A NATO Disconnect

French President Emmanuel Macron extended his “NATO is braindead” criticism.

The French leader has been critical of the United States after it abruptly pulled troops out of northeastern Syria, allowing NATO member Turkey to launch an incursion against the Kurdish YPG militia fighting against the “Islamic State” group. The US and Turkey did not coordinate their moves with NATO members.

Nor were either required to, regardless of what anyone thinks of the moves themselves or the rudeness of the lack of advisement.  Syria has nothing to do with NATO, for all that it’s on the rear porch of Europe’s nations.  Coordination with NATO was, and is, not required.


Macron said that Turkey cannot expect solidarity from NATO allies while also launching an offensive in Syria as a “fait accompli.”

Nor should it, since NATO solidarity is an “attack on one is…” and not “an attack by one means all must attack” alliance.  Turkey is out of line to hold up a NATO realignment of forces into the Baltics and Poland until NATO also openly supports Turkey’s independently done invasion.

As an aside on that last, there’s nothing keeping the member nations from deploying national forces consistent with what the alliance would realign were Turkey not in the way.

Still, Macron is not far wrong in his overall assessment.  Most of the European NATO nations don’t take their collective security seriously, insisting on freeloading off the US instead, even as President Donald Trump pushes the nations to increase their support of the alliance (which is theirs, too), at least to the point of honoring their own financial commitments to reach a spending level of 2% of national GDPs on NATO equipage and manpower by 2024.

Even as German Chancellor makes her cynical, disingenuous “promise” to reach 2% by sometime in the 2030s.  If the then-German government still feels like it.

Even as Western Europe member nations whine about the US’ redeployment of several American units out of Germany and into Eastern Europe member nations, nations that do take their security seriously.

Further still, though, Macron is badly mistaken to want talks with Russia aimed at

a new pact limiting mid-range nuclear missiles held by the US and Russia, after the landmark Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces treaty collapsed in August.

On what planet does Macron reside that he thinks Russia would honor a new treaty after it spent so many years violating the original?  An accord [with Russia] that would replace the INF would be the height of naivety and complacency.

In contrast with NATO’s disinclination to support Turkey in Syria, Macron wants NATO to support French forces in the Sahel.  Again, though, there’s this business about NATO being an “attack on one is…” alliance, and even though France entered the Sahel for legitimate reasons, France was not attacked there or from there.  The terrorist attacks on France were, for the most part, by Daesh operating out of the Middle East—where France generally declines to operate (even though it has a longer and more legitimate history there than Russia)—or whose terrorists were only passing through northern Africa en route to their targets in France (and Belgium).  On top of that, Africa is outside NATO’s area of operation and would require a (unanimously done) change to the NATO charter to include it.  NATO’s involvement in Afghanistan can at least be justified (however tenuously at this late date) by the United States having been attacked from there and/or by entities now operating from there.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *