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Re: <nettime> France, Germany Irrelevant; Switzerland Useless
. __ . on Fri, 31 Jan 2003 09:27:36 +0100 (CET)

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Re: <nettime> France, Germany Irrelevant; Switzerland Useless

I read it too and as an EUropean I was really p+++++ ... but check out this
article... not a lot better:

Thats what I wrote to my friends afterwards - It may not seem very coherent
but it came right from the heart ;-P

here we go:

I think this is the position of an American (Article below) who has some
experience on this topic. What is striking is the fact, that the rivalty
between the EU and the USA is not mentioned once. Likewise a NATO
membership is seen as a legitimate means, a "first step", on the way to
join the EU, a view I strongly disagree with. So I want to present a
different viewpoint:

I think, the above mentioned is symptomatic for the little
misunderstandings between the old and the new world. First of all, it has
to be said, that the whole process of an European Union has increasingly
become a process of "emancipation" from the US. The process of uniting
Europe, "Europe's Utopia" as the german green politician Cohn Bendit once
called it, can basically be divided in three big issues - Unification of
the National States (France and Germany, GASP etc), of the Economy
(mergers, industrial espionage-echelon) and finally of the people
(democracy, education, identity, EU Constitution etc) - and in all of the
three issues, the US does play a major role - both in Cooperation and

Economically, this becomes more and more evident, as the different views
lead to open conflict (Euro, Airbus vs Boeing, Steel, Bananas etc). Let=B4s

face it, European students at different countries are prepared for a
possible "trade war" with the US as the problems surfacing now are only the
beginning (I got this impression by talking to students from different
european countries).

The most controversial topic sure is the unification of the national state
- may it be the closing of military bases in germany and the enlargement of
bases in Spain, the controversy GB -other EU states, the use of NATO as a
recruiting station for ground soldiers for US wars ( e.g. recently Poland)
or the different policies in international organizations, be it WTO, UN or
on Kyoto or the ICC - the US, by defending their position, are slowing this
process down - and so become part of the problem.

[Due to the quite different economic (us capitalism vs social/ecologic euro
capitalism) and educational (broad humanistic vs specialized knowledge)
approaches even in these areas there is an impact of US policy on the EU]

With this as a background I just cannot agree that NATO will be any help
for EUrope... as it is now. It is more a hindrance than a help - when the
EU finally agreed to create a common fast reaction force the
NATO  announces a few days later that they will also create one - and with
the same manpower and basic organization. To what purpose ? This is only
one example for the need of a clear separation from EU (WEU?!) and NATO...
the NATO just is not really focussed on the problems Europe faces... the
European partners just are an additional pool of resources for US plans.
And that is the major problem.

The NATO also actively supports US military products which are in direct
competition to those of European countries - a recent example is also
Poland, which decided to buy F-16s over the Eurofighter.

For all these reasons I just cannot agree with the conclusions of the
article below...

these are just some thoughts on the subject.... I would like to hear some
comments on this...



New Thinking on Transatlantic Security: Terrorism, NATO, and Beyond

Dr. P.W. Singer
Olin Fellow, Brookings Institution
Coordinator, Brookings Project on U.S. Policy Towards the Islamic World

Remarks delivered at the 2002 BMW Herbert Quandt Stiftung Workshop on
"Transatlantic Challenges,"Nov. 26, 2002, Munich Germany

Too often discussions of the future of NATO focus on the
bureaucratic minutia of the institution itself, rather overall context in
which it must exist. The result is that they reach great level of details,
but unlinked to the world that shape the institution.

Instead, any consideration of transatlantic security policy must take into
account three critical dynamics that are presently changing how Americans
and Europeans view the world. With these transformations in outlook, our
preferences are shifting in differing directions and the utility of
longstanding institutions are called into question. Given these forces,
NATO stands at a critical juncture.

For the sake of preserving our close transatlantic relations, it is
important that Americans and Europeans be frank about how our world is
changing and our outlooks along with it. Only then, can we maintain our
long friendship and continue to work together towards our many common goals
and values.

The "Imperial Power"of the U.S.

America is often accused of "imperialism"in very strident terms. Indeed,
just last night I walked through a protest march in Munich making that same
claim. Thus, it is perhaps a bit shocking for an American to step forward
and admit that, yes, the United States is indeed becoming more imperialist.

In looking at the meaning of the term "imperialism,"the conscious extension
of power towards greater amounts of influence over the political or
economic life of other areas, I do believe this is an evolution that we are
seeing in some of American foreign policy thinking.

In order to explain the underpinnings to this shift in philosophy, a few
realities of power status have to be raised. Judging by raw data of
measures of strength alone, the U.S. no longer is a superpower, but has
become something more, a hyperpower.

Around 300,000 US troops are presently deployed in over 140 nations.
Indeed, the spark of the 9-11 attacks is that they led to a further
expansion of U.S. military presence to new places like Uzbekistan,
Afghanistan, Yemen, and now maybe Iraq.

The U.S.' annual military budget equals the defence spending of the next 14
highest countries =AD combined; and it is important to remember that these
mostly are our allies. Of all the likely state adversaries (Russia, China
and Iraq, Iran, North Korea, Cuba, Sudan, Syria and Libya =AD to be very
broad), they only have a combined military budget less than one-third of
the US total.

Likewise, American weapons systems are at least a generation of technology
ahead of our allies and around two generations ahead of any likely state
adversaries. Moreover, this gap is only growing, a cause of great
consternation for those worried about our forces interoperability. Indeed,
when an unmanned U.S. Predator aircraft launched its own missile to destroy
a car carrying suspected terrorists in Yemen this month, our NATO allies
could only marvel at this advanced form of warfare. The strike not only
sent a message to al Qaida thet the U.S reach is global, but also was a
chilling warning to NATO's members to shape up or face irrelevance.

The same dominance of raw power holds on the economic side. Even after the
burst of the Internet bubble, the US has about around 30% of world product.
It also holds superiority in an array of technological fields critical to
the "new economy,"such as information technology, telecommunications,
and biotechnology.

Finally, it is almost needless to note the sway that the U.S. power has
over global popular and consumer culture, from McDonalds to Coke. English
is the primary language of discourse in global business, entertainment, and
on the Internet. Hollywood drives the global industry of movies and TV,
American groups and record labels dominate world pop music, and nine of the
world's 12 biggest media groups are American. Thus, when people criticize a
growing global culture of consumerism, they are talking about a world that
is sounding and appearing more and more American.

The result is that when looking at just the raw data, this hyperpower is
historic. The U.S. lead is unchallenged by past cases of global powers such
as Hapsburg empire of Charles the V or the Victorian English. As Paul
Kennedy, author of The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers notes, "Nothing
has ever existed like this disparity of power; nothing. I have returned to
all of the statistics over the past 500 years... and no other nation comes

While these figures do make me proud as an American, I do not raise them to
brag. For my feeling also runs a bit to the opposite: our sheer dominance
is also somewhat worrisome, in that in many ways we have not yet come to
terms with what to do with this hyperpower.

What is starting to occur, though, is what I believe to be an important
attitude shift in the way that the U.S. sees the world and its role in it.

The terrorist attacks of 9-11 brought a massive shock to the American
system, driving home two important realizations:

1) America is just as vulnerable to terrorism as any other state, perhaps
even more so, and that this vulnerability is linked to a responsibility to
play a role in the world. The result is that, for the first time in the
country's history, one can fairly say that the once-dominant strand of
isolationism in the American psyche is dead.

2) But there has also been an important realization of our strength, as
never before. With the amazingly quick turnover of Afghanistan, Americans
are gradually coming to terms with our overwhelming power. And with this
comes broader aspirations, as one may witness in the rather swift shift to

The essence of this transformation is that America is starting to think and
operate like an empire, not in terms of seeking territorial gains in the
form of colonies or anything so traditional, but rather seeking to use its
power to set the world stage on our own terms. This is something that's
always been lurking in the background, such as in certain Cold War
policies, but what is new is that this imperial impulse is coming out in
the open.

Presently, there are two primary competing visions of America's role in the
world that dominate among the foreign policy establishment in the United
States. The origins of both lie within the younger generation of thinkers
of the Republican Party (as opposed to the internationalists of the Bush
Sr. and Dole).By comparison, as a presently wounded and divided party, the
Democratic Party is essentially bereft of a competitive and unified foreign
policy vision.[1]

The first vision is the concept of a Wilsonian empire. The speeches of
Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz perhaps best exemplify this
viewpoint. Indeed, we are seeing a resurgent reformist ambition in our
foreign policy that sees our power as a means and justification to go out
and change the world. The stated goal is not simply to recreate the world
in our image but in the image of an international order based on democracy,
freedom, and self-determination. These values are thus described as not
essentially American, but simply inherently human. They do, however, draw
their footing from the visions of the American founding fathers and the
institutions to solidify them are often described in inherently American

However, there is a second competing imperial outlook that is gaining sway,
particularly within senior parts of the Administration and the Pentagon. It
is the view of a unilateral imperialism, based not on values but our power.
In this "neo- conservative"worldview, best expressed in the writings of
Kenneth Adelman and Richard Perle, the U.S. must be free to pursue its
interests without hindrance. If any other authority attempts to limit it,
it will simply bypass it. Or as I like to call it, this is the "Don't mess
with Texas"understanding of foreign policy.

While many think this was a reaction to the terrorist attacks, it is not.
Indeed, the start of this foreign policy had already occurred on such
issues as Kyoto and the International Criminal Court, where the U.S. sought
not to build up and positively shape international institutions, but rather
to stymie them and tear them down. In words of John Lewis Gaddis, this is
the side of the U.S. when it acts "like a sullen, pouting, oblivious, and
over-muscled teenager."

Echoes of both of these visions filled the Bush administration's latest
national security strategy, it being unclear which camp truly has the
President's heart. Similarly, while the President did go to the U.N. to
seek international clearance to go after Iraq, he did so with the clear and
public statement that the U.S. would act regardless of the U.N.'s vote.

The interesting thing, though, is that while both views are strongly
different, one being based on values and one based on power, they still
manage to coalesce around certain points. For example, the two forces agree
on the need to finally resolve the situation with Iraq and change the
regime of Saddam Hussein. The Wilsonians cite the need for action because
Saddam is the worst kind of dictator, who terrorizes his own people and the

region writ large. Their underlying motive is a belief in the positive
externalities that would ensue if he were toppled and a democracy put in
his place. A change in Iraq and the creation of a democracy square in the
heart of the Arab world, they believe, would be the shock necessary to
reshape the region, help end terrorism, and resolve generations of
conflict. In short, it is a highly optimistic view of the imperial
application of American values joined with our hyperpower.

The neoconservatives take a more straightforward view. They see action on
Iraq as a necessity by the simple fact that Saddam is a tin-pot dictator,
with the potential of gaining dangerous weapons that could turn him into a
serious threat. Moreover, he is a dictator who has had the temerity to
stand up to the U.S. for far too long. The need for immediate action thus
lies in the symbolism of the act itself. The very act of thumping down
Saddam, they believe, would send a resonating message to every other
would-be opponent of the U.S. that a new world order has finally arrived,
one in which you "don't mess"with the U.S. While this vision claims to be
more realistic than the norm of American foreign policy, it is equally
optimistic in its hopes for the application of hyperpower, removed from
American values.

Obviously, both visions present great gains for the U.S. if they are true
in their assessments, but also risk great backlash. The second, in
particular, risks quickly depleting longstanding reservoirs of goodwill and
support towards the U.S. from allies. But in the end, both are earnest in
their attempt to respond to a central problem of U.S. policy for the coming
decades. Because we are number one in terms of raw power, whatever we do,
or do not do, will anger some party in the world. Thus, we will also likely
remain "target number one."

A World At War and World at Peace

This leads into the next dynamic shaping transatlantic security, our
diverging outlooks towards the world. To put it very bluntly, the United
States considers itself at war, while Europe does not.

This dynamic carries over in both the way we describe the threats we face
and the means we use to respond. One only has to look at the resonance that
the phrase "war on terrorism"has in the U.S. versus the way the phrase is
viewed among European leaders and peoples. Likewise, the general U.S.
concept of how to defeat terrorism has focused on the hard tools of the
military and increased security and intelligence, while Europeans have
tended to want to look at the motivating causes.

The added complication of this differing view is that both sides have
differing evaluations of the other side's seriousness. Europeans often do
not believe that American concern with terrorism is as real as Americans
portray it to be, instead believing that the U.S. are putting on an
overstated show, in order to extend its power and get its way on certain
issues. Americans, in turn, tend to think Europeans are downplaying the
threat at their own risk and slipping back into an overtly pacifist
approach, in order to limit U.S. options.

Europeans should not to underestimate the seriousness of the American view
and Americans should not ignore the stark differences in our outlooks. As
recent surveys show, both the US public and elites consistently see the
world as a far more dangerous place than European public and
opinion-makers. This carries over on nearly every measure of threat rating:
concern with world terrorism, concern with Iraq, concern with Middle East,
concern with China, concern with Islamic fundamentalism, etc. Indeed, the
only issues in which Europeans think the world is worse off are on the
"soft"security issues, such as the environment, which is equally telling.

This starker American view is not going to alter any time soon. The reasons
behind this are because of the lingering shock of the 9-11 attacks, the
continuation of other attacks and plots directed against Americans on a
near weekly basis, and the political manipulation of the "war on
terrorism"for reasons of electoral politics.

In turn, while it is clearly important to take a long-term approach towards
resolving the underlying causes of both terrorism and support for it in
many parts of the Islamic World, the threats to Europe should not be
underestimated. Indeed, one of the important aspects of the recent audio
tape purporting to be from Osama bin Laden was not just that it revealed he
is likely alive, but also the direct mention by al Qaida that it considers
Europe to be a legitimate target, indicating something terrible may be in
the offing.

While the two sides may not resolve this divergence in viewpoint in the
near-term, one thing is certain, its importance must be accounted for in
transatlantic relations. This disagreement places incredible burdens and
tensions on NATO. Simply put, it is hard to maintain a close military
alliance when one party sees itself at war and the other partner does not.

Europe Looks To Europe

The final complicating factor for transatlantic security is not just a
changed American focus, but a changed European one as well. While America
is becoming more imperial in its application of power and influence, Europe
is becoming more "post-modern"and looking more inward.

It goes without saying that Europe in the midst of a massive and
unprecedented social experiment in the form of the European Union. The
institutionalization of the EU and the accompanying tearing down of state
borders is an all- consuming task. It is a fair assessment that bringing in
new members and integrating them into a European structure will occupy
European political and societal focus for at least the next generation.

This Europeanization also has a number of other important implications.
Europe is entering the era of what Robert Cooper described as the
post-modern state. Protected for the last 50 years, Europe has essentially
been able to turn away from the use of force. With the EU's
institutionalization, the power of organizations and rules are seen as what
should govern relationships.

The U.S. though sees itself as not having that privilege and probably not
wanting it either, given its both hyperpower and perceived role in the
world (including as a protector of the European continent for the last 50
years). In particular, where Europe champions international law, the U.S.
is suspicious, seeing it, perhaps rightly, as a means that some will use to
limit its range of choices. The added effect of this is that the things
American strategists want out of NATO are in direct opposition to public
sentiment in a post-modern Europe. Indeed, surveys reveal that 75% of
Europeans want to cut defense spending or leave it the same, and roughly
50% think that the alliance is best structured where the U.S. carries out
the warfighting and the Europeans stick to peacekeeping.

Likewise, the institutions we care about and think about are changing.
Europeans are more concerned about the fate of NATO than Americans, and
while the EU is at the center of every European's political views,
Americans hear little about it and care even less.

A quick and dirty survey of newspapers attention to these institutions
perhaps illustrates this best. In the week leading up to the NATO summit in
Prague (November 17-23), the word "NATO"was mentioned in the London Times,
26 times and the word "European Union"was mentioned 59 times. In
Frankfurter Allgemeine, "NATO"was mentioned 22 times, and "EU"53 times. In
Le Monde, "NATO"was mentioned 19 times and the "EU"was mentioned 101 times.
In the closest large paper to my hometown, The Atlanta Constitution, the
difference was glaring. "NATO"was mentioned just 5 times, and the "EU"2 times.

An Institution Adrift

The irony of NATO is that is an alliance in search of a purpose, at a time
when its biggest member cares less about it, and isn't quite sure what it
gets out of it. Moreover, a growing number of NATO's members see it mainly
as a status club, but one that with each of their joining becomes even less

In many ways, the clamor to join the NATO alliance that we saw at Prague is
simply because the new members view it as a stepping stone to EU
membership. In turn, the requirements that NATO has set for its new members
are primarily political reforms. Thus, the enlargement goal of the NATO
military alliance has been more about the consolidation of democracy and
free markets in Europe than on military utility.

This is a worthy goal, but it is a massive shift that raises all sorts of
questions of the fundamental utility of NATO. The outcome of the momentous
changes of the last decade is that NATO has become an entity that is nearly
unrecognizable to its founders. Both its goals (a defensive alliance vs.
consolidation of democracy), primary means (military deployment at the
Fulda gap, vs. inducing internal political reforms through membership
offers), and even enemy (the Warsaw Pact vs. terrorists =ADif the alliance
can agree) are all different.

Bearing in mind the three dynamics outlined earlier, the overall outcome is
that for many American strategists, NATO is losing its appeal. It has
become an organization that offers declining advantages in terms of
additional strength and tools to use against American foes, while placing
potential limits on the US's options of when and where to use force. This
all came together at Prague, when we saw the fairly odd occurrence of the
American president arriving at a meeting of America's most valued military
alliance and describing its future possibilities in terms of just "a
coalition of the willing."

This leads to the fundamental questions of the shape NATO must take in the
future. My own hope is that we are able to keep NATO around. It offers much
and, indeed, the very fact that it places certain limits on the U.S.
ambitions is not always a bad thing, particularly in light of a growing
American imperial view towards policymaking. From the American perspective,
having European partners along for the ride not only gains us valuable and
needed skills and forces that we would not otherwise have, but it also adds
the legitimacy that multilateral action offers. Perhaps most importantly,
though, having to consult with NATO partners on the use of force, compels
our own leaders to stop and think about the best means and timing to use
force and the way in which we describe the case for doing so. With its
differing outlook, the European influence on the U.S. through the
institution of NATO may be best at forcing the U.S. to place its actions
within the language of international law. This further adds to the
legitimacy and receptivity to when and where the U.S. uses force.

But for us to reach this point, NATO also has to enact a personality shift
of sorts. NATO's task for the near future is to make itself relevant again,
in order to ensure its survival in the long-term. NATO has to recognize the
need to transform itself from an organization formed to meet the threat
from the Warsaw Pact to one that can deal with global terrorists, who
operate not only from rogue and failed states outside of Europe and the
U.S. but also within. The road is wide open for NATO to be the
organizational means, a valued military partnership, in pursuit of this task.

The recent role taken by NATO in Afghanistan in support of the ISAF
peacekeeping mission and the announcement of the 20,000-strong Rapid
Response Force are good first starts, but there are still other areas to
fill. One option is for NATO to also enter into the homeland security
field, in order to maximize our combined resources. For example, there is
great benefit for NATO to begin work as the coordinating body in the
catastrophic response sector. It could help bring unity to the presently
disparate and rather limited programs on both sides of the Atlantic on how

we might respond to a potential use of weapons of mass destruction by
terrorists. While there has been some operational cooperation in our
responses to the use of weapons of mass destruction on the battlefield,
such as the recent German deployment to Kuwait of specialized Fox WMD
detection vehicles, there is no reason other than institutional lethargy
that same is not occurring for how we would respond to the use of these
terrible weapons within our cities.

Moreover, NATO does not have to limit itself to traditionally military
functions. Similar cooperation can happen on the obvious areas of better
intelligence sharing, as well as on such "new security"functions as border
control. This could include leveraging NATO's experience in bolstering
border security in the Balkans and Central Asia to help Partnership for
Peace states better control the flow of terrorists, weapons, and illicit
trade. NATO can also help provide the centrus for similar cooperation among
American and European civilian security agencies, involving the sharing of
investment, learning, and burdens in disaster preparedness and response.

In essence, the concept is one of NATO expansion, just in functional rather
than geographic terms. The general idea is to take advantage of the
pre-existing and proven institutional capacity of NATO, to help us to
effectively make a joint investment in our security now, rather than
waiting for the crisis to come along later.

The key test, though, in whatever NATO does is twofold:

1)     Whether Europe has the political will to actually support NATO the
way it requires it, and

2)     Whether America has the maturity and patience to work with others
and compromise on some things.

This will require a clear follow though on the commitments that all the
NATO members made in Prague. At NATO's last summit in Washington in 1999,
the European members agreed to upgrade their militaries. But the goals they
set remain unfulfilled more than two years later. This is not just a matter

of the European governments spending more on defense. Spending wisely is
just as vital. So, while NATO members are required to devote 2% of their
economic output to defense (which many do not anyway), this money will
continue to be wasted if Europe continues to maintain antique conscripted
armies that cannot fight alongside modern U.S. forces.

In turn, America must have the political maturity to stop and listen to our
partners. This is why the continuance of transatlantic dialogues are so
important, so that we continue to get a better feel for each other's points
of view. This also links back to the previous point, on how the European
members of NATO can help themselves and the policies they would like to see
the U.S. adopt. If Europeans want to shape the policy output, they have to
be there on the input side as well. A strong and active NATO provides
evidence of the value of multi-lateralism. It thus offers critical support
to those in the U.S. who want to keep America within the path laid out by
international law. That is, when NATO members provide critical resources
that America needs and wants, then their voices will be more strongly heard
in policy debates. When they offer little, they will be little heard.

In conclusion, whether NATO thrives in the future will depend on the
political will for a strong transatlantic partnership, both in Washington
and in Europe. The three dynamics outlined at the start of this article
make it quite difficult. Yet, the surprises of history make should offer
some hope. Our shared alliance is one that not only deterred Soviet
aggression for half a century, but also helped consolidate a Europe that
can finally be described as peaceful and free. If we continue to nurture
it, who knows what else it might be able to accomplish?

[1] One possibility for the Democrats is an internationalist,
multilateral agenda that seeks to build up institutions as America's global
leadership legacy, rather than tear them down. It is a Rooseveltian vision,
akin to our role after World War II; ironically, though, the now excluded
moderate wing of the Republican Party at the State Department perhaps best
expresses this vision.

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