Bomb throwers? Oh, you must be meaning math professors.
You sure that wasn't Dyslexia?
I'm not familiar with whatever argument you're having with Cycloptichorn,
Do you believe that the US is a terrorist nation, Joe?
Let me reiterate:
Don't drag me into the middle of your dispute with Cycloptichorn. I'm not interested.
Geez, sometimes you just can't reason with these Canadians.
NATO's Modest Chicago Summit
(By Richard Weitz | World Politics Review | 22 May 2012)
This week’s NATO Summit in Chicago, attended by the heads of state and government of alliance member states as well as senior representatives of various NATO partner countries and organizations, was less ambitious than some recent summits. With regard to the alliance itself, the summit announced no new members, or even a timetable for the four aspirant countries, and raised no funds for collective missions, as in Afghanistan. That said, the summit did perform the important function of reaffirming that despite their economic problems, member countries have been fulfilling all the vague commitments they made at the November 2010 Lisbon Summit, where the alliance adopted a new Strategic Concept. More generally, the summit also allowed the allies to renew their mutual solidarity amid all the recent talk of the U.S. pivot to Asia.
The issue that drew the most attention in Chicago was how long NATO would continue its large-scale combat efforts in Afghanistan. The summit reaffirmed the timetables adopted at the Lisbon Summit while adding some new milestones. NATO members and coalition partners in the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) also pledged in principle to continue some kind of military presence in Afghanistan beyond 2014, though with a different name and mission.
With regard to Afghanistan, NATO leaders and their partners must balance the conflicting demands of their domestic and international audiences. The alliance must communicate to the Taliban and other Afghans, as well as to their neighbors in Pakistan, that NATO will stay in Afghanistan as long as necessary to secure a just and enduring Afghan peace agreement. But alliance leaders must make their domestic publics believe that coalition forces will leave Afghanistan as soon as possible, while reducing their commitments rapidly until then. In the past, NATO leaders have finessed the troop withdrawal issue by allowing Canada and other countries to announce that they have removed all their combat troops from Afghanistan, while keeping almost as many troops in the country in non-combat roles, such as training and advising the Afghan Security Forces. This seems to be the approach adopted with regard to newly elected French President François Hollande’s pledge to withdraw French troops by the end of 2012.
Meanwhile, NATO and partner state leaders strove to underscore both their long-term commitment to restoring security in Afghanistan and their ability to transition by 2014 to an Afghan-led war through the deployment of additional military trainers. For this to occur, the Afghan government and its security forces must overcome difficulties in providing good governance and the rule of the law, promoting economic development and job creation, combating corruption and narcotics trafficking, as well as ensuring the security of Taliban members who attempt to reintegrate peacefully into Afghan society. Although NATO is not responsible for these problems, some of which would arguably be best addressed by economic and diplomatic tools, the alliance’s preferred Afghan strategy will remain hostage to their resolution.
The summit did not result in any significant changes in NATO’s policies toward ballistic missile defense (BMD). The NATO governments reaffirmed their commitment to integrate their European missile defense programs with those of the United States, with the goal of providing comprehensive BMD protection for NATO’s populations, territory and forces. They also declared that they had achieved an “interim capability,” which means they could transfer command and control to NATO of the radar in Turkey and the U.S. Aegis ship in the eastern Mediterranean.
The Deterrence, Defense and Disarmament Review released at Chicago also largely reaffirmed NATO’s existing policies. Supporters of maintaining NATO’s tactical nuclear weapons (TNW) again triumphed by focusing on the weapons’ usefulness as leverage to induce Russia to negotiate reductions in its superior TNW holdings. But Russian military strategists are not eager to relinquish these weapons, so this issue is likely to become more acute in future summits, since European member states are not purchasing next-generation planes capable of delivering these weapons. The alliance did offer somewhat more-generous guarantees about not using nuclear weapons against non-nuclear weapons states, but with the major caveat that the latter states must be meeting their nuclear nonproliferation guarantees.
Despite its emphasis on sustaining military capabilities through “Smart Defense” initiatives, the Chicago summit did not overcome concerns that the deep defense budget cuts adopted by many members, which come on top of years of underfunding their military requirements, call into question whether NATO can develop or sustain the capabilities needed to meet their expanding conventional defense and security requirements. NATO leaders argue that they can save money by reducing the size and rationalizing the management of the alliance’s numerous commands, defense agencies and other support structures and processes. But the history of almost all modern defense reforms suggests that realizing massive savings through such policies is improbable. Meanwhile, the appropriate capabilities, strategy and tactics required to fulfill the new NATO missions, such as ensuring member states’ cyber and energy security, have only begun to be studied.
European leaders have noted how greater security collaboration between NATO and the European Union could help mitigate some security gaps. European countries could rationalize their procurement practices within both institutions by, among other measures, reducing excessive duplication, encouraging more specialization among national militaries and spurring greater interoperability among weapons systems. The current U.S. administration favors expanding the EU’s security capabilities, especially to help fill trans-Atlantic gaps.
Yet, the two organizations have proven unable to agree on conducting joint crisis management exercises or actual operations. At best, the NATO governments can, as at this summit, applaud the EU for pursuing collective defense initiatives that might prove useful for a NATO operation. They also have been encouraging the EU to assume the lead role in cleaning up after the NATO bombing campaign in Libya as well as helping to consolidate democratic gains in Tunisia.
Indeed, relations between NATO and the EU could easily worsen in coming months. The new Socialist government in France is less comfortable than its predecessor with closer NATO-EU cooperation, though Hollande has said he will not withdraw France from NATO’s integrated military command. And Cyprus’ imminent assumption of the rotating EU presidency is sure to heighten Turkish opposition to cooperation between the two organizations. Without Turkey’s full support, neither the EU nor NATO will be able to realize important security goals in the Arab world.
Another major theme of the summit was the vision of NATO as a global security hub for various partnerships. This conceptual outlook explains the attendance by representatives from many non-Atlantic countries. Cooperation with the EU and other partner states and organizations might extend to various global issues, such as managing climate change and its implications for the Arctic, or enhancing the security of the Internet. But NATO members have only begun to consider what policies to pursue in these areas, what capabilities are needed to achieve these goals and how NATO might collaborate with partners to address these challenges.
The Chicago summit’s modest results reflect, as much as anything, NATO’s status as an alliance in transition from a Cold War collective defense organization to a new but indeterminate entity in an uncertain world.