Answers to: Need to Strengthen US-European/NATO Relations

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There is no evidence that NATO cares about the Baltics at all. In fact, they may even see increasing Baltic security as a low priority.

Afghanistan is much bigger and more visible; it collapses our relationship with allies Jen Kirby, 8-31, 21, VOX, NATO allies are preparing for a future without America’s “forever wars”, https://www.vox.com/22639474/afghanistan-nato-europe-refugees-germany-uk Afghanistan wasn’t just America’s 20-year war. It also belonged to US allies. “This has been above all a catastrophe for the Afghan people. It’s a failure of the Western world and it’s a game changer for international relations,” the European Union’s chief diplomat Josep Borrell told an Italian newspaper Monday, according to the Washington Post.  “Certainly,” he continued, “we Europeans share our part of responsibility. We cannot consider that this was just an American war.” As President George W. Bush said in October 2001 while announcing airstrikes against al-Qaeda and the Taliban, the US had the “collective will of the world” behind its mission in Afghanistan. (Iraq, of course, was a different story.) The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) has invoked Article 5 — the common-defense clause — only once in its history, after the 9/11 attacks. More than 51 NATO members and partner countries sent troops to Afghanistan, with a combined 130,000 troops at the deployment’s peak. NATO’s combat mission ended in 2014, but coalition troops remained to help train and advise Afghan security forces. Even as some countries wound down their military presence in the later years of the war, a total of 1,145 allied troops died in Afghanistan of the approximately 3,500 service members killed. President George W. Bush gives an address on Afghanistan and the war on terror, saying the US “will not fail” at Travis Air Force Base on October 17, 2001. Image The United States, starting with Donald Trump, and continuing with Joe Biden, made clear the plan to withdraw from Afghanistan. But the rapid collapse of the Afghan government and the swiftness of the Taliban takeover turned that departure into chaos. The United States looked blundering and inept, and it dragged its allies down with it. Some countries struggled to evacuate their personnel and Afghan associates as the situation around the Kabul airport worsened. All had to reckon with the reality that after 20 years, and lives lost, and billions spent, little was left to show for it That has led to recriminations in London and Berlin and Brussels, directed at leaders there, and at the United States. “Was our intelligence really so poor?” former British Prime Minister Theresa May asked in Parliament earlier this month. “Was our understanding of the Afghan government so weak? Was our knowledge on the ground so inadequate? Or did we just think we had to follow the United States and on a wing and a prayer it would be all right on the night?” Some voices on this side of the Atlantic and the other are simply advocating that US engagement in Afghanistan continue indefinitely. But even among those who are not, there is a genuine frustration at how Afghanistan unraveled, and questions of how closely the US consulted with its coalition allies on its withdrawal timeline. That has revived a debate that has beset the transatlantic alliance for years, especially during the Donald Trump era: Are the United Kingdom and Europe too dependent on the US for their security? And will the shifting US priorities finally require correcting that imbalance? Katharina Emschermann, deputy director at the Center for International Security at the Hertie School in Berlin, said there is “uncertainty in Europe about the future course of US foreign policy, and what it means for it.”“Part of the discord that we’re seeing now is probably also rooted in the sense of unease about how things are going to go on in the future,” Emschermann added.

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