ustrando com os exemplos das campanhas militares no Afeganistão e na Líbia – onde apontou várias falhas de compromisso e eficácia aos países europeus –, o chefe do Pentágono avaliou que a NATO se tornou numa aliança “a dois níveis”, de dois tipos de países: “Daqueles que estão dispostos e são capazes de pagar o preço e carregar o fardo dos compromissos assumidos e aqueles que gozam dos benefícios de pertencerem à NATO mas não querem partilhar nem os riscos nem os custos”.Sobre o Afeganistão, avisou os aliados europeus que não tenham expectativas de retirar as suas tropas a curto prazo. E lamentou que a NATO – “a aliança militar mais poderosa na história, capaz de chamar dois milhões de soldados para combate” – “tenha tido que lutar [com os seus Estados membros], e às vezes em desespero, para conseguir manter uma mobilização de 25 mil a 45 mil militares”, no Afeganistão. Naquele país, adiantou Gates, a Aliança continua a confrontar-se com faltas de equipamento, nomeadamente de helicópteros, aviões de combate e vigilância.Gates adiantou que na Líbia – onde os norte-americanos entregaram o comando das operações à NATO em finais de Março – a operação de combate, sustentada quase exclusivamente em unidades militares do Reino Unido e França, expõe as “relevantes falhas das capacidades militares e vontade política” entre os aliados. “Com tão só 11 semanas de operações contra um regime parcamente armado num país pouco populoso, muito aliados estão a ficar sem munições, pedindo aos Estados Unidos, uma vez mais, que dêem resposta a essas necessidades”.Neste discurso de monta, feito em Bruxelas três semanas apenas antes de deixar a liderança do Pentágono – que chefia há quase cinco anos, desde o último mandato presidencial de George W. Bush, antes de ser mantido no cargo por Barack Obama – o secretário da Defesa deixou ainda claro que as mudanças geracionais na classe política dos Estados Unidos e as dificuldades económicas actuais, a par da recusa e incapacidade da Europa em assumir responsabilidades pela sua própria segurança, estão a empurrar a NATO “para o declínio e possível extinção”.“A dura realidade é que assistiremos a um cada vez menor interesse e paciência no Congresso americano em gastar cada vez maiores e preciosos fundos em prol de países que, aparentemente, não estão dispostos a dar os recursos necessários nem a fazer as mudanças necessárias para serem parceiros sérios e capazes na sua própria defesa”, sublinhou Gates, lembrando que é “o último membro da Administração dos Estados Unidos que viveu a Guerra Fria” e que “o envolvimento emocional e histórico” dos seus pares em Washington com a NATO “está a envelhecer”.
... o que já se tem andado a fazer nesta área cá na UE.
By ERIC ROSENBERG WASHINGTON This is what the end of the world's most powerful military alliance looks like: When outgoing Defense Secretary Robert Gates delivered a blistering critique of European "allies" recently, it wasn't to cajole them to pony up and act like NATO alliance members for once. That ship had long before sailed and sunk. Rather, it had the effect of bellowing to the world that NATO as a defender of European and U.S. freedom for decades - first against the Soviets and then against the perils that followed - is pretty much a sham and has been for some time. For the better part of the last 25 years, Washington has made the occasional public nudge of the European allies to share some of the burden and pull their weight in an alliance that served as the principal tool of containment against the Soviet Union. But the twin effects of the debt crisis in Europe, which has forced governments to pare their already paltry defense budgets, and massive budgetary pressures in the U.S. that have put Pentagon spending in the cross hairs have provided Gates the platform for a very public, and much deserved, lashing. "What I've sketched out is the real possibility for a dim, if not dismal, future for the transatlantic alliance," Gates told the allies earlier this month. Libya underscores the point. A nation at the doorstep of Western Europe convulses in civil war. The alliance commits military forces, but it can't sufficiently project and sustain power a mere 90 minutes' flying time from Rome without the U.S. taking over. That isn't an alliance. That's an addiction to weakness on their part, enabled by the U.S. arsenal whose caretakers are usually eager to put it to use. "Frankly, many of those allies sitting on the sidelines (in Libya) do so not because they do not want to participate, but simply because they cannot. The military capabilities simply aren't there," Gates said. "The mightiest military alliance in history is only 11 weeks into an operation against a poorly armed regime in a sparsely populated country - yet many allies are beginning to run short of munitions, requiring the U.S., once more, to make up the difference," he said. The Bosnia and Kosovo crises of the 1990s. The current Libyan crisis of 2011. Not much has changed in the intervening years. While our European allies bristle at the U.S. position in the world and lament what some regard as American hegemony, they rely heavily on American might to protect their status as very junior NATO partners. The result is that the U.S. and Europe are drifting apart, so far apart that the alliance is merely an acronym at this point. As Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the NATO secretary general, said earlier this year, "The United States might look elsewhere for reliable defense partners." While NATO was the bedrock by which we and our allies had guaranteed our collective security for more than 60 years, the alliance now has become a shining example of European neglect and European abdication of global leadership. When roused, the alliance is a mere lever of American power, guided by Americans, largely funded by Americans, with the most risk assumed by Americans. A picture tells the story. At U.S. bases in Afghanistan, visitors and troops can buy military-style patches with the acronym "ISAF," the official name for the NATO International Security Assistance Force. But one popular joke patch also for sale translates ISAF as "I Saw Americans Fight." The patch reflects the grunt-level, foxhole view that Afghanistan is largely an American show augmented by a small segment of brave NATO allies doing the bulk of fighting and dying. This despite that after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, NATO for the first time invoked its "Article 5," the central tenet of the NATO Treaty that says an attack on one member is an attack on all. As Gates points out, the allies have struggled in Afghanistan to maintain a small deployment of 25,000 to 45,000 troops, compared to 100,000 Americans, while facing shortages of key combat and support gear. The wasting away of the alliance, and indeed Europe's ability to defend itself, is an important security problem with stark implications. The European abandonment of NATO is a reality we and our allies must come to grips with as the crisis in Libya drags on, as other security issues arise down the road as they surely will (Iran, Syria, terrorism), and as the European debt crisis spurs our allies to invest even less in defense and their national security for years to come. Earlier this year, Rasmussen chided European governments for their hesitance to support the alliance. "Ten years ago, the United States accounted for just under half of NATO members' total defense spending. Today the American share is closer to 75 percent," Rasmussen said. He warned against suggestions in some European capitals that the continent should engage in humanitarian projects, leaving the U.S. to do most of the fighting. Rasmussen added: "As a committed European, I find this suggestion at best naive, and, at worst, dangerous." Gates believes that Europe already has made that choice, tempting what he called "collective military irrelevance." It's time to find new allies. Rosenberg is a former national security correspondent for Hearst Newspapers. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Its time to find new allies as NATO withers away | Viewpoints, Outlook | Chron.com - Houston Chronicle
British Defense Minister Attacks EU ProjectAGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE Published: 5 Oct 2011 11:32 MANCHESTER, England - Britain's defense minister criticized European members of NATO which have pressed for a common EU defense project while "shirking" their role in the transatlantic alliance.BRITISH SECRETARY OF State for Defence Liam Fox addresses delegates during the final day of the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester on Oct. 5. (Andrew Yates / AFP via Getty Images)"Many of those calling for deeper EU defense integration are already failing to fulfill their commitments to NATO," Liam Fox told his Conservative Party's annual conference in Manchester, northwest England.RELATED TOPICSEurope"My message to them is clear - you cannot expect to have the insurance policy but ask others to pay the premiums," he added, without naming any countries.Fox dismissed the argument for closer military union in the EU, particularly at a time when European nations are slashing defense budgets."Europe already has a guarantor of its defense - it's called NATO. It is nonsense to duplicate and divert from NATO at a time when resources are scarce across Europe. And the last thing we need is more EU bureaucracy," he said.European members of NATO were split by the military action in Libya, which was led by Britain and France but opposed by Germany and Poland.The British defense secretary meanwhile confirmed that the NATO mission in Libya "will continue until we are satisfied that the people of Libya are no longer threatened by remnants of the former regime" of Moammar Gadhafi.
US Defense Chief Says Painful Changes Coming (Source: Voice of America news; issued October 12, 2011) U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta says painful changes are coming to the U.S. military, as the Pentagon looks for ways to cut $450 billion from its budget in the next 10 years.The Obama administration has called on the Pentagon to reduce spending that rose dramatically during wars in Iraq and Afghanistan over the past decade. With operations in both places drawing down and the U.S. economy still in trouble, cuts are coming.Defense Secretary Leon Panetta told a soldiers’ advocacy group in Washington Wednesday the future U.S. military will have to deal with the reality of being smaller. “Tough decisions await us all," he said.He said the nation needs an army strong enough to deal with conventional threats. “If an enemy does challenge us in a conventional land war, we need an army that can, as General George Patton used to say, ‘hold the enemy by the nose and kick them in the ass,'" said Panetta.At the same time, he said it the military must be smarter and more versatile to deal with terrorist threats that he says are not going away.“Still, the reality is there are not a lot of countries out there building massive tank armies," he said. "It is unlikely that we will be fighting Desert Storm in the future. Instead, I see both state and non-state actors arming with high-tech weaponry that is easier both to buy and to operate, weapons that frustrate our traditional advantage.”The U.S. Army alone may reduce its force by nearly 50,000 in the next five years.But U.S. Defense officials say no decisions have been made on where to cut. Secretary Panetta last month called in combat commanders to start discussing places where they believe reductions can be made.In the 10 years since the September 11 attacks, the United States has doubled its military budget to about $700 billion a year.A defense policy expert at the Center for Defense Information in Washington, Winslow Wheeler, believes the cuts could result in a corrective process that will eliminate what he says has been wasteful spending.“After 9/11, for very understandable reasons, everybody in the political system in our country wanted to do everything they could to assist our armed forces," said Wheeler. "But some of them fell over themselves in terms of trying to just throw money at the issue rather than selectively and smartly.”Defense analyst Mackenzie Eaglen at the Heritage Foundation, a research organization, says cuts of $450 billion, even if they target wasteful projects, inevitably will result in the loss of essential capabilities.“The challenge with the ‘there’s so much waste therefore you can cut defense’ argument is that defense cuts don’t work like that," said Eaglen. "This isn’t a laser where we are taking out the fat that is marbled inside a piece of meat, for example. These tend to be salami-sliced, budget axe, across-the-board cuts that don’t have targeted focus.”-ends-
Candidata Francesa afirma que tem intenções de retirar-se da OTAN e aproximar-se da Rússia.A francesa Marine Le Pen candidata às eleições presidenciais de 2012 pelo partido de extrema-direita Frente Nacional, fundado por seu pai, se pronunciou pela saída da França da OTAN e da zona do euro e disse em entrevista publicada hoje pelo jornal Kommersant, que Moscou deve cooperar mais ativamente com os políticos que, como ela, defendem a Rússia na Europa.“A Rússia não é suficientemente ativa na promoção de relações com aqueles atores políticos europeus que, assim como eu, simpatizo com ela”, disse Marine Le Pen, cuja popularidade antes das eleições de 2012 na França está a aumentar e é superior à do atual presidente Nicolas Sarkozy.Esta advogada e política de 43 anos, filha de Le Pen Jean-Marie, está se preparando para sua primeira visita oficial à Rússia. Não se vê no direito de “dar lições de democracia” a Moscou e admite sentir “uma certa admiração” por Vladimir Putin, hoje primeiro-ministro e candidato do partido governista Rússia Unida nas eleições presidenciais em março próximo.“Eu acho que Vladimir Putin tem caráter e visão que são necessárias para garantir à Rússia, a prosperidade que merece. Uma cooperação mais ativa com a França e outras nações européias poderiam acelerar este processo “, disse ela.No plano da civilização, em sua opinião, Paris tem mais interesses em comum com Moscou do que com Washington, mas o presidente Sarkozy “virou as costas para os russos” e a imprensa francesa seguindo a tendência dos EUA “, demoniza a Rússia.”Marine Le Pen está convencida de que a sua Frente Nacional é o único partido que adere à política do general Charles De Gaulle e defende uma França, independente, forte e influente. Pronunciou-se em defesa de “restaurar a soberania financeira e a própria moeda”, disse que a França vai se separar da OTAN se ganhar a eleição, criticou a intervenção do Ocidente no norte da África e sugeriu confiarem a solução dos problemas da Líbia, Egito e Tunísia, aos seus vizinhos africanos ou árabes.Também enfatizou a necessidade de “cortar até um mínimo imprescindível” a imigração na França que acolheu 10 milhões de pessoas nos últimos 30 anos. “É hora de parar esta invasão”, disse Marine Le Pen, depois de recordar que a França, nas palavras de Putin, poderia se tornar “uma colônia de suas ex-colônias”.Fonte: RIA NOVOSTI via Dinâmica Global