Friday, April 25, 2014

NATO is a Toy Soldier

The NY Times tells us that NATO (the North Atlantic Treaty Organization) seems both unwilling and unable to do anything about Russia’s gambit [gam’bit: any maneuver by which one seeks to gain an advantage] in the Ukraine.
by Charlie Leck
“We need to train and exercise more together, for instance the NATO Response Force
and the EU Battlegroups, so that we stand ready for whatever the future may bring.”
[NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, 15 April 2014]
NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization [Organisation du traité de l’Atlantique Nord] was created on 4 April 1949 by a treaty agreement of 28 member states across Europe and North America. The combined military spending of all NATO members constitutes over 70 percent of the worldwide total. NATO conducted its first military operations and intervention in Bosnia (1992-1995) and then again in Yugoslvia (1999). Most recently (2011), you’ll probably remember, NATO led the enforcement of a no-fly zone over Libya in response to a United Nations resolution.
If NATO has a rival, it would be the Warsaw Pact (formed in 1955); yet a few of the members of that pact have also joined NATO.
Article 5
The central article of the alliance calls for member states to come to the aid of any member state subject to an armed attack.
If it had universal resolve, NATO would be a mighty powerful operation and would be able to shake a very big stick at Russia over its meddling with independent states in Crimea and the Ukraine.
It has generally been thought, and it is probably true, that NATO was created to counter the extraordinary military power that, at first, the Soviet Union had in the area and that the Russian nation now wields there.
Crimea and the Ukraine are not member states.
Is the Soviet Union really kaput?
Russia has plenty of bordering neighbors who are wondering if they might be in line to follow Crimea and the Ukraine. Examined carefully, Putin’s efforts to date do not look dissimilar to the actions of Hitler prior to the Second World War. Mr. Putin defends his incursions into those two nations as part of his responsibility to defend and protect Russian citizens. Article 61 of the Russian constitution assures that the “the Russian Federation shall guarantee its citizens defense and patronage beyond its boundaries.” It is that clause to which Mr. Putin now points to defend his military actions.
Jaak Treiman, writing in the LA Times, makes this quite astonishing observation…
“Article 61 invites reduction in absurdity. But, in the real world, Russia’s attack on Georgia and its annexation of Crimea have, with an Alice in Wonderland logic, turned the absurdity of Article 61 in the reality of Russian tanks and soldiers invading a neighboring country.
“Emulating Hitler and Stalin, Putin justifies his aggression in Georgia and the Ukraine by asserting Article 61’s mandate…”
I think what we are currently finding out is that NATO is a toy soldier and I believe Vladimir Putin knows that.
The American people are slowly coming to that opinion as well. We worked hard (post World War II) to create an alliance that would prevent the U.S. from having to roll troops in greater Europe every time a territorial or political question was in dispute.
It is time for Americans of all stripes and rank to stand united in demanding that NATO act to protect the integrity of this important alliance (and this is in the full knowledge that we are, ourselves, a member nation of that great alliance).
If Russia will not bend to the logic of diplomacy, Canada, England, France, Germany, the United States, and all the other member nations of NATO must act to stop Russia from swallowing up territory because one leader (think Hitler here) believes he must grow his power and size while giants sleep.
God, I hate war; and I hate the threat of war! I hate shaking big sticks at one another because, today, those big sticks can have nuclear power and repercussions. It is, however, time for NATO authorities to stare Mr. Putin in the eye and demand that he stop his aggression.
The President and Mr. Kerry must make diplomacy work. If they cannot, NATO must act forcefully before Mr. Putin gains too much momentum.


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