Many NATO nations are also members of the European Union and the nations are trying to square the defence requirements for each alliance, the head of NATO noted at a conference.

“I welcome EU efforts on defence,” the secretary general said.

“They are an opportunity to further strengthen the European pillar within NATO and contribute to better burden-sharing. But with opportunity comes risk: The risk of weakening the transatlantic bond; the risk of duplicating what we are already doing; and the risk of discriminating against non-EU members of the NATO alliance. The reality is the European Union cannot protect Europe by itself,” Jens Stoltenberg said.

Stoltenberg also discussed what he called “the re-emergence of nuclear challenges.”

After the Cold War, the alliance placed nuclear issues on the back burner, but Russia’s modernisation effort, Iran’s nuclear program and North Korea’s emergence as a nuclear nation placed it in the forefront once again.

“Let me be clear, our goal is a world without nuclear weapons, but as long as they exist we will remain a nuclear alliance,” the secretary general said.

“A world where Russia, China and North Korea have nuclear weapons, but we do not, is not a safer world. That is why the ultimate guarantee of NATO’s security is the strategic nuclear forces of allies, particularly those of the United States.”

Stoltenberg said the world may be more dangerous and unpredictable now, but he feels conflict is not inevitable.

“To preserve the peace, we need the military strength of the NATO alliance, combined with the political courage to seek dialogue, to deescalate, reduce tensions and find peaceful solutions to our differences,” he said.

9 COMMENTS

  1. Defence against nuclear weapons is the key issue here. If Nato can’t get its partners to commit to building up conventional forces, (which appears to be like pulling teeth) then maybe, they might find it easier financially, to participate in a missile shield system.
    Without a concerted effort by Nato and its affiliates to create a viable defence shield, we will have no option but to reopen the ‘Cold War’ book of civil defence, which will include providing mass protection infrastructure?

    Nuclear proliferation is the World’s most pressing defence issue, and unless the free World develops umbrellas of protection, we all face a grim future. Okay, I understand any nullification of the ultimate weapon could result in the higher likelihood of conflict, I for one would prefer we spend our joint exchequers on protection.

  2. Why would the EU want to defend itself against Russia ? The US , UK and France are happy to do the job leaving the EU states free to spend the extra billions they save on civil R/D and infrastructure to help them bury their protectors. The EU will fight to the last drop of others blood and even charge them (bases) for the privilege of doing so. I’m not sure whether to admire or despise them but they only behave this way because we let/want them to.

  3. The EU military alliance wasn’t created to improve capability.
    In reality having a duplicate military bureaucracy competing with NATO for resources makes improving real defence capability even less likely.

    The unified EU military is just another step on the way to statehood.
    Its single purpose, to simply increase control over the sovereign state.
    If they make NATO redundant in the process, well, that’s just a happy bonus!

    The whole duplication raises an important question.
    Should for example, Estonia come under attack from Russia, which treaty alliance comes to its aid?
    The Lisbon/PESCO treaty or the North Atlantic treaty?
    It all has the potential to be very messy.

  4. “The reality is the European Union cannot protect Europe by itself”

    I’m going to throw that one right back as I’ve done for a long time.

    The reality is the USA cannot protect the USA by itself.

    If the whole world was against the USA or neutral, and didn’t trade with her, could she survive?

  5. I do hope that ‘behind closed doors’ Mrs May quotes this simple fact to Messrs Barnier, Tusk and Juncker when they get too far up themselves over how we need teaching a lesson ….

    we should be making it very clear we will defend ourselves and be a good ally to the USA and play our part in NATO but the EU can start looking after itself. In another article here we find that over 80% of European defence will come from OUTSIDE the EU …

    Again as I said ‘behind closed doors’….

  6. Chris sadly I find myself agreeing with you 100%. I am getting sick of the EU playing hardball and trying to make out that they do not need the UK and as we are leaving the EU we have to prostrate ourselves at their beligerent feet.
    Nope that is definetly not right. In terms of armed forces and security cooperation we hold all the cards.
    Behind closed doors they need reminding that that is not the behaviour of allies and if they are not supportive of the UKs democratic decision (rightly or wrongly) to leave the EU then they can kiss NATO and our support of them goodbye.
    As to Dadsarmy stating could USA survive alone? No but they would never be alone they would always have friendship and support from Anglosphere countries.

  7. The key here has to be Germany. Merkel needs to accept that Putin will not give up his attempts to undermine western nations by any means at his disposal. Here is the latest example.

    https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/world/german-mps-claim-russian-fancy-bear-hacking-attack-is-tantamount-to-warfare-jfcfd6nwv

    I think this cyber attack will be discusses between Ursula von der Leyen and Gavin. Putin has also announced a new range of nuclear missiles which ( he claims) can defeat any anti missile shield based in the Eastern European former Soviet block countries. He could walk into the Baltics tomorrow and dare us to go nuclear.

    The West cannot afford rivalry between Nato and the EU ( non existent army). Putin works by divide and conquer. The UK has a key role in helping keep Germany onside in Nato and ressusitating the German armed forces. In my opinion we don’t want to escalate things by German basing of whatever is the successor to cold war Pershing missiles. But Germany and the east need to have credible conventional (Nato) defences, if necessary by returning the BAOR and RAF squadrons. We are going to have to keep this up until Putin retires or the Russian economy tanks and people get fed up with him.

  8. This obsession with Russia has become a sickness within the west. Yes I realise that Mr Putin may well feel he is gaining something by niggling, creating a sense of division by doing so, but let us face it, a nation of 142 million (Russia) is unlikely on the face of it to muster enough strength to take over Europe with its 400 million. Yes militarily Russia can threaten with a nuclear strike, but any such move would provoke a counter strike, to keep suggesting Mr Putin would do any such thing is ridiculous. The real threat to the world remains some errant nutcase using a nuclear device against Israel or the United States, the most likely culprits for any such insanity being Iran or North Korea.

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