Soob

Politics, Foreign Policy, Current Events and Occasional Outbursts Lacking Couth

Friday, February 08, 2008

NATO Reminder: Article 5

"The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all and consequently they agree that, if such an armed attack occurs, each of them, in exercise of the right of individual or collective self-defence recognised by Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations, will assist the Party or Parties so attacked by taking forthwith, individually and in concert with the other Parties, such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area."


Just a reminder.



11 comments:

GW said...

Perhaps you could translate that into German for the benefit of our allies.

Adrian said...

The important part being "such action as it deems necessary," i.e. every nation individually decides whether to respond or not. In the Cold War the U.S. had separate war games for if the Dutch fought and if the Dutch didn't fight.

ramjet said...

ISAF reminder.
ISAF statement: "conducting security and stability operations in coordination with the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF). It is not a 'coalition of the willings'. The context of ISAF is that it is a mission approved by the entire NATO and that takes place following a Oplan developed and shared by all the members. Not two or three...

subadei said...

gw, lol. No doubt. I think the entire NATO alliance needs to be, erm, refined.

adrian, indeed. That nifty loophole seems to contradict the bit about responding as though the sovereignty of the member was directly attacked. Then again, given the proclivities of some NATO members, perhaps not. Short bit of the long is, NATO's dated. It needs some "tinkering."

ramjet, good point. I'm sure it looked great on paper in 2001. But that was seven years ago. And for some NATO members war that results in dead people is so 20th century...

Adrian said...

Not outdated. The problems NATO is having in Afghanistan are because of issues it has always had. The collapse of the Soviet Union did not change anything in this regard. NATO has always had these problems - they had the same problems in Operation Allied Force. A non-NATO coalition will not magically solve these problems. It's the problem of coalition warfare. If we want to do without these headaches, then we shoulder the whole burden ourselves.

ramjet said...

subadei, the problem is that for some member, things, beyond words, was the same seven years ago as now.

subadei said...

Adrian, operation Allied Force differed in that it didn't involve the reactive action to an overt attack on a member of NATO. I say NATO is outdated or outmoded. Consider this bit from Fred Kaplan's recent article on SecDef Gates:

"Can counterinsurgency, which by its nature involves long, twilight struggles against murky foes, be a lasting legacy for Gates or a viable centerpiece for U.S. policy? Can the Army be persuaded to embrace it? Can the public?"

One could replace the legacy of Sec. Gates with the efficacy of NATO. Among the defining elements of a counter insurgency, time (and lots of it) seems crucial. If an alliance consists of members that cannot or will not (due to internal politics, geo-economics or difference in philiosophy, etc) commit to a basic block of the foundation for the "war to be fought" how is that alliance effective?

NATO functioned well under the Soviet threat as a non-kinetic promise of amassed retaliation. It created a balance. Now, however, the game in it's definitive form (a NATO member was attacked) is at hand and some members (for the above mentioned possible reasons) are reticent to engage. Why? Because the scope of "victory" transcends the scope of allegiance. The masses don't buy the cause and so the leadership is quick to abandon the principle.

Adrian said...

Even in the short hot war that NATO was prepared to fight, the coalition might well have fallen apart. Denmark had a direct line to Moscow so that when hostilities broke out they could immediately surrender to try to save their country (or so I am told by my Icelandic friends). The Dutch might or might not have fought. France withdrew from the nuclear aspect. It doesn't take a long COIN campaign to split apart a coalition, it could have happened in 24 hours.

"Because the scope of "victory" transcends the scope of allegiance."

I think that's well said, although I think a lot of Europeans dislike the war in Afghanistan not because they aren't loyal to a righteous American effort, but also because they don't think the U.S. should be there either. But I got no data to back that up.

Ymarsakar said...

NATO has always had these problems - they had the same problems in Operation Allied Force.

There needs to be some serious consideration of throwing away an organization that keeps having the same problems in war. Good soldiers are not that easy to find, and everytime those "problems" that are always the same and that always crop up, more good soldiers die.

If we want to do without these headaches, then we shoulder the whole burden ourselves.

True alliances solve these problems because of mutual interest. Obviously there's not much mutual interest and enemies being shared if member nations don't feel all that motivated to fix stuff they know is broken.

Denmark had a direct line to Moscow so that when hostilities broke out they could immediately surrender to try to save their country (or so I am told by my Icelandic friends).

How is an alliance with member nations including Denmark, not obsolete then? There is no Cold War to excuse people making pacts and alliances for show, because they fear being attacked with nuclear weapons. International coalition making and forcing people to work together that don't have a need to, has never been a goal that could progress humanity or solve our problems.

SnoopyTheGoon said...

I doubt that these days anyone regards that article in any way seriously.

But a good subject for the next NATO meeting agenda. I can imagine some faces ;-)

Adrian said...

From Protecting Some to Securing Many: NATO’s Journey from a Military Alliance to a Security Manager

Finnish Institute of International Affairs

Description: This paper discusses how and into what NATO has changed since the end of the Cold War. It briefs the history of NATO and Finland's relationship with the Organization before addressing four major themes: the expansion of the alliance, the expanding roles and missions of NATO, the relationship between the US and NATO and finally NATO's interaction with other actors such as the EU and Russia.

Free download at this link.