February 11, 2008

NATO at Twilight; and a Warning on Pakistan

Two op-eds worth highlighting quickly before we forget: One, Andrew Bachevich writes NATO's eulogy in the L.A. Times.

Once the Soviet threat disappeared, the European nations making up the core of the alliance wasted no time claiming their peace dividend. They cut defense budgets and shed military capacity. For example, the German army, which had 12 divisions in 1989, today maintains the equivalent of three.

Meanwhile, back at NATO headquarters, the iron law of bureaucratic self-preservation kicked in. Justifying the alliance's continued existence became a cottage industry. Even as armies shrunk, new missions proliferated.

Two, frequent Abu Muqawama reader Dan Simons sounds off in the Star-Ledger on a "third way" forward for U.S. policy in Pakistan.

We should not hasten Musharraf's demise, but neither should we prop him up. We should continue to collaborate operationally with the Pakistani secu rity services but avoid any provocative U.S. incursions or strikes. Even praise for Musharraf's handpicked successor as army chief, Gen. Ashfaq Kayani, should be kept to a minimum; Washington's enthusias tic endorsement diminishes his credibility in Pakistan. Washington should press for transparent elections on Feb. 18 but not appear to favor any candi date, as it did with Benazir Bhutto. American support is more of an obstacle than an asset.