Target USA -- Episode 200: NATO has a problem


From podcast one coming up in this episode of target USA after the name calling the fingerpointing and the ridiculing of one another at the NATO summit in London it's clear NATO as a problem. I think everybody has recognized. Denies the over the past few years. Something has changed in the way Democratic leaders express their opinions There's more bluntness service these days because of perhaps social media There is a tendency to concentrate on the headline not the substance and this type of behavior savior according to Jonathan vis-a-vis Estonia's ambassador to the US is sending the wrong message to NATO's adversaries you know we're we're we're not big fans of this I guess this is the way things are and but we obviously want to make sure that we do not send mixed messages out. Granted NATO was created in to protect countries like Estonia which sits at Russia's front door from the powerful aggression of the Soviet Union. The Cold War is said to be over. The Soviet Union is gone but Russia's aggression is back if he will well consider us to be the Carey in the coal mine. Were the ones who are it on the front lines as you said but in his words there appears to be a warning to those western nations. That seemed to be caught up in name-calling geography matters less these days and being far from the potential source of danger does not necessarily mean that. You're safe so what's the impact of all the public bickering. And what is the message. It's sending to NATO's adversaries all that and more coming up on this episode of target USA. He National Security Garrity podcast from WTO P in Washington DC this is target USA. Russia could render huge arm into this country North Korea's secret missile capable of reaching the whole of the United States. Dangerous terrorists. DC is repeatedly mentioned someplace they would like to seek an attack back signed or criminal America as a target on. Its back and on this program. We investigate the threats the people behind them the agencies fighting them and the impact on you this is target. USA The national security podcast. I'm Jay Jay Green after the shocking public displays of animosity and aggression towards each other by some of the country leaders in the run-up to during and following the NATO summit in London in late November many observers were left wondering if NATO really is falling apart name calling finger pointing public airing of problems. That should have been kept. Private may have given Russia just toward what it's always wanted a fractured ineffective alliance but on this episode of Target USA Jonathan Vicinity of Estonia's ambassador into the. US says public appearances. Don't tell but the London summit set an awful lot it did receive quite a bit of media coverage here in the United States but I think A lot of it was To certain extent off the point I think the main point for us was that the summit was a a significant success story primarily because of the unity that NATO managed to demonstrate notwithstanding all the statements all the new stories at the end of the day our leaders got together a group good even though brief meeting and Most importantly we agree to a Ah NATO summit declaration very short but very to the point document that's open on the website. has I think a a few pages nine points at talks about not only the past of the alliance and the president but also about the future the challenges that we face and the need for NATO to become even stronger in the future. So I think all in all The summit was a Ah Successful as anybody could have imagined or anybody could have hoped four. And we're looking forward to twenty and continuing the important work of defending the euro area defending our core values our democracies ambassador. You have always been a very optimistic individual And I understand what you say about the coverage here in Washington but us you know you talk about this. Very Important Dekel Declaration. I don't think anybody here even knew what that declaration was after through all the shenanigans that went on before that between the leaders of Canada the US lund of the UK the and and France and but you say that There was tremendous unity so there was this unity behind the scenes or where there was this unity because he just didn't seem to be out in front of the cameras. All the way NATO operates it brings together Twenty nine democracies From Europe and North America anything that the organization does has to be consensus based so you need to get everybody on board It's a shame indeed indeed people haven't concentrated on the decoration These things don't just happen. It's not as if our leaders prime ministers presidents get together and draft the text it's been and has to be negotiated usually for weeks by diplomats by senior diplomats and do eventually Approved by heads of state and government. And that has received almost no coverage even though it's noteworthy document it as a straightforward when discussing the need for unity it is straightforward. What when discussing threats that we share it mentions Russia's aggressive actions as a threat to your Atlantic security obviously mentions terrorism? It talks about what NATO will have to do in the future now again. This is not a text that somebody just drafted. This is a text that all NATO allies agreed to every single comma every single word. There was no controversial rounded and the wording is quite strong frankly speaking speaking as an organization NATO from an internal point of view does not need leaders meetings The North Atlantic Council which is in permanent session Shen were usually ambassadors get together with the secretary-general they have all the legal rights to make decisions on behalf of member states and yet from time to time at foreign ministers and defense ministers indeed sometimes heads of state and government together in the main reason for that is to either solve certain outstanding issues that cannot cannot be sold at junior levels or to send a message to the rest of the world. I think the main outcome of this summit again notwithstanding some some of the media coverage was the The message that was sent out we got together. I mean we as well as any any other diplomat here in Washington and Brussels were perfectly aware of all the potential scenarios that could happen could have happened and none of the worst case. Scenario is actually happened. We manage to demonstrate our ability to not only put out that declaration but all in all stay together even though there are major differences of opinion in in many areas between the allies. Well that's my question considering these differences of opinions and the fact that as you mentioned almost no one knows what went on on in this. What what the outcome of this declaration was then doesn't data suggests that there needs to be some some adjustments in the NATO maybe it's the public relations process or something because image is everything I mean? They all this important work goes on behind the scenes and I know this most of the people who listen to this program and all of our broadcasting knows that NATO is a political organization with a military objective and it does operate on its own. It really doesn't as you say. Need these leaders out in front but they are and it's unfortunate again as you mentioned but does this suggests that there perhaps needs to be some adjustments in the way in which NATO communicates to the world or can that even be controlled. All the main thing is that NATO is not in the business of NPR business. Were in the business of Defense Defense and deterrence and that's what has to function To certain extent we cannot control new stories that are out there. The narratives that are often times uh-huh driven by our member states internal dynamics internal domestic politics. I mean we are all democracies and democracies Have a tradition of having vibrant debates. It's not only about domestic affairs but also international affairs that's normal. I don't think we need to get rid of that. I mean that that's a good thing But you know US getting our messages out. There is obviously important and Hopefully people recognize that We the obvious while communicating with words and statements. We also communicate with action stuff that we actually do Some of which is naturally classified. Defied isn't as as public. You know the planning that we undertake the internal that abrasions that who have as an alliance some of them are more visible bowl to the outside world like exercises or military presence of for instance American troops in Europe. Something that has gone up. Defense expenditures has received the long coverage for obvious reasons. Now it's important to note that the money that NATO allies put into their defense is going up. But it's also important to understand that this is not just money that goes in there are actual capabilities that come out because of that money going in actual capabilities that we use in our planning and in our exercises sizes and at the end of the day we used to deter defend our common euro-atlantic area so the good things taking place now. Nothing's ever perfect of course and that's why we need to have those discussions discussions and debates We'll have them. One of the outcomes of the summit was an agreement to have a forward-looking reflection process under the Secretary Attorney General Secretary General Stoltenberg. That will look at how NATO would perhaps better Operate in a changing world. But also I want to draw people's attention into the fact that it's not often that NATO gets together and discuss his new areas of security new technologies new regions recognizing the fact that the world realist- changing and even though we stay united in defending our territories. We recognized that this is no longer. Just you know doable. In Europe North America alone other regions new domains cyber space. They matter so I think you know NATO is Up and running Were a a small nation as I hope most of your listeners. Now small nation. At the periphery of NATO Were very much aware of the the security challenges Do not only our but but allied security. We would not be quiet if we thought that there are major problems with this cornerstone of our security and yet I'm here telling you the things are okay. Things are going well well. This is precisely part of the reason why we want to do here because we knew we could get a straight cut at this this from you and I appreciate that you come at things head on and address it straight up. You're on the front line of NATO's IOS periphery with Russia. And you've mentioned Russia in this conversation at least once At the same time not to continue to beat the is dead horse of about the messaging. But when you have a president macron saying the leadership is brain dead and then you have our president president trump going back at him saying that's insulting and then you have other scenarios like that those people who make up mainly Russia The target are the focal point of of NATO have to draw some understanding from That kind of activity between the people that are on the same team. Doesn't it concern you or does it concern you that this may embolden and does threats That NATO is setup to to deal with and perhaps send messages to others who are considering who are not in the in the alliance who are considering Possibly engaging in ways that could make life difficult for NATO members I think everybody has recognized that over the past few years something has changed in the way Democratic leaders experts their opinions. There's more bluntness these days because of perhaps social media There is a tendency to concentrate on the headline. Not The substance. I mean you mentioned just a minute ago. Most people haven't reds or probably haven't even Realized that there was a declaration. That leaders I put out which is again. Just the I two page document not a lengthy and complicated Text You know we're we're we're not not big fans of this I guess this is the way things are But we obviously want to make sure that we do not send mixed messages out That we do not confuse fused anybody into believing that there is an alternative to to having a viable like relationship. If you will well consider us to be the cannery cannery in the coal mine. We're the ones who are on the front lines as you said even though geography matters less these days and being far are from the potential source of danger does not necessarily mean that you're safe wasn't our elections That were attacked. wasn't our streets on which People were murdered by the secret services off Russia so it doesn't necessarily mean that the fact that you're far from the border it doesn't necessarily mean that you're somehow isolating we know this or safer we've been we've been talking about this. Obviously in the context of international terrorism for instance. But it's ever more so who with Cybersecurity With you know the challenges that the derived from the ecological development so I mean clearly Sending ending clear messages to our friends but also our potential adversaries is of most importance and we honestly cannot see ah alternative in this changing world to for for the democratic world to stick together and work together no matter what challenge were discussing instability in the wider world colder the technological change or the rise of China. You name it. We cannot see a way for the democratic world based upon society is based upon a similar philosophy to to survive or thrive beyond the twenty first century unless we stick together and NATO is one of the cornerstones news of a sticking together this is the organization that brings together now all of the democracies in the world but a good number of them a clear majority of them. I'm in the euro-atlantic area. There are other aspects that are important of course the overall transatlantic relationship that encompasses that e U U. S. relationship for instance Very much trade focused or our bilateral relations with the United States. So we need to make sure that these things These things Are Okay That we stay true to our principles while engaging with other nations which is obviously also necessary. I mean we can pretend that We can you know take care of security but just focusing on defense would have to have a you know a vibrant Diplomatic Effort As well but while engaging with others diplomatically we need to stick together. It was so from a position of strength and and stay true to our principles. The thing that president trump talked about was increasing. The amount of Participation Financial Central Participation from NATO countries where does E. Where does where does Estonia Stan on that while we're in agreement agreement The that issue can be divided into two subcategories one is A relatively insignificant significant amount of money that We have to spend to just keep the organization itself running the headquarters. The international staff that we have hired had to who worked for a NATO as an organization and there was an agreement to amend the way we allocate those costs between the member states between the allies the other aspect. Not Sorry just interrupt the insignificant amount. That's not the two percent that's not this. Two percent the other aspect is the two percent. Because that's the amount of money we each suspended not on NATO but on our own defense and this is not some money that People have to put up and you know hand over to other nations or head over to a NATO or the secretary general at stole a different thing. The two percent goal has been agreed to by allies as a minimum level for their own defense expenditures. Now it's no secret that a number of NATO allies have have not yet met that benchmark. And it's no secret that president trump has to a large extent concentrated on that problem. Now we're with him when it comes to this problem We have been as hopefully again most people. Now we've been at two percent for quite some time now and we think that is the minimum required Not only required by our agreement but a minimum for providing a viable defense and glad to see the number of allies that actually joined in that club increase Defense budgets are on the increase. But more important than the money is the actual capabilities that we we are now able to to have And then the question is what do we do with those capable of this wall. We're defensive organization clearly. We need to poach coach. Our forces in a way that communicates clearly to all others that NATO is going to defend each and every square mile of its territory the Space Cyberspace US and NATO is not only willing to do so but also capable of doing so and we're making progress in that front as well now. A lot of this is relatively mundane will never reach. The news is nobody will ever discuss this publicly But that's the more important aspect of what NATO does military exercises the planning the infrastructure of the way. Oh forces she's our post shared. All of this is really crucial especially for us as a frontline state making sure that the foundation is solid indeed okayed so then what. What about the four percent because that surfaced recently as well from president trump? Where do you stand on that? I think he mentioned He didn't mentioned three or four percent or something along that lines while I think he was referring to the fact that the United States is significantly above two percent when it comes to defense spending of course not all of the. US Defense Money Spent on the Europe area the US Global Paulo Vista has a lot of interests in other regions of the world That is not A. That's that's not the official Benchmark that's not the official by the way we Estonia are also above two percent will always say above two percent or not at two percent. We're about two percent. There are a few others who are above two percent but the reason why two percent is important is because that's the agreed minimum. That's why you have to be at and I think it's good. I mean it's not it's not good for NATO only it's good for the member states for the allies to have a more credible more capable defense. Do you think Article Five is still ironclad. Considering again the public you know demonstrations demonstration's of frustration with each other. You know what happens if there is a need. I think particle five is only been enacted once in nine eleven here in the US today and to be clear about it. Back in those days in twenty Eh Thousand One. The Global Democratic the Global Democratic Of of UH interaction between these nations was much different. It was as you mentioned you know. Democratic leaders were. They acted towards each other much differently. But these public pronouncements announcements of frustration. Now do you think they will or could impact the ability to enact article. Five NECESSAR- Will Article Five has been invoke once as you correctly pointed out right after the nine eleven attacks to be clear about it. Article Five means if one is attacked always attacked and the all will rise is to defend the one interrupt that that's the collective defense close at the heart of what NATO is all about All for one one for all yes officially enacted only one after nine eleven when the United States was attacked but article. Five is what has kept the world safe for seventy two years now so I think it would be mistaken. To think of. This is something that has never been used and then it was once used and now you know who knows this construct. This is at the heart of the of the alliance has kept originally just western Europe and now all of Europe so in other words this is including by the way not let's just Europe but also North America safe. We managed to face down a major adversary and the Soviet Union. We managed to come through the confusing years of the post. Worrell world we've Defeated you know. All sorts of terrorist organizations acting together gather so this continues to be at the heart of the organization now. Do I believe whether this is still whether this Still functions will it functions Fox's from our perspective for sure so I'm happy to say that from our perspective Article Five continues to be ironclad. We're confident that the same is true. Who for all other allies notwithstanding all the difference so pinon which by the way are natural will always remain with us I think when people look at the way again we we act when people look at the way. WE HAVE PO shirt. Our forces there are allied forces in Estonia for instance as we speak today serving side by side with our forces in Estonia so there are a clear demonstration that are allied aircraft military aircraft. Patrolling our airspace as we speak today not as stimulant Kroft. Allied aircraft. So Again I think when people look at the the construct that we have in place It remains credible. That's it's not to say that it doesn't need An haunting we think it does Don't get me wrong. I'm not for just you know sitting and being happy and congratulate graduating ourselves on what would you enhance it I'll come back to in second and but but I also want to mention that secondly Oh of course of course public disagreements that get out of hand you know Allies publicly criticizing housing. Each other is not good and we should get beyond that no matter what the topic I mean there are legitimate. Disagreements always will be but we need to get beyond on them as fast as we possibly can find. We miss as fast as we possibly get to. What should NATO dual wall? I really mentioned the new areas for instance you know the cyberspace. We've been talking Taber for a few years. Now is very important obviously. Space is an emerging topic But also the traditional areas areas of just building up defenses and Europe North America. Next year. By the way we'll be there will be a major exercise American exercise defender Twenty twenty that for the first time after the end of the Cold War will test the The constant of strategic reinforcement of Europe. Where forsees he's enlarge? Number from Continental United States will deploy to Europe and then undertake exercises with Europeans. And you these sorts of things don't necessarily make news on a daily basis but this has to be the routine that we undertake. So it's planning it's excising. It's forced poacher. The number of American forces in Europe Europe has been on the increase of this number of European forces is on the increase as well because of the increasing defense investments. And that's what we need to do where we cannot afford. Would to just be satisfied with what has been achieved in the past few years when collective defense has become the the norm again More needs is to happen because the challenges are real. They're not political. They're not they're not made up by those who want to use these things as a as political talking points the challenges are real. The world is a dangerous place and this system of governments of ours the way we've organized organized our societies as democracies we are in a minority And we need to defend this You know System governance our way of life And that's becoming more challenging. As deep knowledge is changing the way we get. Our News is changing. A lot of things are changing changing. this is no time for internal division in our opinion. Yeah absolutely what I was going to jump in on a little bit go was essentially summing up from a layman's point of view. What you're saying is we don't we shouldn't look at article? Five is something that's been as you you said enacted one time but something it's actually ineffective every single day and has been every single day for the last seventy years and that's what keeps NATO prominent and and productive in need. It's the same as in you. Know what with the military in general You don't want to use the military in an actual shoul active operation in war at more often you use your military to sustain peace That's tornadoes only does it collectedly with the military's but also the Political Paula of all of the world's Major democracies combined that has kept peace in our part of The world for seven decades now and that by the way was one of the reasons why it was decided that the meeting of the leaders meeting had to be held in London because that was the original home for NATO headquarters and this Past spring on the exact the actual date of the birthday of the alliance There was a foreign ministers meeting here in Washington Washington. DC and that was because the Treaty of which Article Five that we discussed in part of the treaty that founding NATO The treaty that still guides this organization Shen is called The Washington Treaty was signed. Hit right here in Washington DC. Well as always. It's a very enlightening thing to sit down and talk with you extensively about Matters of NATO in Estonia and the US relationship and all all of the nuances that make it all up Before we wrap up today Just one other question about where NATO where Estonia is going right now. Where do you see Estonia headed and How do you Assess How it's getting there well? We're headed to the future. As is everybody else we think the future is going to be digital. We have created What we think is the first and probably still the only truly digital government on in the world were the majority of interactions between the citizens and the government take place online where we do our taxes online and just a few minutes a we even vote wrote online so I think the world is? You always have to rub that in. We're we we can't do that and plus I should also add that. We don't know how to do that here. Almost nobody in Estonia almost never has to stand in line at the DMV because everything is digital everything is digital so we think you only have one and I do you need to keep up with. That's your one ID Live I know we get to have smaller wallets and stuff and and so. I think that's the future. Now that's not I think we're only scratching the surface of what technological change Will bring us. There will be major benefits for us as human beings functioning democratic society but there will also be major major challenges that we need you to openly discuss and And deal with and nothing is going to be easy when it comes to the revolution. That's taking place these days and and again as a country that does use a digital services on a daily basis. We are absolutely convinced that none of the challenges of the future It can be solved by anyone. Nation State alone certainly not by a small nation. State like US neither by a big one like The United States these challenges oranges are bigger than anyone nation state. So if we're interested in in sustaining our way of life. If in the age of technological revolution then the nations that share a common understanding golf what democracy is a half to work together and have have to work together more closely perhaps than we have Done so in the past and this is again an area where we're trying to not only be the messengers passengers but who also tried to be If you will leaders Both in our bilateral relations with other allies but also within organizations like NATO Basseterre Thanks for sharing that with Estonia's embassador to the US. Jonathan Disavow. Thank you thank you. That's it for this episode of target. USA coming up in our next program anytime. There's an impeachment proceeding going on in the Congress to remove a president. It consumes a lot of time and energy van voice belongs to the man who was the very first homeland security secretary for or the trump administration for almost one working day. His name is Jay Johnson. He was better known as the Homeland Security Secretary. For President Barack Obama among and he suggests the impeachment proceedings under way have taken a far worse toll on the US and we might imagine because of its divisive of nature and my primary concern about the current debate where certain people are trying to create doubt about whether it was the Russians versus the Ukrainians sends the signal to Vladimir Putin and the Russian government. Hey we're not so sure you you were the ones responsible for this. You know. We're getting a a muddled picture. You had one member of the United States Senate a couple of weeks ago. Say I don't no the toll impeachment is taking on. US national security coming up on our next episode of Target USA in the meantime time. Thank you for listening. I really appreciate the fact. You've led us in once again to share some time with you if you have any questions or comments about the program sent me an in email at J. Green at W. T. O.. P. Dot Com. That's the letter j the Color Green. That's one word at whiskey. Whiskey Tango Oscar Papa Dot Com J. Green at W. T. O. P. dot com also. Please subscribe to our podcast. Follow us on twitter as well L. AT T- USA podcast. That's at Tango Uniform Sierra Alpha podcast and you can sign up for our newsletter. It's called inside the skiff at W. T. O. P. dot com slash alerts. I'm Jay Jay Green and this his target. USA He gene security. If you WANNA check out a really interesting podcast check out the Adam Corolla show. It's every weekday on podcast. One the ace man still holds the Guinness Book of World Records Title For most downloaded podcast in the world as he complains about whatever is on his mind with his celebrity pals. So don't Miss It. 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