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 (2000-Pres) Current Day Military talk (No Partisan Politics)    
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George
Centre Hastings, ON, Canada
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Posts: 5313

Trump's rebuke to NATO countries
Posted on: 5/25/2017 1:47:36 PM
I just heard Mr. Trump's speech at the gathering of NATO leaders in Brussels.

While we may concur that NATO members including mine must up the ante, I am not sure that this public forum was the place to do it.

I am sure that Mr. Trump had already made his point in closed session.

He also seemed to be asking for back payments.

Certainly, the other leaders appeared to be disconcerted by Trump's performance.

As well, his speech seemed to promote a change in focus of NATO toward fighting terrorism. Is that the way that the organization is headed?

Does Trump understand the purpose of NATO?


As well, why is the GDP used as the metric to assess whether a NATO nation is spending enough? Just because it is easy?

With a 2% target, what qualifies under the banner of "defence spending" in NATO.


Here's the speech.

Was he bang on, or out of line?

[Read More]

Cheers,

George

kaii
Edinburgh, UK
top 10
E-9 Sergeant Major


Posts: 1884

Re: Trump's rebuke to NATO countries
Posted on: 5/25/2017 4:07:33 PM
I actually thought the speech as such was ok, no harm in reminding politicians that they need to step up to the plate.



Quote:


He also seemed to be asking for back payments.

he has done that a couple of times. Just shows he does not understand how NATO works. Last time James Mattis had a couple of days with his hands full trying to bury this.


Quote:


As well, why is the GDP used as the metric to assess whether a NATO nation is spending enough? Just because it is easy?

-George


It is not a good measure, as we have discussed before, but it is difficult to find a different measure that is easy to understand and follow up. In reality it does not give a very good picture i like to use my own country, Norway, as an example, we currently spend about 1.6% of GDP on defence. That is probably about average in NATO.However,if you look at what that actually means in money terms, Norway spends about 3/4 of what the US spends,if measured as expenditure in USD per capita,far more than any other NATO country. So, does Norway meet the criteria or not? Similarly, the only reason Greece meets the 2% criteria is because their GDP has contracted, i.e. they don't actually spend more on defence. And so on. One option would be to say that each country must spend a certain amount of money per capita - however that would obviously favour the richer countries.

I do think.however, that having a specific target is useful. Politicians tend to squirm their way out of any promises so the more specific and measurable it is the better.
---------------
A fool and his money are soon elected.

George
Centre Hastings, ON, Canada
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Posts: 5313

Re: Trump's rebuke to NATO countries
Posted on: 5/25/2017 4:28:11 PM
Kai, does money spent on operations count toward the 2% GDP target?


George

George
Centre Hastings, ON, Canada
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Posts: 5313

Re: Trump's rebuke to NATO countries
Posted on: 5/25/2017 4:49:01 PM
I was a little concerned that Mr. Trump didn't affirm the US commitment to Article 5.

He seemed to prefer to talk about terrorism.

Ironically, the only time that Article 5 has been invoked was after the attacks on the World Trade Centre in NY.


But my real concern is whether my own country is pulling its weight. By the GDP measurement, it is not.

But the current government and former governments have asserted that Canada does more than its share on NATO operations.

Canada is about to take the lead on a deployment of a multi-national force in Latvia and PM Trudeau says that that makes up for deficiencies in defence spending.

Trudeau went to Brussels with nothing to offer. The next report on defence spending for Canada won't be released until June 7 but I believe that the information has already been shared with NATO allies. We shall see how Mr. Trump and others respond.

kaii
Edinburgh, UK
top 10
E-9 Sergeant Major


Posts: 1884

Re: Trump's rebuke to NATO countries
Posted on: 5/25/2017 5:17:45 PM

Quote:
Kai, does money spent on operations count toward the 2% GDP target?


George
--George


Hi George, yes in principle all money spent on military operations should count, even cases where the military is drafted in to assist with civilian disasters I suppose. However, different countries have different things included in their defence budgets, so I know that one criticism for instance,is that in some countries a large share of defence spending is in reality wages and pensions for reserve and retired personnel, which does not add to the military capability directly. This is certainly true for Norway.

Ultimately it is up to every country to decide how they spend their money and how much they spend, of course, and ultimately each country must decide what kind of capabilities they need. I think what we will see is much more coordinated purchasing of military equipment across NATO now, and perhaps the beginning of some form of standardisation of bigger equipment that has so far not been standardised. On the other hand that means jobs in national defence industries so politicians will be reluctant to go too far down the road.

I know there were some attempts to define how much of the budgets should be investments in new equipment, how much should be wages, operations etc, but not sure if that ever landed.

---------------
A fool and his money are soon elected.

George
Centre Hastings, ON, Canada
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Posts: 5313

Re: Trump's rebuke to NATO countries
Posted on: 5/25/2017 7:56:30 PM
Canada is not contributing even 1% of GDP to defence spending.

And so we are on the defensive and pushing back.

The country argues that the spending metric is flawed and that some countries are adding in expense lines for things that Canada does not include.

Apparently some countries list their coast guard, some veterans’ benefits, federal police forces and border guards as NATO defence expenditures.


NATO says that the items that may be included are clear and all nations should adhere to them.

I was unable to find the list of items.

So it is a little confusing and I'm guessing that Mr. Trump doesn't understand exactly what defence spending entails with respect to NATO.

Cheers,

George

Riaindevoy
Geelong, Australia
top 10
E-9 Sergeant Major


Posts: 1075

Re: Trump's rebuke to NATO countries
Posted on: 5/26/2017 2:02:00 AM
Given that operations include things like force prep training, increased flying hours for pilots and at sea days for sailors I'd say that spending on ops should be included as NATO spending as NATO benefits from this general increased readiness and experience. But what is the operations profile of NATO nations like?

In an unrelated note: throughout the Cold War was Canada expecting some help from Europeans in WW3 for stuff that was bound to happen in and around Canada? The Danes would have been close by in Greenland for starters and the Norwegians in Svalbard weren't out of the picture in the north either.
---------------
Vegetarian: the ancient tribal word for the villiage idiot; who was too stupid to hunt, fish and ride!

George
Centre Hastings, ON, Canada
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Posts: 5313

Re: Trump's rebuke to NATO countries
Posted on: 5/26/2017 6:56:13 AM

Quote:
But what is the operations profile of NATO nations like?


Hi Riain,

What do you mean by profile? Who has committed to operations of the NATO nations?


Cheers,

George

George
Centre Hastings, ON, Canada
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Posts: 5313

Re: Trump's rebuke to NATO countries
Posted on: 5/26/2017 7:43:16 AM

Quote:
throughout the Cold War was Canada expecting some help from Europeans in WW3 for stuff that was bound to happen in and around Canada?


Canada was a founding member of NATO in 1949 so was undoubtedly expecting an Article 5 response in the event of Soviet incursion over the Arctic.

As I recall, post-war, the US was indicating more isolationist views. It had sacrificed greatly during the second world war. There were meetings between the UK, France and Canada about the continuation of a presence to thwart the aggressive USSR in Europe. Those meetings led to further discussion in Washington between the US, UK and Canada, in 1948. By 1949, the NATO agreement involving 12 countries was a go.

Canada maintained about 10,000 troops in Europe during the 50's and 60's but it wasn't without tension domestically.

Canada sent troops to Korea as well though that was a UN sponsored police action which looked a lot like a war.

As is often the case, Canadians complained that the NATO arrangement involved subservience to US demands.

By the late '60's our troop support in Europe was drastically reduced.

Canada has responded to NATO missions in the modern era. NATO's focus shifted from a bulwark against the communist to more peace enforcement in places that have nothing to do with the north Atlantic. Canada was involved in the Balkans missions, and in the current anti-terrorism missions under the auspices of NATO which seems to have integrated its objectives with that of the UN at times.

But I don't know what the Article 5 response would have been during the Cold War meaning, if troops or air support was needed, which country was designated to respond initially. Someone else may know.

Training for a response by Canadians in the far north began right after the war with winter exercises and that planning ebbs and flows with changes in government. Currently, the Canadian government wants to make some sort of a show up there but the motivation is less to thwart a possible Russian attack but to establish sovereignty over the Arctic archipelago and the Northwest passage.

But since WW2, Canada has integrated its defence plans with those of the USA.

That led to the formation of the North American Aerospace Defence Command (NORAD) in 1957, which integrated the response of the two air forces to Soviet incursions.

As well the Distant Early Warning (DEW) radar system was installed all across the north. Actually the system, which I haven't examined in a while, consisted of a series of lines.

Truthfully, Canada had to respond to the US desire to keep a watch on the Soviets. Our government never quite accepted the paranoia that existed in the US regarding communism and it did lead to tensions between us.

Now the concept of North American perimeter defence is well engrained and our much smaller forces work with the US forces all of the time.

The RCAF responds to Russian bombers approaching Canadian air space and the US does the same when they come too close to Alaska.

Sometimes we are concerned about our sovereignty in the current arrangements but it is a fact that we could not stop an invasion by air or less likely by amphibious landing by ourselves. For the US, we are a useful buffer zone between the Russians and the US lower 48.


To your point though, NATO has created a NATO Response Force (NRF)


Quote:
The NATO Response Force (NRF) is a highly ready and technologically advanced, multinational force made up of land, air, maritime and Special Operations Forces (SOF) components that the Alliance can deploy quickly, wherever needed. In addition to its operational role, the NRF can be used for greater cooperation in education and training, increased exercises and better use of technology.


In 2014, NATO created a Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF) as part of its Readiness Action Plan (RAP)

Now in that mix of acronyms, there must be a detailed plan of who goes where and when.

The countries and the assets to be deployed are on a rotation system.


kaii
Edinburgh, UK
top 10
E-9 Sergeant Major


Posts: 1884

Re: Trump's rebuke to NATO countries
Posted on: 5/26/2017 9:51:09 AM

Quote:
Given that operations include things like force prep training, increased flying hours for pilots and at sea days for sailors I'd say that spending on ops should be included as NATO spending as NATO benefits from this general increased readiness and experience. But what is the operations profile of NATO nations like?

NATO spending and defence spending are actually two different things. NATO has a dedicated budget that all nations contribute to, the biggest one being the US with about 22% and Germany with 17%. This covers the NATO organisation, staff and some assets that are NATO owned and operated (for instance the AWACS fleet).

In addition, each country have their own defence budget, and it is this budget that ideally should be 2$ of GDP. However, it is up to the individual country how they spend this money and the US has no right as such to demand that countries spend this money one way or another. So when the US claims to pay for 3/4 of NATO defence costs, this is wrong; what is correct is that if you add all defence spending in all NATO countrioes together, the US covers about 3/4 of it. However, not all US defence spending is NATO related, for instance all the costs associated with the Iraq war are not directly related to NATO since it is not a NATO operation. On the other hand, NATO benefits from increased experience in US units etc. The US benefits from bases in Germany and Turkey for operations that are not NATO related etc.

What is included in the defence budgets for each nation varies so they are not always comparable - hence the confusion and discussion. One typical example is coast guard. In some countries in the med, for instance, the coast guard has only limited military capacity and is more a police force. In countries like Norway, the coast guard is essentially a separate navy with several frigate sized vessels that can be adapted to carry heavier weapons in times of war.


Quote:

In an unrelated note: throughout the Cold War was Canada expecting some help from Europeans in WW3 for stuff that was bound to happen in and around Canada? The Danes would have been close by in Greenland for starters and the Norwegians in Svalbard weren't out of the picture in the north either.
--Riaindevoy


Throughout most of the later stages of the cold war, the 70's and 80's, one Canadian brigade was earmarked as reinforcement for Northern Norway, as well as one US Marine Expeditionary Brigade, as well as a German and a British Artillery battalion. These units would train in Norway fairly regularly during the 80's. Currently the US 4MEB as well as a battalion made up of Royal Marines and Royal Dutch Marines are earmarked for Northern Norway with pre-positioned equipment etc.

As far as I know, except for possibly naval assets for keeping the Atlantic sea lanes open, no Norwegian units were scheduled to assist Canada in event of WW3.
---------------
A fool and his money are soon elected.

George
Centre Hastings, ON, Canada
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Posts: 5313

Re: Trump's rebuke to NATO countries
Posted on: 5/26/2017 12:19:13 PM
The truth is the US is right there and would respond to any North American incursion.

Despite all the complaints about loss of sovereignty and there is some loss, we are grateful for the integrated defence programmes.

However, I think that any attempt to attack Canada would just be seen as a gateway to a much more important target.

George

scoucer
Berlin, Germany
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Posts: 1924

Re: Trump's rebuke to NATO countries
Posted on: 5/26/2017 2:19:01 PM

Quote:

Quote:
Given that operations include things like force prep training, increased flying hours for pilots and at sea days for sailors I'd say that spending on ops should be included as NATO spending as NATO benefits from this general increased readiness and experience. But what is the operations profile of NATO nations like?

NATO spending and defence spending are actually two different things. NATO has a dedicated budget that all nations contribute to, the biggest one being the US with about 22% and Germany with 17%. This covers the NATO organisation, staff and some assets that are NATO owned and operated (for instance the AWACS fleet).

In addition, each country have their own defence budget, and it is this budget that ideally should be 2$ of GDP. However, it is up to the individual country how they spend this money and the US has no right as such to demand that countries spend this money one way or another. So when the US claims to pay for 3/4 of NATO defence costs, this is wrong; what is correct is that if you add all defence spending in all NATO countrioes together, the US covers about 3/4 of it. However, not all US defence spending is NATO related, for instance all the costs associated with the Iraq war are not directly related to NATO since it is not a NATO operation. On the other hand, NATO benefits from increased experience in US units etc. The US benefits from bases in Germany and Turkey for operations that are not NATO related etc.

What is included in the defence budgets for each nation varies so they are not always comparable - hence the confusion and discussion. One typical example is coast guard. In some countries in the med, for instance, the coast guard has only limited military capacity and is more a police force. In countries like Norway, the coast guard is essentially a separate navy with several frigate sized vessels that can be adapted to carry heavier weapons in times of war.

--kaii


An excellent post Kai.

What is also not taken into account, in the German case, in the "War on Terrorism" (Whatever that is supposed to mean ) is the extensive expenditure by Germany to provide and train police forces in war areas - a very german idea. Among the number of german losses in Afghanistan (very high indeed), Mali and Iraq, and not included, is the number of volunteer police to build and train indiginous police forces. It has very little sense to defeat the military opposition and leave behind complete social chaos.

Or the case of Pakistan where the US has been uselessly throwing money at the Pakistani military. The military does not capture terrorists - the police capture terrorists. So Germany has been funding and training the Pakistani police forces. As they have also been doing in Tunisia and other places. None of this shows on the bill for defence spending or the War on Terror.

To say simply "bomb the hell out of the terrorists" shows a complete lack of any idea of counter-insurgency.

Trevor
---------------
`Hey don´t the wars come easy and don´t the peace come hard`- Buffy Sainte-Marie

Some swim with the stream. Some swim against the stream. Me - I´m stuck somewhere in the woods and can´t even find the stupid stream.

Riaindevoy
Geelong, Australia
top 10
E-9 Sergeant Major


Posts: 1075

Re: Trump's rebuke to NATO countries
Posted on: 5/26/2017 8:20:00 PM

Quote:

Quote:
But what is the operations profile of NATO nations like?


Hi Riain,

What do you mean by profile? Who has committed to operations of the NATO nations?


Cheers,

George
--George


Yes, to have a sqn of fighters on ops constantly you need three times that many planes and personnel, or you can commit a wing for a finite amount of time if it isn't relived. We had 14 Hornets in Iraq in 2003 for 3 months but only have 6 Hornets for the continuous presence in Iraq from March 2015 to today. In any event our pilots who general fly 175 hours per year at home get a 6 month stint of flying many more hours and actually dropping bombs so the general standard of combat flying is higher now than it was back in 2014 or especially 2002. The same applies for the Army and Navy, with large numbers of service people having done active service in war zones making for a very combat ready force in general.



---------------
Vegetarian: the ancient tribal word for the villiage idiot; who was too stupid to hunt, fish and ride!

George
Centre Hastings, ON, Canada
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Posts: 5313

Re: Trump's rebuke to NATO countries
Posted on: 5/27/2017 7:11:27 AM
I went to the NATO web site to try to determine which of the NATO members actually deploy on NATO led or NATO/UN missions.

But I didn't find a tally sheet.

I know that my country likes to point out that while Canada's defence expenditures are well below the 2% of GDP target, that Canada deploys often as do some other members.

Deployments like the one to Afghanistan or to Libya are expensive. We could argue that the depletion of physical assets, equipment, is because of those deployments.

But this 2% figure is quoted like a mantra.

Certainly it would be easier to put money toward rebuilding the armed services and then just stay home until an Article 5 situation comes up.

Instead, Canada and others will deploy to Latvia with Canada taking the lead on a multinational mission to dissuade the Russians from pulling another Crimea.


Speaking of Article 5, I think that Mr. Trump's lecture to his NATO allies was misguided. These are friends and allies and prior to the meeting it was reported that Mr. Trump would reaffirm the commitment of the US to Article 5.

He did not do that choosing to rebuke his allies. He has forgotten that these are the nations that immediately came to the aid of his country after the destruction of the World Trade Center and the deaths of 3,000 people.

They did so by enacting Article 5, the only time that NATO has done so.

I also think that his speech indicated his personal belief that the US expenditures on NATO are a gift to Europe and Canada. The US commitment to Europe and Canada is a co-operative venture.

If the US believes that its safety and prosperity is guaranteed by a commitment to NATO then that should be clearly stated.

Instead, Mr. Trump chose to admonish his allies while they all stood like an elementary classroom that was misbehaving. I was embarrassed for them and if their body language was indicative, they were quite upset by his actions.

He made it sound as though the US choice to spend more than any other nation on defence was because of NATO alone. US reasons for maintaining a military of this size and efficiency are more complex than that. Mr. Trump needs to acknowledge the reasons for US involvement in so many parts of the world.

It is up to Americans to decide how they will defend their country and if they wish to withdraw troops and assets from NATO bases and other bases around the world, they will do so. But I think that the agreements that the US has with many other countries protects not only those countries but the US as well.

Cheers,

George

Riaindevoy
Geelong, Australia
top 10
E-9 Sergeant Major


Posts: 1075

Re: Trump's rebuke to NATO countries
Posted on: 5/27/2017 6:52:43 PM
For what it's worth we also quote 2% and in theory it has bipartisan support, although Labor tends to use the Defence Budget like an ATM.

Operations are expensive but compared to the rest of the budget is only a tiny fraction, although it could easily be argued that a lot of the regular budget is used to support those operations.
---------------
Vegetarian: the ancient tribal word for the villiage idiot; who was too stupid to hunt, fish and ride!

morris crumley
Lawrenceville, GA, USA
top 10
E-9 Sergeant Major
Posts: 1190

Re: Trump's rebuke to NATO countries
Posted on: 5/28/2017 8:26:03 AM


Is not the heart and crux of the existence of NATO the Article Five aspect. Without that commitment there really is no purpose of having a NATO at all, is there?

So, if you take balloons, a present...and a cake to a friend`s birthday celebration....do you then say..."by the way, just so you know, I`m here for your birthday party." If that is necessary, then somebody`s being kinda dense...don`t yah think?
---------------
"You are a $70, red-wool, pure quill military genius, or the biggest damn fool in northern Mexico."

BWilson

top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 3320

Re: Trump's rebuke to NATO countries
Posted on: 5/28/2017 9:15:02 AM
 An article I saw made a good point. The great moments of the Western Alliance are in the past. Even the Fall of the Berlin Wall is mostly in the memory of those who are older than 40, or close to it, these days. VE Day ? Berlin Airlift ? What were those ? Modern Western society has done a wonderful job of celebrating the inane and a miserable job of educating its youth about the astounding privileges and freedoms they enjoy -- and about the sacrifices that were made in the past that brought about the world they live in.

Cheers

BW
---------------
With occasional, fatigued glances at life's rear-view mirror from the other side of time.

Society's righteous paranoia lows profoundly. -- random wisdom of a computer

George
Centre Hastings, ON, Canada
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Posts: 5313

Re: Trump's rebuke to NATO countries
Posted on: 5/28/2017 12:09:16 PM

Quote:


Is not the heart and crux of the existence of NATO the Article Five aspect. Without that commitment there really is no purpose of having a NATO at all, is there?

So, if you take balloons, a present...and a cake to a friend`s birthday celebration....do you then say..."by the way, just so you know, I`m here for your birthday party." If that is necessary, then somebody`s being kinda dense...don`t yah think?
--morris crumley


Not this time Morris. It is not that obvious that the US is committed to Article 5.

Mr. Trump made a point during his campaign to call NATO an organization that was no longer necessary. He continued that position after his election.

He went so far as to suggest that the US may not participate in a NATO voted Article 5 situation if the country under attack wasn't paying its full 2%.

I don't really believe that Trump understands the benefits to the USA of this coalition but he has people under him who do.

NATO is an important part of the US security system and the security systems of all members.

So I think that it was incumbent upon the president to affirm the US commitment to this alliance. He did not do so and it was noticed.

He also went to the G7 and it was clear that he was the outsider and outlier in the group. No commitment to climate change or the reduction of trade barriers.

The man appeared to be out of his depth. His body language indicated a great deal of discomfort in a crowd of much more polished and aware politicians.

He could have helped himself with some definitive statements both at NATO and at the G7. Instead it was a public shaming of the NATO leaders and an "I'll get back to ya on that", to the G7 leaders.

Cheers,

George

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