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NATO Was Never Only About Russia

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It is today sadly forgotten, that NATO was created not with one, but with two objectives. The second objective of NATO was to retain inner peace, that is, keep the peace amongst NATO’s own members. When NATO was created, future peace between Germany and its neighbors was yet far from secured, especially as seen from the perspective of Germany’s neighbors at the time, not least France. Thus, the saying of NATO-creator Lord Ismay included that NATO should “keep the Soviet Union out”, but also “the Germans down”, that is, to keep NATO members safe, also from themselves. NATO was never only about Russia.

Today Germany is a great and constructive neighbor in Europe. But Europe sadly still sees other inner-neighbor relations, which unfortunately cannot yet be considered absolutely stable. One only needs to refer to the afterglows of the Yugoslav wars. From that perspective, it can be argued that all Balkan countries should be part of NATO — not to protect them against “Russia”, or to strengthen NATO externally for that matter, but simply to enhance the safe development of all the Balkan countries concerning one another. Bosnia-Herzegovina is especially relevant here since the country is not even fully stabilized internally yet. There are also other less warm neighbor issues, but still potential minority-heats, notably related to eastern NATO members. NATO keeps all such inner-relations from potentially flaring up, which may also be said to be in the interest of Russia, and of Russia’s partner in the Balkan area, Serbia. We should note too, that the EU also has a vital and overlapping interests to co-work in this region.

The Caucasus is here another and very separate question. It is difficult to see any possible NATO enlargement in the Caucasus as stabilizing, perhaps somewhat on the contrary. And the EU is also a more distant partner in the Caucasus. Turkey is, on the other hand, a new and also interesting discussion. Some (perhaps even a kind of “choir”) have started to discuss, whether Turkey still “fits” into NATO. On the other hand, to retain peace (again, not in relations with Russia, but here Turkey-Greece and even Cyprus), there is still an argument that peace can be best served with Turkey continuing as partner in NATO (no matter which nationality of weapons Turkey should wish to buy, actually).

An important discussion can start to revolve around whether the USA still belongs to NATO. Right-sizing is not enlarging; it is a change of configuration. Such a change in configuration is possible in that the USA (and we already see increasing Atlantic fractions) could leave NATO, and let the Europeans (including East-European states) take full responsibility for their own safety (including allowing all the Balkan countries into such an EU-NATO arrangement).

Letting the USA out of NATO would imply subsuming the European part of NATO into the EU. Such a possible development can have many advantages for the countries concerned, as well as for Russia.

First of all, subsuming a “NATO-excluding-the-USA” into the EU would, as mentioned, force the Europeans (including the eastern ones) to take full responsibility for their own security. This will prevent “moral hazard” of political escalations in the hope that the USA will “save” them or spend money on them for new US bases in their location. An EU-NATO (without the USA) would have to find new ways of working with the UK as well as with, of course, Russia.

Second, there is sometimes a profound need for measures outside Europe, where security and civilian efforts need to be thoroughly coordinated. Using NATO “out-of-area” tends to be a recipe for disaster today, and the NATO-bombing creating a collapse of Libya was one such catastrophic example. Complex civilian needs during conflict basically cannot be taken care of by NATO, because NATO as an organisation (though big enough in bureaucracy) is simply not designed for civilian efforts in connection with conflict. NATO was created to deter an all-destructive war, which would probably not have left much civilian life left to “reconstruct” afterwards. The cold-war scenario was therefore so totally different from the many extremely complicated social-economical-etchnical-religious-resource-climate-poverty types of civilian-military problems, which we see around in the world of today. That is why NATO interventions automatically, because of the organization’s outdated design to focus so heavily on a now defunct “all-or-nothing” type of armagedon-conflict tends to create purely military, and hence quite destructive, approaches. NATO is still so much designed as a hammer, that sadly too many problems seem to be perceived as if they had the shape of nails. As another example of the results of this, take a look at Afghanistan, where most of NATO’s “military-civilian” approaches in reality tended to become too much “military-more-military” approaches.

NATO is designed as a pure military organization, an by all means, militaries are (still) designed only to destruct, not to construct. NATO simply does not have notable resources for civilian efforts to go with its military efforts. In parallel to this, we regrettably also see in the USA a very unfortunate long-term general tendency to militarize US foreign policy, sometimes at the expense of resources and focus for civilian US foreign policy. Tools should be designed for situations, not the other way around. But instead of embarking on the long overdue redesign of the setting of NATO, a lot of western politicians instead sadly try to redesign perceptions of today’s security-realities in Europe, trying to make the modern world’s security perception look more like the old “them-or-us” type, which existed during the cold war. But there is a better road, which can be taken. The EU does have a constructive other tradition than NATO’s “all-out-war-preparedness” to build on, and the EU is still totally far from the over-militarized development path, which the USA unfortunately has taken. The EU has developed a robust and broad civilian-oriented conflict management capability. The EU already has quite a range of experience with civilian “out-of-area” missions. And the EU is already developing in a direction to integrate all these political management dimensions: The civilian capabilities, and now increasingly upcoming, also an EU military dimension.

We must remember, that military is politics with other means, and military should not be a destructive stand-alone option, but part of as a series of differentiated political tools. Not just a “hammer”, but very varying shades and shapes of tools, within a fully integrated political civil-military toolbox. It therefore can make enormous sense to leave the NATO fully over as a new institutional part of the EU. To enable the EU to manage the full range of all political dimensions, in case a non-European conflict might benefit from European assistance: military, civilian and economical.

Some caveats here include the potential issues this would involve especially in relation to France, but a broader context to all the EU countries. An EU-NATO without the USA will, of course, be centered on France, a country with archaeological remains of imperial thinking and ambitions, and its own possible “military-industrial-political” complex, which might take on an arms race of its own. It is also to be avoided to intervene just for the sake of it — be it under “do-good” or imperial intentions. Because once bureaucratic institutions have been erected for any purpose whatsoever, their inner dynamic is that they urge their surroundings to be made use of. These effects cannot be entirely avoided, but might (hopefully) be mitigated by the full range of EU member countries.

Therefore, even taking account of the caveats just mentioned above, there is a possibility that a lot of positive things could potentially be achieved by letting the USA leave NATO and allowing for the rest of NATO to be subsumed into the EU.

From our partner RIAC

Master of Science (Econ) from Copenhagen Business School, University degree in Spanish Culture and Languages from University of Copenhagen

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Defense

India’s Sprouting Counterforce Posture

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In recent years, the technological advancements by India in the domain of counterforce military capabilities have increased the vulnerability of the South Asian region. While trying to disturb the strategic stability in South Asia, India through its adventuresome counterforce posture against Pakistan is on the verge of becoming a rogue state. Notwithstanding the repercussions, India is voyaging towards destabilization in the South Asian Region.

India’s enhanced strategic nuclear capabilities which includes-the development of Multiple Independent Reentry Vehicles (MIRVs), Ballistic Missile Defence System (BMD), Inter-Continental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs), supersonic and hypersonic cruise missiles, and acquisition of nuclear-capable submarines- indicate that India is moving away from its declared policy of ‘No First Use’ (NFU) towards a more aggressive, counterforce posture against Pakistan. The BMD and MIRV technology along with the provision of an advanced navigation system under BECA would embolden India to go for the first strike against Pakistan. While having reliance on BMD, as to be sheltered in return. These technological advancements made by India are sprouting a new era of counterforce posture, which would further make the South Asian region volatile and vulnerable to conflicts.

India’s urge to acquire counterforce capability is strongly associated with its doctrinal shift. As the stated posture requires flexibility in the use of nuclear weapons, which fortifies the first strike capability, and thus a deviation in India’s declared policy of ‘No First Use’ (NFU) has become more significant, particularly concerning its impact on regional stability. India’s declared policy of NFU, set out in Draft Nuclear Doctrine in 1999, followed by its first amendment in January 2003 has since then been into hot debates. Pakistan has long doubted the Indian policy of NFU, as the actions and statements by the officials of the latter have always been aggressive and protruding towards the former. India, now, is drifting away from its policy of NFU with the acquisition of counterforce capabilities, particularly against Pakistan. This is further evident from the statement issued by India’s Defense Minister Mr. Rajnath Singh, back in August 2019. It stated “Till today, our nuclear policy is ‘no-first-use’ (NFU). What happens in the future depends on the circumstances.” A change at the doctrinal level is evident in the Indian strategic enclave. Notwithstanding the challenges and repercussions caused by the counterforce strategy and with an attempt to destabilize the nuclear deterrence in the region, India would go unjustifiably low to attain such measures.  

In the same vein, India has been enhancing its nuclear capabilities for strategic flexibility against its regional rivals. By the same token, it wants to attain nuclear dominance, which would ultimately result in chaos in the region. The counterforce capability by India would compel its adversaries to heed towards the preemptive strike, in case of a crisis, out of the fear of the use of Nuclear weapons first by the patent enemy.  Moreover, the counterforce capability pushes the enemy to put the nuclear weapons on hair-trigger mode, which is directly linked with the crisis escalation.  The acquisition of counterforce capability by India would likely provoke a new arms race in the region. This would further destabilize the already volatile South Asian region. The far-reaching destabilization which India is trying to create, just to have an edge on the nuclear adversary, would be back on India’s face, faster than she knew it.

On the contrary, Pakistan has been maintaining a posture of Credible Minimum Deterrence (CMD) and does not claim to have a No-First Use (NFU) policy. Moreover, Pakistan’s nuclear capability is defensive in principle and a tool for deterrence. Given the Indian evolved notions of counterforce preemption, even now Pakistan would be left with no choice but to leave room for carrying out a ‘first strike’ as a feasible deterrent against India. Nevertheless, with the advent of technological innovations, its countermeasure arrives soon, too. Presently, there are two aspects that Pakistan should take into consideration; the growing Indo-US nexus and India’s concealed innovations in the nuclear posture. Though India is far from achieving counterforce strikes against Pakistan’s nuclear targets, concrete steps are required for maintaining future deterrence stability. With that intention, Pakistan might need to look towards its allies for getting hands-on the modern capabilities which includes- advanced communication and navigation systems, sensors, and advancements in artificial intelligence and otherwise, is essential for strengthening its deterrent capability. Pakistan should heed towards the development of absolute second-strike capability; as, what is survivable today, could be vulnerable tomorrow. Therefore, advancements in technology should be made for preserving nuclear deterrence in the future as well.

Summarizing it all, the existence of Pakistan’s nuclear deterrence has created a stable environment in the region, by deterring full-scale wars on multiple occasions that might have resulted in a nuclear exchange. With the revolution in nuclear technology, the threat of nuclear war has emerged again. Instead of going towards the attainment of peace and stability in the region, India has been enhancing its counterforce capabilities. This would likely remain a significant threat to the deterrence stability in the region. Moreover, any kind of failure to maintain nuclear deterrence in South Asia could result in an all-out war, without any escalation control. India, in its lust for power and hegemonic designs, has been destabilizing the region. Both the nuclear states in South Asia need to engage in arms restraint and escalation control measures. This seems to be a concrete and more plausible way out; else the new era of destabilization could be more disastrous.  

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Defense

A pig in a poke of Lithuanian Armed Forces

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The proverb “a chain is only as strong as its weakest link” perfectly reflects the situation in the Lithuanian armed forces. It is it unclear how the army will carry out its tasks, if everything that happens there runs counter to common sense.

The conscription took place in Lithuania. The recruits once again were revealed by an electronic lottery on January 7, 2021. 3,828 recruits were selected from the list of 38 thousand conscripts aged 18 to 23.

The idea of using electronic lottery in such a serious procedure arises a lot of questions among Lithuanians. Young people are suspicious of this method and fully admit the possibility of corruption. Nobody could check the results and so nobody could be blamed for random selection. The more so, the armed forces could get weaker recruits than in case of using usual ways of choosing among candidates. So, the army buys a pig in a poke.

This approach to recruitment in Lithuania results in presence of those with criminal intents and inclinations. Сases of crimes committed by Lithuanian military personnel have increased. Incidents with the involvement of military regularly occurred in Lithuania in 2020.

Thus, a soldier of the Lithuanian army was detained in Jurbarkas in October. He was driving under the influence of alcohol. A Lithuanian soldier suspected of drunk driving was detained also in Siauliai in December. Panevėžys County Chief Police Commissariat was looking for a soldier who deserted from the Lithuanian Armed Forces and so forth.

Such behaviour poses serious risks to public safety and leads to loss of confidence in the Lithuanian army in society.

Lithuanian military officials have chosen a new way to discourage young people from serving in the army, which is already not popular.

“The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” The ministry of defence decided to run a photo contest that would reflect service in the country’s armed forces. It is doubtful that such pictures will attract to the army, but the real situation is provided.

Usually, popularization is the act of making something attractive to the general public. This contest served the opposite goal. Look at the pictures and make conclusions.

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Defense

Fatah-1: A New Security and Technological Development About Pakistan’s Indigenous GMLRS

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Islamabad: It seems like 2021 has been a good start for Pakistan specifically with regard to stepping up its missile testing. On the 7th of January, the Pakistan military has successfully conducted a purely indigenously developed missile test flight known to be Fatah-1. As stated by various reports, Fatah-1 is an extended-range Guided Multi-Launch Rocket System (GMLRS) which itself is a developed variant of the guided MLRS family.

According to the recent statement given by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) about the newly developed rocket, it was stated: “The weapon system will give Pakistan Army capability of a precision target deep in the enemy territory.” Director-General of Pakistan Army, Media Wing, major general Babar Iftikhar on 7th January tweeted: “Pakistan today conducted a successful; test flight of indigenously developed Fatah-1, Guided Multi Launch Rocket System, capable of delivering a conventional Warhead up to a range of 140 km.”

Defense analyst Mr. Syed Muhammad Ali also stated in his capacity: “the new system was very fast, accurate, survivable, and difficult to intercept”. A video was also shared by ISPR on their official website, in which the missile launch can be seen while being fired from the launcher however, the details on when and where the test flight has taken place, along with the specification of the rocket system are yet to be announced.

Currently, Pakistan Army owns a wide range of Short-Range Ballistic Missiles (SRBM), Medium-Range Ballistic Missiles (MRBM), Battlefield Ballistic Missiles (BBM), Rocket Artillery, and Surface to Surface Cruise Missile (SSCM). In the previous year, Pakistan had also maintained prime success in conducting the Ra’ad-II cruise missile and Ghaznavi surface-to-surface ballistic missile (SSBM). Besides, Pakistan Air Force (PAF) on 30thDecember made apt progress when it comes to the national air defense arsenal as it was announced that PAF is beginning the production of the State-of-the-art JF-17 Thunder Block 3 fighter jets, at the same time acquiring the 14 dual-seat Jf-17 aircraft.

According to various reports, the JF-17 Thunder Block 3 will be said to have a new radar operational capability which will be far better in the practical domain as compared to the Raphael aircraft acquired by India. Whereas, the exchange of 14 dual-seat aircraft, manufactured with Pak-China cooperation were also given to the PAF which will be used for extensive training.

The recent successful testing of Fatah-1 has been considered to be another milestone for Pakistan as it tends to be a fitting response to the recent developments in the conventional capabilities carried out by India and also to India’s Cold Start Doctrine.

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