Saturday, September 03, 2005


How should collective security be funded?

How should collective security be funded? Assuming that there will eventually be agreement internationally on security threats.

NATO have this dilemmato solve, urgently. The different levels of contributions that member countries make to the Alliance have long caused friction, and this is inhibiting plans for the Alliance's future. See the huge variances in an interactive version of the UK's Hansard.

A leading commander of NATO forces, General James Jones, spoke earlier this year about the problem of funding.

>MUNICH NATO'S top commander says he is seeking a radical overhaul of the alliance's finances as it becomes more involved in peacekeeping missions in distant countries yet continues to use a system introduced during the cold war to pay for them.< >When NATO was established nearly 56 years ago, military operations. . . were financed in two ways. One was through a common fund into which all countries contributed. The other, known as "costs lie where they fall," meant that any country that contributed troops or equipment to a NATO mission was obliged to pick up all the costs. But as NATO moves outside Europe and ventures as far afield as Afghanistan, where it commands an 8,000-member peacekeeping mission, or to Iraq, where it will run a modest training mission, Jones said the new demands facing NATO required financing arrangements that involved more common funding."< >Jones said his big concern was that if the current financing system was retained, it could jeopardize the NATO Reaction Force. It could mean that countries willing to contribute troops to this force might end up being reluctant because they would have to pay on the basis of "costs lie where they fall." . . In practice, this means that countries like Belgium, which agreed in 2003 to the NATO-led Afghanistan mission but then delayed sending aircraft after its Finance Ministry objected to having pay the crew and maintenance charges, often contribute nothing to those missions.<

With a view to discuss future funding, among other matters, NATO met on the 13th and 14th of September 2005. It was pointed out that a poll of the German Marshall Fund has shown there is little public support for increasing defence spending. The S-G said: "And that means that we have, . . . as NATO, to do lots of public diplomacy, to explain why we are in Afghanistan. Why is the German Bundeswehr making such a big contribution in Afghanistan, far away from home, unthinkable ten years ago. Why is that?"
Without public support, defence spending - nationally and internationally -, will surely reduce. This must be a huge worry.
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