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US-NATO Alliance Weak Now NATO Alliance is dead

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US-NATO Alliance Weak Now

NATO Alliance is dead.

Carpenter 8 (Ted Galen- vice president for defense and foreign policy studies at the CATO Institute and has written five books on NATO, NATO at 60: A Hollow Alliance, CATO Institute

As the North Atlantic Treaty Organization celebrates its 60th birthday, there are mounting signs of trouble within the alliance and reasons to doubt the organization’s relevance regarding the foreign policy challenges of the 21st century. Several developments contribute to those doubts. Although NATO has added numerous new members during the past decade, most of them possess minuscule military capabilities. Some of them also have murky political systems and contentious relations with neighboring states, including (and most troubling) a nuclear-armed Russia. Thus, NATO’s new members are weak, vulnerable, and provocative—an especially dangerous combination for the United States in its role as NATO’s leader. There are also growing fissures in the alliance about how to deal with Russia. The older, West European powers tend to favor a cautious, conciliatory policy, whereas the Central and East European countries advocate a more confrontational, hard-line approach. The United States is caught in the middle of that intra-alliance squabble. Perhaps most worrisome, the defense spending levels and military capabilities of NATO’s principal European members have plunged in recent years. The decay of those military forces has reached the point that American leaders now worry that joint operations with U.S. forces are becoming difficult, if not impossible. The ineffectiveness of the European militaries is apparent in NATO’s stumbling performance in Afghanistan. NATO has outlived whatever usefulness it had. Superficially, it remains an impressive institution, but it has become a hollow shell—far more a political honor society than a meaningful security organization. Yet, while the alliance exists, it is a vehicle for European countries to free ride on the U.S.military commitment instead of spending adequately on their own defenses and taking responsibility for the security of their own region. American calls for greater burden-sharing are even more futile today than they have been over the past 60 years. Until the United States changes the incentives by withdrawing its troops from Europe and phasing out its NATO commitment, the Europeans will happily continue to evade their responsibilities. Today’s NATO is a bad bargain for the United States. We have security obligations to countries that add little to our own military power. Even worse, some of those countries could easily entangle America in dangerous parochial disputes. It is time to terminate this increasingly dysfunctional alliance.

NATO is irrelevant-fail is Afghanistan proves

Carpenter 8 (Ted Galen- vice president for defense and foreign policy studies at the CATO Institute and has written five books on NATO, NATO at 60: A Hollow Alliance, CATO Institute
Key policy divisions among alliance members and the dubious strategy of adding vulnerable, militarily irrelevant members are not the only indications that NATO has lost its bearings and is becoming irrelevant as a serious security player. Another indicator is the fraying alliance mission in Afghanistan. Western leaders have repeatedly stated that Afghanistan is a key test of NATO’s relevance and effectiveness in the 21st century. If that is true, the alliance is failing that test. Immediately following the terrorist attacks on 9/11, NATO governments invoked Article 5 for the first time in the history of the alliance. U.S. leaders welcomed the European pledges of support, and the U.S.-led military campaign in Afghanistan soon had a key NATO component. Symbolic Military Deployments But early on, doubts began to arise about how serious the European allies were about their military commitments. Indeed, most of the NATO governments seemed to view their troop deployments as personnel for humanitarian relief and nation-building missions rather than for combat operations. The military heavy lifting was, by and large, left to U.S. forces and those of Canada, Britain, and a few other alliance members. In August 2003, NATO formally took command of the International Security Assistance Force, which the UN Security Council had authorized under a peace enforcement mandate. As Cato Institute research fellow Stanley Kober notes, “ISAF has never seen itself as a war-fighting force.” Rather, its goal was to “facilitate the reconstruction of Afghanistan.”37 In fact,with the partial exception of British, Canadian, and Dutch units, most of the NATO troop contributions amount to little more than military symbolism. The NATO governments can argue that they are contributing to the U.S.-led mission, but in reality most of the deployments are militarily irrelevant. That is true even as overall alliance troop levels in Afghanistan have gradually climbed. Most NATO members have placed a variety of caveats on the use of their military personnel. Some forbid them from engaging in night operations (which are inherently more dangerous). Others prohibit their forces from being deployed in certain areas of the country— specifically, those areas where significant combat is taking place and where additional troops might actually prove useful. Germany is one of the worst offenders in that regard. Berlin has kept its troops in the northern regions of Afghanistan, where virtually no fighting is taking place. Despite Washington’s repeated requests, the German government has refused to lift that restriction. That might be just as well. A November 2008 German parliamentary report concluded that the country’s troops in Afghanistan spent most of their time lounging around and drinking beer, and that many were now too fat and out of condition to be of use in combat operations against the Taliban or al Qaeda. As America’s NATO allies have postured and dithered in Afghanistan, the mission in that country has badly frayed. Over the past three to four years, the Taliban and al Qaeda have regained strength and launched ever more lethal attacks against U.S. and Afghan government forces. Both the Bush and Obama administrations have been deeply concerned about those adverse trends and pressed the European allies to commit more troops. The response has been decidedly underwhelming. Although the French parliament voted in September 2008 to keep the country’s 3,500 troops in Afghanistan, Paris has no current plans to increase that contingent. French Defense Minister Hervé Morin stated bluntly in February 2009 that France has “already made a considerable effort” toward stabilizing Afghanistan and that “there’s no question for the moment of sending additional troops.” The Netherlands, which despite its size has been one of the more substantial contributors, not only refuses to increase its military commitment, it has also announced that it will begin drawing down its 1,770 troops in 2010. Germany argues that its military is simply too stretched to commit more troops beyond the 4,500 already in the country. Typically, Berlin insists that a larger deployment of combat troops would be superfluous, since the primary focus of the Afghan mission should be on civilian reconstruction.

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