Is it time to think international relations and security beyond NATO?

Rodger

Ad Honorem
Jun 2014
6,171
US
Roger, let's look at the figures. Number of "boots on the ground".

For example, the NATO Battlegroup in Latvia (from Composition of NATO battlegroup in Latvia laid out and NATO enhanced Forward Presence - Joint Forces News
). It isn't about 0.5 or 50%, nor "fair share", nor " my tax money", but actual troops sent into a sensitive zone. Actual contribution of NATO members:

- 1,138 soldiers, under Canadian command

of which:
- 450 Canadian
- 300 Spanish
- 160 Italian
- 160 Polish
- 50 Slovenian
- 18 Albanian

The Estonian battlegroup, under British command, is to be formed by UK, Danish, and Islandi troops, the Lituanian Battlegroup, under German command, is to be formed by German, Czech, Islander, French, Dutch, Belgian and Norwegian troops, the Polish Battlegroup, under US command, is to be formed by Croatian, Romanian and British troops.

If You want, I can dig up for precise figures on that and other NATO missions in the Baltic region.

As it was pointed out, those troops aren't paid by NATO, but by each nation.

Meaning that on actual response to a tensioned situation in Europe, it's the European members of NATO putting "boots in the ground".

If You look at the numbers, actually, there's not that much "Your tax money" there. But there's a lot of European tax money.
The U.S. has 34,600 boots on the ground in Germany and 12,000 boots on the ground in Italy. And still another approximately 13,000 throughout the rest of Europe. Don't you think that 1,138 pales in comparison? I understand these troops are paid by their respective nations. That is why it was agreed upon in 2014 that each nation (earnestly I assume) would spend 2% of their GDP on military expenditures. So they have troops and equipment to offer. If a nation isn't, then they probably are contributing 18 soldiers to a mission. With all due respect, that isn't going to make much of a difference if things escalate. And you can quote in regard to the Latvian Battle Group, but as I mentioned, Baltic nations and Poland are requesting troops from the U.S. to be stationed there. It seems as if more is better and they aren't asking NATO. I wonder why?
 

Tulius

Ad Honorem
May 2016
6,147
Portugal
Roger, let's look at the figures. Number of "boots on the ground".

For example, the NATO Battlegroup in Latvia (from Composition of NATO battlegroup in Latvia laid out and NATO enhanced Forward Presence - Joint Forces News

). It isn't about 0.5 or 50%, nor "fair share", nor " my tax money", but actual troops sent into a sensitive zone. Actual contribution of NATO members:

- 1,138 soldiers, under Canadian command

of which:

- 450 Canadian
- 300 Spanish
- 160 Italian
- 160 Polish
- 50 Slovenian
- 18 Albanian

The Estonian battlegroup, under British command, is to be formed by UK, Danish, and Islandi troops, the Lituanian Battlegroup, under German command, is to be formed by German, Czech, Islander, French, Dutch, Belgian and Norwegian troops, the Polish Battlegroup, under US command, is to be formed by Croatian, Romanian and British troops.

If You want, I can dig up for precise figures on that and other NATO missions in the Baltic region.

As it was pointed out, those troops aren't paid by NATO, but by each nation.

Meaning that on actual response to a tensioned situation in Europe, it's the European members of NATO putting "boots in the ground".

If You look at the numbers, actually, there's not that much "Your tax money" there. But there's a lot of European tax money.
Besides the boots on the ground, there are also planes on the air with the Baltic Air Policing:

Baltic Air Policing - Wikipedia

And also there we can see contributions from almost all NATO members. Nobody wants more conflicts like the one in Ukraine or Georgia.

Yes. I intended to convey that approximately 1/3 of the troops stationed overseas are currently in Europe.
And yet, your own link states in the title: “U.S. active-duty military presence overseas is at its smallest in decades”. As already stated here, the USA still have many bases in Europe that allow them to project their power, both in Europe, but also outside Europe. Aren’t the Hospitals in Germany the first ones to receive the US wounded from the Middle East?

Landstuhl Regional Medical Center - Wikipedia

There was a significant USA contingent in Portugal (mostly in Azores) that was removed, if not totally at least mostly.

As stated here over and over, the fact that many NATO countries are bellow the guideline of spending no less than 2% of national GDP on defence, doesn’t imply that the US taxpayers pay more. The US taxpayers pay more or less according to the decisions of their own administrations. Rumbling that the US taxpayers pay more due to that is mostly political propaganda.

But again, now as a personal opinion, I also agree with the current (and past) USA administration that the European NATO members should spend more on defence.
 

deaf tuner

Ad Honoris
Oct 2013
14,662
Europix
The U.S. has 34,600 boots on the ground in Germany and 12,000 boots on the ground in Italy. And still another approximately 13,000 throughout the rest of Europe.
And France, and Germany, and UK, and so on have more boots on the ground in Europe ;)

It seems it's a bit difficult to express what I am talking about (Larry, Valteja talked about that too).

I'll try differently (I only hope You will not interpret it as an anti-american ... I'll cross my fingers ... ).

There isn't any "fair share", not as it's seen, as there's no extra-charges for the US military because of Europeans.

US defending Europe is just a side effect of the US policy. US is the no.1 nation in the world for some time now and has no intention to loose that place. If that implies keeping NATO as it is, it will keep it, if not, not.

In the end, Europe isn't anything else than a buffer, as Ukraine is for Russia. The difference is that US cooperate with the buffer.

US presence in Europe is dictated by US' global interests. It's why at a moment it started reducing massively it's presence: Russia wasn't the menace URSS was, US' POI moved to other zones. The reducing numbers in Europe were increasing numbers in other zones. Redeployment.

Your tax money spent on the defence will never depend on NATO nor on how much Europeans invest in defense. It will depend on US policy and military doctrine.
 

Rodger

Ad Honorem
Jun 2014
6,171
US
And yet, your own link states in the title: “U.S. active-duty military presence overseas is at its smallest in decades”. As already stated here, the USA still have many bases in Europe that allow them to project their power, both in Europe, but also outside Europe. Aren’t the Hospitals in Germany the first ones to receive the US wounded from the Middle East?

Landstuhl Regional Medical Center - Wikipedia

There was a significant USA contingent in Portugal (mostly in Azores) that was removed, if not totally at least mostly.

As stated here over and over, the fact that many NATO countries are bellow the guideline of spending no less than 2% of national GDP on defence, doesn’t imply that the US taxpayers pay more. The US taxpayers pay more or less according to the decisions of their own administrations. Rumbling that the US taxpayers pay more due to that is mostly political propaganda.

But again, now as a personal opinion, I also agree with the current (and past) USA administration that the European NATO members should spend more on defence.
I addressed that the number of Americans troops have declined and offered a few reasons as to why. That doesn't change the fact that there are still nearly 60,000 by my count. Also, I am not sure why you referenced Landstuhl. As far as I know, it is an American hospital paid for and staffed by American personnel. While we may never know if the American contribution to NATO would decrease if the majority of the NATO members reached a goal of 2%, I am glad to hear that believe these nations should spend more. Maybe political propaganda in some of these European nations is why their governments choose not to spend on their own defense? Those social programs sure do garner votes.
 

deaf tuner

Ad Honoris
Oct 2013
14,662
Europix
, I am glad to hear that believe these nations should spend more
It's good You hear that.

Because a lot more Europeans see the need of preparing, of rearming, of efficiency. Not the 2%, because that's a meme. The n+1%, meaning what is needed. Be it 1% or 10%.

Because, as US, European countries aren't inesting for the sake of "fair share" but for the sake of themselves. Do You think UK or France became nuclear powers for the sake of NATO? Do You think that countries like Poland or Romania are investing hugely (and I don't think You realize how much bigger is their 2% reported to their economical situation ... ) for the sake of NATO?

No. As US disengaged for a period in Europe, now is reengangin, the reason is the situation.
 

Rodger

Ad Honorem
Jun 2014
6,171
US
It's good You hear that.

Because a lot more Europeans see the need of preparing, of rearming, of efficiency. Not the 2%, because that's a meme. The n+1%, meaning what is needed. Be it 1% or 10%.

Because, as US, European countries aren't inesting for the sake of "fair share" but for the sake of themselves. Do You think UK or France became nuclear powers for the sake of NATO? Do You think that countries like Poland or Romania are investing hugely (and I don't think You realize how much bigger is their 2% reported to their economical situation ... ) for the sake of NATO?

No. As US disengaged for a period in Europe, now is reengangin, the reason is the situation.
That's the point. Apparently some European nations don't see the need to protect themselves. Is it because they believe they are immune or because they know others will do it for them, as, frankly, has happened several times in the recent past?
 

Larrey

Ad Honorem
Sep 2011
5,916
A big part of the problem with the current Russian build up is that so much of its tampering with its neighbours is not directly military. Meaning there is unclarity extent to which a military response is not so much necessary as even functional? Which is clearly how the Russian government at present likes it – while not for a moment forgoing the possibility of outright military threats as well. (Though so far a lot of it has been fairly silly nuclear-missile-waving.)
 

Tulius

Ad Honorem
May 2016
6,147
Portugal
I addressed that the number of Americans troops have declined and offered a few reasons as to why. That doesn't change the fact that there are still nearly 60,000 by my count. Also, I am not sure why you referenced Landstuhl. As far as I know, it is an American hospital paid for and staffed by American personnel. While we may never know if the American contribution to NATO would decrease if the majority of the NATO members reached a goal of 2%, I am glad to hear that believe these nations should spend more.
I mentioned Landstuhl, and the military personnel stationed there as an example to point that many of the 60000 military personnel in Europe are not “boots on the ground”, but medical, logistical and support back up for the boots. And while extremely necessary to the projection of force, aren’t boots. Like the NATO Battlegroups in the Baltic.

Again I agree with you that the European countries should make some more effort. Even so, I would like to point the case of my country, Portugal, and there are similar cases out there: Never since the Colonial war Portugal had so many troops abroad in fighting theatres. Portugal, even with a small military, participates in the NATO defence of the Baltic (with Marines and F-16), in the NATO operations in Afghanistan (usually with Engineers, Commandos and Paras), in the EU naval force in Somalia to fight the piracy, in the EU operations in Mali (to prevent the failure of the state), among others. In all scenarios Portugal never had so many casualties since the Colonial War.

Even this week 2 French Commandos were killed in the Burkina Faso in an operation to rescue hostages. So even if it is true that the NATO European members spend less that they should, it is not true that they, or the EU aren’t doing nothing. And, yes, it is also true that they should rely more on themselves, especially if the USA maintains the present attitude resumed in the “foe” twitt.

Maybe political propaganda in some of these European nations is why their governments choose not to spend on their own defense? Those social programs sure do garner votes.
Social programs are a face of Europe social policies, and many of us here are quite glad with them and we don’t look to the USA as a role model in this. Furthermore this isn’t directly related to the defence spending. The option is not defence spending vs. social programs. There is a huge field of politicise in between.
 
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pikeshot1600

Ad Honoris
Jul 2009
10,006
A big part of the problem with the current Russian build up is that so much of its tampering with its neighbours is not directly military.

Meaning there is unclarity extent to which a military response is not so much necessary as even functional? Which is clearly how the Russian government at present likes it – while not for a moment forgoing the possibility of outright military threats as well. (Though so far a lot of it has been fairly silly nuclear-missile-waving.)
Looking at this buildup from the standpoint of Russian leadership ;), the Russian Federation's strategy is interwoven with Mr. Putin's persona. His animosity toward the West is an important factor in the Russian asymmetrical warfare being currently waged by a more weaponized Internet. Russia is economically fragile, so deflection of some domestic criticism is served by those liberal Westerners being made to look like mortal enemies. Meanwhile Mr. Putin's personal economy evidently benefits from a net worth in the tens of billions of whatever currency you want to use in denomination.

Whether Russia possesses super weapons, or whether that is more propaganda than capability, projecting the image that Russia is as powerful as its principal rival enables them to interfere and promote division and unrest in individual NATO countries, attempting to weaken their collective resolve one or two members at a time. How many NATO/EU members have politicians and movements that are more favorably disposed to Russia - that are tending to suppress the liberal institutions and practices that Mr. Putin despises?

What better way than to concentrate on the US? If it is recognized that Russia is again a great power, there is little to be done about their interference in electoral activity and the functioning of Western/American institutions. (Cue voice of Boris Badenov "Vhat you are goink to do about it?")

So as in the 1970s and 80s, Russia spends capital and natural resources on military hardware while not emphasizing its domestic economic well being. Mother Russia rinses and repeats. Mr. Putin has been running a solo act for twenty years, but he is getting old. He is entrenched now with his billions and is too advanced in age to change. He longs for the aura of the USSR - without its restrictions on contemporary kleptocrats - and the USSR was seen as a great power that no one could attack. Under that type of umbrella troll farms and media manipulation can operate as aggressively as they can do it. So why spend the treasure on big boy weapons? Ask Mr. Putin.
 
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deaf tuner

Ad Honoris
Oct 2013
14,662
Europix
or because they know others will do it for them, as, frankly, has happened several times in the recent past?
With all do respect, there was no others in our stead. There was others helping us.

Its not the same thing.

Apparently some European nations don't see the need to protect themselves
Appearances can be very misleading.

While we may never know if the American contribution to NATO would decrease if the majority of the NATO members reached a goal of 2%,
The contribution of US to NATO will not increase or decrease.

As long as US is member of NATO, it will participate to NATO actions depending on what NATO needs and what US is ready to contribute with. If NATO decides there are actions to be token. If NATO is forced (art 5) to take action.

And that isn't related to me raising my expenses to 10% and You lowering them to 0.5%, or vice-versa.
 
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