After Afghanistan, what next for world's biggest military alliance?

Discussion in 'International Politics' started by AVERAGE INDIAN, Nov 26, 2013.



    Sep 22, 2012
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    Detroit MI
    What does the world's most powerful military alliance do once the Nato-led International Security Assistance Force (Isaf) in Afghanistan winds up next year?

    That is a question worrying military commanders at the SHAPE (Supreme headquarters allied powers Europe) Europe in Mons, southern Belgium, and diplomats at the 28-member North Atlantic Council in Brussels.

    With one or two exceptions, military budgets – in the US as well as Europe – are being cut while Russia, China, and other Asian countries, are increasing theirs. Judging by the polls in Nato countries, there is little appetite for another military intervention.

    Germany did not take part in Nato's bombing of Libya, nor in the more recent French-led intervention in Mali.

    Future military operations are likely to depend increasingly on smaller and smaller "coalitions of the willing". Fewer and fewer Nato members are likely to show willing.

    US General Philip Breedlove, Saceur (supreme allied commander Europe) recognises the uncertainties facing the Nato alliance and the danger of apathy leading to atrophy.

    "Our training, our exercises will have to be the glue that holds us together", he said on the sidelines of a meeting of Nato maritime commanders in London last week.

    Breedlove referred to "Steadfast Jazz", a recent Baltic exercise to which Poland, a Nato country which has actually increased its defence budget, was by far the biggest contributor.

    The exercise was designed to show the Russians and others that after years bogged down in counter insurgency efforts in Afghanistan, Nato forces are still willing and able to conduct more conventional "high end" military operations.

    Nato military chiefs place more credible emphasis on what they call "out of area" operations against less conventional enemies. They point to "Ocean Shield", the name of Nato's counter piracy operations in the Indian ocean.

    But this is not in any way a controversial military operation – even the EU has managed to agree on a joint naval force there called Operation Atalanta. Russia is cooperating with Nato ships there, as it has done in the Medierranean.

    The "North Atlantic" alliance is becoming more and more a misnomer.

    Australia has long been one of the more enthusiatic military interveners in Iraq and Afghanistan. Nato commanders refer even to New Zealand, and operations in defence of "global" interests, such as securing trade routes.

    The next Nato summit will be held in Newport, south Wales in early September next year. During a recent visit to Cardiff, David Cameron, the British prime minister, said: "It's the end of Afghan mission and important to reflect on the future of Nato."

    That, prime minister, is certainly true.

    After Afghanistan, what next for world's biggest military alliance? | World news |

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