News / USA

NATO Members to Discuss Burden Sharing

Dozens take part in a variety of protests leading up to this weekend's NATO summit in Chicago, May 16, 2012.
Dozens take part in a variety of protests leading up to this weekend's NATO summit in Chicago, May 16, 2012.
WASHINGTON -- Leaders of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) nations meet in Chicago this weekend to address two major challenges -- how to dial down their involvement in Afghanistan and, perhaps more vexing, how to maintain military readiness in the face of sharp budget restrictions.
 
The heads of state and government from the 28 NATO nations want to make sure the alliance continues to develop and maintain military capabilities needed to fulfill all possible future missions. To make that happen, the NATO leaders will be looking Sunday and Monday at their member nations’ military infrastructure, the level of their firepower, logistical support, intelligence and reconnaissance operations.

Charles Kupchan, a military expert at the Council on Foreign Relations, says NATO leaders also will focus on how to make sure the European powers carry their fair share of NATO’s military burden. He says the issue of burden-sharing takes on a new importance for several reasons.

“One is that the United States is pivoting out of Europe, putting more emphasis on the Middle East and East Asia,” Kupchan says. “Our footprint in Europe is going down to about 30,000 troops."

A second factor, he says, is that Washington is now operating under tight budget restrictions that are likely to get even tighter, including reduced defense spending.

“And that makes the U.S. more sensitive to what its partners in the NATO alliance are doing,” Kupchan says. “And then you have the financial crisis in Europe, which is sapping the strength of the European Union and means that most resources will be going to try to climb out of debt -- not buying new military capability.”

Kupchan and other military experts say this is why burden-sharing among NATO members is so important. A good example of how to share military burdens, he says, is last year’s conflict in Libya, where the Europeans took the lead military role helping the rebels who eventually toppled Muammar Gaddafi.

“But it was also quite clear that the United States needed to stand behind the Europeans on a whole set of important issues, including refueling, intelligence, reconnaissance and surveillance,” Kupchan says, noting that the Libyan conflict also disclosed a point of weakness among the European militaries.

“The Europeans started running out of ordinance and the United States needed to resupply them,” he says. “And in that sense, a mission that was relatively brief in duration and not one of high intensity exposed the degree to which the Europeans don’t have a lot of assets in their storehouses.”

To avoid such difficulties, NATO leaders meeting in Chicago are expected to look at ways to pool military resources more efficiently and to integrate multi-national defense structures -- a concept known as “smart defense.”

The alliance’s senior officials will also discuss the notion of partnership with non-NATO countries such as Australia, New Zealand, Pakistan, Korea, Ireland, Sweden and Finland.

But looming behind all these deliberations, says Sean Kay, a NATO expert at Ohio Wesleyan University, is the question of finance -- how to pay for necessary levels of military readiness.

“Because, at the end of the day, when you think [about] what is the biggest challenge or threat to the NATO members today, it’s clearly not military -- there is no conventional military threat to these countries,” says Kay. “But the thing that really matters is the economy.”

And given the economic crisis now hammering the euro currency zone, he adds, it is essential that U.S. and European leaders pay close attention to defense spending and “the dynamics of the relationship between NATO and the European Union.”

“The Europeans should not be spending more on defense, neither should we,” Kay says. “So the question is, how are we going to use this relationship between NATO and the European Union to better recognize these new realities in terms of budgets, priorities and operations?"

Kay says NATO leaders also should consider how the European Union can play a role in helping the Europeans take the lead in their own region “if they have future problems like they did in Libya, or maybe in the Balkans or something like that.

“So the NATO-EU partnership becomes crucial,” he says.

As for the Balkans, regional countries such as Macedonia, Montenegro and Bosnia aspire to become NATO members. But alliance experts say the NATO summit in Chicago will not deal with enlargement and will not invite new countries to become members.

Andre de Nesnera

Andre de Nesnera is senior analyst at the Voice of America, where he has reported on international affairs for more than three decades. Now serving in Washington D.C., he was previously senior European correspondent based in London, established VOA’s Geneva bureau in 1984 and in 1989 was the first VOA correspondent permanently accredited in the Soviet Union.

You May Like

Lion Cecil's Killing Sparks 'Canned Hunting' Debate in S. Africa

Conservationists believe incident, which triggered worldwide outrage, will reshape debate about practice in which hunters are allowed to target animals bred for hunting More

Taliban's New Leader Says Jihad Will Continue

Top US Afghan diplomat also meets with Pakistani, Afghan officials following news of Mullah Omar's death More

Environmentalists Issue Warning on Mekong Biodiversity

Scientists say decades of economic development, hydropower-dam construction, lax law enforcement and trafficking have taken their toll More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: popsiq from: flavia
May 18, 2012 6:56 PM
Just because you voted in favor of the party a decade ago doesn't mean your kids have to pay for it to-day, and tomorrow.

Oh! That would be your great grand-kids now.

"Burden sharing" the war makers call it.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missionsi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
George Putic
July 30, 2015 8:59 PM
Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video 'Metal Muscles' Flex a New Bionic Hand

Artificial limbs, including the most complex of them – the human hand – are getting more life-like and useful due to constant advances in tiny hydraulic, pneumatic and electric motors called actuators. But now, as VOA’s George Putic reports, scientists in Germany say the future of the prosthetic hand may lie not in motors but in wires that can ‘remember’ their shape.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video 'Positive Atmosphere' Points Toward TPP Trade Deal in Hawaii

Talks on a major new trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations are said to be nearing completion in Hawaii. Some trade experts say the "positive atmosphere" at the discussions could mean a deal is within reach, but there is still hard bargaining to be done over many issues and products, including U.S. drugs and Japanese rice. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.

VOA Blogs