The Libyan War: NATO’s Twilight?

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If the war in Libya has proven anything, it is how militarily weak the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) countries are without American help. And more importantly for those members involved in the Libyan conflict, it is this revealed weakness that, in the end, may allow Gaddafi to survive.

Less than a week after Secretary of Defense Robert Gates criticised NATO members at a meeting in Brussels for “serious capability gaps and other institutional shortcomings laid bare by the Libyan operation,” Admiral Sir Mark Stanhope, Britain’s naval chief, warned that the Royal Navy would be able to sustain operations in Libya for only another three months.

“Beyond that, we might have to request the Government to make some challenging decisions about priorities,” said Stanhope. Although the British navy has only four ships operating off Libya, it has been called “a key contributor to the Libya mission.”

After his candid statement, retired British admirals said Stanhope did not go far enough in his comments, saying the British navy was in  “shambles” and could not sustain “a ‘tinpot’ operation” like Libya let alone take back the Falkland Islands if they were seized by Argentina again. The current crisis in British military capability is mostly due to government cutbacks that saw the navy’s last aircraft carrier and its harrier jets taken out of service. British naval fliers will now use a French aircraft carrier and will learn French to do so.

“If we had the tools for the job, I think Gaddafi would be out of power by now,” stated Rear Admiral Chris Parry.

At the Brussels meeting last Friday, Gates, in his last policy speech before his retirement, expressed his displeasure with America’s allies about their military shortcomings. Gates noted that after only 11 weeks against “a poorly armed regime in a sparsely populated country,” coalition states of the “mightiest alliance in history” have already run short of munitions, which America had to make good. Gates also took alliance members to task for their lack of will and cutbacks to their military budgets, which have shrunk $45 billion the past two years, a shortfall that puts pressure on American taxpayers to spend more for defense.

“Frankly, many of those allies sitting on the sidelines do so not because they do not want to participate, but simply because they can’t. The military capabilities simply aren’t there,” Gates said.

Ironically, on the same day Gates was making his final policy speech as Secretary of Defense, the first cracks began to appear in NATO’s anti-Gaddafi coalition. Norway said on Friday it is going to withdraw its six F-16 fighters on August 1, while the Dutch said their warplanes would fly no more bombing missions.

In the United States, political problems are arising about America’s involvement in Libya. On Wednesday, Republican House leader John Boehner gave President Obama an ultimatum regarding US forces in the Libyan conflict. Boehner wants Obama to justify this troop commitment by Friday and get authorization from Congress for it or be declared in violation of the War Powers Resolution. A constitutional showdown about the commitment’s legality now appears in the making.

These notes of discord from the NATO camp must be sweet music to Gaddafi’s ears. Despite recent talk of the Libyan leader stepping down and going into exile, Gaddafi vowed in a speech on state television a week ago to stay on and fight to the death. The fact he and his sons are under indictment by the International Criminal Court has probably strongly influenced his decision to remain as Libyan leader. He is most likely afraid any asylum offer may be voided once he is outside Libya, after which he would then be turned over to the court.

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  • crackerjack

    NATO's twilight was Iraqi Freedom", with the largest European powers openly accusing Bush of lying and manipulatig facts. Another nail in the coffin was Bush's planning of a new nuclear deterrent in Poland and Czechslovakia bypassing the rest of Europe in a vital strategic issue.

  • Fred Dawes

    What is happening is a test of will. and how do you make some other people GET bend to the will of others? here in the USA The political people are doing just that we must use PC In all ways in order to twist our own principle and at the same time we are dehumanized and Brainwashed in the name of PC, WHAT YOU SEE NOW Is the start of the Third World War.

    • http://brownsville.rgvtp.com Chris Rowan

      I think the Third World War ended with the dissolution of the Soviet Union, and we won. This may be a prelude to a Fourth World War, pitting Islamist or Islamist-leaning nations against modern Western democracies (i.e., the United States).

  • logdon

    The irony?

    As US commentators point out, in broad and reductionist terms, Europe spends its money on welfare whilst America chooses expenditure on a much higher defence budget.

    Put another way, the EU and its members can afford the largesse of politically correct and inclusive socialism just as long as Uncle Sam foots the bill which goes towards the rainy day umbrella of those high ideals. As long as this status quo exists nothing will spoil that lovely multiculturaly snuff dry Continental parade.

    Most people, I'm sure would agree that a nations wealth is in fact better spent on its own citizens and with the removal of a Soviet threat the huge capital invested in armies of the Rhine was better diverted into inward prosperity.

    However the tide of threat is now changed and with the demise of communism a new and shape shifting challenge has arisen phoenix like from the ashes of the Caliphate.

    This challenge in the form of asymmetric warfare relies not so much on massed armies squaring off on the plains of Europe but is based on Islamic migration, infiltration and indoctrination from the world's trouble spots which happen to be concentrated in the Middle East, the Horn of Africa and Pakistan.

    Our ‘experts’ have thus decided that nipping off trouble at source is the best preventative measure and that open borders and mass inward migration must remain sacrosanct.

    Unfortunately for Europe, softened by soft internationalist Marxism the former is an impossibility if asked to stand on its own two feet and any curtailment of the latter is the mark of frothing xenophobic racism.

    What a bind this is proving, in fact a double bind now that an islamophile Obama has decided to remove the US hardball from the game.

    Meanwhile our tinpot politicians attempt to have it both ways and politically expedient sabre rattling by Cameron and Sarkozy has prompted us into the ludicrous situation in Lybia where putting money where mouths are is becoming a wee problem.

    For once, I think Obama is right on the nail. We’re watching as Iraq descends into a Shia Iranian client. We’re also watching as the Taliban, deploying the whack a mole principle mocks our massively superior forces by refusing to play by our rules. Why would Libya be any different?

    By my reckoning Geneva of convention fame is firmly placed in Europe and its precepts are mocked by an Islamosphere in favour of the Khaybar precedent of doing whatever is necessary to subdue an enemy. If that 'necessary’ involves killing civilians, so be it.

    Europe and its docile politicians live in a dream world rapidly turning to nightmare. They espouse a kumbaya commonality of man without any regard to history or the human condition. They believe that re-education can trump nationalistic and religious ring fencing.

    Meanwhile a ravening enemy having non of this wishy-washy tosh is intent on tearing down its gates with an impunity which rather than relying on its own strength exploits the weakness of its intended victim.

    No doubt Sun Tzu would have a few choice words on the subject along the lines of snatching ignominious defeat from the jaws of assured victory?

    • Edward

      "Most people, I'm sure would agree that a nations wealth is in fact better spent on its own citizens ….." Exactly. The fall of the Soviet Union came about because the economy became the slave of the military. China is now rapidly becoming the worlds No 1 power – not by force of arms but economically. America has gone broke because of its military-industrial priorities. And it still believes that it can exploit the rest of the world.
      But the world is tired of war, death and exploitation and America has become a liability instead of an asset. So guess where its future lies.

      • ajnn

        "So guess where its future lies" – islam ?

        • thatshowitis

          china

          and thats the real reason for this lybia war to push china out of the market. the "Rebels" already sign nice contracts with NATO helpers.

          West alliance use brutal force as economic little helper

          • thatshowitis

            ps
            The Islam is popular because it saves poor people money

            Islam banks dont ask to pay interest if u borrow money.

            and thats bad for west banks, could u imagine what happen if a Islamic bank can operate free all over the world?

            it would be the nightmare of rich bankers

            So please dont think the us fight for freedom of other countries ( Santa Claus dont exist )

          • ajnn

            your discussion of 'islamic banking' as empowering the poor demonstrates a lack of understanding of the nature and impact of banking institutions and interest.

            it is a child's understanding of the world.

          • ajnn

            you have it backwards.

            china is leveraging its economic penetration and advantage with its political and military assets in the Sudan and elsewhere in the middle east.

            the united states wants unimpeded commercial [oil sales] relationships to procede. The united states wants to minimize the affect of politics on trade (oil).

  • Terry

    Europe as we have known it is dying. Internally it has huge muslim populations that now influence elections and demand policies which harm their countries. Externally it can't even put up a decent fight against a tinpot dictator like gadaffi.

    And now the Euro is about to come crashing down in a Greek tragedy, to be followed shortly by similar events in Portugal, Spain and Ireland (for starters). This is the price of an unelected left leaning beaurocratic elite which runs everything and is responsible to no-one.

    As always, regeneration of anti semitism and prejudice towards Israel is the canary in the European mineshaft. I hope Europe's Jews go to Israel and leave their old countries to rot in the islamic cesspit they have created.

    • davarino

      Yes, and I can see Russia eye balling Europe's weakness. They are ripe for the picking, agian. Good luck friends across the pond, cause we may not be able to help you this time. Have fun with your cute little military "make works" projects and "job creation" scheme.

      • SpiritOf1683

        Russia has the same problems as the rest of Europe with its burgeoning Muslim population. It is more than 15% Muslim, and by 2025 it is expected that as much as 50% of its Armed Forces personnel will be Muslims. And more to the point, Russia has thousands of nukes.

    • Hans

      The jews have created the cesspool in europe with their greed by compromising the respective national countries and provided legislation enabling foreigners to migrate into europe and russia who have taken jobs away from the natives. The jews as a virus need to go to hell where they came from.

      • davarino

        Ah the nazis live on in Germany. Thanks Hans for bringing back the good time of WWII. This is the wrong website for you though, I think you wanted to be over there on genocidalracists.com

      • Terry

        It was you and many others with a name like Hans that tried to send the Jewish
        people to hell not so long ago. The poor Jew gets the blame for everthing.
        Well done Hans Heil Hitler

      • ajnn

        wacky stuff.

        and really, are there many jews left in europe to accomplish anything over the last 70 years ?

        the europeans replaced their jewish population (genocide) with Arab Muslims and might very well regret that trade.

  • tagalog

    I don't know that it's such a good idea for the United States to get out of NATO and incentivize Europe to re-arm, given the current Islamicization of Europe and the history of the past 100 years.

    But I also think Europe needs to take care of its own affairs and we need to stop being the Cops of the World.

    I've been reading the "Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" trilogy by a Swedish author, and I note the interesting, near-schizophrenic attitude of at least that Swede, if not all Europeans, about the U.S.A. On the one hand, the attitude is one of casual contempt for American culture and our ways, and on the other hand, the degree to which America dominates their worldview is quite striking. America needs to remedy that; let them rely on themselves for a change, then they can feel all the contempt they want to, at least until they get themselves into another mass slaughter that they need us to bail them out of.

  • BS77

    Agreed, Kaddaffi is awful and must be deposed….but who bears the brunt of this NATO neo colonial relentless attack? As usual, it is the poor average Libyans….young women and children, the elderly, men now without jobs or work….roads and towns terribly damaged. Food, water and medical care are scarce. NATO looks confused and ridiculous…this war on Libya was poorly planned and now seems out of control.

  • AntiSharia

    There was never any reason for NATO to continue to exist after the collapse of the USSR and the Warsaw Pact. The only reason it still exists is that there are a lot of officers, politicians, and bureaucrats who wouldn't have jobs without it.

  • Robert Smith

    Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Wednesday joined the Chinese and Russian leaders in a rare encounter at a summit in Kazakhstan, where he launched a new attack on the “slavers and colonisers” of the West.

    Host Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev urged the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), a security group regarded as a NATO rival founded in 2001, to take a more active role in ensuring regional security.

    Putin regards Obama as “Obambi” and Hillary Clinton as a unkept “Charwoman”

  • logdon

    The irony? As US commentators point out in broad and reductionist terms, Europe spends its money on welfare whilst America has a much higher defence budget.

    Put another way, the EU and its members can afford the largesse of politically correct and inclusive socialism just as long as Uncle Sam foots the bill which goes towards the military protection of those high ideals.

    Most people, I'm sure would agree that a nations wealth is in fact better spent on its own citizens and with the removal of a Soviet threat the huge capital invested in armies of the Rhine was better diverted into inward prosperity.

    However the tide of threat is now changed and with the demise of communism a new and shape shifting challenge has arisen phoenix like from the ashes of the caliphate.

    This challenge in the form of asymetric warfare relies not so much on massed armies squaring off on the plains of Europe but is based on Islamic migration, infiltration and indoctrination from the worlds trouble spots which happen to be concentrated in the Middle East, the Horn of Africa and Pakistan.

    Our ‘experts’ have thus decided that nipping off trouble at source is the best preventative measure and that open borders and mass inward migration must remain sacrosanct.

    Unfortunately for Europe, softened by soft internationalist Marxism the former is an impossibility if asked to stand on its own two feet and any curtailment of the latter is the mark of frothing xenophobic racism.

    What a bind this is proving, in fact a double bind now that an islamophile Obama has decided to remove the US hardball from the game.

    Meanwhile our tinpot politicians attempt to have it both ways and politically expedient sabre rattling by Cameron and Sarkozy has prompted us into the ludicrous situation in Lybia where putting money where mouths are is becoming a wee problem.

    For once, I think Obama is right on the nail. We’re watching as Iraq descends into a Shia Iranian client, we’re also watching as the Taliban, deploying the whack a mole principle mocks our massively superior forces by refusing to play by our rules. Why would Libya be any different?

    By my reckoning Geneva of convention fame is firmly placed in Europe and its precepts are mocked in favour of the Khaybar precedent of doing whatever is neccessary to subdue an enemy. If that 'neccecary’ involves killing civilians, so be it.

    Europe and its docile politicians live in a dream world rapidly turning to nightmare. They espouse a kumbaya commonality of man without any regard to history or the human condition. They believe that re-education can trump nationalistic and religious ring fencing.

    Meanwhile a ravening enemy having none of this wishy-washy tosh is intent on tearing down its gates with an impunity which rather than relying on its own strength exploits the weakness of its intended victim.

    No doubt Sun Tzu would have a few words on this subject.

    • beenthere-seen-that

      If we were to spend US money in the welfare of our people then we would be doing the same socialist "spreading of the welath". Best solution would be to spend it in our military and emerge again as the Most Powerfull Nation on Earth. Then we would have the strongest economy along with it.
      When the Eurpeans see that they spent all their resources in social programs and the civil structure goes tumbling down, then maybe a remaking of history

  • jonmc

    I love articles like that Liza.
    Totally un-referenced part-verse quotes from the Koran, Koran paraphrases.
    All beautiful and sweet and peaceful and good.
    Equal rights for all – even animals have rights in Islam.
    And this is the real Islam, according to Dr. Pasha.
    All I can say is that anyone, Dr. Pasha included, who believes this is clearly deluded. It bears to relation to the daily experience of the Islamic World: bombings, Sunni/Shia fratricide, FGM, (dis)honour killings, gays murdered. Need I extend the list beyond the high (or should that be low?) points?
    Perhaps Dr. Pasha's rely would be, "Ah, but the problem is we don't have enough real Islam!"
    Well, Islam got about as "real" as possible in Afghanistan under the Taliban: women beaten if their shoes clicked as they walked. At least one woman was shot out of hand for behaving like a "whore" – she accidently showed an inch or two of ankle whilst being transported as a passenger on her Husband's motorcycle. Executions were "ten-a-penny". The taliban hanged video recorders. They closed girls' school and executed teachers for teaching women/girls.
    How much more "real" does anyone want Islam to get?

  • nina

    Islam had all the time in the world. In fact, one thousand four hundred years to get it right. So, did it? We are seeing the results.

  • ADEFOLA

    i think the united state are trying to bring peace and stability to the world.nobody is flawless neither is any one perfect.i just imagine china or russia or one of the arab nation being the most world power the earth will be like hell to live in.american as been fighting one war and another since independent.but i believe they surely have their rewards.the spoils of the war.i imagine the united state spending trillions of dollars in wars without returns.they would have gone BROKE lol!