hornets have followed us home.

Offline Journeyman

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Re: NATO, EU and "The Great European Defence Crisis"
« Reply #5 on: August 21, 2018, 10:32:04 »
An article that questions NATO's aspired 2% GDP metric is available at the US' Center for Strategic & International Studies: "Assessing NATO and Partner Burden Sharing" (July 2018) LINK

Its major conclusions are:
-  it's difficult to confidently measure states’ contributions to NATO given absent or non-standardized data transparency.
-  the 2% spending metric is an insufficient measure of security commitment and capability (ditto for the goal of 20 percent of defence spending be on equipment). While possibly  sending signals of alliance commitment, this metric "may add more noise than clarity."
-  an array of metrics is required. The report considers issues such as: troop contributions as a share of active duty forces; pre-crisis military mobility; trade with sanctioned competitors, etc.
-  publicly available output measures of transatlantic security is required, such as NATO’s recent "Four 30s" initiative (alliance ability to deploy 30 battalions, 30 air squadrons, and 30 warships in 30 days), which includes measures of deployability; sustainability; days on deployment; etc.

Mind you, as such analysis becomes more complex, it makes repetitively simplistic sound bites more difficult.



A quick overview of various metrics is available at the NATO Joint Analysis and Lessons Learned Centre, "Motivating Improved Contributions to the Alliance: Defence Measurements" (2011) LINK.

Offline daftandbarmy

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Re: NATO, EU and "The Great European Defence Crisis"
« Reply #6 on: August 21, 2018, 14:27:52 »
An article that questions NATO's aspired 2% GDP metric is available at the US' Center for Strategic & International Studies: "Assessing NATO and Partner Burden Sharing" (July 2018) LINK

Its major conclusions are:
-  it's difficult to confidently measure states’ contributions to NATO given absent or non-standardized data transparency.
-  the 2% spending metric is an insufficient measure of security commitment and capability (ditto for the goal of 20 percent of defence spending be on equipment). While possibly  sending signals of alliance commitment, this metric "may add more noise than clarity."
-  an array of metrics is required. The report considers issues such as: troop contributions as a share of active duty forces; pre-crisis military mobility; trade with sanctioned competitors, etc.
-  publicly available output measures of transatlantic security is required, such as NATO’s recent "Four 30s" initiative (alliance ability to deploy 30 battalions, 30 air squadrons, and 30 warships in 30 days), which includes measures of deployability; sustainability; days on deployment; etc.

Mind you, as such analysis becomes more complex, it makes repetitively simplistic sound bites more difficult.



A quick overview of various metrics is available at the NATO Joint Analysis and Lessons Learned Centre, "Motivating Improved Contributions to the Alliance: Defence Measurements" (2011) LINK.

Regardless, their own policy reflects the importance of the NATO alliance, and acknowledges the US is p*ssed off while member nations tend to care more about their narrow national interests to the detriment of the whole:

NATO First: Argument or Alibi?

The progress on European defence has also suffered for many years - both for good and bad reasons - under traditional “NATO first” instincts. Throughout the Cold War, European security and territorial defence were synonymous with NATO and its Article 5. The Alliance remains our ultimate security guarantee, with the participation of 22 EU Member States and a strong transatlantic link.

Consequently, autonomous European efforts were long resisted in order to maintain a community of strategic and defence-industrial interests, as well as prevent a transatlantic drift. Times have changed, however, and that logic is no longer relevant. Washington, strategically pivoting to Asia, is now pushing for defence integration in Europe, seeing it as part of a stronger and more mature transatlantic alliance. The United States expect fair burden-sharing and more responsibility for Europe’s security from European partners, because “a stronger European Defence will contribute to a stronger NATO” .

At the same time, the NATO-EU strategic partnership has been deepened, notably through the so-called “Berlin Plus” arrangements on interoperability and the sharing of command structures. There is also an emerging division of roles where the Common Security and Defence Policy takes on increased responsibility for crisis management. On the capability side, NATO’s Smart Defence and the EU’s Pooling and Sharing programme both struggle with national conservatism and resistance to profound integration, although there is more commitment to joint efforts within the Alliance.

The bottom line is that national reflexes still stand strong in defence. Member States are slow to accept that they need to go beyond a model where defence is a matter of strict national sovereignty.


https://ec.europa.eu/epsc/publications/strategic-notes/defence-europe_en
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Offline FJAG

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Re: NATO, EU and "The Great European Defence Crisis"
« Reply #7 on: July 18, 2019, 11:04:22 »
A solid interview by Andrew Coyne of NATO's Secretary General:

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'The world is changing': Andrew Coyne talks to NATO Secretary General about Trump, Russia, the future of the alliance
The urbane former prime minister of Norway has been Secretary General of NATO since 2014, and through tough times for the international consensus he's been one of the loudest voices defending it

ANDREW COYNE   Updated: July 17, 2019

Throughout their term in government — and especially since Donald Trump’s victory in America’s 2016 election — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberals have taken every opportunity to pay tribute to the “rules-based international order,” the consensus among countries that everyone’s interests are best served by following a set of rules and guiding principles that have evolved through the decades, expressed through things such as trade agreements and international alliances like the United Nations. If this consensus has a face it may be that of Jens Stoltenberg. The urbane former prime minister of Norway has been Secretary General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) since 2014, and through tough times for the international consensus he’s been one of the loudest voices defending it. This week he was in Canada to meet with Trudeau, to tour the Canadian Forces’ Garrison Petawawa and to discuss Canada’s NATO deployments in Latvia and Iraq. He sat down for an interview with the National Post’s Andrew Coyne.

Q. Lord Ismay, NATO’s first secretary-general, famously defined the alliance’s mission as “keeping the Soviet Union out, the Americans in, and the Germans down.” When you hear some of the things Donald Trump says about NATO, about Article 5 (the collective defence provision) — are the Americans still in?

A. Yes. And they are more in now than they have been for a long time — meaning that they are actually increasing their NATO presence in Europe. After the end of the Cold War, Canada and the United States, for natural reasons, reduced their military presence in Europe. Because tensions went down, there was less need… Now tensions are increasing again, and both Canada and the United States are now increasing their military presence in Europe: Canada with a Canadian-led battle group in Latvia, and the United States with a battle group in Poland and also with a new armoured brigade. So what we see is that the United States is actually investing more in NATO, more military presence in Europe, more U.S. investments in infrastructure, in pre-positioned equipment, more exercises. So the message from the United States is that they are committed to NATO and we see that not only in words but also in deeds.

Q. But when you see Trump questioning the value of multilateral institutions, asserting “America First,” his chumminess with Putin, does it risk sending a signal that, if push came to shove — if Russia got up to no good in the Baltics or what have you — that America’s resolution to resist that would be less than certain?

A. For me the strongest possible signal to send is the presence of U.S. forces in Europe. The fact that we now, for the first time in the history of NATO, have U.S. troops in the eastern part of the alliance, in Poland and the Baltic countries. There is no way to send a clearer signal than that. And the Canadian troops because they are part of the picture. To have American troops in the Baltic countries sends a very clear signal that if a Baltic country is attacked it will trigger a response from the whole alliance… It’s not possible to imagine a stronger and clearer signal than that.
...

See rest of article here:

https://ottawacitizen.com/news/the-world-is-changing-andrew-coyne-talks-to-nato-secretary-general-jens-stoltenberg-about-trump-russia-and-the-future-of-the-alliance/wcm/3ba1786d-b499-44dc-b8ed-51765023e2ca

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Offline daftandbarmy

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Re: NATO, EU and "The Great European Defence Crisis"
« Reply #8 on: July 18, 2019, 11:24:35 »
"No one would remember the Good Samaritan if he'd only had good intentions; he had money as well." Margaret Thatcher
"The most important qualification of a soldier is fortitude under fatigue and privation. Courage is only second; hardship, poverty and want are the best school for a soldier." Napoleon