Friday, May 24, 2019

International Institutions Under Strain (Part 3 - NATO)

(This is part three of a three part learning blogs to honor those who gave their lives to defend things worth defending.)
Daultay Dofine: This scheme of yours has failed, Lord Sidious. The blockade is finished. We dare not go against the Jedi.
Darth Sidious: Viceroy, I don't want to see this stunted slime in my sight again. This turn of events is unfortunate. We must accelerate our plans. Begin landing your troops.
Nute Gunray: Ah, my lord, is that... legal?
Darth Sidious: I will make it legal.
Nute Gunray: And the Jedi?
Darth Sidious: The Chancellor should never have brought them into this. Kill them immediately.
Nute Gunray: Yes, my lord. As you wish. 
- On the eve of Trade Federation’s invasion of Naboo, Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace

Post WWII, Europe faced the daunting task of rebuilding lives while maintaining vigilance for peace and security of the region. Greece was fighting a civil war, tension was mounting in Turkey, and communism was gaining popular support in Italy. The Soviet had successfully advanced a coup in Czechoslovakia (bordering Germany) testing the hospitality of Western Democracy. Great Britain, France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg came together and formed a peacetime military alliance under the Brussels Treaty.

Then U.S. Secretary of State George Marshall sought to support the effort. He had proposed a large-scale stimulus package for Europe in part hoping to stabilize the region. U.S. Congress passed a legislation for the European Recovery Program in April 1948 allowing for some $12 billion (equivalent of $100 billion today) for post war economic revitalization in Europe.

The Soviet Union stood firm on the other side, however; Stalin had barred any satellite States in Eastern Europe from participating in the stimulus activities and instituted a blockade against West Berlin.

To safeguard the European stimulus investments, a Republican Senator Arthur H. Vandenburg called for the negotiations for a North Atlantic Treaty in May of 1948. The US led negotiations were a success; the “Treaty” was signed in 1949 between United States, Canada, Belgium, Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Luxemburg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, and the United Kingdom.

The core principal of this Treaty was infamously enshrined—an attack against one is an attack against all. Article 5 of the Treaty reads:
“The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all and consequently they agree that, if such an armed attack occurs, each of them, in exercise of the right of individual or collective self-defence recognized by Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations, will assist the Party or Parties so attacked by taking forthwith, individually and in concert with the other Parties, such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area.  
Any such armed attack and all measures taken as a result thereof shall immediately be reported to the Security Council. Such measures shall be terminated when the Security Council has taken the measures necessary to restore and maintain international peace and security.” 
NATO has invoked this Muskeetering Article 5 only once—after the 9/11 attacks against the United States. NATO does have an active duty force ready to guarantee the collective defense of the participating nation States; it has taken up the collective defense measures on several occasions including in Syria and in the wake of the Russia-Ukraine crisis.

Today, the NATO peacetime military alliance is the largest of its kind in the world. Yet in all of its military might and glory, NATO is only catching up to the cyber defense priorities of the modern age. Even less so, the NATO alliance as led by the United States has yet to fully appreciate the need for a coordinated effort to deter economic warfare against democracies and promote economic progress conducive to the ideals on which NATO was built.

Nationalist movements are gaining popularity in the US and in Europe. With these moving tides, international conflicts in cyber and economic spaces directly challenge the NATO’s Muskeetering motto. As national incentives across the Atlantic become untangled and misaligned from one another, the NATO alliance appears an outdated watchdog of aging western democracies. With billions of dollars’ worth of economic damages at stake and rising risks to our critical infrastructures, private sector mercenaries and active citizens are organizing to supplement State sponsored ones. From Anonymous to Bell¿ngcat, distributed model of operation is replacing centralized headquarters in military camps with active citizens and private security forces with computer terminals.

NATO’s “all for one and one for all” by default establishes an enemy; but who are today’s enemies? Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at the recent May 2019 Cyber Defence Pledge Conference (London) stated in response to a question by UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt:
 “… the more and better protected resilient we will have our critical infrastructure the more the enemies will focus on the mind of our societies. And here, indeed, the aim is to undermine the trust, the mutual trust, to undermine also the credibility of [democracies] …” 
There will always be frictions and wars. Preventing them requires good organization and collective actions, but more importantly it requires a strong moral core—one that was NATO’s inception of fostering democracies, not bullying autocracies.

 “War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.” ― George Orwell, 1984

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