Britain's Basra Bug-out and the Future of NATO

The British are withdrawing from Basra, leaving it to mercy of the Shiite militias. Because they are embarrassed, UK General Michael Jackson (who has a book to sell), is now trashing the Bush Administration in public.    It's just another sunny day in the NATO neighborhood.

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization is supposed to be a mutual defense treaty. That has been conveniently forgotten for the last several decades by Europe, where NATO simply came down to Uncle Sam assuming Europe's defense while the locals mostly went on a long, long welfare vacation -- and suicidally imported millions of Jihad supporters to work, assuaging their delicate consciences with multiculturalism.

When genocide broke out in Serbia and Kosovo, wealthy and well-armed Europe dithered for ten years before persuading Bill Clinton to send American troops. We just saw a similar thing happen in the Sudan, not that far south of Europe. Europe boasts endlessly about its new size (450 million people), centralized bureaucracy and "soft power," which comes down to self-serving arm-twisting of the United States over fake crises like global warming. It never fights even the worst evils, not even to halt genocides in Kosovo, Rwanda and the Sudan. It is "pacifist" -- meaning that it will squeeze every drop of advantage out of Saddam Hussein and the Mullahs of Iran, while expecting the United States to do the heavy lifting. And then it goes into screaming fits when the US acts to protect Europe's own vital oil supply through the Gulf. Europe is now a hysterical old woman.

Came September 11 of 2001, and the United States was attacked by Jihadi fanatics. The US expected its 60-year allies to support its efforts to fight civilizational dangers in Afghanistan and Iraq. Not surprisingly, France tried to sabotage us at the United Nations. Russia smuggled out Saddam's WMD's. Germany went along with its French ally, not with the US, under Gerhard Schroeder (who shortly afterward sold out to the Russians and became a shill for Gazprom). While nobody is saying it out loud, Europe quietly aided Saddam's generals to escape Iraq and to pay for much of the current Sunni insurgency with Baath money stolen by Saddam over thirty years. The Baath Sunnis we are fighting today are financed by Europe-aided Baath escapees. Worse than that, our "allies" started a screaming propaganda campaign against the United States, which has systematically undermined our efforts in the War on Terror. They are deeply complicit in aiding the enemy.

These are not the actions of allies.

What about the Brits?  The first and last NATO ally is the United Kingdom. But the British socialist establishment has made the decision to throw in its lot with the European Union over the long term, while quietly hoping that Uncle Sam will still shoulder the burden of Europe's defense, because the EU doesn't have the stomach for it. The British retreat from Basra is simply the culmination of the BBC's anti-American hate campaign for the last few decades.  Those are not the actions of a genuine ally either.

With the British retreat from Basra for budgetary and ideological reasons, leaving the United States to defend the southern half of Iraq from Iranian infiltration the viability of NATO has now come to a head. It is time to ask the uncomfortable question:

Is there still any reason for the United States to consider itself bound by NATO treaty obligations? When our former allies are not so bound? 

I would say no. NATO has become just another way for Europe to exploit Uncle Sam.  In point of fact, we now rely on a  Coalition of the Willing, and Britain has just moved to the "Unwilling" column. They are walking away from the Atlantic alliance, while denying that they are doing it.  Today, Poland, Japan, Australia and Israel are more closely aligned with fundamental US objectives than Britain. There is much to be said for Coalitions of the Willing: They are much more flexible, much less expensive in terms of permanent basing costs, and allow our defense dollars to be spent for their intended purpose. The military surge in Iraq is our best hope for victory. But it is very narrowly time-limited, because we are over-invested in old and useless installations in perfidious Europe.

The sensible strategy would be for the United States to reduce its vast over-investment in European defenses. In South Korea we now only have "trip-wire" forces; we do not need more anywhere else in the world. 

There are issues on which we have mutual interests with European countries. We do not want the Russians to take over Europe. The solution is to have bilateral military agreements with the former Soviet bloc countries, from Estonia to Poland. We have important forward facilities at Ramstein in Germany, which can be handled by bilateral agreements, or moved elsewhere. Naval basing in the Mediterranean can be handled on a country-to-country basis. In the longer term, we should not view ourselves as the sole guarantors of peace in the Gulf (from which Europe gets much of its oil). We may want to keep forward bases and supplies in Israel, which is a reliable ally because it is constantly threatened. The same is true of Qatar, Diego Garcia and a few other countries. Over the coming decades, fixed bases may become less and less necessary, as we learn to rely on long-range force projection from the homeland.

On anti-missile defenses we should only work with a Coalition of the Willing. If the Czech Republic wants to defend itself from Russian and Iranian nukes, we can have a bilateral agreement with them. Let the Czechs then worry about whether EU likes its anti-missile defenses or not, and if they don't, we can put them in Estonia, or simply rely upon ship-based anti-missile defenses. Call it the "Gibraltar strategy" --- when Britain drew down its imperial overstretch, it maintained small bases in highly defensible locations, like Gibraltar. That's all it needed for many years.

A military treaty without mutuality is a fraud. Europe has been allowed to play the helpless victim for too many decades. Much of our military bureaucracy is now invested in European helplessness, in much the way social workers become professionally invested in neighborhood poverty and victimhood. But with the United States military stretched between Iraq and Taiwan, it is high time to demand reciprocity from all of our allies.

If we do not receive full reciprocity, they do not deserve our protection.

James Lewis blogs at dangeroustimes.wordpress.com/
The British are withdrawing from Basra, leaving it to mercy of the Shiite militias. Because they are embarrassed, UK General Michael Jackson (who has a book to sell), is now trashing the Bush Administration in public.    It's just another sunny day in the NATO neighborhood.

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization is supposed to be a mutual defense treaty. That has been conveniently forgotten for the last several decades by Europe, where NATO simply came down to Uncle Sam assuming Europe's defense while the locals mostly went on a long, long welfare vacation -- and suicidally imported millions of Jihad supporters to work, assuaging their delicate consciences with multiculturalism.

When genocide broke out in Serbia and Kosovo, wealthy and well-armed Europe dithered for ten years before persuading Bill Clinton to send American troops. We just saw a similar thing happen in the Sudan, not that far south of Europe. Europe boasts endlessly about its new size (450 million people), centralized bureaucracy and "soft power," which comes down to self-serving arm-twisting of the United States over fake crises like global warming. It never fights even the worst evils, not even to halt genocides in Kosovo, Rwanda and the Sudan. It is "pacifist" -- meaning that it will squeeze every drop of advantage out of Saddam Hussein and the Mullahs of Iran, while expecting the United States to do the heavy lifting. And then it goes into screaming fits when the US acts to protect Europe's own vital oil supply through the Gulf. Europe is now a hysterical old woman.

Came September 11 of 2001, and the United States was attacked by Jihadi fanatics. The US expected its 60-year allies to support its efforts to fight civilizational dangers in Afghanistan and Iraq. Not surprisingly, France tried to sabotage us at the United Nations. Russia smuggled out Saddam's WMD's. Germany went along with its French ally, not with the US, under Gerhard Schroeder (who shortly afterward sold out to the Russians and became a shill for Gazprom). While nobody is saying it out loud, Europe quietly aided Saddam's generals to escape Iraq and to pay for much of the current Sunni insurgency with Baath money stolen by Saddam over thirty years. The Baath Sunnis we are fighting today are financed by Europe-aided Baath escapees. Worse than that, our "allies" started a screaming propaganda campaign against the United States, which has systematically undermined our efforts in the War on Terror. They are deeply complicit in aiding the enemy.

These are not the actions of allies.

What about the Brits?  The first and last NATO ally is the United Kingdom. But the British socialist establishment has made the decision to throw in its lot with the European Union over the long term, while quietly hoping that Uncle Sam will still shoulder the burden of Europe's defense, because the EU doesn't have the stomach for it. The British retreat from Basra is simply the culmination of the BBC's anti-American hate campaign for the last few decades.  Those are not the actions of a genuine ally either.

With the British retreat from Basra for budgetary and ideological reasons, leaving the United States to defend the southern half of Iraq from Iranian infiltration the viability of NATO has now come to a head. It is time to ask the uncomfortable question:

Is there still any reason for the United States to consider itself bound by NATO treaty obligations? When our former allies are not so bound? 

I would say no. NATO has become just another way for Europe to exploit Uncle Sam.  In point of fact, we now rely on a  Coalition of the Willing, and Britain has just moved to the "Unwilling" column. They are walking away from the Atlantic alliance, while denying that they are doing it.  Today, Poland, Japan, Australia and Israel are more closely aligned with fundamental US objectives than Britain. There is much to be said for Coalitions of the Willing: They are much more flexible, much less expensive in terms of permanent basing costs, and allow our defense dollars to be spent for their intended purpose. The military surge in Iraq is our best hope for victory. But it is very narrowly time-limited, because we are over-invested in old and useless installations in perfidious Europe.

The sensible strategy would be for the United States to reduce its vast over-investment in European defenses. In South Korea we now only have "trip-wire" forces; we do not need more anywhere else in the world. 

There are issues on which we have mutual interests with European countries. We do not want the Russians to take over Europe. The solution is to have bilateral military agreements with the former Soviet bloc countries, from Estonia to Poland. We have important forward facilities at Ramstein in Germany, which can be handled by bilateral agreements, or moved elsewhere. Naval basing in the Mediterranean can be handled on a country-to-country basis. In the longer term, we should not view ourselves as the sole guarantors of peace in the Gulf (from which Europe gets much of its oil). We may want to keep forward bases and supplies in Israel, which is a reliable ally because it is constantly threatened. The same is true of Qatar, Diego Garcia and a few other countries. Over the coming decades, fixed bases may become less and less necessary, as we learn to rely on long-range force projection from the homeland.

On anti-missile defenses we should only work with a Coalition of the Willing. If the Czech Republic wants to defend itself from Russian and Iranian nukes, we can have a bilateral agreement with them. Let the Czechs then worry about whether EU likes its anti-missile defenses or not, and if they don't, we can put them in Estonia, or simply rely upon ship-based anti-missile defenses. Call it the "Gibraltar strategy" --- when Britain drew down its imperial overstretch, it maintained small bases in highly defensible locations, like Gibraltar. That's all it needed for many years.

A military treaty without mutuality is a fraud. Europe has been allowed to play the helpless victim for too many decades. Much of our military bureaucracy is now invested in European helplessness, in much the way social workers become professionally invested in neighborhood poverty and victimhood. But with the United States military stretched between Iraq and Taiwan, it is high time to demand reciprocity from all of our allies.

If we do not receive full reciprocity, they do not deserve our protection.

James Lewis blogs at dangeroustimes.wordpress.com/