Loading...
I see the 10th Street connector is nearing completion. Another three years to paint the lines and we will be on our way,...

What an ambitious NATO summit could accomplish

Romania NATO Britain Fallon-2

A Romanian serviceman furls the NATO flag after Britain's Defense Minister Michael Fallon's visit at the Mihail Kogalniceanu air base in Romania in 2017.

Loading…

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Ordinarily when NATO's 29 national leaders get together, everybody involved pushes for all the good things they want the alliance to do. At this week's summit in Brussels, they'll mainly be hoping to keep anything bad from happening.

The center of Europe's current concerns will come as no surprise: It's the United States. Is the Trump administration about to end military exercises in Eastern Europe, cut funding for the U.S. European Command, or even pull American troops out of Germany?

Count this among the great costs of Donald Trump's presidency. Though NATO faces urgent challenges in the Baltics, the Arctic, the Middle East and Afghanistan — to name just a few — its leaders will probably spend little time on those issues. Instead, they expect to be upbraided by Trump for spending too little on their militaries, all the while dreading that the U.S. president will give away the farm when he meets with Russian president Vladimir Putin days later in Helsinki.

Imagine for a moment that the U.S. had a president who wasn't hostile to America's friends, dismissive of the world order the U.S. has shaped and led since World War II, and apt to be charmed by tyrants. In this alternative reality, what might the Brussels summit accomplish?

It would reassure the most vulnerable members on Europe's eastern flank that aggression by Moscow — even so-called hybrid warfare that doesn't rise to the level of military intervention — will be treated as an affront to the entire alliance. The most significant step would be quite simple: The U.S. would reaffirm its commitment to Article 5, the alliance's "an attack on one is an attack on all" guarantee — something Trump conspicuously failed to do at last summer's meeting.

To that end, the summit would announce the start of contingency planning for converting its current rotations of troops in and out of Poland and the Baltic states into a permanently stationed garrison. It would say this was a response to Russian saber-rattling toward those nations and Ukraine.

Next would come cyberwarfare — defensive and offensive. The summit would announce new joint investment in the alliance's Cooperative Cyber Defense Center of Excellence in Tallinn, Estonia. It would promise more money and manpower for NATO's special-operations force headquartered in Mons, Belgium. Those troops could be needed to tamp down a crisis, such as infiltration of the Baltics by Russia's "little green men." And the leaders would agree to ramp up unmanned air operations out of Sicily. More drones are needed over the Mediterranean in response not only to traditional threats but also to the spread of terrorism and the migration crisis afflicting North Africa.

A productive, correctly focussed summit would also move forward on admitting Macedonia to the alliance. This is possible now that the former Yugoslav state and Greece have resolved their quarrel over its official name. Macedonia along with new member Montenegro would give the alliance near-consolidated control over the Balkan Peninsula.

Finally, the right kind of summit would acknowledge that Trump, though making far too much of it, does have a point on burden-sharing. All members should commit to spending at least 2 percent of GDP on defense by a specific deadline — five years seems reasonable — while increasing the share spent on major equipment to more than the current 20 percent floor. Very important: Smarter budgeting requires ensuring that nations aren't all spending money on sexy things like jet fighters and submarines, while neglecting essential but unglamorous equipment such as troop transports. It's a matter of comparative advantage: NATO needs to make the fact that it's a broad alliance a strength, not a weakness.

Perhaps Trump will surprise his critics and move some of this agenda forward. One hopes so. Right now, though, success in the coming summit might mean no more than maintaining the alliance in some kind of working order, as opposed to aiding its adversaries by actually undermining it.

Bloomberg Opinion

Loading…

Humans of Greenville

@HumansofGville

Local photographer Joe Pellegrino explores Greenville to create a photographic census of its people.

Editorials

July 18, 2018 - 54 minutes ago

The enduring image of the U.S.-Russia summit in Helsinki on Monday will be that of President Trump standing next to Vladimir Putin and suggesting he found Putin's "powerful" denial at least as persuasive as the U.S. intelligence community's unanimous finding that Russia intervened in the 2016…

APTOPIX Finland Trump Putin Summit

July 17, 2018

Chris Anglin is trying to pull a fast one on North Carolina voters.

Anglin, a Raleigh attorney, is a candidate for the N.C. Supreme Court. Until June 7, he also was a registered Democrat. But when Anglin filed as a candidate at the last moment this month, he did so as a Republican. That means there…

Chris Anglin

July 16, 2018

Thanks to tinkering by North Carolina’s General Assembly, voters this November will face a virtual book of a ballot, chock full of somewhat bewildering constitutional amendments.

Some are rather silly, such as the amendment to establish a constitutional right to hunt and fish ... except when…

N.C. Legislative Building

July 14, 2018

Dogfighting is a felony in all 50 states because the blood sport — usually accompanied by heavy wagering — is cruel to dogs. Yet in North Carolina most dogs rescued from such operations face an even harsher fate. Those that show scars and wounds from fighting are deemed dangerous and…

DOG1_1.jpg

July 13, 2018

The Government Accountability Office has once again warned Congress that the federal government’s current fiscal trajectory is “unsustainable.”

In a report submitted to Congress on June 21, the GAO notes the federal deficit has continued to grow every year in the last few years.…

Congress Returns

July 11, 2018

Judge Brett Kavanaugh's nomination to replace retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court comes at a tense moment. It could drastically shift the court's tenuous ideological balance, and it comes not long after Senate Republicans disgracefully blocked President Barack Obama from making a…

POST-EDITORIAL-SCOTUS

July 10, 2018

On Monday, President Donald Trump is expected to announce his nominee to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court. Given the president's promise to appoint justices who would overturn Roe v. Wade, it's widely understood that his nominee will pose a clear danger to women's reproductive…

Nancy Northup

July 10, 2018

Ordinarily when NATO's 29 national leaders get together, everybody involved pushes for all the good things they want the alliance to do. At this week's summit in Brussels, they'll mainly be hoping to keep anything bad from happening.

The center of Europe's current concerns will come as no surprise:…

Romania NATO Britain Fallon-2

July 08, 2018

Setting aside whether the Senate should confirm a Supreme Court nominee in an election year (the Merrick Garland rule) or whether a president should be allowed to appoint a justice while still under the cloud of the Russian meddling investigation (given the variety of issues such as whether a…

SCOTUS-ADF

July 07, 2018

After the Parkland, Fla., school shooting in February but before this year’s legislative session, N.C. House Speaker Tim Moore said he wanted to address school safety issues but only those measures that could have bipartisan support.

But Moore killed a proposal similar to one included in a…

Tim Moore
105 stories in Editorials. Viewing 1 through 10.
«First Page   «Previous Page        
Page 1 of 11
        Next Page»   Last Page»