Corbyn and NATO

 

That an absolute neophyte at serious politics like Donald Trump becomes the first American presidential nominee (from either the Democratic or Republican Party) to question Washingtons NATO article 5 obligation of “Collective Defense” shouldn’t surprise anybody.

But that a sitting Labour party leader fighting to continue in that job, and hoping to win the next general election, does the same is absolutely incredible. And the fact that he did so only a couple of weeks after flip-flopping over EU membership (from a very conditional “Remain” before, to a “get out now” the day after the Referendum)  creates the impression that he thinks the UK can go it alone, without the support, let alone the trust of European partners, on all foreign policy issues.

At the Birmingham hustings for the leadership elections last week, Corbyn said that when Russia threatens to attack or invade any NATO country, he hoped to avoid that by diplomatic means, and that he “doesn’t want to go to war”. But any historian can tell you that diplomacy can only speak softly if you carry a big stick for people who don’t respect any other kind of argument.  To put it in a Marxist metaphor: without the material fundamentals the political superstructure won’t function.

Corbyn’s utterances about Britain’s EU and NATO obligations come after his insane compromise proposal: renew Trident submarines, but without nuclear weapons; a compromise that went against official Labour party policy. The Dutch and the British submarine forces both play essential and unique roles in European NATO defence: the one strengthening nuclear deterrence, the other able to do intelligence and other missions far from European coasts. Strengthening their intelligence capability (a reasonable proposal to make nuke-free British Tridents useful) but weakening the deterrence, now that the Crimea is filling up with rocket systems (and NATO partner Erdogan’s Turkey is in its second big purge in 10 years of military and diplomatic brass and specialists), is no way to maintain NATO’s defense.

Aneurin Bevan, hero of postwar Labour Left, told the 1957 Labour Party Conference that, on the subject of nuclear armament, he as Shadow Foreign Secretary would not let any British Foreign Secretary “walk naked into the conference chamber”. He was not (or not only) talking about not having nukes, but about not having allies (so Labour foreign policy historian Professor John Callaghan tells us).  Remember: before joining NATO, the Attlee government helped found and expand the Western European Union; so Labour has a tradition of joining European partners in defensive alliances.

And the Baltic states and Poland will ask Mr. Corbyn: “The UK tried to guarantee our security once by diplomatic means, but wasn’t able to help us militarily when that failed; what guarantee can you give that that won’t happen again?”.

Andrew Marr calls Bevan the first leader of the leftist “If Only” faction in postwar Labour (see his book “A History of Modern Britain”, Pan Books/Macmillan, London, 2008, p. 183-4), many of whose organizational demands are those of the Corbynites. And I agree with my compatriot and colleague-historian Rutger Bregman in The Guardian ( 19th of August) that Corbyn symbolizes the return of a “underdog socialism” that fails to give people hope or self-confidence, especially those in countries bordering Russia. The British people deserve better than that!

* Bernard Aris is a Dutch historian (university of Leiden), and Documentation assistant to the D66 parliamentary Party. He is a member of the Brussels/EU branch of the LibDems.

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33 Comments

  • Sorry, Bernard. It’s a bit rich for a citizen of Holland, a country which chose not to have an ‘independent nuclear deterrent’ to comment some of these matters.

  • ………………But any historian can tell you that diplomacy can only speak softly if you carry a big stick for people who don’t respect any other kind of argument………..

    And when the other people have a much, much bigger stick?

  • Peter Hutton 22nd Aug '16 - 3:54pm

    Re Expats “And when the other people have a much, much bigger stick?” well that is when collective mutuality of support (such as Nato / Article 5) comes to the fore.

  • Mike Johnson 22nd Aug '16 - 4:33pm

    I agree with much of what you are saying, but it’s still embarrassing, that we as a nation don’t even spend, what I think is the bare minimal, of 2 percent GDP on defense.

    I think I might be in the extreme minority of this party on this issue but:
    I think we should even consider doubling it and commit to 3.5-4% defense target, since there are way too many freeriding nations, outsourcing their defense to the american defense complex.

  • Peter Hutton 22nd Aug ’16 – 3:54pm…………….Re Expats “And when the other people have a much, much bigger stick?” well that is when collective mutuality of support (such as Nato / Article 5) comes to the fore………..

    Peter, WW1 hostilities started because of ‘mutuality of support’…..It appears that Corbyn is censured for stating that, “Jaw, Jaw is better than War, War”…Such censure is clearly justified as only a far left socialist would make such a silly statement

  • The French have nukes; the Americans have nukes; how many nukes does NATO need?

  • Bernard Aris 22nd Aug '16 - 5:40pm

    @ David Raw

    And how “Independent” is the British Nuclear Deterrent? How much did it cost a nation with five times the population and three times the size of a Commonwealth around the world, to try building up one, with British scientists working through the war (wonder what continental Dutch were doing at that time? Starving in the “Hunger Winter” of 1944-45 and being deported like the whole male population of the town of Putten; see:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Netherlands_in_World_War_II#German_occupation and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dutch_famine_of_1944%E2%80%9345 and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Putten_raid )? With the adoption of Polaris and the abandonment of self-built British bombers (Vickers isn’t a big independent manufacturer anymore) Macmillan and Wilson had to swallow British pride and use American systems. We still have nuclear weapons on Volkel Airforce base, and Dutch governments supported stationing American cruise missiles (until they were no longer needed); just like the British.
    Another reason we couldn’t afford to pay an independent nuclear deterrence was that we sacrificed our Merchant Navy in Atlantic convoys to feed the British in 1940-45, and in protecting the provisional harbours after the D Day landings (biggest ships sunk as artificial buffers against storms. And without the Bauxite from Surinam (as former British colony we exchanged for New York) how many American and British airplanes could have been built? In other words: we were otherwise occupied when Britain prepared its nuclear weapons program.
    And we had a tougher time (see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bersiap ) decolonising Indonesia than Britain with the Raj.
    So sorry we could not possibly afford a Dutch nuclear deterrence…

    And who were the neighbours in Afghanistan of the British in Helmand? The Dutch in Uruzgan. O, we are such pacifists, we don’t support any Allied effort…

  • Eddie Sammon 22nd Aug '16 - 6:05pm

    Bernard Aris being Dutch doesn’t mean he can’t comment on UK nuclear policy. Outside views are welcome.

    I believe in Nato, but it doesn’t mean we can’t listen to people’s concerns in Europe who don’t support it. We can’t just have a policy of “if you don’t like it then tough, end of debate.”

  • Lorenzo Cherin 22nd Aug '16 - 6:23pm

    David Raw goes too far in his comment on Bernard , I think that a Dutch man with mainstream Liberal views is more pro British than many so called liberal , actually left wing apologists at best , critics at worst , of our extraordinary and great , Britain.

    Maybe it is because I am half Italian and of part Irish origin that I feel this!

  • Tsar Nicholas 22nd Aug '16 - 7:04pm

    I agre with Corbyn. NATO should have been disbanded in 1991. Since then it has been an excuse for war, not peace.

  • Bernard, I’m afraid I may have been misunderstood. I’m sorry if I touched a nerve but I took it that you were telling the British Liberal Democrats to maintain Trident – in which case I profoundly disagree with you. Tell me if that is wrong, but that’s how it came across. That is why I said what I did given the Dutch Government’s stance on nuclear weapons.

    As it happens, you may remember we once discussed my Dad being at Volkel for six months ( I’ve been there and to Arnhem and Groesbeek many times) in the winter of 44/45 so I understand about the Hunger Winter. Dad and his squadron shared all their rations and heating fuel – and got clothes from the UK – for the local people throughout that period. He saw plenty of action and flak over the Rhine in his Typhoon in the liberation and lost many close friends…. (his best pal is buried in Nijmegen, crash landing instead of baling out to save the civilians).

    My daughter, his grand-daughter, married a Dutchman…… so, If anyone thinks I’m unfriendly to the Netherlands they could not be more wrong. Straight talk between Liberal friends – Eddie and Lorenzo please note – should be welcomed.

  • Bernard Aris 22nd Aug '16 - 9:14pm

    @ David Raw (part 1 of 3)
    I’m sorry to tell you that over the past year I’ve come, reluctantly, to the conclusion that Trident should stay nuclear.
    A D66 MP I used to work for in the 1990’s, Jan Willem van Waning, was a submarine crewmember and captain (and Dutch Navy attaché at our embassy in Washington DC) before going into D66 politics. And since the late ‘80’s I’ve been on the Defence & Security Policy Committee of the “Scientific Bureau” (delivering substance to base party policy on from volunteering members; mostly experts in the field) of D66, with many serving and former people from the Dutch military (including Afghan veterans). Our former Defense secretary, Joris Voorhoeve, has switched back from the VVD (where he was party leader and our Defence Secretary at the time of Srebrenica) to D66 because of our idealist European standpoint, and insistence om International Law-legality in entering foreign security (“peacekeeping”) operations like ISAF and bombing ISIS. Over the years, I’ve participated in repeated debates and talks in the policy committee and with Mr. Van Waning and Voorhoeve about how to pursue n idealist, progressive Foreign & Security policy without being naïve about emerging or existing threats.
    Both ex-MP Van Waning and ex-Secretary Voorhoeve, and most military men and women (Clingendael experts; see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Netherlands_Institute_of_International_Relations_Clingendael ) on the D66 Defence committee, have convinced me that for the sake of (at minimum) European Defence, Trident must stay nuclear. Their main reason was put succinctly by a Dutch Royal Navy spokesman (Navy captain) giving a presentation to the D66 Defence committee this January about the Dutch and British debates on submarine renewal, saying Trident must stay nuclear to keep on spreading the risk (or threat) for anti-NATO agressors (Putin; possibly Iran supporting Assad and Hezbollah in a Syrian dustup with the West).

  • Bernard Aris 22nd Aug '16 - 9:38pm

    @ David Raw (part 2 of 3)
    For D66, and for Dutch Social Liberalism in general, hard-nosed “Realism” in International Relation never has come easy; we share the optimism of people like Cobden & Bright about nonviolent means to prevent or avoid armed conflicts.
    Before 1914, the VDB international relations opinionmaker, Leiden professor C. van Vollenhoven, advocated having an International Tribunal with supranational status, having its own Navy to enforce its decisions about international conflicts (VDB was the 1901-1946 predecessor of D66; see below).
    In 1918 up to around 1933, support for the League of Nations and serious international Disarmament were the VDB top priorities of the VDB in foreign ande Defence policies. Only the rising an undeniable Nazi threat converted the VDB to a “realist” position, advocating rearming Holland (see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free-thinking_Democratic_League#Ideology_and_issues ).
    After the war, the VDB split up between VVD (rightist Liberal) and PvdA (Labour), but both wings (and both parties) fully supported the Benelux initiating the formation of the Western European Union and NATO.
    One of the founding members of D66 (in 1966) also founded a trade union for conscript Dutch soldiers doing military service; a unique phenomenon in NATO armed forces (we still have more than one union for professional military: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Armed_forces_of_the_Netherlands#Unionized_military ). Dutch conscripts had long hair and beards, and their own union; but turned out to be good soldiers, as even NATO Secretary General Lord Carrington had to concede.
    In the 1980’s we were wary of installing cruise missiles in the Netherlands.
    That is the background of my party and my political life (since my student days in the 1970’s). So I can sympathize with critics or opponents of Trident staying nuclear.

  • Bernard Aris 22nd Aug '16 - 9:39pm

    @ David Raw (part 3 of 3)
    But after the Crimea annexation, the disruption and subversion (from two “people republic” enclaves in the East, from TransDnistria, and in international gremiums, fora and news mediums like the Russian TV station opening a station in Edinburgh); the behavior of Russian military aircraft in European airspace (putting their transponders out, scaring the beejeebers out of 747 passenger airplane pilots) and over NATO navy ships; seeing the Venlo-like kidnaps of Ukranian pilots and Baltic intelligence people (on the Russian-Baltic border); in view of the massive Russian support of Right-Wing Populists like Marine Le Pen, Farage and the Italian “Lega Nord” to erode the EU from within; seeing the Putin break-ins and hacks of the internet of Baltic countries, the computer systems of the US Democratic party, the Soros foundations and even the NSA; the uncritical reception in the Trump entourage of Putin collaborators like his just deposed second campaign manager (and the Republican National Committee and federal party still financing part of his presidential campaign: “Manchurian Candidate”?); and the arming of the Crimea (modern hardware instead of the decrepit Black See fleet), and Putin and NATO partner Erdogan cosying up;
    After all that we cannot be naïve anymore about the threat we face.
    D66 supports the Dutch NATO contribution climbing up to the 2% of GDP we signed up to; and I for one support the British submarines remaining nuclear and the Dutch submarines keeping their “high seas”Intelligence and special ops capabilities. I’m afraid we have to agree to disagree on that point.
    Mr. Raw , I well remember what you wrote about your father and his late pal, and I respect them and your family for it; and I like some plain speaking in debating important issues (Dutch don’t normally use understatements…); that was never the point.
    PS for the Venlo incident I refer to see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Venlo_Incident .

  • Dave Orbison 22nd Aug '16 - 10:05pm

    Oh dear more Corbyn bashing. And look what he said, is it outrageous? “He’s hope to avoid invasions by using diplomacy and would not want to go to war”. What on earth is wrong with that? Seriously. Then the description that he would not use nuclear warheads makes him ‘insane’. Wheras, using such weapons by way of attack or futile retailiation killing maybe millions of people is….. sane?

    In a previous post a potential LibDem position talks of ‘boxing up our weapons’. But isn’t speed of deployment a critical factor? If we start unpacking them at a time of international tension, wouldn’t that risk further escalation? A well intentioned proposal no doubt but flawed in my opinion. Nevertheless I would not describe the authors as insane.

    I do think it’s right to question NATO and make sure it’s relation with the arms industry isn’t used as a basis for expansionism. Am I allowed to ask that or does that make me insane too?

  • @ Dave Orbison, Again, common sense and principle. Well said.

    For many of us, whatever happens to the Trident issue next Spring could be a deciding factor in determining continuing support. In Scotland it’s also going to be a factor in support for a continuity UK.

  • So, Bernard, you want Britain to maintain Trident.

    When we pass the hat round for the £ 179 billion ( 207 billion euros) are you willing to make a contribution ?

    And presumably your pals in Italy and Ireland will be willing to do the same, Lorenzo ?

  • Jonathan Brown 22nd Aug '16 - 11:12pm

    Interesting article Bernard, thanks.

    I think I’ve become increasingly ‘realist’ seeing what Putin is up to, but I nevertheless support Britain cutting (though not eliminating) its nuclear deterant. Largely for the reasons you cite in support of keeping Trident.

    I think that spending on Trident is weakening our and NATO’s deterant by sucking resources away from the bits of the military and intelligence that we need to stand up to the security threats of the world.

    I think unilateral disarmament would send the wrong message, but reducing our nuclear weapons capability while strengthening our conventional forces and ability to deploy them and support others would be a net boost to NATO and our collective security.

    I’d do that in conjunction with an offer to reduce our nuclear capability further as part of a multilateral deal with Russia.

  • Bernard Aris 23rd Aug '16 - 12:30am

    @Dave Orbison
    Ever since Robert Oppenheimer quoted the Bhagavat Gita at the “Trinity” Test explosion of the atom bomb, summer 1945, “I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds”, total sanity in international relations went out the window for good. Strategic policymaking became also handling the insanity aspect of it, along with rational “Realist” considerations, and ideals about international solidarity and such things.
    But from the beginning of human conflict, disarming or not putting up a maximal defense in the face of a clearly emerging threat never was the wisest course.
    In the third part of my response to Mr. Raw, I enumerated the aspects, symptoms of the emerging Russian threat; putting NATO solidarity in doubt and diminishing the nuclear deterrence at such a time is unhelpful, encourages bullies like Putin and Assad, and doesn’t diminish the tensions or the risks. Comprised in one word, I call that “insane”.
    In the second part of my answer to Mr. Raw, I explained the difficulties we Social Liberals have with 100% hardnosed thinking; but we should be just as wary of ill-timed, unhelpful idealist thinking like Mr. Corbyn has put forward.
    And as to things like the Military Industrial Complex alluded to by you, Mr. Orbison, we at all times (peacful or stressful) should be on our guard against those things, and use our Democracy to unravel it and tame its effects. The Lockheed scandal of the 1970’s (See Anthony Sampsons “The Arms Bazaar”; Coronet Books/Hodder & Stoughton, London, 1978) and the mid-1980’s US Congress hearings revealing that the Pentagon under the first Reagan administration paid $1000 a piece for toilet seats from Haliburton or suchlike (in the massive rearming rush of that Cold Warrior) are useful warnings against that kind of mishap. And those democratic tools should help us detect and prevent it, when the Basil Zaharovs of this world (see: Sampson, Arms Bazaar, the index) try to stir up conflicts anywhere for their own profit (in 1919-’20 he encouraged the Greeks to attempt to annex Ionian Western Turkey; see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basil_Zaharoff#Post-war_dealings ; and: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Megali_Idea ). The Russian arms dealer Bout, with his GRU/Moscow connections (see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viktor_Bout#Alleged_Russian_government_and_intelligence_ties ; who is helping whom?) is a case in point.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 23rd Aug '16 - 1:04am

    David Raw

    Just when I saw an interesting chance for some progress between the Liberal friends , you so warmly refer to us as all being , you ruin it !

    If you understood any of my recent comments and discussions we have had on several threads , you would not refer sarcastically to my , ” pals ” in Italy and Ireland !

    I am a British patriot and a strong internationalist . My pals are my fellow countrymen and women first when they talk sense, and any other countries citizens second , except when they talk sense . Like Bernard Aris does on here !

  • Bernard Aris 23rd Aug '16 - 1:13am

    David, Jonathan,

    The navies of the Benelux and the UK already co-operate and are integrating to a surprising degree (with division of labor in things like mine-sweeping). Further, things like the Rapid Response force and the “tripwire troops” NATO puts forward in the Baltics & Poland are showing the same kind of “joined up” operating by specific, volunteering NATO partners, the Dutch and British among them.
    Instead of each going around with a begging bowl, why not exchange (or: combine) tasks, like the British and the French do with the airplane carrier Charles de Gaulle (correct me if I’m wrong): as long as the British carriers being built aren’t ready, the De Gaulle could serve to transport British warplanes (see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Lancaster_House_Treaties_%282010%29#Aircraft_carriers ); and after that, both countries’ carriers can transport and launch each others airplanes.
    We all, British, Dutch, Irish, Italians, Francais, etcetera, will have to get used to bigger outlays in defense and intelligence; why not add a “six hands” (Benelux, Britain/Ireland/France) co-operation deal beside the existing “five eyes” deal of Anglosaxon intelligence services? And why not revive the old maritime Hanze tradition (Netherlands, Germany, Poland, Baltics) combining merchant and military navies?

    And at all times be prepared to offer reductions if the other side (having re-instated military training of all schoolboys as part of the curriculum…) should surprise us with an offer to “peaceful coexist” or whatever phrase Moscow will come up with now.

    Talking about intelligence, it was at the insistence of D66 (needed for a government policy majority in our House of Lords) that the present Rutte government (VVD & PvdA, not D66) in 2014-5 rescinded massive cuts in Intelligence from their 2012 (!!) coalition program. My increasing “realism” is in tune with that of my party.

  • Dave Orbison 23rd Aug '16 - 8:26am

    @Bernard I recognise that the issue of Trident, and indeed of whether to maintain a nuclear deterrent, attract strongly divided opinions. I do not doubt the sincerity of those who hold these differing opinions. But I think it is unhelpful to label those you disagree with as being ‘insane’ or ‘idealistic’ simply because you disagree with them.

    I think we need to focus on the arguments as objectively as possible. There is merit in some arguments on both sides. Some depend on assumptions that hopefully will never be tested.

    My shift to unilateriasm is based primarily on being pragmatic. Today our nuclear capability is insignificant, less than 1% and there appears to be common ground on this. So I simply do not believe that our 1% would be a significant factor when considered by an aggressor. Equally, what we decide to do, ‘stick or twist’ as referred to in an earlier post, will not persuade anyone to disarm or even promote an attack. We are insignificant in this game.

    Our forces are poorly equipped today. We face new and real threats to life from terrorism, climate change and ill health. We CAN do something in these areas if we spend the funds otherwise allocated to maintaining our small nuclear arms capability. It is a choice people are entitled to make. Finally, I do not believe we will ever secure multilateral nuclear disarmament.

  • Dave Orbison 23rd Aug '16 - 10:20am

    @jedibeeftrix. I agree with David Raw. I don’t see how our spending on conventional forces plus the additional investment needed in nuclear is equivalent to what other NATO nations spend who are free of any nuclear commitment.

    In any event, how we spend our defence budget so as to provide optimum protection of our citizens is every bit as relevant as an issue to consider as is the quantum. We have sent our forces to their deaths due to being ill equipped. Our navy is at the point of cobbling together a serviceable fleet and we now have a £700m annual shortfall in procurement due to the devaluation of £.

    On top of this how will we ever secure disarmament if we are never wiling to question how much we should spend?

    Maintaining 1% nuclear capability is in my view a waste of the defence budget at best, worse it will result in otherwise avoidable deaths by virtue of not diverting these funds where there are immediate life threatening issues.

  • Simon Banks 23rd Aug '16 - 3:36pm

    I’m puzzled how a post apparently about Corbyn’s half-baked ideas turned into an attack on anyone who wants to abandon Trident. There is a cogent case against Trident and I’d be disgusted if in our eagerness to attack the tragi-comic Corbyn we rushed into knee-jerk attitudes on defence.

    Oh, and by the way, defence is spelt with a c not an s.

  • Bernard Aris 23rd Aug '16 - 3:39pm

    Latest Dutch update:

    our Foreign minister Bert Koenders (PvdA= Dutch Labour), just declared two things:
    1) after years of cutting Defense (in 2007-’10 he was Develompent Aid Secretary in a government with Christian Democrats who did that), he now firmly supports increasing Defense Spending under the next government (from 2016 or ’17 at the latest onwards).
    2) he is distrurbed by Corbyn questioning NATO’s article 5, and here Koenders talks both as a government minister and as a lifelong Foreign Affairs specialist in the PvdA (including stints in its parliamentary party, and as ex-UN co-ordinator, 2010-13, of Aid and support for Mali).
    He worries about the policy line Corbyn seems to be taking. In that, I think he talks for a broad spectrum of Dutch politics.

  • Dave Orbison 23rd Aug '16 - 6:45pm

    @ Simon if your were referencing my posts when you say ‘attacks on people’ I reject that entirely. I do not think I have attacked anyone at all but simply put forward my logic as to my position and where I find fault with others. I don’t claim to be right either. This is a very contentious and debatable area.

    But a debate we should have without being called insane, half-baked etc. Remember the LibDem preamble.

    As for using defence vs. defense I consider my iPad and self ducky reprimanded. It obviously borrowed the US spelling which is ironic as we rely so much on their nuclear weapons.

  • Oh, dear me…… I’ve ruined it for someone……. Mind, things always look bleak at 1.04 am in the middle of the night and posting on LDV at that time ought to carry a mandatory public health warning.

    For his own sake, and because I care, a gentle suggestion that a good night’s sleep might just put things in perspective. A short read of what Doctor Samuel Johnson said on 7th April 1775 always gets me nodding off….. and things always look better in the morning.

  • nigel hunter 23rd Aug '16 - 11:00pm

    The Romans had a saying.’ If you want peace, prepare for war’. They knew you had to be strong to deter your enemies. The diplomacy bit was tried before W.W.2. with a sell-out of Czechoslovakia. The bully of the time regarded this as great news, the rest is history. Do we have to go through the event again, say with a sell-out of Ukraine, Latvia? Bullies must be dealt with. Keep Trident, reduced it to three subs and increase conventional forces.

  • John Mitchell 24th Aug '16 - 5:05pm

    I agree with Jeremy Corbyn on NATO but not on Trident. This is a somewhat illogical position to take, especially as Trident is not an independent nuclear deterrent. In many ways, I believe this has undoubtedly tied down our foreign policy objectives for years and fixed it towards an American perspective.

    What are America’s objectives likely to be in the decades ahead? The pivot towards China and an increasing military presence in Asia. I don’t feel as though this necessarily correlates with our own priorities.

    The big problem with NATO is its funding. America financially assists the alliance to the tune of over 70%. For NATO to have any realistic future it needs to be equally funded or radically overhauled. Donald Trump is correct when he says that the U.S spends too much on NATO because it clearly does in proportion with other members. Any American looking at or knowing the actual figures would most likely see it as unfair.

    Britain would be better to have its own nuclear deterrent (which is clearly not an option, financially) as I do not like the concept of being entirely wedged to allies to take or make decisions and particularly on defence. If Britain goes to war or becomes involved in military operations it should be down to the UK parliament and not NATO or U.S lobbying.

    Russia is not without fault in its recent international actions but I also feel that NATO has made things worse than better. An ultranationalist such as Vladimir Putin feeds off the idea that the ‘western world is against them.’

    I guess the most realistic option is to reform NATO, but neo-conservatives in the Washington establishment don’t want to do so. Unreformed, the USA can maintain its dominance of NATO because without US funding, NATO collapses, or its scope of operations is severely reduced. An organisation of such construction is not in the UK’s interests or any of the other member states. Perhaps, a much smaller military alliance with different goals and diplomatic arrangements is much more suitable.

  • John Mitchell 24th Aug '16 - 5:06pm

    * The decision to go to war is down to the UK parliament. The point I was trying to make is that NATO will have an influence on our own decision making.

  • Richard Underhill 28th Aug '16 - 10:35pm

    The EU and NATO were treated in the referendum campaign by Leave campaigners as separate organisations, which historically they had been. This allowed the Leavers to deny the achievements of the EEC, the EC, the EU and their predecessor organisations in bringing preventing war between EU member states. They did this in monosyllabic soundbites, which might be better campaigning, but obscured the facts.
    They argued that the PM’s judgement of the national interest was over-the-top, despite an element of military secrecy. They shamefully distrusted and despised “experts”.
    Dr Linda Rosso has explained the complexities of the overlapping relationships in an article in The New European 26 August 2016, page 19.
    Leaving the EU undermines the security of the UK.

  • Richard Underhill 29th Aug '16 - 9:42am

    Hover over the photo for more information,

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