Is it me, or is 21st century NATO beginning to look a lot like the 20th century Warsaw Pact?
German chancellor Angela Merkel’s statement today, that Europe can no longer “completely depend” on the US and UK following the election of President Trump and Brexit, reminds me of a blog post I published about a year ago; Trump, Putin at the helm – NATO in dissaray, voicing the eventuality of a European NATO exit, in order to build a European alliance, based on the remnants of WEU (Western European Union) and EUFOR, for instance.
Chancellor Merkel’s address in Munich today brings the issue to the table once more – an issue this blogger, for one, finds increasingly appealing.
An imminent Norwegian EU membership is of course a given, unless we prefer to continue regarding ourselves more of an American protectorate than a European country, of course.
I sincerely hope not.
Photo: The European Union and the world. Photo from the European Commission.
The accession of Montenegro to NATO is expected to be completed by the second quarter of this year.
Seriously, I’m beginning to* wonder when the perils of inviting former Warsaw pact countries into NATO will dawn on western leaders.
But I shall refrain from insulting my readership’s intellect by explaining why. Suffice it to say we’re dealing with countries for whom democracy remains terra incognita.
*Truth be told I’ve been asking myself for quite a while (the last time being last December).
Modern-day warfare brought about Internet attacks just as damaging for a country’s readiness, integrity, economy and infrastructure as last century’s threat of conventional and nuclear warfare, which, of course, is why every nation should be prepared and on high alert, with state-of-the art equipment to counter the attacks we see unfold on a daily basis.
Not about to commend our politicians for their ability to build an effective digital border defence I do appreciate their resolution to improve it – which, in all honesty, is long overdue.
I applaud Norway’s NOK 2.2 billion defence budget rise, even if we’re far from reaching NATO’s two percent of GDP goal – an aim that ought to be within reach, considering our country’s affluence. Thing is, though, that while vital parts of our defence are granted a substantial financial boost, an equally vital part of it, the Home Guard (i.e. the National Guard for American readers), carrying most of the responsibility for our territorial defence, as well as local naval defence, is subject to further troop reductions.
As a matter of fact the current Armed Forces long-term plan indicates that the Naval Home Guard, with its approximately 200 larger vessels and approximately 130 speed vessels, is to be disbanded altogether within a couple of years, whereas the overall National Guard has been reduced from 80,000+ troops at the time I myself was dismissed*, some thirteen years ago, to approximately 45,000 troops today – and counting.
With standing forces increasingly involved in international operations the Home Guard remains the only real defence actually on Norwgian soil, which only goes to show that conventional attacks or invasions are considered less probable, much like the pre WW2 attitude, resulting in very low defence spendings – and the rest, as they say, is history (foreigners without in-depth knowledge of Norwegian history may be grateful to learn that Nazi Germany occupied the country between 9 April 1940 and 8 May 1945, though).
Certainly cyber warfare is a very real threat, materialising on a daily basis, which needs to be met with all available measures.
It does not, however, entail the removal of a conventional, equally dangerous threat, especially in times of an intensified level of international conflict, not least with respect to our closest northern neighbour, Russia.
*Both as a result of the disbandment of my unit, 02503 Santhanshaugen HV-område (company) and the mere fact that I had reached the maximum conscription age (44 in Norway).
Top photograph: Norwegian Home guard soldiers partaking in a squad leader course. Photographer: Julie Hjermstad/Norwegian Armed Forces.
CNN’s fairly restrictive on-air profanity policy should be well-known by now (remember Madonna’s recent D.C. appearance?). Foreign languages, on the other hand, may prove to be a bit of a challenge. This F-16 pilot’s “Helvete!” translates to “Bloody hell!”.
IDK, just felt strangely good to hear Norwegian cussing in international news.
We’ve heard, over and over, how threatened the Kremlin feels by the American deployment to Zagan, Poland, but those who recall the cold war’s first incarnation will of course find Russia’s rhetoric only too familiar.
Like back in the day one party will inevitably claim that it’s fallen victim to the other party’s actions, paving the way for the offender’s concessions or the victim’s right to do likewise – in this instance; deploying Russian troops to regions deemed sensitive to the west.
Of course Russia isn’t threatened – or insulted, for that matter. For Pete’s sake, Mr. Lavrov, Poland is a NATO country (although I’m not convinced it ever should have been one). So you know, it’s all part of the game.
And the game? It is afoot – as per usual.
Photo: U.S. Army and Polish soldiers provide reception and security for arriving U.S. helicopters and Soldiers at a Polish Army training area in Zagan, Poland, June 12, 2015. Photo from U.S. Army.
Regular readers will have noticed this blogger’s long-standing scepticism towards the current Turkish regime, since long before my daughter and wife bought me the above depicted tea mug on a vacation in Turkey some years ago. A vacation in which I neither did nor could or would partake – and a mug which is yet to be used, for very obvious reasons.
Reasons that I fear become more evident for each and every day, underlining the importance of the EU’s suspension of Turkish membership talks (which shouldn’t have been held in the first place), as mass arrests are carried out and Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan tightens his grip, submitting a bill to expand his power even more than currently is the case.
Please understand, though, that I deplore PKK terrorism just as much, but you have to sympathise with the Kurds’ frustration and predicament, facing leaders such as Mr. Erdoğan and his criminal regime.
My “Goodbye, Turkey” includes termination of future EU talks as well as the country’s unjustifiable NATO membership, provided the international community is about to wake up – and realise that we’re dealing with a full-blown dictatorship.
And please, ladies and gentlemen of the press, stop referring to Turkey as a European country, when all that is European about it is the three-percent landmass that is the occupied East Tracian territories on the European side of the Bosphorus, granted Turkey in the aftermath of the Balkan wars some 100 years ago.
Consider the following countries:
- The Czech Republic
NATO immediately springs to mind, no?
No. Of course not. And much like you I am inclined to consider the member states up to (and including) 1982 the essence of western democracy, with an exception for Turkey, Spain, Portugal and Greece, as we all know. Text continued below map.
While three of the afore-mentioned member states have since got their act together, Turkey remains severely unqualified for its membership, as I’ve pointed out on numerous occasions.
Also, this tweet inspired me to make the above bullet point list:
You have to admit that it’s hard not to think of former Soviet imagery, and in all honesty, is expansion at all cost really worth it? When will it end? Judging by NATO’s careless expansion thus far, it won’t stop until we consider these soldiers NATO troops:
Which is fine by me, but please, what some consider a NATO expansion may in reality turn out to be a full-blown Warsaw pact takeover.
Now there’s a thought …
Norge er et så lite land, at selv 330 soldater (amerikanske, stasjonert i Norge) lyder voldsomt.