A few good reads on how to respond to Russia regarding Ukraine:
Admiral Stavridis (ret) makes the case for a vigorous NATO response in Foreign Policy: "NATO Needs to Move Now on Crimea. Action may provoke -- but so does doing nothing."
Steve Saideman: Let's Play the NATO Game
Ingo Manteufel for DW: Crimea is Putin's bargaining chip. Russian President Vladimir Putin's strategy for the Ukrainian conflict is clear. As a result, Ukraine's new government and the West are in a dangerous jam.
Peter Baker in NY Times: Russia to Pay? Not So Simple
Not so good was this prediction:
Continue reading "Brainstorming about Russia and Ukraine"
Yesterday, the New York Times published a short article by Professor Hendrickson with wrong claims about Germany’s defense spending:
“Germany’s cuts of 25 percent over the next four years are similarly appalling.”
Ryan C. Hendrickson’s only stated reference about such drastic defense cuts is a RAND study, which he describes as „recent“, although it was published in mid-2012 and relies on data mostly from 2011. The professor of political science at Eastern Illinois University took the phrase „the next four years“ from the first paragraph of the RAND summary. It seems that he has not read the next two pages, which state: “The German Ministry of Defense plans to cut $10 billion (or roughly €7.8 billion) from its defense budget by 2013. If these cuts are implemented as planned, the entire German Armed Forces will…” This means that the 25 percent cut was supposed to already have happened. Professor Hendrickson also missed RAND’s qualifier expressed with the big “If” and he has not bothered to check the numbers for 2013. Fact is that Germany’s defense spending has increased by 2 billion Euro between 2009 and 2013.Continue reading "Germany's Defense Spending: Fact-checking the NY Times"
Great Britain became more European on Thursday, August 29th, when the parliament refused to give its Prime Minister the support he wanted (but did not need) for air strikes against Syria. Now David Cameron has been humiliated and a precedent for future war authorizations has been set.
The British public and the members of parliament are haunted by the Iraq war syndrome, tired of a decade of war, and concerned by a) lack of sufficient evidence that Syria’s military was responsible for the chemical attack, b) lack of legality and c) lack of strategy. The “special relationship” with the United States has been damaged heavily, although it must be said that its importance has been exaggerated in the past.
Britain is now more European. This could turn out to be more of a bad than a good thing, but I am optimistic as there could be more unity when strategic cultures are similar. Most other observers see this negatively, even describe Britain as turning into Switzerland or Germany. Yep, that’s supposed to be an insult.Continue reading "Syria, Germany and the Europeanization of Great Britain"
The Times They Are a-Changin: The last 22 Abrams tanks of the US Army have left Germany. From Stars & Stripes:
From World War II on through the Cold War, tanker units were a heavy presence in Germany. At its peak, Germany was home to 20 NATO armored divisions, or about 6,000 tanks, according to the 21st TSC. "There is no [U.S.] tank on German soil. It's a historic moment," said Lt. Col. Wayne Marotto, 21st TSC spokesman.
Meanwhile, the US Navy (h/t Marian) reports:Continue reading "US Army Tanks Out, German Navy Ships In"
From my day job:
Join Atlantic Community for our next Q&A with General Stéphane Abrial, Supreme Allied Commander Transformation. We invite you to ask questions about NATO's ongoing efforts to implement "Smart Defense" and share your own thoughts on how to handle transformation in the 21st century.
General Abrial is the Supreme Allied Commander of NATO's Allied Command Transformation (ACT), which is responsible for ensuring NATO remains an effective and innovative force in the 21st century despite economic pressures and budget rollbacks.Continue reading "NATO Transformation: Q&A with General Abrial"
NATO does very good work every day, but it is "a bit of an anachronism." 9/11 has accelerated the divergence of European and American geostrategic interests. Europe does not need American protection anymore, with the exception of the nuclear guarantee, says Nick Witney, senior policy fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations.
He gave an excellent and forthright speech at the Heinrich Boell Foundation's Annual Foreign Policy Conference on the transatlantic security architecture and European defense efforts.
I very much agree with his description of European mainstream perceptions of and positions on security. At a time when so many US journalists and pundits are questioning the relevance of NATO and express their increasing disappointment with the Europeans, I would like to recommend the ten minute video below to better understand why most European countries are not spending more on defense and do not send more troops to US led wars.Continue reading "Europe Does Not Need American Protection Anymore"