Massenbach-Letter. NEWS 10.3.17

Massenbach-Letter. News

  • Sieges, Demographic Shifts and Returns to ‘Liberated’ Cities in Syria
  • Vatican Radio: Pope Francis sends letter to Syrian President Assad
  • Vatican Radio: Aleppo: Faith and courage in a city of conflict
  • Radio Vatikan: Libanon: „Syrien sollte unsere Verfassung haben“
  • Hilfskonferenz für Syrien am 5. April in Brüssel
  • From our Russian News desk: “We are in a new historical moment, the Trump moment.”
  • WSJ: The Exhaustion of American Liberalism
  • Augen Geradeaus: Erster Direktkontakt der Spitzenmilitärs von NATO und Russland seit Jahren.
  • George Friedman:NATO, the Middle East and Eastern Europe

Massenbach*Sieges, Demographic Shifts and Returns to ‘Liberated’ Cities in Syria

Amid a renewed offensive on Mosul and U.N.-led Syria talks in Geneva, Middle East journalist and analyst Patrick Cockburn discusses the changing demographics of Syria and Iraq, and the complexities of displaced people returning to “liberated” cities in both countries.

With military strikes and targeted attacks in Syria and Iraq coinciding with new diplomatic talks last week, Middle East analyst and author Patrick Cockburn has warned that migration is radically shifting the countries’ demographic balances along sectarian lines.

These changes will be difficult to reverse, according to the former Middle East correspondent for the Independent and author of several books on Iraq’s recent history, including most recently “The Rise of Islamic State: Isis and the New Sunni Revolution” in 2015.

After six years of bitter fighting between the government and dozens of opposition and Islamic groups, with millions driven from their homes and floundering U.N. negotiations, the Syrian conflict has become “intractable,” according to Cockburn.

In Iraq, which is still struggling to recover from the U.S.-led invasion and where the government is battling to retake large swathes of territory from the so-called Islamic State, deepening sectarian hostilities have prevented hundreds of thousands of people from returning to their homes. Next door in Syria, deadly suicide attacks in Homs and government military strikes across the country nearly derailed the intra-Syrian talks that convened in Geneva on February 23 and have continued without a breakthrough.

Acknowledging the parallels between the conflicts is critical to understanding the fact that “every crisis in the region is linked to every other,” said Cockburn, citing the sieges of both Mosul and Aleppo, where he said regional actors – Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar – “critically influenced” the outcomes. Both cities have experienced drastic demographic changes – a “dangerous shift” that will be “hard to reverse,” he warned.

The depopulation of so-called liberated areas is creating homogeneous religious, ethnic and economic communities that reinforce the sectarian and social divides, he said, citing the cases of displaced Iraqis struggling to return to their homes in Ramadi and Fallujah in Iraq. Similarly, single-identity communities have become more common in Syria, especially in urban centres that form the “spine” of the country.

This interactive map provides an overview of so-called “liberations” that are creating single-identity communities in Syria, especially in urban centres that form the “spine” of the country.

The “biggest losers are the IDPs and refugees,” he said, adding that in areas that had historically mixed identities, such as Aleppo, it has become more crucial than ever to establish concrete policies that address long-term, safe returns of refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Syria.

With negotiations between the warring parties in Syria struggling to take off, five days into the Geneva meeting, News Deeply spoke with Cockburn about thepossibility of long-term returns and leveraging political pressure on all sides to ensure safe passage.

News Deeply: If the outward migration flows point to the demise of nationalism, how would you say migration is shaping the identities of those living in areas under siege, followed by evacuations?

Patrick Cockburn: Migration in both Iraq and Syria is changing the communal balance within each country. This transformation is very radical and will be very difficult to reverse because it’s not just in response to immediate danger, but a response to calamitous communal relations. In concrete terms, if you’re in northern Iraq outside Nineveh and you’re talking to Christians or others who are returning, then they all believe that Sunni Arab villagers were complicit in driving them out, taking their houses, killing people, raping people. This is even more true of the Yazidis in Sinjar and elsewhere. These movements are becoming irreversible because people can’t go back.

A longer-term and very dangerous shift in both Iraq and Syria is that communities in general can’t live together any longer. That’s the trend. It goes back to 2003 and 2004 in Baghdad, particularly the 2006-07 sectarian war in Baghdad, which ended with the Sunni really being confined to a limited number of enclaves. There are very few really mixed areas left. Now, you are having the same thing in northern Iraq and [the] Nineveh plain.

Although governments are often blamed by humanitarian organizations, even at a popular level, people don’t trust each other or hate each other and aren’t prepared to live together anymore. The same is true in northern Syria: I’ve been in towns which were occupied by Daesh, where the Christians believe their Sunni Arab neighbors were cooperating with Daesh. So when they come back they drive them [the Sunni] out in turn. There’s a real, very high level of friction and hostility on the ground, which I think is going to be extraordinarily difficult to reverse.

News Deeply: What are the commonalities that you notice between these twin sieges in Mosul and Aleppo on the domestic front with internal pressures?

Cockburn: The fear of civilians inside is probably the same in each place – the armed opposition groups in east Aleppo or their equivalent in Mosul don’t want to see their areas depopulated. The purpose of bombing and artillery fire is actually common to counterinsurgency tactics the world over. It is carried out to mainly separate the guerrilla fighters from the civilian population. You had this with the British in what was called Malaya at the time, the French in Algeria and the Americans in Vietnam. These operations have been conducted with varying degrees of concern for civilian casualties, but they have the same purpose. There’s a common interest among those who are holding these cities not to let the civilian population go, encourage them to stay.

But at the same time there is a real and quite understandable fear among people leaving, about what their fate will be. They’re going to be wholly vulnerable in the long term, in dealing with the people [who are depopulating the area] who are hostile to them.

These are the most important common features: What guarantees can be given to them? How real are these guarantees? Who can really guarantee their security?

Often, you see reports about people going back to their cities, but it’s a little simple-minded. It’s not just what’s happening in the city. What’s the condition on the roads? Who control those checkpoints? If you’re a Sunni civilian in Ramadi and you’re up in Kirkuk, there may be a Hash’d [Iraqi-state sponsored umbrella organization comprising mainly Shia armed groups] checkpoint on the road, it could be an extremely dangerous situation. The same thing is going to be true in Aleppo and the same thing is true down in Damascus.

News Deeply: How do you assess the role of external backers with military operations that lead to massive displacement?

Cockburn: Regional powers such as Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar have a critical influence on what happens to Sunni movements in Iraq, including peaceful protests, in terms of how they were covered by the Arab media and paid for by the Gulf.

Since 2011, if you look at the Syrian crisis, again and again, the real impulse for what was happening on the battlefield, what was happening in Syria, didn’t come from the parties within the country like Assad, or the opposition. It came from their outside backers. When Assad was doing badly, he looked to Russia and Iran. When the opposition was doing badly they looked to Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and to a degree the U.S. Of course, it would be naive to imagine that their [the external backers’] agenda is wholly determined by the needs of the Syrian people. This is one of the reasons these wars go on for so long. This is true of Syria and Iraq.

News Deeply: It appears that some of the same external parties stoking the different sides of the conflicts in Syria and Iraq are now struggling with how to control migration from these countries that are in absolute chaos. They have destroyed the basic political and social structure of these states and the migration influxes are a direct consequence. How do you begin to address the cause and effect?

Cockburn: The question is, where do you begin? Maybe you begin by not invading Iraq. But this has already happened, so what can be done positively? Pressure can be put on governments to make things a bit easier for people to go back, that they have a degree of safety when they are back. For example, the Iraqi state is very dependent on outside military support but also financial support. Loan guarantees from the U.S. is a priority for the moment because they need the money. But there should also be limits to what outside parties try to do. Trying to determine Iraqi politics from the outside – on how communities should treat each other – will not only fail to achieve these aims, but also produced a counterreaction within Iraq.

In Syria, my own view is that Assad has essentially won. He’s certainly not going to be displaced anymore. You can see that partly by the military advances in Damascus and in Aleppo, but also the lack of response from Turkey and Saudi Arabia.

This interview was conducted in person and by email between December and early February.


Radio Vatikan: Libanon: „Syrien sollte unsere Verfassung haben“

Das kriegsgeschüttelte Syrien sollte sich den Libanon zum Vorbild nehmen und dessen Verfassung einführen. Das schlägt der Vertreter der maronitischen Christen beim Heiligen Stuhl, Francois Eid, im Gespräch mit Radio Vatikan vor. Konkret bedeutet das libanesische Modell: Jede Religionsgemeinschaft und Volksgruppe muss im Parlament vertreten sein, und es gilt das demokratische Prinzip, dass die politische Mehrheit regiert, aber die Opposition nicht verfolgt wird.

Zwar habe auch der Libanon viele Krisen durchgemacht und leide auch derzeit an wirtschaftlichen und vor allem politischen Schwierigkeiten, so Eid, doch sei er die einzige Demokratie in der Region, in der das Zusammenleben von Christen und Muslime funktioniere. Im Libanon leben derzeit 1,8 Millionen syrische Flüchtlinge. Die Bevölkerung Libanons beträgt jedoch nur knapp 4,5 Millionen Einwohner. Darum bedeute die Anwesenheit der Flüchtlinge aus dem Nachbarland eine große Belastung für die libanesische Gesellschaft, vor allem für die Christen, weil die muslimischen Gruppen wie etwa die Hisbollah damit zahlenmäßig stärker werde.

„Die Christen im Libanon zahlen derzeit einen hohen Preis. Doch allgemein fühlen sich alle Libanesen – egal ob Christen oder Muslime – geeint, und das stellen wir trotz der Entwicklung zum Schlimmeren fest. Unsere Verfassung garantiert allen 18 anerkannten Religionsgemeinschaften weiterhin ihren Status. In den anderen muslimisch geprägten Ländern in der Region genießen die Christen kein solches Recht.“

Ein wichtiger und angesehener Religionsführer im Nahen Osten sei der Papst, fügt Monsignore Eid hinzu. „Wenn er zu den Menschen im Nahen Osten spricht, dann betont der Papst immer, dass wir alle Kinder des einen Gottes sind. Wir sind Geschwister und können problemlos miteinander leben, so lautet die Botschaft des Papstes. Wir sind verschieden, sollten diese Unterschiede aber als Bereicherung und nicht als Trennung betrachten.“

Die politischen Führer im Nahen Osten – nicht nur im Libanon oder in Syrien – sollten doch ebenfalls mehr auf die konkreten Probleme der Menschen schauen, statt das Trennende zu akzentuieren. Leider gelte weiterhin die Religionszugehörigkeit als der Hauptgrund für politische Entscheidungen im gesamten Nahen Osten, bedauert Eid. Dabei seien Armut und Bildungsnotstand die größten Problem, nicht die Zugehörigkeit zur schiitischen, sunnitischen oder christlichen Gemeinschaft. Dies anzuerkennen wäre schon ein großer Fortschritt.

(rv 06.03.2017 mg)„syrien_sollte_unsere_verfassung_haben“/1296826

About Francois Eid:

Vatican Radio_Syria’s Catholic Leader Calls For End To Western Sanctions:

Vatican Radio_Aleppo: Faith and courage in a city of conflict:

For five years the Syrian city of Aleppo has been a key battleground in the country’s brutal civil war. This former financial hub was home to 250 thousand Christians with hopes and dreams. Now it has become a place of loss and suffering. With a fragile ceasefire in place, aid agencies are keeping up their work to help those who have lost everything as a result of the conflict.

Vatican Radio: Pope Francis sends letter to Syrian President Assad

12/12/2016 18:10

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has sent a letter to the President of Syria, Bashar al-Assad, through Cardinal Mario Zenari, Apostolic Nuncio to Syria, appealing for "an end to the violence and the peaceful resolution of hostilities" in the country.

A communiqué from the Holy See Press Office released on Monday read as follows:

"In naming Archbishop Mario Zenari to the College of Cardinals, the Holy Father sought to show a particular sign of affection for the beloved Syrian people, so sorely tried in recent years.

"In a letter sent through the new Cardinal, Pope Francis expressed again his appeal to President Bashar al-Assad and to the international community for an end to the violence, and the peaceful resolution of hostilities, condemning all forms of extremism and terrorism from whatever quarter they may come, and appealing to the President to ensure that international humanitarian law is fully respected with regard to the protection of the civilians and access to humanitarian aid."


From our Russian News Desk. (The views expressed are the author‘s own.)

  • “We are in a new historical moment, the Trump moment. This means we need to grow out of our post-post-Cold War torpor and start thinking big again.”


Policy= res publica

Freudenberg-Pilster* WSJ: The Exhaustion of American Liberalism

White guilt gave us a mock politics based on the pretense of moral authority.

Updated March 5, 2017 6:20 p.m. ET

The recent flurry of marches, demonstrations and even riots, along with the Democratic Party’s spiteful reaction to the Trump presidency, exposes what modern liberalism has become: a politics shrouded in pathos. Unlike the civil-rights movement of the 1950s and ’60s, when protesters wore their Sunday best and carried themselves with heroic dignity, today’s liberal marches are marked by incoherence and downright lunacy—hats designed to evoke sexual organs, poems that scream in anger yet have no point to make, and an hysterical anti-Americanism.

All this suggests lostness, the end of something rather than the beginning. What is ending?

America, since the ’60s, has lived through what might be called an age of white guilt. We may still be in this age, but the Trump election suggests an exhaustion with the idea of white guilt, and with the drama of culpability, innocence and correctness in which it mires us.

White guilt is not actual guilt. Surely most whites are not assailed in the night by feelings of responsibility for America’s historical mistreatment of minorities. Moreover, all the actual guilt in the world would never be enough to support the hegemonic power that the mere pretense of guilt has exercised in American life for the last half-century.

White guilt is not angst over injustices suffered by others; it is the terror of being stigmatized with America’s old bigotries—racism, sexism, homophobia and xenophobia. To be stigmatized as a fellow traveler with any of these bigotries is to be utterly stripped of moral authority and made into a pariah. The terror of this, of having “no name in the street” as the Bible puts it, pressures whites to act guiltily even when they feel no actual guilt. White guilt is a mock guilt, a pretense of real guilt, a shallow etiquette of empathy, pity and regret.

It is also the heart and soul of contemporary liberalism. This liberalism is the politics given to us by white guilt, and it shares white guilt’s central corruption. It is not real liberalism, in the classic sense. It is a mock liberalism. Freedom is not its raison d’être; moral authority is.

When America became stigmatized in the ’60s as racist, sexist and militaristic, it wanted moral authority above all else. Subsequently the American left reconstituted itself as the keeper of America’s moral legitimacy. (Conservatism, focused on freedom and wealth, had little moral clout.) From that followed today’s markers of white guilt—political correctness, identity politics, environmental orthodoxy, the diversity cult and so on.

This was the circumstance in which innocence of America’s bigotries and dissociation from the American past became a currency of hardcore political power. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, good liberals both, pursued power by offering their candidacies as opportunities for Americans to document their innocence of the nation’s past. “I had to vote for Obama,” a rock-ribbed Republican said to me. “I couldn’t tell my grandson that I didn’t vote for the first black president.”

For this man liberalism was a moral vaccine that immunized him against stigmatization. For Mr. Obama it was raw political power in the real world, enough to lift him—unknown and untested—into the presidency. But for Mrs. Clinton, liberalism was not enough. The white guilt that lifted Mr. Obama did not carry her into office—even though her opponent was soundly stigmatized as an iconic racist and sexist.

Perhaps the Obama presidency was the culmination of the age of white guilt, so that this guiltiness has entered its denouement. There are so many public moments now in which liberalism’s old weapon of stigmatization shoots blanks—Elizabeth Warren in the Senate reading a 30-year-old letter by Coretta Scott King, hoping to stop Jeff Sessions’s appointment as attorney general. There it was with deadly predictability: a white liberal stealing moral authority from a black heroine in order to stigmatize a white male as racist. When Ms. Warren was finally told to sit, there was real mortification behind her glaring eyes.

This liberalism evolved within a society shamed by its past. But that shame has weakened now. Our new conservative president rolls his eyes when he is called a racist, and we all—liberal and conservative alike—know that he isn’t one. The jig is up. Bigotry exists, but it is far down on the list of problems that minorities now face. I grew up black in segregated America, where it was hard to find an open door. It’s harder now for young blacks to find a closed one.

This is the reality that made Ms. Warren’s attack on Mr. Sessions so tiresome. And it is what caused so many Democrats at President Trump’s address to Congress to look a little mortified, defiantly proud but dark with doubt. The sight of them was a profound moment in American political history.

Today’s liberalism is an anachronism. It has no understanding, really, of what poverty is and how it has to be overcome. It has no grip whatever on what American exceptionalism is and what it means at home and especially abroad. Instead it remains defined by an America of 1965—an America newly opening itself to its sins, an America of genuine goodwill, yet lacking in self-knowledge.

This liberalism came into being not as an ideology but as an identity. It offered Americans moral esteem against the specter of American shame. This made for a liberalism devoted to the idea of American shamefulness. Without an ugly America to loathe, there is no automatic esteem to receive. Thus liberalism’s unrelenting current of anti-Americanism.

Let’s stipulate that, given our history, this liberalism is understandable. But American liberalism never acknowledged that it was about white esteem rather than minority accomplishment. Four thousand shootings in Chicago last year, and the mayor announces that his will be a sanctuary city. This is moral esteem over reality; the self-congratulation of idealism. Liberalism is exhausted because it has become a corruption.

Mr. Steele, a senior fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, is author of “Shame: How America’s Past Sins Have Polarized Our Country” (Basic Books, 2015).

****************************************************************************************************************** Politics: From Vision to Action


Erster Direktkontakt der Spitzenmilitärs von NATO und Russland seit Jahren

T.Wiegold 03. März 2017

Erstmals seit dem Einfrieren der militärischen Zusammenarbeit zwischen der NATO und Russland wegen der Ukraine-Krise haben Spitzenmilitärs beider Seiten wieder direkt miteinander gesprochen. Der Vorsitzende des NATO-Militärausschusses, der tschechische General Petr Pavel (Foto oben) und der russische Generalstabschef Waleri Gerassimow telefonierten am (heutigen) Freitag miteinander, wie beide Seiten mitteilten. Der Gesprächswunsch sei von der NATO ausgegangen, erklärte das russische Verteidigungsministerium:

Today, General of the Army Valery Gerasimov, Chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces – First Deputy Defence Minister, had a telephone conversation with General Petr Pavel, Chairman of the NATO Military Committee upon the initiative of the NATO’s party.

This is the first high-level military contact since the NATO Council had taken decision to freeze relations with Russia.
The parties exchanged their opinions about topical issues of security, prospects in recovery of military cooperation, prevention of incidents and participation of the Alliance representatives in international activities held by the Russian Defence Ministry.
Valery Gerasimov attracted attention of Petr Pavel to concerns caused by significant intensification of military activity of the NATO near the Russian borders as well as deployment of forward-based systems of the Allied Forces.
General of the Army Sergei Gerasimov informed General Petr Pavel about key international events and exercise organized by the Russian defence department in 2017.
Parties confirmed necessity of mutual steps aimed to decrease tensions and to build up stabilization in Europe.
General of the Army Sergei Gerasimov and General Petr Pavel agreed to continue cooperation.

Der NATO-Militärstab bestätigte auf Anfrage von Augen geradeaus! das Telefonat, nannte aber keine Einzelheiten zum Inhalt. Aktive Kommunikationsverbindungen zwischen dem Militär beider Seiten seien im gegenseitigen Interesse der NATO und Russlands, sagte Sprecherin Eva Svobodova. Zwar habe die Allianz angesichts der illegalen Annexion der Krim durch Russland 2014 die praktische Zusammenarbeit auf militärischer Ebene eingestellt, die Gesprächsverbindungen blieben aber bestehen.

Die russische Mitteilung enthält zwar die bekannten Vorwürfe an die NATO, mit ihrer zunehmenden militärischen Aktivität an der Grenze des Bündnisses zu Russland zur Besorgnis Anlass zu geben.

Interessant ist aber ein – mögliches, nur angedeutetes – Detail: Nach Angaben des Moskauer Verteidigungsministeriums machte Gerassimow auch Angaben zu geplanten Übungen der russischen Streitkräfte in diesem Jahr. Bislang kritisieren mehrere NATO-Staaten, insbesondere die baltischen Länder, dass es keine offiziellen Mitteilungen über die geplante Großübung Zapad 2017 in Russland und Weißrussland an der Grenze zum Baltikum und zu Polen gebe. Nach Informationen von Augen geradeaus! hat Russland bislang dazu keine der im Wiener Dokument vorgesehenen Unterrichtungen angeboten. Nun wüsste man natürlich gerne, ob der russische Generalstabschef in diesem Telefonat dazu mehr gesagt hat…

(Foto: NATO)

23 Kommentare zu „Erster Direktkontakt der Spitzenmilitärs von NATO und Russland seit Jahren“

General Petr Pavel ist gelernter Aufklärer und Nachrichten-Dienstmann. .
Die bei Wiki enthaltene militärische Biografie enthält – leider – eine auffällige Lücke ab 1983 bis zum Zerfall des „Warschauer Pakt“.
Es ist wahrscheinlich, dass der angehende tschechische Generalstabsoffizier noch einen Ausbildungsabschnitt bei der Roten Armee absolviert haben dürfte.
Von Belang für das Telefonat mit dem Generalstabschef Gerassimow und ggf. weitere NATO-RUS Kontakte wäre dies insofern, als dass er weiß, wie RUS StOffz denn so „ticken“.
Als Nachrichten-Dienstmann und ehemaliger Kdr der (CZE) 601. Spezialkräftegruppe wird er zwischen den Zeilen lesen und ggf sogar auf Russisch Gerassimow angemessen kontern können.
Der Vorsitzende des Military Committee (MC) dessen 32. Vorsitzender er ist, unterstützt
– die Entscheidungsprozesse der zivilen Führung,
– des Nordatlantikrats und
– der Nuklearen Planungsgruppe (NPG) – in militärischen Angelegenheiten.
Angesichts der Neubewertung von z.B. „new-start“ seitens Präsident Trump (Faden: Trumps Neubewertung von Atomwaffen …) wird Pavels Wort nicht überhört werden können.
Falls deutsche Medien drüber weglesen, ~hören, die Russen mit Sicherheit nicht.

Übrigens hat er bei UNPROFOR mit seiner Fallschirmjäger-Einheit einer französische Einheit, die infolge einer kroatischen Offensive in eine ausweglose Lage geraten war, Entsatz geleistet.
Offensichtlich der richtige Mann am richtigen Platz!


Middle East

Hilfskonferenz für Syrien am 5. April in Brüssel

6. März 2017, 19:50 Uhr Quelle: afp

Brüssel (AFP) Die Europäische Union (EU) hat für den 5. April eine internationale Hilfskonferenz zu Syrien angekündigt. Das Treffen werde in Brüssel stattfinden und zusammen mit den Vereinten Nationen sowie Deutschland und anderen Ländern organisiert, sagte die EU-Außenbeauftragte Federica Mogherini am Montag in Brüssel. Ziel sei es, die Bevölkerung in Syrien und die syrischen Flüchtlinge in den Nachbarstaaten zu unterstützen. Gleichzeitig solle auch Unterstützung für eine Zeit nach dem Konflikt vorbereitet werden.


*Massenbach’s Recommendation*

George Friedman:NATO, the Middle East and Eastern Europe

NATO was created to address post-World War II Europe. That is no longer the pivotal issue. NATO was not built to deal with what came after its success. There is consensus that chaos in the Islamic world is undesirable, but no consensus on three other points.

First, there is no agreement that NATO as an institution has an obligation to take collective military action to pacify the region.

Second, there is no consensus over what pacification would look like.

Third, there is no consensus that a coordinated and collective effort to prevent terrorist attacks on NATO countries should be undertaken.

……….NATO’s institutions were created with a crisply defined mission, an understanding of the consequences of failure and, therefore, an allocation of military resources appropriate to the mission and to member states’ resources.

There is no such agreement on the current conflict and, therefore, NATO does not have a unifying mission. The Cold War was seen as an existential threat to Europe.

The Islamic conflict is seen in different ways by different countries at different times. No military strategy can exist based on this political base of sand.

Therefore, interests within NATO diverge, particularly between the United States and many European countries. The U.S. has fought a war for 15 years in the Muslim world designed to contain those forces the U.S. perceived as a danger to its security and interests. Some European countries, such as the United Kingdom, have joined this war with major resources. Some have given what I can only call symbolic gestures, considering the resources they could have devoted. Others have been deeply skeptical and critical of U.S. strategy.

Therefore, these countries cannot fully agree on the strategic problem NATO faces and, as a result, can’t adopt a unified strategy. NATO members’ view of the world and willingness to act decisively varies widely. Therefore, the reasonable question is what is the point of NATO? The general feeling is that while the U.S.’ 15-year war did not compel Europe to act as a matter of collective security, other interests bind members together.

The problem is defining what other issues require an organization such as NATO, and whether, having defined the issue, the Europeans are prepared to devote the resources required to carry out the mission.

It is vital to constantly point out that NATO is not a political framework where discussions take place but a military alliance that rests on military goals and resources. It is about soldiers and sailors, and if the issues being faced do not involve these, then NATO has no use. Some other sort of institution may be required to address these issues instead.

…..In the end, there is no NATO problem. There is a European problem. A European consensus on defense does not exist anymore than a consensus on economics does. Being in an alliance so unstable that a region the alliance must protect is under attack by the EU is too complicated for the simple and unsophisticated Americans. The sophisticated Europeans in the end are proving too much for the United States. U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis has laid down the price members must pay for NATO protection. The Europeans will assume it is just talk and continue as they were. Having opted out of collective responsibility in the Middle East, the Europeans are also opting out of collective responsibility in Europe. U.S. action in Europe will take place as needed, but it will not be constrained by the votes of those not incurring some of the risk. This is not an opinion on my part, but simply a rational analysis by the U.S. Why submit to an organization that cannot share the risk?



see our letter on:

*Herausgegeben von Udo von Massenbach, Bärbel Freudenberg-Pilster, Joerg Barandat*



03-07-17 _We are in a new historical moment, the Trump moment_.docx