Commander Questions NATO’s Relevance
Gen. B. John Craddock, head of the U. S. European Command and NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe, in a speech to policy makers and defense analysts called the relevance of the NATO alliance into question, at least in the context of Afghanistan:
Pointing to more than 70 “caveats” that give individual countries a veto over certain operations, and the fact that troop commitments remain unfulfilled, General John Craddock said he was fearful the operation was being short-changed.
“We are demonstrating a political will that is in my judgment sometimes wavering,” Craddock, a U.S. general and NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Europe, said in a speech to policymakers and defense analysts in London.
“It’s this wavering political will that impedes operational progress and brings into question the relevance of the alliance here in the 21st century,” he said.
He also defended the view recently expressed by Brigadier Mark Carleton-Smith, Britain’s outgoing commander in Afghanistan commander, on the status of the conflict in Afghanistan:
“His comments are generally in line with what our military and political leaders have been saying all along… The conflict in Afghanistan cannot be won by military means alone,” Craddock, who serves as NATO’s operational commander, said.
“We in the international community must come together as part of a truly comprehensive approach (in Afghanistan). The current effort remains disjointed in time and space.”
The complete text of Gen. Craddock’s speech is here.
He also called for a new global strategic threat assessment by the alliance and a new strategic concept for the 21st century.
I’m afraid that’s not going to be enough. The world moves much, much faster now than it did even in 1999 when the last such reassessment was performed and for a strategic concept to remain relevant reassessment should be ongoing.
UPDATE (James Joyner): I’ve added my own thoughts on this at New Atlanticist.