Tuesday, May 22, 2012


The Chicago meeting has put President Obama’s hometown under the spotlight.  Otherwise, the summit was a boring affair where personalities clashed and ideas were on sabbatical.  NATO didn’t do its homework and the communiqué/deadline for exit out of the Afghan cemetery of empires are unconvincing at least. This is bad since it is the organization self  which should be reviewed before  opening the widows and run the risk of overstretching.

--NATO can modulate  the eastward direction of the American strategy.

--In a dysfunctional Europe, it can contribute to revamping a more homogeneous Western counterpart, at a time when there are ominous signs in the Balkans and wherein the roses of the Arab Spring might have more thorns than flowers.

--Europe’s military capacity without American military might is insufficient.

--NATO must get rid of a lingering Cold War culture and come up with new shared tasks, such as climate change, more weapons standardization, intelligence sharing, Cyber war, etc.

Those aspects concern, in the first place, strictly NATO partners and not participants, who cannot been trusted and can end up being friend or foe. It is time to review our workings and to stop indirectly financing Pakistani blackmail or Afghan poppy growers. President Obama was right not to meet face to face with the Pakistani president.  Boxed in by the politics of his predecessor he felt obliged however to meet in a bilateral talk with Karzai.

 The sooner we leave Afghanistan the better. Too many lives lost, too much money spent recklessly. Whatever the comments of the NGOs might want us to believe, the burka is there to stay, not to mention a perverse culture of honor killings and sexism. The West, in the first place the Americans, should not finance this poppy mafia.  In the end there remains only the tragic conclusion that we all  realize that too many gave their lives to no avail.  Do not expect Normandy-type cemeteries for the fallen coalition forces in Afghanistan, when this nightmare ends. Ingratitude and tribal bad blood will rule unabated.
NATO must come together again, not as some opportunistic electoral platform as was the case in Chicago but as a think-tank where new inroads can be worked out. The last Meeting did not enhance NATO’s credibility. It tried to hide disunity, hinted  how the new French president is reduced to become a “person of interest” in a fortnight, and missed an opportunity to examine China’s structural problems, the BRIC bluff or Russia’s Potemkin style of governing.  Wisely, Putin did not attend, leaving the mike to Obama and Medvedev for another comedy moment. In the United States things are not that much better.  Romney forgets that the Cold War is over and President Obama remains hostage to a lethal political/economical heritage. The EU and the Europeans individually end up being tolerated sans plus. Hence the importance of NATO strictu sensu where Europeans still can talk en famille and see how to work with the Americans in a galaxy of flashpoints from Asia to Europe.  Photo-ops will not do it.  A tsunami of problems is rolling  in ; better to be ready than to be taken taken by surprise.  Sometimes a potion of enlightened Rousseau-ism can help.

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