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Is Nato still relevant?

08:29 UK time, Thursday, 18 November 2010

Nato members have met in Portugal for what was billed as one of the most crucial summits in the alliance's 61-year history. What is Nato's role in the world?

At the summit leaders of Nato's 28 states backed a strategy to transfer leadership for the fight against the Taliban to Afghan forces by the end of 2014.

On Friday member states agreed a new 10-year "strategic concept", a document that defines the fundamental nature of Nato's role in the world.

What is the future for Nato? Is the organisation heading in the right direction? What impact will a timetable for transfer have on Afghanistan?

This debate is now closed. Thank you for your comments.

Comments

Page 1 of 6

  • Comment number 1.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 2.

    Although I agree that NATO should be cut down my fear would be that it makes the wrong kind of cuts. It would be cheaper to put the headquarters in another country Belgium is already an expensive place, and already houses nearly all the European Institutions.

  • Comment number 3.

    Actually the only rationale for Nato is to keeps the dwarf European contries, as US's servants.

  • Comment number 4.

    I would like to thank George Robertson for being the man in charge when NATO got dragged thousands of miles away from its proper role in Europe and into Afghanistan.

    Thanks a bunch George.

  • Comment number 5.

    Well since the UKs armed forces have now been reduced to a level that Neville Chamberlin would be proud of and we could not even defend ourselves against an attack from Isle of Sheppey I think that NATO is still very important.

    We will need John Wayne and his mates to gallop to our rescue (forget the French) should we ever need them again, although I cannot see why they would want to help this country anymore.

  • Comment number 6.

    Is Nato still relevant?

    Tricky one.

    Nato was designed designed to give the west protection against large scale threats, such as those posed by say a Soviet invasion of Europe.

    At the moment, although Nato is in afghanistan it seems to be there more as a fig leaf for US policy rather than an independent peace keeping force.

    Maybe the answer is to stop using Nato as world police, let that role be filled by UN troops, and leave Nato for serious large scale, conventional security threats.

  • Comment number 7.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 8.

    @ Alan Baker, post #5

    "We will need John Wayne and his mates to gallop to our rescue (forget the French) should we ever need them again, although I cannot see why they would want to help this country anymore."

    Well, given the casualties amongst the civillian populations after they "helped" Iraq... I think that's probably for the best, don't you?

  • Comment number 9.

    • 8. At 09:17am on 18 Nov 2010, Khrystalar wrote:
    @ Alan Baker, post #5

    "We will need John Wayne and his mates to gallop to our rescue (forget the French) should we ever need them again, although I cannot see why they would want to help this country anymore."

    Well, given the casualties amongst the civillian populations after they "helped" Iraq... I think that's probably for the best, don't you?

    Nice one Khrystalar, can’t argue with that

  • Comment number 10.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 11.

    NATO is not relevant anymore, and it is unnecessarily antagonising Russia.

  • Comment number 12.

    Yes in fighting terrorism but not where that means invading other peoples countries which in turn makes the invaders country less safe.

    The problem is that NATO is a solution to a problem that has disappeared - the cold war!!! Given this solution still exists in a largely unaltered form it needs revising and reviewing to reduce its overall costs while raising performance and efficiency.

  • Comment number 13.

    As far as I can see, the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation is made up of two nations; USA and UK.

    And I'm sure the other (former) founding members see it this way now as well.

    NATO is out of date and acts now only as a mythical presence to help justify certain controversial acts Britain and America commit in the name of 'democracy'.

  • Comment number 14.

    NATO needs to change. It is better to modify an existing organisation than to start again with a new one. Perhaps we should think of bringing Russia in as we share many common interests. I am not saying we should all gang up on China, heaven forbid! What ever we do we must work for peace and with two former adversaries on board we might just have a little experience on that score!

  • Comment number 15.

    NATO's reason for being was to allow western Europe to defend itself against a very real, at the time, Soviet threat.

    That threat's gone, but NATO is still here.

    NATO still has a role in terms of standardisation and general cooperation between European and North American armed forces, but that doesn't require a huge bureaucracy.

    Also, I don't like the idea of us being tied in to a mutual defence pact with many of the east European states. They're nothing but a problem to us as members of the EU.

    Looking at the damage letting East Europeans in to the UK has done to this country, I'd be very reluctant to see us wasting troops and money defending them.

  • Comment number 16.

    It is a good way to spend money on the military.

    Particularly now that all the different countries are being told to "invest" in a new US missile system for use against *.............
    *Fill in the blank space with the country of your choice: ............
    (preferably one that doesn't have missiles)

  • Comment number 17.

    11. At 09:37am on 18 Nov 2010, Mustafa Yorumcu wrote:
    NATO is not relevant anymore, and it is unnecessarily antagonising Russia.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Given that the Russian airforce has re-started probing UK airspace to determine RAF response times I think 'NATO antagonising' would be the pot calling the kettle black.

  • Comment number 18.

    HYS - "Is Nato still relevant?":

    Yes - more than ever before - BUT:

    This World faces more dangerous Nations / States that threaten World peace than in the past. The weapons they could use are also more dangerous too.

    It is true, that being dependent on those self-serving 'ambivalent' NATO Nations for it's Logistics etc, DOES make NATO far weaker than it needs to be. It has become too much of a 'squabbling-pot' in recent years - It needs to sreamline for effectiveness.

    Therefore, the Command-structure SHOULD be re-arranged as suggested.

  • Comment number 19.

    9. At 09:24am on 18 Nov 2010, Alan Baker wrote:

    • 8. At 09:17am on 18 Nov 2010, Khrystalar wrote:
    @ Alan Baker, post #5

    "We will need John Wayne and his mates to gallop to our rescue (forget the French) should we ever need them again, although I cannot see why they would want to help this country anymore."

    Well, given the casualties amongst the civillian populations after they "helped" Iraq... I think that's probably for the best, don't you?

    Nice one Khrystalar, can’t argue with that


    We should also consider the number of our troops killed by friendly fire (the bravery of being out of range). Yes, friends & an orginisation that we need to be wary of.

  • Comment number 20.

    I share the logic propounded by a certain Vesegius who said "he that shall have peace must prepare for war". There is no end to bad guys, believe me, and each time you drop your guard, they pop up like scary genies from an Arabian lamp. So, unless you all want to get booted back into the 6th century AD, better keep your NATO.

  • Comment number 21.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 22.

    NATO is a waste of enormous sums of money for its member-states. It is not just a "we'll help you if you're attacked" agreement; it is a massive bureaucratic blotting paper for money because it deals with may aspects of life that has nothing to do with defence (or offence). For example, it duplicates the work of many specialised agencies in subjects like the environment and energy, to no purpose. Furthermore, it acts outside the area it is supposed its members come from; by what stretch of the imagination is Afghanistan near the North Atlantic?

    I believe that it should be cut back down to a simple treaty of mutual help between its members, cutting out at least 80% of its expenditure (and vacating its palatial HQ in Brussels!)

  • Comment number 23.

    NATO was primarily formed as a bulwark against communism and the Russian domination. The organization has served its objectives very well from the end of second world war till now. It has brought peace to Europe and elsewhere which has contributed to the economic progress and prosperity to many nations.

    Its relevance to today's circumstances are hard to predict. War and peace are like a friendship between two unpredictable personalities. One can never say when they may go after each other's throat.

    NATO's early formational structural set up may not be relevant today and may need cost cutting, trimming, made leaner, mobile and stronger and responding quicker to emergencies.

    It has to be around for many more generations to come. Its demise would make the world more of a dangerous place to live.


  • Comment number 24.

    What a wonderful life it must be to work in NATO.

    No accountability, plenty of public money to spend, and tucked in among thousands of other nameless individuals on a cosy salary. Time these people saw the real world.

    Drastic cuts should definitely be made, but NATO itself must remain as a worldwide peace-keeping force - not one to wage war.

  • Comment number 25.

    NATO is a common defence organisation... if one member is attacked all the other members should provide mutual defence. There's no mention in the NATO treaties of this just applying to Russia or it having to take place in the North Atlantic (Britain was allowed to dip into NATO reserve stocks of Weapons for the Falklands war.... Greece used NATO to help provide security for the Athens Olympics, much as it refused to meet its obligations in Yugoslavia)

    On 11th Sept 2001 the USA was attacked, on March 11 2004 Madrid was attacked and on 7th July 2005 London was attacked. All three attacks were masterminded in Afghanistan so the for the first time in NATO history its reason to exist actually happened.

    We don't need the command structure for fighting a major armoured war in Europe anymore but we certainly need mutual defence treaties... especially when we cut our armed forces back so much we can't defend ourselves any more,

  • Comment number 26.

    19. At 10:11am on 18 Nov 2010, Syni_cal wrote:
    "We should also consider the number of our troops killed by friendly fire (the bravery of being out of range). Yes, friends & an orginisation that we need to be wary of."

    Would you like me to list all the friendly fire incidents BRITISH troops have inflicted both on each other and our allies?

    Here's a few to make you think twice before posting smug comments about the Americans: this is just the Afghan ones I can find in 2 minutes. There's more from Iraq and hundreds going back through the Falklands and WWII. The only US Lt General ever to die in battle died when the RAF bombed him and 1600 other US soldiers just after D-day.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worldnews/article-1038781/British-soldier-faces-manslaughter-charges-Afghanistan-friendly-deaths.html

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/dec/21/military-police-friendly-fire-death

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2007/nov/27/military.world

    Its worth remembering too that the only British Challenger II tank to be lost in battle was accidentally shot by another British Challenger II.

  • Comment number 27.

    North Atlantic Treay Organisation.
    The clue is in the name. NATO really need to decide what it's fuction is. How is Afghanistan in the North Atlantic? We couldn't rely on NATO during the Falklands campaign and it was at least in the Atlantic. It seems that NATO is just a buffer between the USA and her enemies. Can people not remember Reagans 'theatre of war' speech. NATO is there only to keep death from US soil. I don't trust any of our 'leaders' to have any kind of foresight, backbone or strategy.

  • Comment number 28.

    11. At 09:37am on 18 Nov 2010, Mustafa Yorumcu wrote:
    NATO is not relevant anymore, and it is unnecessarily antagonising Russia.
    ________________________________________________________________
    Whereas Russia sending potentially nuclear armed bombers in UK airspace and murdering dissidents on the streets of London with Polonium is fine right?

    .......and thats before I get onto Russia selling missiles to Iran and Venezuela, invading her neighbours and threatening to turn off Europes gas supply.

  • Comment number 29.

    Isn't it the case that 'most' armed conflicts are resolved under the UN banner these days. If so, couldn't NATO be re-organised into a UN military force thus rationalising existing buildings and management structures? [If not, whats the point of the UN??]

    Oh and don't forget the up and coming EU military force - lots of of new buildings and management structures...

    I suspect NATO could be organised into a single building (office?) that responds to UN crisis management calls by calling on its member nations armed forces (or is this approach to simplistic?).

  • Comment number 30.

    Peter_Sym, as usual has a lot to say in defence of his right wing views but again as usual has little or nothing other than staff room chatter to substantiate them. I've read Peter's posts for a while now and I think that after reading the first 1 or 2 decided that he must be a school teacher. Please enlighten me for once peter, am I right?

  • Comment number 31.

    27. At 10:46am on 18 Nov 2010, Alba Al wrote:
    North Atlantic Treay Organisation.
    The clue is in the name. NATO really need to decide what it's fuction is. How is Afghanistan in the North Atlantic? We couldn't rely on NATO during the Falklands campaign and it was at least in the Atlantic. It seems that NATO is just a buffer between the USA and her enemies. Can people not remember Reagans 'theatre of war' speech. NATO is there only to keep death from US soil. I don't trust any of our 'leaders' to have any kind of foresight, backbone or strategy.
    _________________________________________________________________

    To quote from a Website:
    "Caspar Weinberger who was the Defence Secretary at the time was the leader of the group called the ‘Atlanticists’ who believed that America should support her closest NATO ally and it would send a clear message that America did not support brutal and aggressive dictators. His staunch support later earned him a British Knighthood. He provided the United Kingdom with all the equipment she required during the war. Ranging from submarine detectors to the latest missiles. All this was done very discreetly. His actions led to divisions amongst Reagan’s staff. Whilst Weinberger claimed that he has received authorisation from Ronald Reagan to provide covert support to the UK"

    The US provided A MILLION LITRES of aviation fuel a week to Ascenscion island, missiles, satellite intelligence etc. NATO provided 200 all aspect sidewinder missiles (giving our sea harriers a massive edge over the Argentineans). The reason the rest of NATO didn't join in is simple.... we didn't ask them to. Equally the US also had a treaty with Argentina to help defend her... that was ignored too.

    Incidentally how are Turkey, Greece or Italy (or even Germany or Norway for that matter) anything to do with the 'Atlantic' either? 'Atlantic' is in the title because its the thing that links America and Europe. 'European Treaty Organisation' would exclude the US and Canada.

  • Comment number 32.

    Is Nato still relevant?
    No, it should be disbanded. As written above it was formed because of the former soviet threat which no longer exists. To say it is necessary against the war on terror doesn't make sense, billions of pounds and the latest military technology to fight Afghani tribesmen doing nothing more than protecting their homeland. The argument NATO is necessary because we don't know what threat is waiting round the corner also sounds like very expensive paranoia.
    The European Union should develop a defense force outside of American influence. British soldiers have died and are dying now because of American mismanagement on a massive scale, does anybody know who the real enemy is in Afghanistan? I do! It is us! Let the Afghani people live as they wish in their land.
    We should wake up and let the USA spawn a new alliance with themselves and Israel. We should decide the merit of any threat presented to us with those that got it right over Iraq, the Germans and French.

  • Comment number 33.

    NATO has become an ineffective organization. It is no longer required. The casualties that occurred in affected areas are much more than the success of NATO forces.

    NATO should be abandoned and the world leaders should support individual country’s forces.

  • Comment number 34.

    28. At 10:52am on 18 Nov 2010, Peter_Sym wrote:
    11. At 09:37am on 18 Nov 2010, Mustafa Yorumcu wrote:
    NATO is not relevant anymore, and it is unnecessarily antagonising Russia.
    ________________________________________________________________
    Whereas Russia sending potentially nuclear armed bombers in UK airspace and murdering dissidents on the streets of London with Polonium is fine right?

    .......and thats before I get onto Russia selling missiles to Iran and Venezuela, invading her neighbours and threatening to turn off Europes gas supply.

    ------

    I think Mustapha might be referring to former Soviet countries joing Nato, and in particular the 2008 spat between Georgia & Russia.

    Regardless of who was right or wrong in that conflict, if Georgia had been, as they wish to be , a fully paid up member of Nato it would have made direct Nato conflict with Russia almost unavoidable.

  • Comment number 35.

    #29 I served under UN command in Yugoslavia. NO armed conflicts are resolved by the UN because its a toothless, politically crippled organisation. The UN can't even sort out the Israeli or North Cyprus mess. I had to sit back and watch civilians get murdered right in front of me because the UN rules only allowed us to fire in self defence. The Serbs (and Croats and Bosnians) knew this so deliberately carried out war crimes in front of us for the fun of inflicting humiliation on British troops. At least when NATO went into Kosovo it went in shooting.

    The reason NATO isn't under UN command is simple: NATO was initially set up to protect Europe from Russian aggression. Russia has a veto on the security council and could simply veto any NATO operation.

  • Comment number 36.

    At one moment NATO seemed to be an addition to the US "800 bases" command structure. Every country it's warfare station, with accompanying spy and cyber-warfare capacities for the benefit of the US.

    The fortresses that the US are constructing are visibly aimed at surrounding China, and isolating it from Russia. (The newest and biggest is planned for Kabul). They are also strategically placed to gain access to minerals and Oil. Do they expect to start a war with China ?

    However, NATO, which has no effective EU Government supervision, (but only has the "defense" ministers of individual countries as "representatives"), has now also integrated Israel into it's command structure. The "present" direction for NATO activities and priorities, is obviously in line with Israels' obsessions against Muslims.

    NATO is also using the Naval wing to defuse a Russian resurgence and the establishment of new ports (Tartus in Syria for example), and by "integrating" or placing missile bases in Russia, which will presumably be diplomatically distinct from Russian supervision under US control. (As they will be in Poland and Roumania).

    The new accent on inter-EU cooperation in the armed forces, (ie. French-UK aircraft carriers, and aviation products) is either a late realization that the aims of NATO are no longer those of Europe or other civilized countries, or a way of regaining control over the use of their OWN forces in theaters that do not concern them.

    We would be better off without it. (Particularly financially, but also morally)

  • Comment number 37.

    We should have an Anglo alliance. Britain, America, Canada, Australia, & New Zealand to deal with the Islamist wars and with the Irish if they start acting up again.

    Overwhelming and committed force. No playing politics, no endless negotiations/bribery needed. Five countries tied by a cultural bond and a promise to deploy troops without hesitation to protect one another.

    We don't need cut 'n' run socialist governments like the Spanish. We don't need the French & Germans putting the spanner in the works.

  • Comment number 38.

    if we are to have Nato as a force then why do all the Nato countries need their addition defence forces, surely one force should cover all under one command post.

  • Comment number 39.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 40.

    oh, have something else to say. What, with the British/French defence deal that is going through, we still need Nato and the United Nations. How many forces are there to look after us, no wonder so much money is being waisted and no wonder the government wants to make cuts - but the cuts are all in the wrong places. British Army,Navy and Air Force, the same for France, and Nato, and United Nations, come on, someone is having a good laugh at us.

  • Comment number 41.

    @ Peter_Sym, post #26;

    "Here's a few to make you think twice before posting smug comments about the Americans: this is just the Afghan ones I can find in 2 minutes. There's more from Iraq and hundreds going back through the Falklands and WWII. The only US Lt General ever to die in battle died when the RAF bombed him and 1600 other US soldiers just after D-day."

    I'd still rather have British troops performing military operations in this country, who can probably be trusted to respect the lives of the civillians therein.

    Rather than American ones who, quite frankly, often don't seem to give a damn how many innocents are killed as long as they can claim to be firing at a legitimate military target which happens to be nearby.

    And quite how you're mistaking thinly-disguised disgust for smugness, is beyond me, I'm afraid.

  • Comment number 42.

    30. At 11:07am on 18 Nov 2010, Syni_cal wrote:
    Peter_Sym, as usual has a lot to say in defence of his right wing views but again as usual has little or nothing other than staff room chatter to substantiate them. I've read Peter's posts for a while now and I think that after reading the first 1 or 2 decided that he must be a school teacher. Please enlighten me for once peter, am I right?
    ______________________________________________
    No, I'm an ex-soldier who now works as a molecular biologist.

    I hardly see how pointing out that British soldiers are just as likely to make mistakes in combat as US ones 'supports right wing views'. Slightly the opposite.

    Likewise what I have to support my views is one article from the Daily Mail (right wing) and 2 from the Guardian (left wing) . Rather more than 'staff room chatter' . Where's your 'substantiation' for the fairly offensive "the bravery of being out of range" comment. I'VE been shelled. I suspect the closest you've got to combat is about 1000 miles out of range.

    Over to you.....

  • Comment number 43.

    37. At 11:17am on 18 Nov 2010, SystemF wrote:
    We should have an Anglo alliance. Britain, America, Canada, Australia, & New Zealand to deal with the Islamist wars and with the Irish if they start acting up again.
    _______________________________________________________________
    Do you have any idea how many British, American, Canadian & ANZAC troops have Irish ancestory? if they DO start "acting up" I'd sugggest withholding bank bailout money may be rather more effective than having Canada bomb them!

  • Comment number 44.

    So, more than a decade after the cold war ended, and the threat that NATO was created to counteract, our leaders have finally come round to the idea that it should be scaled down. It has of course served as a wonderful gravy train for a generation of military officers and civil servants in defence departments.

    The attempt to find a new role by deploying NATO forces to Afghanistan has been a failure. Vital European interests are not involved in Afghanistan, and so it is not surprising that some members of NATO were not as enthusiastic as the US and UK to put their troops in harms way.

    NATO should be wound up and replaced by defence collaboration between purely European powers. Among other advantages this would remove a source of friction between Russia and the rest of Europe.

  • Comment number 45.

    Anyone who thinks the threat from the east has gone is naive in the extreme. Russia--through it's newfound wealth and self regard is building up it's military strengh with new vigour. Future wars will be about deminishing supplies of food and raw materials. jabbajockey.

  • Comment number 46.

    #35

    I suspect that the clearly visible failures of the UN are at the heart of the problem!

    If Russia had submitted a veto for Iraq 2003, would armed conflict have been avoided at that time?

  • Comment number 47.

    NATO's real purpose? To keep the Americans in, the Russians out, and the Germans down.

    Time to stop sacrificing our soldiers for overseas US imperial wars. Dissolve NATO and develop a European-based force which will protect European interests. What was it that NATO did during the Balkans war? Oh yes, they carried out a couple of bombing raids four years after the war began. It then was found guilty of war crimes by bombing Kosovan civilians. Wonderful.

  • Comment number 48.

    For NATO read USA, legalised terrorists

  • Comment number 49.

    Only a fool dismantles defences during so called peacetime.

    Russia has large numbers of modern strategic nuclear missiles targeted at the West and since NATO was born, China has only added to the strategic nuclear threat.

    Smaller nations either have nuclear weapons or are developing them.

    Ignoring small problems like Afghanistan will only allow the possibility of them growing larger and any sensible precautionary approach states that we must also try to keep them damped down.

    The world is about to enter a seriously dangerous situation due to the economic crises.

    What possible rationale exists for justifying fewer defence options in such increasingly dangerous times?

  • Comment number 50.

    #41. Why would American troops be performing 'military operations in this country'? If we're in THAT much trouble there'll be no shortage of civilian deaths. The last time we need US forces to operate from this country we were damn grateful for their aid.

    Likewise British troops do not have a perfect history when it comes to not killing British civilians either. Bloody Sunday would be the obvious example, but there have been dozens of others (Lee Clegg shooting two joy riders would be another).

    Why I find it "smug" is that its only American troops 'collateral damage' that gets criticised. British accidents barely get reported and the Russians turning Georgia and Chechnya into Dresden (another example of Brits being not especially concerned about civillians deaths... and my great uncle dropped some of the first bombs BTW) gets apologetic comments made.

  • Comment number 51.

    Another lot of fools posting on here that think since there is no "big bad wolf" at the door then it is ok to leave the door open.

    Would all the appeasers, pacifists, communists/marxists/anarchists, anti-British/American/anything Western, head up their a&*^s, do-gooder lovey doveys and the rest please grow up. Nato has kept us safe for the last 60 years and should continue to do so.

  • Comment number 52.

    42. At 11:39am on 18 Nov 2010, Peter_Sym wrote:
    I hardly see how pointing out that British soldiers are just as likely to make mistakes in combat as US ones 'supports right wing views'. Slightly the opposite.

    Just where did I say that Peter, I was quite clear in my post that it's American policies that cause the deaths of our (British troops). Are you sure that you aren't a schoolteacher?

  • Comment number 53.

    37. At 11:17am on 18 Nov 2010, SystemF wrote:
    We should have an Anglo alliance. Britain, America, Canada, Australia, & New Zealand to deal with the Islamist wars and with the Irish if they start acting up again.
    Overwhelming and committed force. No playing politics, no endless negotiations/bribery needed. Five countries tied by a cultural bond and a promise to deploy troops without hesitation to protect one another.
    We don't need cut 'n' run socialist governments like the Spanish. We don't need the French & Germans putting the spanner in the works.
    ____________________________________________________________
    If Tony Blair had a backbone and followed the French and German lead over Iraq and put a spanner in too lots of UK servicemen who died would still be alive today. The 7/7 tube bombing probably wouldn't have happened and our young men wouldn't be dying in Afghanistan for nothing.

  • Comment number 54.

    46. At 11:49am on 18 Nov 2010, kebabmon wrote:
    #35

    I suspect that the clearly visible failures of the UN are at the heart of the problem! If Russia had submitted a veto for Iraq 2003, would armed conflict have been avoided at that time?
    _______________________________________________________________
    Good question... A Russian veto would have probably made no difference at all as the US acted without UN approval in the first place. Despite 150+ resolutions the Turks are still in North Cyprus and the Israelis are still doing whatever they want. A UN resolution isn't worth the paper its written on unless someone is prepared to deploy troops to back it up.

    If the UN had been the 'world policeman' it was meant to be Iraq (or afghanistan) would never have got into such a mess in the first place. When Russia pulled out of Afghanistan in the late 80's it should have been flooded with UN troops, not allowed to disintergrate into civil war. Likewise after Kuwait in '91 Saddam should have been properly disarmed and punished not the joke oil for food programme, no fly zones and weapons inspectors being messed around.

    Personally I feel the UN is too self interested & divided to ever resolve a conflict again. Sierra Leone just took a handful of Brit troops a few weeks to end a decade long civil war. What did the UN do? Watch.

  • Comment number 55.

    51. At 11:56am on 18 Nov 2010, Graham wrote:
    Another lot of fools posting on here that think since there is no "big bad wolf" at the door then it is ok to leave the door open.
    Would all the appeasers, pacifists, communists/marxists/anarchists, anti-British/American/anything Western, head up their a&*^s, do-gooder lovey doveys and the rest please grow up. Nato has kept us safe for the last 60 years and should continue to do so.
    ______________________________________________________________
    What "big bad wolf" are you thinking about exactly? Have you considered the wolf that puts our servicemen and women in harms way for no other reason than monetary gain?

  • Comment number 56.

    Would the cynic in me be right in beleiving that the US see's NATO
    as North American Troops Oversea's.

  • Comment number 57.

    #52 Just where did I say that Peter, I was quite clear in my post that it's American policies that cause the deaths of our (British troops). Are you sure that you aren't a schoolteacher?"

    _______________________________________________________________

    In your first line of post #30.
    "Peter_Sym, as usual has a lot to say in defence of his right wing views but again as usual has little or nothing other than staff room chatter to substantiate them."

    What you actually said was that it was American troops not their policies who kill British Servicemen "We should also consider the number of our troops killed by friendly fire (the bravery of being out of range). Yes, friends & an orginisation that we need to be wary of." while completely ignoring the fact that (once you consider that Brit troops only make up 5% of the forces in Afghanistan) we're responsible for about as many mistakes as the Americans.

    Until 2001 most Americans hadn't even heard of Afghanistan... its Britain has a 200 year old history of losing men there. Ditto Iraq... we got slaughtered in 1917 there. It might very well be US policies driving these wars but we don't HAVE to be there... plenty of other NATO countries aren't sending troops. I actually broadly support the war in Afghanistan but blaming all our deaths on the Americans doesn't even begin to hold water.

    An no, I'm not a teacher. If you'd actually read my blog posts (particulary Fergus's health blog) you'd find I've got a rather good grasp of immunology. I even took the photo at the top of this article (a very long time ago, two jobs back)
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/nottinghamshire/3151984.stm

    I don't know where you get the idea Teachers speak favourably of the US military either... quite the opposite I'd have thought!

  • Comment number 58.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 59.

    America spent the last 65 years in Europe protecting it whilst the ever grateful Europeans downsized there armed forces and spouted anti-American garbage.

    America should remove its bases from Europe and sit back and see in few short years Europe being bullied by the Russians and the allowing Sharia law to be imposed.

    Europe is in decline and soon will be part of Eurabia.

  • Comment number 60.

    I very much doubt a US soldier would refuse to patrol the streets of N.I because his great grandfather was a bit Irish. If having Irish ancestry was that important to Canadian & US troops, they wouldn't be involved in the wars they're involved in now. The Irish align themselves with every tin pot terrorist group on earth as long as it's fighting governments. They're firmly on the side of Eta, Hezbollah, Hamas, Farc etc.

    Anyway, the far greater danger than the Irish is the Islamists. Apart from an invasion alliance, we need a rapid response alliance. Anywhere a pocket of Islamism opens up which threatens our interests, we need to crush it.

    I'd also happily include India and Israel in our alliance.

    To beat the Islamocfascists, we need the same dedication, the same resources, and the same will as the WWII allied nations.


    ===============================
    Peter_Sym wrote:

    Do you have any idea how many British, American, Canadian & ANZAC troops have Irish ancestory? if they DO start "acting up" I'd sugggest withholding bank bailout money may be rather more effective than having Canada bomb them!

  • Comment number 61.

    45. At 11:49am on 18 Nov 2010, jabbajockey wrote:
    Anyone who thinks the threat from the east has gone is naive in the extreme. Russia--through it's newfound wealth and self regard is building up it's military strengh with new vigour. Future wars will be about deminishing supplies of food and raw materials. jabbajockey.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Precisely!!

    It's time people switched X-Factor and Strictly off and realised what's going on around them.

  • Comment number 62.

    Even as Nato prepares to update its security paradigm, doubts are percolating about its relevance & role.
    Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen: "I think the summit in Lisbon will be a fresh start of the relationship between Russia and NATO."
    German Chancellor Angela Merkel: "My opinion is, and Russia has repeatedly agreed, that big threats such as terrorism, the collapse of states, nuclear weapons, the big themes are a threat to all of us, and as far as it's possible, we need to deal with them together."
    But I believe that Nato has a questioing ability to deal with Russia; in fact, the alliance is showing quick-sinking ability to deal with the realities of a new Europe, or even Afghanistan.
    I feel that some Nato members, like the United States of America are bypassing democratic values, human rights and international standards. In short, Nato makes enemies.
    Moscow designates the United States, European Union, and Russia as the "three branches of European civilization" and called for the United Nations Security Council to bear "primary responsibility" for maintaining international security. Right on!
    No authorization at the UN = no authorization = illegal war.
    Others believe that Moscow is being unrealistic.
    Washington urged other Nato members to invite Medvedev to Lisbon because in my opinion, President Barack Obama needs Russian support on Afghanistan, Iran, and other foreign policy priorities.
    Nato fulfilled its mission a long time ago when the Sovet Union collapsed. There was a belief at that time that the post-communist world would unite around "Western values". That didn't happen.
    As the debate over NATO's future continues, next week's summit will likely mark an improvement in relations with Russia; there's already agreements, including agreements for Russia to supply helicopters to Afghanistan and the fact that half of supplies to Afghanistan passes through Russia. Nevertheless, there are signs of movement away from reliance on NATO (e.g. agreement between Britain and France to share some of military assets).
    What is Nato's role in the world?
    It's over.
    Respnsibilities need to be transferred to the UN Security Council.
    Lastly, Nato is far too American dominated. Important things like invasions and wars should fall under the auspices of the United Nations.

  • Comment number 63.

    All of the members of NATO face the "real and present threat" of Islamic terrorism. This is an equivalent threat to that faced by NATO when it was created in response to the threats from the USSR/Eastern Bloc. This time, Russia is also faced by its own terrorists inspired by the so-called Religion of Peace.

    Endless appeasement and concession have already (mistakenly) been tried (e.g. President Obama's "reaching out to the Islamic world"). This has achieved nothing but demands for yet more concessions.

    Eventually, it is inevitable that a co-ordinated response to confront and undermine the ideology of Islam will be required. Coupled with the ability to apply military force should this be required.

  • Comment number 64.

    17. At 10:09am on 18 Nov 2010, Steve wrote:
    11. At 09:37am on 18 Nov 2010, Mustafa Yorumcu wrote:
    NATO is not relevant anymore, and it is unnecessarily antagonising Russia.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Given that the Russian airforce has re-started probing UK airspace to determine RAF response times I think 'NATO antagonising' would be the pot calling the kettle black.


    Careful Steve! That's classified information which may well break the Official Secrets Act.

  • Comment number 65.

    The French were worried about their own interests. They too believe Saddam had WMD's. Their reasons for disagreeing were selfish. Their deals with Iraq and all the French-made weaponry that would be found. It was purely a fluke that it transpired that Iraq had no WMD's.

    As for the 7/7 bombing. Our Islamic guests had been plotting to bomb us before Iraq and before 9/11. An Islamist was convicted of terrorism in early 2000. We've also had Islamist activity throughout the 80's and 90's - mainly plotting against the French underground using London as a base - but also plotting against us.

    The war with Islam (which is what it is) has been going on for centuries. Only some dormant periods have broken this up thus giving the illusion that it all started on 9/11.

    Churchill was warning us about Islamofascism in his early 20's.


    ================
    moreram wrote:

    If Tony Blair had a backbone and followed the French and German lead over Iraq and put a spanner in too lots of UK servicemen who died would still be alive today. The 7/7 tube bombing probably wouldn't have happened and our young men wouldn't be dying in Afghanistan for nothing.

  • Comment number 66.

    Of course it is. The first job of NATO is to keep the Germans, British and French in a close military alliance to stop them fighting each other.

  • Comment number 67.

    Yet another conference and no tangible difference. In truth its just another chance for our illustrious leaders to ingratiate themselves at our expense and deliver no changes.

    Do we need Nato, yes, because we cant trust the French to do anything until its too late and it also stops Russia from getting ideas about border changes.


  • Comment number 68.

    #60 Some of the weapons the IRA used (M16's M60's Barret sniper rifles) were provided by sympathetic US national guard armourers!!! US senators from a certain New England family have been known to abuse British soldiers on the streets of Ulster and attend IRA funerals. I presume you know what NORAID was (is?) ?

    In any case you need to clarify your terms. 'Ireland' is neutral and the Dublin government does not support terrorists. 'The Irish' cover everyone from Martin McGuiness to Ian Paisley. 40,000 Southern Irish volunteered to fight for us in WW2. My great-grandfather was put up for a VC (refused for various reasons) at 2nd Ypres and his father was Irish. Plenty of good Irish regiments have fought for the British army..... and Wellington was even born in Dublin.

    The Israeli's made rather a habit of killing British soldiers not so long ago using the same tactics Al Qu'eda do now (ever heard of the King David Hotel?). You want get many british soldiers wanting to serve alongside them. The Indians are at least a professional army and one with a long history supporting Britain.

  • Comment number 69.

    Wether needed or not is arguable, but assiming it is still needed it certainly needs re-organised.

  • Comment number 70.

    #60 "To beat the Islamocfascists, we need the same dedication, the same resources, and the same will as the WWII allied nations."

    Maybe 'we' should be selling the 'islamocfacsists' vast quantities of drugs and using the proceeds to finance our terrorist-style war strategy.

    The same will as the WWII allied nations - YES. The tactics, strategy and management approach - NO.

  • Comment number 71.

    Erm......no.

    NATO is not relevant when we have a fully functioning UN, as they are the "world police". NATO exists only to allow a certain legitimacy to conflicts where (generally) America doesn't feel able to take unilateral action. Their biggest fear for NATO is that the EU might decide to form a European Fighting Force, and that would make NATO even less relevant.

    We need to understand that USA is no longer "the world's only superpower", it is falling as other (BRIC) countries rise to take up the mantle and any move to "drop" America from existing organisations will be met with what vitriolic revenge they can still muster, so NATO will continue limping along for the foreseeable future.

  • Comment number 72.

    NATO was the watchdog of the West during the Cold War. While the Cold war is long since over there are still considerable threats to the EU and US, while these threats are best handled by a combiniation of tighter border control and increased inter state communication the role of NATO has morphed somewhat.

    The greatest threats to the world comes in the form of Nuclear wepons and as Einstein said "I know not what weapons WW3 will be fourght with but WW4 will be fourght with sticks and stones" NATO is not so much a one the ground style military force anymore, all it does is to continue to balance out the nuclear activities of the world. With China, Israel, India and potencially Iran all on the nuclear band wagon it seems prudent to elminate an organisation that unifies those who seek to avoid nuclear war.

    However, NATO needs to change with the times, it cannot continue to be a means of intimidation in the world. It must adapt a more covert role and do the job it was oriinally set up for, not acting as a glorfied police force like the British and American armies.

  • Comment number 73.

    The same old tired reactionary response of the 'King David hotel'. The same incident referred to time and time again by your sort as some sort of proof. If we're going to be going down that road, I could mention that the Indians might not want to serve alongside the Brits for the atrocities committed under British rule. We certainly don't want to delve back into British incidents of mass killings, I believe they out-number Israeli ones by several hundred to one.

    And if you had any knowledge of anything remotely military as you claim, you'll know that plenty of British special forces have been in Israel for joint training as well as counter-terrorism training (especially after 7/7).

    Quite hilarious how you talk up the Irish who've killed hundreds of British troops, yet keep harping on about an incident in a hotel 70 years ago which was in response to British strafing of unarmed Jews, their systematic starvation of Jewish Holocaust victims and the removal of weapons from Jews to leave them as sitting ducks for the Arabs.

    You're no soldier Sym, you're a fraud.


    =========
    Peter_Sym wrote: blah blah

  • Comment number 74.

    53. At 12:03pm on 18 Nov 2010, moreram wrote:

    "If Tony Blair had a backbone and followed the French and German lead over Iraq and put a spanner in too lots of UK servicemen who died would still be alive today. The 7/7 tube bombing probably wouldn't have happened and our young men wouldn't be dying in Afghanistan for nothing."

    Germany is now high alert against an attack and bag has been found with detonators and other bombmaking material found in it.

    As you say,Germany did not invade Iraq so why are they being targetted?.

    Your argument is flawed.

  • Comment number 75.

    The moment we went to Afghanistan and some members refused to send combat troops, or put restrictions on them which made them useless, then that was the moment NATO ceased as a trustworthy alliance.

    We need to get a democratic defence alliance together from around the world of nations who are

    (a) Willing and able to send combat troops (with no restrictions), and
    (b) Fully functioning democracies who want to defend that status against jihadist terrorism.

    NATO is finished as a credible force ...



  • Comment number 76.

    51. At 11:56am on 18 Nov 2010, Graham wrote:

    Another lot of fools posting on here that think since there is no "big bad wolf" at the door then it is ok to leave the door open.

    Would all the appeasers, pacifists, communists/marxists/anarchists, anti-British/American/anything Western, head up their a&*^s, do-gooder lovey doveys and the rest please grow up. Nato has kept us safe for the last 60 years and should continue to do so.

    ======================================================================

    Hmm, not sure which of your categories I ought to be in, but I will be taking part in the anti-war protest march in central London on Saturday. If NATO is responsible for getting Britain into the military mess that is Afghanistan then we certainly need to reassess NATO's role in general and Britain's role in particular.

  • Comment number 77.

    71. At 12:38pm on 18 Nov 2010, teedoff wrote:
    Erm......no.

    NATO is not relevant when we have a fully functioning UN, as they are the "world police".

    _____________________________________

    Problem is that the UN doesn't have a single 'policeman' of its own. Nor is it much use if its actions can be neutralised by a single vote by Britain, France, Russia, China or the US.

    Find me one conflict were the desire to stop the war was initiated by the UN and UN troops enforced a permanent solution? Even the 'first' UN police action (Korea) hasn't actually ended in peace, merely a temporary ceasefire.

  • Comment number 78.

    Yes! But it needs to be more flexible. Muslim terrorism will be with us for many years, both at home and overseas. Every country needs to work together to combat it. NATO means North Atlantic Treaty Organisation. Is there no geographic definition of North Atlantic? Afghanistan and Iraq must be on the Far East Coast of it if there is.
    Maybe we need to replace the useless UN martial force of corrupt Third World soldiery with more professional armies wearing their own uniforms, but with a UN armbands and the knowledge that they can use their weapons. They then would not have to go through the ignomy some soldiers went through in Bosnia whilst wearing UN berets by being taken hostage by Serb thugs because they knew the UN would not allow them to defend themselves properly.

  • Comment number 79.

    Is NATO relavant? Nope! It's nothing more than a large country club. The U.S. should withdraw from that obsolete organization and pull out all of its military assets from European soil. From reading previous postings it's quite apparent that the Europeans do not want the Americans there. My final parting shot will be that if the Europeans are expecting the UN to defend their continent against external aggression, good luck and may God be with you.

  • Comment number 80.

    63. At 12:18pm on 18 Nov 2010, Bob Smyth wrote:
    All of the members of NATO face the "real and present threat" of Islamic terrorism. This is an equivalent threat to that faced by NATO when it was created in response to the threats from the USSR/Eastern Bloc. This time, Russia is also faced by its own terrorists inspired by the so-called Religion of Peace.
    Endless appeasement and concession have already (mistakenly) been tried (e.g. President Obama's "reaching out to the Islamic world"). This has achieved nothing but demands for yet more concessions.
    Eventually, it is inevitable that a co-ordinated response to confront and undermine the ideology of Islam will be required. Coupled with the ability to apply military force should this be required.
    ______________________________________________________________
    Don't be afraid Bob, have confidence that REAL threats will be met. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qk1WkmioQvA

  • Comment number 81.

    Nato is just an organisation like the EU, full of corrupt dithering parasites. Where has nato been with Zimbabwe? a ghastly man running the country with his equally ghastly henchman have ruined it. Youv'e got it, nothing to be gained by sending nato troops to Zimbabwe, no oil, no other assett that can benefit those at the top. How many times has nato troops been sent as peacekeepers to conflicts only to stand by and watch atrocities be committed in front of them, and they haven't lifted a finger to prevent it? And it's still going on today. Like all the other big organisations it's full of stuffed useless shirts with huge salaries and expense accounts, just holding jobs down, their all imposters.

  • Comment number 82.

    NATO is the modern face of English military colonialist power.

    Got to show them who the the real bosses are sometimes, and hand out a damn good thrashing to those foreign jonnies when they step out of line.

    So NATO is still very relevant in our modern world, more relevant than ever really.

    Tally ho.

  • Comment number 83.

    I do not understand the connection some contributors make about NATO, France Germany and the 7/7 bombings. Germany today is under threat from Islamists. There are no rules for this bunch of angry losers. How many of those arrested in Britain for terrorist plots have been asylum seekers? They did not seek asylum in an Islamic country. These people are not driven by religion, they are angry losers and fill the same roles in every exremist movement, from the Far Left to the Far Right.
    Losers are what they are, religion an excuse.

  • Comment number 84.

    NATO, in whatever form it takes in the future, is absolutely vital. The current threats to stability may be different to those in the past, but there are very real threats from unstable regimes. A visible deterrent, coupled with an ability to respond to attack, is absolutely necessary. Vulnerability is not an option.

  • Comment number 85.

    #73. My grandfather was in the King David Hotel.. your attitude is the that of the typical Israeli apologist: 'any action Israel carries out is reprisal for....' Israeli Terrorism went far beyond the King David Hotel. If we arrested and tried any Stern gang member for murder they kidnapped and hung a british soldier.

    I know full well British troops and Israeli sometimes excercise together. I can tell you a training range in the UK where the street signs are in English, German & Hebrew. I can also give you my service number if it would mean anything (plus I never said I AM military, but ex-military... I left the Army in 98)

    In any case I don't see why the actions of the IRA make Israel O.K? I don't want to serve with IRA either.... the Irish army on the other hand is simply useless. The girl guides are about as an effective a fighting force. You simply seem unable to distinguish between 'IRA' 'Irishman' and 'Northern Irishman'.

  • Comment number 86.

    76. At 12:55pm on 18 Nov 2010, RadialSymmetry wrote:
    51. At 11:56am on 18 Nov 2010, Graham wrote:

    Another lot of fools posting on here that think since there is no "big bad wolf" at the door then it is ok to leave the door open.

    Would all the appeasers, pacifists, communists/marxists/anarchists, anti-British/American/anything Western, head up their a&*^s, do-gooder lovey doveys and the rest please grow up. Nato has kept us safe for the last 60 years and should continue to do so.

    ======================================================================

    Hmm, not sure which of your categories I ought to be in, but I will be taking part in the anti-war protest march in central London on Saturday. If NATO is responsible for getting Britain into the military mess that is Afghanistan then we certainly need to reassess NATO's role in general and Britain's role in particular.


    Whilst I may not agree with your protest, I completely accept your democratic right to do so as a citizen of a free society. Unlike some on here who appear to think that unless citizens agree 100% with the government in power that they are "unhelpful citizens" and "a drain". It's amazing we get any change of government if such views were commonplace, though those who advocate them may well find one party state nations like Zimbabwe and China more congenial to their views.

  • Comment number 87.

    Why do people see the threat from Russia as "gone". It has not gone, as recent incursions into our airspace and the airspace of other countries has shown. Sea-borne incursions also show that Russia is watching the West very carefully, testing us on occasion. My wife is Ukrainian and my father-in-law was a Russian diplomat (now retired). If he tells me that you cannot trust the Russian government, that NATO is a formidable foe and that we should never let our guard down, then I believe him! NATO should stay.

  • Comment number 88.

    65. At 12:27pm on 18 Nov 2010, SystemF wrote:
    The French were worried about their own interests. They too believe Saddam had WMD's. Their reasons for disagreeing were selfish. Their deals with Iraq and all the French-made weaponry that would be found. It was purely a fluke that it transpired that Iraq had no WMD's.
    As for the 7/7 bombing. Our Islamic guests had been plotting to bomb us before Iraq and before 9/11. An Islamist was convicted of terrorism in early 2000. We've also had Islamist activity throughout the 80's and 90's - mainly plotting against the French underground using London as a base - but also plotting against us.
    The war with Islam (which is what it is) has been going on for centuries. Only some dormant periods have broken this up thus giving the illusion that it all started on 9/11.
    Churchill was warning us about Islamofascism in his early 20's.
    ================
    moreram wrote:
    If Tony Blair had a backbone and followed the French and German lead over Iraq and put a spanner in too lots of UK servicemen who died would still be alive today. The 7/7 tube bombing probably wouldn't have happened and our young men wouldn't be dying in Afghanistan for nothing.
    ______________________________________________________
    Don't be afraid SystemF, there is a far greater chance you will choke on your rice crispies than be forced to pray to Mecca anytime soon.

  • Comment number 89.

    As far as threats to our way of life are concerned the Bankers at the City of London Supercasino have done more damage to our society than the Taliban and the Trotskyites could ever have achieved.

  • Comment number 90.

    Any HYS posters suggesting that the UN should exercise the role of "world policeman" in respect of the threat from Islamic terrorism will inevitably be disappointed.

    The main voting bloc at the UN is now the 57 countries comprising the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC). This OIC bloc will never vote for any measures to combat this threat because they are "brothers and sisters in Islam" with the perpetrators. Their end-objectivese are identical.

    Any attempt by other nations to take action or impose a veto will immediately be condemned and denigrated as "Islamophobic" or "demonising Muslims", etc.

    On this subject, the UN is as useful as the proverbial chocolate teapot.

  • Comment number 91.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 92.

    The basic gist is that there are too many nations with self-interests for us to have a NATO. This manifests itself in the likes of the Brits and Americans making up the majority of boots on the ground as well as supplying the majority of resources.

    Since Sarko came to power, the French have almost become civilised and trustworthy. They're now committing more resources into NATO. So things have improved. But the French and others like the Spanish are always capable of dropping us like a hot potato.

    There are some uninformed left wingers who claim that 7/7 was purely down to our involvement in Iraq.

    =================
    Brian Brown wrote:

    I do not understand the connection some contributors make about NATO, France Germany and the 7/7 bombings. Germany today is under threat from Islamists. There are no rules for this bunch of angry losers.

  • Comment number 93.

    Thanks to the Bankers our military has been utterly decimated...but a few raggy assed guys with kalashnikovs and sandals are the enemy...

  • Comment number 94.

    NATO will stay. The UK and USA are the biggest war mongerers in the world. Britain actually topped the world in arms sales in 2008. Therefore simply to make the super rich in UK/USA even richer there will be an ongoing demand for sale of weapons and NATO is a perfect recipient. All that matters to UK-USA is money-war-control. 21st Century = civilisation going down the pan

  • Comment number 95.

    ady wrote:
    NATO is the modern face of English military colonialist power.


    --------------------------------------------------------------------

    Why do you even bother commenting when all you do is prove yourself to be both completely without any knowledge and serially deluded? Still full marks for not using the words 'ConDem' or 'Savage Cuts.'

  • Comment number 96.

    Leave Russians out of this conversation.
    We suffer enough form war conflicts.
    1WW 7.5 millions died, 2ww 30 millions died.
    Russians never wanted to bomb west or US.
    And cold war did not result in any mass death, its was just a war of words, and espionage.

  • Comment number 97.

    74. At 12:52pm on 18 Nov 2010, panchopablo wrote:
    53. At 12:03pm on 18 Nov 2010, moreram wrote:
    "If Tony Blair had a backbone and followed the French and German lead over Iraq and put a spanner in too lots of UK servicemen who died would still be alive today. The 7/7 tube bombing probably wouldn't have happened and our young men wouldn't be dying in Afghanistan for nothing."
    Germany is now high alert against an attack and bag has been found with detonators and other bombmaking material found in it.
    As you say,Germany did not invade Iraq so why are they being targetted?.
    Your argument is flawed.
    _______________________________________________
    Targeted by who exactly? Don't tell me let me guess - ummmm - "AL-Qaida"?
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/adamcurtis/2010/09/the_pope_and_the_axis_of_terro.html
    Don't be afraid pablo, live with confidence and you will be happier.

  • Comment number 98.

    75. At 12:53pm on 18 Nov 2010, Desiderius Erasmus wrote:
    The moment we went to Afghanistan and some members refused to send combat troops, or put restrictions on them which made them useless, then that was the moment NATO ceased as a trustworthy alliance.
    We need to get a democratic defence alliance together from around the world of nations who are
    (a) Willing and able to send combat troops (with no restrictions), and
    (b) Fully functioning democracies who want to defend that status against jihadist terrorism.
    NATO is finished as a credible force ...
    ________________________________________________________
    Good luck in the search for a fully functioning democracy!

  • Comment number 99.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 100.

    One bloc's defence strategy is another bloc's highly-armed potential enemy.

    It's no good to think of NATO as just a 'defence' body. From the outside, it's just another military pact... and it has stuck its nose into quite a few nations' business simply because it (or usually the USA) wanted to.

    The idea that the countries in NATO are the 'good guys' is just narrow mindedness.

    In a world where conflict persists, it is a complete failure of leading politicians that they cannot invest faith and resource in the UN - a far from perfect organisation, but the only one that could at least be seen as non-partisan and thereby capable of policing global peace without national interests corrupting the process.

    Wasn't the UN beginning to put pressure on Iraq before the NATO countries decided to throw their weight around and barge in on the basis of some wrong 'intelligence'? The problem was that the UN did not have the clout because the world is still too divided and most 'leaders' only look to their national popularity. So today, the result for Iraq is a far greater mess than the politicians in the West want to admit... and now the NATO countries talk about pulling out simply because it has all become a domestic vote-loser of a war... all at the cost of NATO countries' taxpayers.

    British politicians used YOUR money to kill many innocent people via the misguided invasion of a country, and created such havoc that most of the villains are now in charge. Christians are now fleeing a regime that is ripe for Islamic fundamentalism as a result. And Mr Bin Liner is still out there doing his bidding. Dumb or wot?

    But supposing the NATO countries were to allocate their military might to the UN? Some other blocs might quickly follow!

    Dream on...

 

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