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The Alliance is at risk

The Numbers speak for Nato . 70 years, the Alliance is now old, no military Alliance in history was so durable and successful. 930 million people live in its 29 member countries, they produce half of global economic output. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union 13 Central and Eastern European countries of the Nato have joined, showing their enduring appeal. Twelve States were there at the beginning, at the 4. April 1949. North Macedonia will soon member number 30.

"For us, there is no Brexit, several countries want to come into the Nato," Ben Hodges from the think-tank Cepa. The General was until the end of 2017, commander-in-chief of US land forces in Europe. He knows what is the meaning of Nato to the Eastern Europe: the protection of America.

burden-sharing required

So it is not without irony that, of all things, to the milestone birthday is an existential danger for the Alliance in Washington lurks, in the middle of the White house. "The biggest challenge is that for the first time a US President has supported Nato from Conviction, and that it States," write Nicholas Burns, and Douglas Lute, two former U.S. Ambassador to Nato, in a study with the title "Alliance in crisis".

What Donald Trump bothers you, is well-known: The allies in Europe, America, strength take advantage of, allegedly, and invest too little in their armies. "Burden-sharing" is the sensitive issue in Nato's hands, and it will take from today, at a Meeting of Nato foreign Ministers in Washington a lot of space.

Ex-General Hodges sees it this way: "of Course it doesn't help when a US President article 5 of the questioning, according to which an attack on a Nato-member as an attack on all." Did Trump 2018, when he spoke about a new member Montenegro. More important is for Hodges, though, that Washington would shift still soldiers and equipment, and a lot of money to invest Alone, 2019 Washington's 6.4 billion dollars in the "European Deterrence Initiative", already five years ago, arranged the program.

Ambitious

Who will be deterred in order to, is clear: Russia. Already the war in Georgia in 2008 raised doubts as to Russia's peacefulness. President Vladimir Putin of 2014, arranged in the annexation of the Ukraine belonging to the Peninsula of Crimea have forced Nato to reform and to invest more in their defensive abilities. This process will take years, between the balance sheet but. In all the Baltic States and Poland are multi-stationed national organization with about a thousand soldiers.

The goals are ambitious: in the next year, Nato wants to ensure that 30 infantry battalions, 30 combat ships and 30 combat aircraft squadrons can be within just 30 days. This – expensive – is self-commitment of the heads of state and government in July 2018, hardly known, is located in Trump: The threat from the Alliance to get out, has dominated the news about the Nato summit. All of the actual decisions advanced in the Background.

In Washington, will discuss the foreign Minister, also on Moscow's hybrid war, about secret service operations, and Hacker attacks. Disinformation campaigns in social networks to influence elections and the unity of the partners is undermined. The Nato wants to do its own cyber capabilities, both defensive as well as offensive, and as a professional. This will be for years to come a priority of the Alliance.

New threat

the topic of the Treaty to ban medium-range missiles with a range between 500 and 5,500 kilometers, Moscow is Convinced that Washington for years, breaks down, and the one-sided first the USA and then, a little later, Russia have announced. After the first horror of Trumps initial to go it alone, the partners stand behind Washington. Decisions, however, the Minister will not be meeting. However, you are going to analyze the new threat situation in the Russian nuclear missiles almost every point of Europe. "For us, this is not new, but the southern European Russia you suddenly see differently," says an Eastern European Top Diplomat.

And, almost unnoticed, moved still further in the focus of the military Alliance: China. The Trump-government sees China's Silk road Initiative with great skepticism and warned the Europeans against in the case of major infrastructure projects with the country to cooperate.

"I am concerned about trump's attitude to Nato"

, The former US Ambassador to Nato, Nicholas Burns (63), sees the Alliance in a serious crisis. Photo: Reuters

Nato was founded after the Second world war, with 12 members. Today there are 29. Nicholas Burns, why are you talking still of a "Alliance in crisis"?
We firmly believe in the Nato, and know their balance sheet. She was very successful, in order to defend Germany in the Cold war and the reunification. The Nato freedom and security to Central and Eastern Europe – together with the EU. The former States of the Warsaw Pact, are today protected from Russian intimidation; Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania even before the Russian domination. We speak of an "Alliance in crisis", because there is not for the first time in 70 years a US President who supported Nato's Conviction and leading.

Trump has referred to Nato as "obsolete".
His attitude towards the Nato is at best ambivalent, and the EU, he regarded as an opponent. The worried us. The second crisis factor is Germany. It is 2 percent of gross domestic would have to invest a product in defense and not 1.23 or 1.37 percent. The third factor is Russia's hybrid warfare. In the conventional military sense, Nato is much stronger, so Moscow is the way intelligence operations, Cyber-attacks, and uses Social Media to influence elections. All of these challenges occur at the same time, makes the situation so difficult – and we are ill-equipped. This also applies to the last point: There needs to be a common attitude towards China, the second military super power of the 21st century. Century.

Other Nato countries will not reach the 2 percent target also, why Germany is so in focus?
Germany is the cornerstone in Europe's architecture, without which there is no stability. It is the most powerful and economically strongest country of the EU. What I say may sound controversially in Germany: Chancellor Angela Merkel is admired by Democrats and Republicans. Many see in it the embodiment of Western values. Them offers Putin the forehead, unlike Trump. Merkel is the moral leader of the West, but it's not in danger because of their government's defense spending increases in the face of threats by Russia. If the example of Germany failed, then other not.

Has the patience of the Americans with Germany slowly comes to an end?
I was just interviewed in Washington in the house of representatives to the TRANS-Atlantic relations. There are still a lot of friends in Germany, but the frustration on Berlin. A little, different as Poland, France or the UK.

do not call on Nato members to ignore that democracy is hollowed out in the partner countries of Hungary, Poland and Turkey. Why is the rule of law is important for a military Alliance?
Nato is a political Alliance! The second sentence of the Washington Treaty, invoked since 1949, on "democracy, freedom of the Person and the rule of Law". You're not allowed to wipe to the side. So far, Nato has no mechanism to work with authoritarian governments. The fear of splitting is large.

The US Secretary of state Mike Pompeo will Meet on Wednesday at the Nato in Washington, the rise of China's appeal. Why this is a topic for Nato?
It is true that Nato is Europe and North America, geographically limited. Nato needs to deal with China, because the country is not only a trading partner, and important for the fight against climate change, but investing on the Silk road Initiative in European infrastructure. The EU countries are not allowed to leave, especially the ports of an autocratic government.

The ports are necessary in order to bring military equipment from the US to Europe.
Exactly, that's why the North of Germany is ports just as important as Piraeus in Greece or Italy. Therefore, Rome's entry into Beijing's Initiative is so critical. We must also be vigilant against China, because in the next two decades, warfare and military technology be revolutionize. Beijing makes huge progress.

(editing Tamedia)

Created: 03.04.2019, 08:30 PM

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