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October 30, 2003

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Paul A. Miller

Tom,

I'll confess to the link at Along the Tracks if you'll confess that you understand Friedman's column is a challenge to NATO to become relevant. You're right about the Baltics, etc., making NATO a phony, pipsqueak dominated alliance that has little to do with military strength or "strategery." The logical conclusion of Friedman's idea is that putting NATO in the heart of the war would force the Franco-Germo-Belgo axis of weasels to put up (troops for this very real war) or shut up (i.e., get out of NATO). We have enough fake allies already; adding three potential true-blue allies might just be the ticket to getting F-G-B to step up to their promises or else turn in their hot tub memberships. The proposal has plenty of flaws, but one big advantage: It makes people think about a useful future for NATO, rather than the dead albatross it is today.

TM

Hmm, good question - what, other than allowing Europe to free-ride on our defense budget, is NATO good for? I like this from your post:

Which brings us to the problems with Friedman's proposal. The French-German axis will not allow the inclusion of Iraq, because they profited from Saddam, were against his removal, and now wish to see the experiment in democracy fail. The Weasels would sooner add the PLO as an adjunct member than a democratic, free Israel - that's a non-starter for the anti-Semitic forces in Europe. Even Egypt might be a question mark, if Mubarak should indeed begin democratization efforts: Old Europe prefers thugs and strongmen to people living in freedom.

Even so, Friedman's suggestions are valuable for pointing out a clear, logical path for NATO's future - something it presently does not possess.

I wonder if something like SEATO could be developed in the Mid East - sort of a ME-TO alliance, but meant to be taken seriously. If Turkey and the US guaranteed Iraq's borders, Iran would get the message; and Israel will never have confidence in a European security guarantee anyway.

Egypt would probably be happier in a Euro-alliance than one dominated by the US, Turkey, and Israel (I'm just guessing). Still...

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