Monday, November 14, 2016

Make NATO Great Again

As an old NATO hand who dearly loves the alliance, I've long called for some tough love and clear talk. We've had lots of talk, notsomuch the other. 

Luke Coffey from Heritage has a great outline of where the new administration should start its conversation with our friends. A compromise, in a fashion. Whoever President-elect Trump sends as his NATO team, these should be their entering arguments.

Nothing shocking here. Many of these points have been raised over and over by outgoing SACEUR's such as Gen. Craddock, USA and outgoing SECDEFs like Robert Gates.

Read it all for the details of each point, but this is hard to argue with. A little action for us; a little action for them - a stronger Western security structure as a result;
Lead NATO back to basics.

Reiterate America’s commitment to Europe.

Take a realistic approach to Russia.

Commit unconditionally to America’s NATO treaty obligations.

Lead by example in the alliance and reverse defense budget cuts.

Press allies on defense spending.

Encourage NATO to involve finance ministers.

Set a concrete timeline for achieving NATO benchmarks.
How to make some NATO members move in the right direction? Here's an idea. Let me pull one of my "NATO Motivator" concepts out of my goodie-bag.

You learn quickly in NATO that one of the most critical and important things to many in the alliance is a thing called Flags-to-Post.

It is when NATO decides which nations will get which senior uniformed and senior civilian adviser billets. Trust me on this; the conflict in AFG, refugee crisis, etc - none of that stuff goes in front of anything related to Flags to Post.

If you'd like to bring attention to the "Press allies on defense spending" point, do this; the minute an Estonian General (pop. 1.3 million, percent of GDP on defense, 2.04%) take a position usually held by say, a Belgian General (pop. 11.2 million, percent of GDP on defense, 1.05%), then you will get people's attention.

Just an idea.

Hat tip Jorge Benitez.

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