Subscribe to our free daily newsletters
. Military Space News .

Subscribe to our free daily newsletters

Future Of NATO Will Be Determined In Afghanistan Part Six

disclaimer: image is for illustration purposes only
by Paolo Liebl Von Schirach
Washington, April 17, 2009
In the United States, political leaders and policymakers of right and left, Republican and Democratic, conservative and liberal alike are all involved in discussing the ongoing conflict in Afghanistan as a worrisome geopolitical threat.

This across-the-board consensus is shared because of all the implications of the war in Afghanistan on regional security in South and Central Asia and on stability in neighboring Pakistan, a dangerously unstable nuclear-armed state. American politicians across the ideological spectrum also recognize the need to avoid the creation of another breeding ground for radical Islam as expressed through organizations like the Taliban, al-Qaida and Hizb ut-Tahrir in a country that is increasingly controlled by guerrillas either from these extremist organizations or extremely sympathetic to them.

In the United States, these are considered major, or at least significant, issues. Allowing Afghanistan to fester and to become chaotic is deemed to be dangerous for world security and against the interest of the United States.

However, the European allies of the United States in their common North Atlantic Treaty Organization appear to think very differently. This can be easily deduced from the failure of any of the 26 European member states of the NATO alliance except Britain to offer U.S. President Barack Obama any combat troops whatsoever to serve in Afghanistan.

The European allies rejected Obama's appeal to them all for such support earlier this month in his first international trip since taking office on Jan. 20. And even Britain, under the leadership of Prime Minister Gordon Brown, was only able or willing to offer 1,000 extra troops in all, including non-combatant military trainers.

There is clearly no major new action by NATO's European member states announced or planned to assist the United States in Afghanistan or to act there as America's partners in any real and meaningful way.

The Obama administration recently announced a significant scale-up of American forces operating in Afghanistan by 21,000 troops to augment the 38,000 already deployed there. However, the rest of NATO's meager contribution to the common effort will not be augmented, at least not significantly. And this is an indicator of how little the Europeans feel threatened by that cauldron of instability in Central Asia.

However, this profound failure in alliance solidarity and credibility was not allowed to stand in the way of the widely publicized celebrations for NATO's 60th anniversary earlier this month. They were held in Baden-Baden and Kehl in Germany and in Strasbourg, France. Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany and President Nicolas Sarkozy of France, the heads of government of the European countries that were once enemies but have now been friends for many decades, co-hosted the events.

There were speeches and self-congratulatory remarks about this long era of peace in Europe made possible by, among other factors, this resilient North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Indeed, the Atlantic alliance has grown significantly larger since the collapse of communism, having taken in as new members a host of Central and Eastern European countries. The latest member state, Albania, was admitted this year as the 28th country to join the alliance.

Yet it seems safe to say that after the passing of only a few weeks, all these festivities will be forgotten. For in reality, the venerable and revered NATO now lacks any real shared purpose among its increasingly many member states. Sadly, the Atlantic alliance has become almost irrelevant -- just like the old Veterans of the Burma Star who still march regularly in London behind a flag that today, except as a revered relic of a glorious past of the long-defunct British Empire, means absolutely nothing.

(Paolo Liebl von Schirach is the editor of, a regular contributor to Swiss radio and an international economic-development expert.)

(United Press International's "Outside View" commentaries are written by outside contributors who specialize in a variety of important issues. The views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of United Press International. In the interests of creating an open forum, original submissions are invited.)

Share This Article With Planet Earth DiggDigg RedditReddit
YahooMyWebYahooMyWeb GoogleGoogle FacebookFacebook

Related Links
Learn about the Superpowers of the 21st Century at
Learn about nuclear weapons doctrine and defense at

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

The Future Of NATO Part Five
Washington (UPI) April 16, 2009
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization was and is supposedly based on common values and a shared worldview, which would include a shared understanding of what constitutes a threat. But that shared view is sadly lacking today across the many states of the sprawling 28-member NATO alliance. (Paolo Liebl von Schirach is the editor of, a regular contributor to Swiss radio and an international economic-development expert.)

  • Future Of NATO Will Be Determined In Afghanistan Part Six
  • NATO Bloated And Weakened From Expansion Part Two
  • Australia must boost military to deal with China rise: think tank
  • The Future Of NATO Part Five

  • Analysis: Ending Iranian nuclear conflict
  • US nuclear experts expelled from NKorea: Xinhua
  • BMD Watch: S-400s For Belarus Part Two
  • UN nuclear inspectors quit NKorea, US team to follow

  • USAF Awards Raytheon Contract For Laser-Guided Maverick Missile
  • Raytheon Standard Missile-2 Destroys Target
  • Indian tests cruise missile: official
  • US says warships deployed before NKorea launch

  • Russia still wary of US missile shield: Lavrov
  • Israel-US to hold missile intercept drill: report
  • BMD Focus: Russia boosts ICBM arsenal
  • Raytheon SM-3 Could Replace Arrow-3 Anti Missile Program

  • China Eastern Airlines reports huge loss in 2008
  • Airlines fear failure of global climate talks
  • State takes control of China's first private airline: report
  • Troubled private Chinese airline says president missing

  • Russia Defense Watch: UAVs from Israel
  • Pakistan highlights 'gap' with US over drone attacks
  • Russia buys unmanned drones from Israel: report
  • Pakistan to discuss drone attacks with US envoy: spokesman

  • Suicide bomber wounds 38 at Iraqi army base
  • US must stay engaged in Iraq despite Afghanistan: analysts
  • Commentary: Gulf war jitters
  • US, Iraqi forces launch major operation in Kirkuk

  • Boeing Teams With TAK To Develop Wing Assembly For 2,000-Pound JDAM ER
  • High-Tech Speed Bump Detects Damage To Army Vehicles
  • Vietnam Agent Orange victims vow to fight on
  • Thompson Files: Marines triumph with EFV

  • The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2007 - SpaceDaily.AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by SpaceDaily on any Web page published or hosted by SpaceDaily. Privacy Statement