The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is meeting in Chicago. It wants to figure out two things: (a) how to exit Afghanistan and (b) keep the peace in Europe between its west and Russia.
America wants to stand down as President Hamid Karzai’s Afghan security forces stand up between 2012 and 2014. The Afghan exit, unlike in Iraq, on the cards since 2011, had become bumpy because of a few careless acts of leadership and behavior of the United States military.
European and American economic situations do not lend themselves, as President Hollande of France has made clear, to continue to engage in the mountainous country more than a decade after the war on Taliban and the now killed Osama bin Laden’s Al Qaeda, especially given the Russian experience during the Cold War.
The exit strategy must, therefore, be about working with Afghanistan to return the country to normalcy but Taliban stands in the way as a geopolitical wedge between a defeated former Soviet Union with significant continued interests in Russia’s former Central Asian republics and China’s interests in Afghan resources after China’s President Hun Jintao’s visit with Hamid Karzai.
Activating the missile defense system in Poland is counterproductive to NATO’s expected articulated outcome of exiting Afghanistan in a manner that does not have adverse repercussions for the region, unless instability in South and Central Asia is being quietly intended by NATO to embroil Russia and China in Afghanistan together with Iran.
Non-cooperative games in Eurasia because of American meddling in NATO to realize residual and legacy policies of the Bush Administration’s Pentagon are also antithetical to US interests in some quarters, especially of President Barack Obama’s, because of the bureaucratic turf wars between the Department of State, Department of Defense on one side and the Obama White House on the other: Obama wants cooperation with Russia in outer space and the Pentagon must realize that going along with that strategy will also be in the Pentagon’s interest in time – as a part of future National Defense Authorization Acts (NDAA) not for Star Wars but for deep space civilian exploration beyond the International Space Station (ISS), as the US government restructures the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) into the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) for regulating private space ventures in near-earth space.
American interest – President Obama must know, given realistic perceptions in the United States of his left-leaning tendencies and his administration’s lackluster record on civil liberties despite his Nobel Peace Prize – is not in Russian authoritarianism but in Russia’s integration into the European and world orders, a grave failing of the West after 1989.
Russia’s accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO), a process begun recently, must be consummated and NATO must be morphed into the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) while holding China accountable for its yet to be completely fulfilled WTO accession commitments.
Restarting the Strategic Arms Reduction Talks (START) is not enough to contain Iran’s nuclear program, China’s military buildup or America’s defense spending for that matter. National defense expenditures must hyperbolically diminish to phase into global zero and global sustainability.
If this is the wind that will blow in Chicago beginning tomorrow, it will go a long way in making the world a legitimately stable and peaceful place by reforming the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) where United Kingdom, France, Russia and China – the world’s major nuclear powers – are permanent members together with the elephant in the room – United States of America.