Fri Jan 25th, 2008 at 11:54:31 AM EST
Fellow European Tribune diarist Talos has published an interesting article "Five of the most senior military officers and strategists" lost it based on a report by The Guardian, Pre-emptive nuclear strike a key option, Nato told which tackled most key points contained in a recent 152-page report to NATO by five retired senior military officials.
(NB: I realised after writing this entry that it is quite long and have decided against 'cluttering' Talos' own diary page, hence am posting it as a separate item altogether instead).
This page does not wish to argue the points highlighted by Talos from The Guardian article, instead it seeks to complement those points. In a way, it also would like to correct certain impressions that may have been created by the issues raised in the Guardian article itself by submitting a different summary/analysis.
I have read the report entirely and I thought that while the Guardian's report drew from the facts and data provided by the 'manifesto', the overall tenor of the news report to me bordered on sensationalism that made the five generals who authored the 'manifesto' look like a bunch of Colonel Blimp. Personally, I thought Ian Traynor of The Guardian did a hachett job of reporting by adding/citing comments that did not really address the 'manifesto's' true objectives and aims.
So I asked a friend who previously served in a top post at NATO but in a civilian capacity for his own summary/analysis. I believe his own summary/analysis albeit brief, provides a full overview of the 'manifesto' from a non-journalistic perspective as it gives us a clear cut summary of the five generals' report, and which I feel is worth submitting here. By publishing my friend's one-page summary/analysis, I hope readers will be afforded a good glimpse of the "two sides of the coin."
The reading of the entire report first (intro provided below) is of course highly recommended.
Towards a Grand Strategy for an Uncertain World - Renewing Transatlantic Partnership (pdf).
General (ret.) Dr. Klaus Naumann, KBE
Former Chief of the Defence
Staff Germany Former Chairman Military Committee NATO
General (ret.) John Shalikashvili
Former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs
of Staff of the United States of America Former NATO
Supreme Allied Commander in Europe
Field Marshal The Lord Inge, KG, GCB, PC
Former Chief of the
Defence Staff United Kingdom
Admiral (ret.) Jacques Lanxade
Former Chief of the Defence Staff
France Former Ambassador
General (ret.) Henk van den Breemen
Former Chief of the Defence
Staff the Netherlands
Benjamin Bilski and Douglas Murray
In every country, and at all times, we like to rely on certainty. But in a world of asymmetric threats and global challenges, our governments and peoples are uncertain about what the threats are and how they should face the complicated world before them.
After explaining the complexity of the threats, the authors assess current capabilities and analyse the deficiencies in existing institutions, concluding that no nation and no institution is capable of dealing with current and future problems on its own. The only way to deal with these threats and challenges is through an integrated and allied strategic approach, which includes both non-military and military capabilities.
Based on this, the authors propose a new grand strategy, which could be adopted by both organisations and nations, and then look for the options of how to implement such a strategy. They then conclude, given the challenges the world faces, that this is not the time to start from scratch. Thus, existing institutions, rather than new ones, are our best hope for dealing with current threats. The authors further conclude that, of the present institutions, NATO is the most appropriate to serve as a core element of a future security architecture, providing it fully transforms and adapts to meet the present challenges. NATO needs more non-military capabilities, and this underpins the need for better cooperation with the European Union.
Following that approach, the authors propose a short-, a medium-and a long-term agenda for change. For the short term, they focus on the critical situation for NATO in Afghanistan, where NATO is at a juncture and runs the risk of failure. For this reason, they propose a series of steps that should be taken in order to achieve success. These include improved cost-sharing and transfer of operational command. Most importantly, the authors stress that, for NATO nations to succeed, they must resource operations properly, share the risks and possess the political will to sustain operations.
As a medium-term agenda the authors propose the development of a new strategic concept for NATO. They offer ideas on how to solve the problem of the rivalry with the EU, and how to give NATO access to other than military instruments. They further propose bringing future enlargement and partnership into line with NATO's strategic objectives and purpose.
In their long-term agenda the authors propose abandonment of the two-pillar concept of America and Europe cooperating, and they suggest aiming for the long-term vision of an alliance of democracies ranging from Finland to Alaska. To begin the process, they propose the establishment of a directorate consisting of the USA, the EU and NATO. Such a directorate should coordinate all cooperation in the common transatlantic sphere of interest.
The authors believe that the proposed agenda could be a first step towards a renewal of the transatlantic partnership, eventually leading to an alliance of democratic nations and an increase in certainty.
Non journalistic SUMMARY/ANALYSIS
of Towards a Grand Strategy for an Uncertain World - Renewing Transatlantic Partnership
° The authors (K Naumann, J Shalikashvili, P Inge, J Lanxade, H van den Breemen)
are all distinguished top national and NATO commanders.
° Their analysis is striking:
°° There are 6 prime challenges facing the world: demographic change, climate change, energy security, the rise of the irrational (from the cult of the celebrity to fundamentalist terrorism), weakening of the nation state, and the dark side of globalisation. Plus the unpredictable.
°° These challenges cannot be addressed separately or by any nation on its own. We need a new concerted grand strategy which integrates all the instruments available to each nation and combines them through alliances.
°° The West needs to stand up for its values and be proactive in defending them without imposing on others. No Western international institution or state today has an appropriate strategy, capabilities or will to accomplish this. The new grand strategy should be anchored on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights at the UN (protect the individual human being). Its aim would be to preserve peace, values, free trade and stability. Its objectives would be: dealing with global challenges; building security in the allies' neighbourhood; and working towards stability through cooperation. Its elements would include deterrence (you will never be safe anywhere if you attack us), escalation dominance linked to fast decision-making, asymmetry, unpredictability, and pre-emption (in the case of imminent threat). Security at home (including missile defence) would be its essential basis but this can no longer be achieved with responsibilities split between homeland security and external defence.
°° Protection at home requires a proactive side as well - to act against threats wherever they emerge (not necessarily military means). Other elements include conflict prevention/reolution, crisis management and enforcement operations and post-conflict stabilisation.
°° The West should redefine itself: no longer two pillars (US/CA and Europe) but a single security space from Finland to Alaska. NATO should adapt its strategic concept along the lines above (so should the EU). Capabilities need to be made available to match.A new transatlantic bargain should support the new strategy. A new US-NATO-EU steering directorate should be established at top level and address longer term issues such as climate change.
°° NATO-EU cooperation is vital: one way forward might be to negotiate "Berlin
Plus in Reverse" ie assured NATO access to EU civil capabilities on certain conditions.
°° Both NATO and EU should undertake fundamental reviews of their capabilities.
° The report also includes numerous more detailed recommendations, for example
on reform of NATO decision-making. (Some of these are probably impractical and
are unlikely to be agreed.) It says much less about the EU than it does about NATO, probably because the authors are less expert in EU affairs.
° From my point of view, the main conclusions (need for a comprehensive security approach, NATO-EU cooperation, better capabilities, stronger transatlantic links) are all ones we should support and should consistently argue for.