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

China May Be Biggest Winner From Ukraine Crisis

Missile sales, oil and gas shipments are among many areas that may drive Beijing and Moscow closer together in coming years More

Obama Faces Chaotic World, Limits of Power

Current foreign policy issues bring into focus challenges for US policymakers who are mindful of Americans' waning appetite for overseas military engagements More

SADC Meeting Lesotho Officials to Resolve Stalemate

Official says regional bloc has been engaged with leaders in Lesotho to resolve political disagreement that led to coup attempt 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.
West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015i
X
Carol Pearson
August 30, 2014 7:14 PM
A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assault

After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Growing Business Offers Paint with a Twist of Wine

Two New Orleans area women started a small business seven years ago with one thing in mind: to help their neighbors relieve the stress of coping with a hurricane's aftermath. Today their business, which pairs painting and a little bit of wine, has become one of the fastest growing franchises across the U.S. VOA’s June Soh met the entrepreneurs at their newest franchise location in the Washington suburbs.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.

AppleAndroid