With its extension, NATO is becoming “unmanageable”

With its extension, NATO is becoming “unmanageable”

NATO concluded its summit in Vilnius with approval of a new defense plan. The road for the inclusion of Sweden has been opened. Meanwhile, both the alliance’s plans for and the tensions in the Black Sea are increasing.

We spoke to Retired Brigadier General Fahri Erenel on these issues. Erenel is also teaching at the Istinye University as Director of the Center for Applied Research on Security and Defense Strategies (GÜVSAM)..

NATO summit was discussed a lot. They decided on a defense concept, 4400 pages long, that we are curious about. Detailed 4400 pages. How did you interpret such a concept decision?

First of all when you include countries like Sweden to NATO, it becomes very difficult to manage a structure of 32 countries. Although you say might speak of NATO culture, it is very difficult to manage so many religions and nations at once.

This concept is what we call a military operation plan, a letter of principles. The most important factor here is the principle of simplicity. The more details you go into in today’s military operation, the more opportunities you create for the opposing side’s counter-attack.

As for the NATO plan you spoke about, the field implementation of such a multi-page plan may obviously be partially regional for armed forces. At the same time, NATO has changed many concepts as you know.

Each time NATO expanded, it prepared a new operational plan. It is never possible for a military unit to adapt to so many operational plan changes in a short time in a multinational structure. There is no successful example of this in history.

So as NATO expands, it becomes unmanageable. In fact, Macron emphasized this by saying that NATO was ‘brain dead’. I take it one step further and say that NATO is actually going towards this euthanasia by including Finland and Sweden.

This is because it ‘s getting unmanageable. Whether you consider it in terms of military management or scientific organization management, it will become impossible as the number of subordinate elements increases.

For instance the NATO’s emergency response team consists of 30 brigades, now this is increased to 300. But they have not able to establish the 30 yet. How will they get the 300?

Biden is pursuing a “Second Marshall Plan”

Are these plans also touching on defense spending?

Definitely. Members are obliged to spend two percent of their gross national product on defense, but 8 of ten are still below that threshold. Each of them relies on the USA or other major states.

Here we end up with only one thing: Making the American defense industry work. As a matter of fact, a decision was taken to produce joint defense industry projects within this concept or plan. So who will produce? The United States of America.

You know, Truman used the same method in the Marshall Plan. He soled weapons and spare parts for money. Therefore, while all world economies struggled during the second world war, the American economy reached full employment. He has sold over ten thousand tanks, artillery and aircraft.

America’s economic power today owes it to what it sold to warring countries in World War II. Today we have the same picture. I think it is starting the Second Marshall Plan. It wants to set the standard in the defense industry products of this NATO structure.

Right now, the British also have planes. There is a joint aircraft production between France and Germany. There is an aircraft model produced by the Swedes. But the US says ‘no’ to Finland and Sweden and wants instead to deliver them the F35. It says ‘I made you members of NATO and now you have to buy from me’. This is how America reduced the stagnant inflation.

For Biden, the Ukraine war is both an election investment and hope for the revival of the American economy, with the defense industry being the focus.

This plans also brings the Arctic region came into play. Sweden and Finland need to have a structure that can operate in cold climate and weather conditions. In fact, with this new NATO plan, America aimed to provide a force stance by taking Sweden and Finland behind it against Russia, which it was no longer inadequate, because America’s weakest position in the world against Russia was the Arctic region. They wanted to do an exercise in the Arctic 2 years ago and gave up, because there they had no rescue ship capable to break the ice.

America recently opened the base in Alaska, which it had closed years ago, and began to train a division there. But this will take very serious time. That’s why they moved so quickly with Sweden and Finland.

So, apart from Sweden and so on, is there a force in NATO’s world that can combat the cold climate? So when there is a war in Sweden and Finland at minus 30-40-50 degrees, which European country can help there, but other than their forces? There is no such element. Therefore, on the one hand, NATO has expanded, but there are serious risks in enlarging it. Russia’s front also expanded.

But NATO is in the same situation. NATO’s front has also expanded. So you have to look at both sides of the coin. That’s why military operations probably need more technology-intensive, more flexible, modular and fast-implementable plans that enable raids where hypersonic levels, oils, blacks, artificial intelligence, robotic systems are used today. I think that the period of preparing an operation with such page-filled plans has passed.

Washington has realized that it loses regional influence when Türkiye approaches Russia and China

What do you expect for Türkiye in this plan?

Here, along with this plan, it is necessary to look into the Biden-Erdogan meeting at the last NATO summit. The US has clearly realized that as Türkiye approached Russia and the East, Washington saw losing their influence in the Middle East, Caucasus and Central Asia to China and partly to Russia.

China’s mediation in the last Saudi Arabia-Iran relationship and its 10-point plan for the Ukraine war all showed that Washington is losing the initiative and starts to lose its economic feature.

And for this reason, taking into account the improvement of both Azerbaijan-Türkiye relations in the Caucasus, the organization of Turkish states in Central Asia, and Türkiye’s relationship with the Arab states in the Middle East and also taking into account Israel, they realized needing Ankara.

Secondly, NATO means nothing without Türkiye on the Southern Front. Because for the US, the Black Sea is the same as the Arctic. Americans use the concept of the Expanded Black Sea a lot. That means a large area that includes the south of Russia, the border with Romania, Bulgaria, Türkiye and the Caucasus including Georgia. It is necessary to dominate this area, in order to dominate Central Asia.

Currently, actually America attacks on the Crimean Kerch Bridge. Apart from this, it wants to damage the Russian navy in the Black Sea, where Russia is relatively weak, by landing a NATO force in the Black Sea, and to inflict casualties on Russia’s ground troops from the coast with naval artillery.

Türkiye has actually provided the greatest support to Russia by implementing Montreux Convention. There has also been the Grain Corridor Agreement, but Montreux has provided support to both to Russia and NATO, because due to the agreement, three large Russian ships could not pass through the straits coming from the Baltic and Murmansk to the Black Sea.

Instead, they had to shift ships from the Caspian from the relatively weaker Caspian pilots. The power of the Black Sea, the navy of Russia is not strong. The strongest navy in the Black Sea belongs to the Turkish Armed Forces, the Turkish Naval Forces. Since America knows this, Romania’s naval forces are almost non-existent in the enlarged Black Sea. There is hardly any Bulgaria. Ukraine does not exist anyway.

Therefore, the most powerful navy in the Black Sea is currently the Turkish one. That’s why they definitely wants to see Türkiye on their side in the enlarged Black Sea. That’s why hey want to tear Türkiye away from Russia.

Matters of the Black Sea

I came across information in the NATO parliamentary assembly, that NATO is demanding a permanent naval force in the Black Sea. It says that this will be limited to Montreux, but with Turkey-based Romania and Bulgaria added. There are similar plans in the US..

The final moves made here want to drag Türkiye into the war on the Black Sea, under the umbrella of NATO.

Recently a meeting was held in Istanbul, a little out of sight, attended by England, Türkiye, Bulgaria and Poland. You know Poland has the Three-Seas-Concept. Historically, there was the Polish kingdom with ancient Lithuania, starting from the Baltic and descending to the Black Sea. So the Americans plan to use Poland on the land and Türkiye in the Black Sea.

The Black Sea is also important as a transfer line for power from Central Asia, passing through Turkmenistan and passing through Azerbaijan. The security of the hydrocarbon resources of the fuel that will pass through the Black Sea via the Black Sea and the fuel that will arrive via Türkiye via pipes, because Azerbaijan and the Caspian Sea have very serious reserves.

On the other side is Turkmenistan, right on the shore of the Caspian Sea, and then there is the line from Central Asia. Now, by keeping this under control, actually both to secure the lines that will come to European information, and secondly, to prevent China from using this line with the Northern belt closed, you know, with the Ukraine War. Besides, the middle belt passing through Türkiye was adopting the Black Sea line as an alternative to it. By doing this, the US actually wants to stop China starting from the Caucasus.

If these sanctions continue next year, the best way to close this gap is to arrive by tankers via Azerbaijan. Thus, the security of the Black Sea must be ensured.

Yunus Soner

Political Scientist, former Deputy Chairman of Vatan Party (Türkiye) Soner has participated in diplomatic visits to China, Syria, Iran, Egypt, Russia, Venezuela, Cuba and Mexico, among others. He has conducted meetings with President Bashar Al Assad (Syria), President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (Iran), President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (Mexico), Manuel Zelaya (Honduras) and Foreign Ministers, Ministers of Finances and Representatives of Parliament from various countries. He has worked on Turkish-Russian, Turkish-Syrian, Turkish-Chinese and Turkish-Egyptian relations as well as on Latin America. Soner has had media participation in various international media channels, among them Russia Today and Sputnik (Russia), CGTN (China), Press TV (Iran), Syrian TV, El Mayaddin (Lebanon) and Telesur (Venezuela) and Turkish media. He has been a columnist to Turkish daily newspaper Aydınlık




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June 2024