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Category Archives: NATO

The Only 5 Countries That Meet NATO’s Defense Spending Requirements – TIME

Posted: February 24, 2017 at 6:07 pm

Poland’s 6th Airborne Brigade soldiers walk with U.S. 82nd Airborne Division soldiers during the NATO allies’ Anakonda 16 exercise near Torun, Poland, on June 7, 2016. Kacper PempelReuters

Getting NATO allies to spend more on defense is one of President Donald Trumps most consistent foreign policy proposals. He might be on to something.

According to NATOs own figures, just 5 of the 28 alliance members meet the requirement agreed upon in 2006 that members spend at least 2 percent of their GDP on defense. Here’s a deeper look at the handful of countries actually meeting their obligations:

1. The U.S. 3.61 percent of GDP on defense

The self-imposed 2 percent threshold has never made much practical difference to the U.S., which has been spending on its military at a much higher rate since World War II. Thats what happens when youre locked in an arms-race with a nuclear-armed superpower. But even after the Soviet Union fell in 1991, U.S. military spending dipped but never went below 2 percent. And since the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, its moved sharply higher. Today, the U.S. outspends the next seven nations combined when it comes to defense. In fiscal year 2017, the U.S. plans to spend $582.7 billion on defense, more than the entire national economic output of all but 20 countries in the world.

Trump is not wrong when he says the U.S. pays more than its fair share. After all, the rest of NATOs members combined spent less than half of what the U.S. budgeted (in absolute terms) in 2016. But, in rattling NATOs cage, Trump also has to contend with the alliances popularity among Americans. Some 77 percent of Americans believe NATO membership benefits the U.S. Then theres the fact that his message for more NATO solidarity is undercut by his support for Brexit and other moves to diminish the E.U.

2. Greece 2.38 percent of GDP spent on defense

Given its current economic woes, you might be surprised to see Greece on the list. But Greece has been splashing out for decades, averaging a defense budget of 6.2 percent of GDP throughout the 1980s . Much of this has to do with its historically tense relationship with Turkey, a fellow NATO member currently helmed by a president prone to brash rhetoric and not-so-veiled threats.

Then theres the fact that the Greek military employs 2.7 percent of the Greece labor force , according to 2013 figures. With an overall unemployment rate at around 23 percent , every little bit helps. Mandatory conscription also doesnt hurt. And its worth noting that Greeces overall GDP shrunk 45 percent between 2008 and 2015 , which helps keep their NATO contribution as a percentage of GDP look bigger despite massive cuts. Back in 2009, Greece was spending roughly $10 billion on defense. By 2015, it was spending just $4.6 billion, but that still managed to push it over the NATO threshold.

3. United Kingdom 2.21 percent of GDP spent on defense

At the end of the day, 2 percent is an arbitrary figure, and one thats difficult to calculate at that. That much has been made clear by the current row gripping the UK; the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) announced last week that the UK was not in fact meeting its 2 percent commitment. Instead, the London-based think tank estimates the government is only spending 1.98 percent of its GDP on defense. Ministry of Defense officials hit back, saying that NATOs own figures show that the country is meeting its commitments, while the British opposition accused the government of changing its accounting methods to give the illusion of keeping the commitment.

Whether or not Britain is actually meeting its NATO commitments is a big deal. When U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May visited Donald Trump in January, she pledged to encourage other NATO members to fulfill their obligations in exchange for Trumps 100 percent commitment to NATO . The fact that the U.K. may not be fulfilling those same obligations may rankle Trump at a time when the Brexit-bound Britain needs all the friends it can get.

4. Estonia 2.16 percent of GDP spent on defense

Then there are the Baltics, on the frontlines with Russia. While Estonia is the only one of the three Baltic states that actually meets NATOs 2 percent threshold, it actually spends less than Lithuania in absolute terms . On the heels of Russias 2014 annexation of Crimea, both Latvia and Lithuania pledged to meet the NATO threshold by 2018. Theyre well on their way, and by 2020 the three Baltic countries are together planning to spend nearly $2 billion a year on defense, more than double when they first entered NATO in 2004.

But as I discussed with the Estonian president, Kersti Kaljulaid, over the weekend at the Munich Security Conference, the fear of Russia has fundamentally morphed. Shes no longer worried about cross-border tensions or the roughly 26 percent of ethnic Russians who make up her countrys population. Instead, shes focused on Kremlin-sponsored propaganda and fake news aimed at delegitimizing her government. And as the U.S. can attest, big military spending alone isnt enough to prevent that.

5. Poland 2 percent of GDP spent on defense

Rounding out the list is Poland, which just squeaks past the mandated 2 percent threshold. But Poland is a particularly interesting story. Even though Warsaw scrapped compulsory military service back in 2008, the last few years have seen a rise in organized paramilitary forces. These groups pay for their own uniforms and weapons, and practice military exercises over the weekend. The fact that Poland borders a piece of isolated Russian territory called Kaliningrad is not lost on these Poles. Since Russias invasion of Crimea, the absolute number of people joining the approximately 120 paramilitary organizations has tripled . Theyve also won support from the nationalist-conservative Law and Justice (PiS) government, which intends to have 53,000 of these part-time soldiers spread throughout the country by 2019 as a sort of national guard. That would be equivalent to 1/3 of all Polish military personnel . Sometimes, military preparedness goes beyond the headline number.

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The Only 5 Countries That Meet NATO’s Defense Spending Requirements – TIME

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NATO develops telemedicine system to save lives in emergencies – NATO HQ (press release)

Posted: at 6:07 pm

NATO has developed a multinational telemedicine system, enabling medical specialists to provide real-time recommendations to first responders at emergency scenes or in combat zones. On Friday (24 February 2017), a high-level conference at NATO headquarters marked the completion of this project, supported by the NATO Science for Peace and Security Programme.

The telemedicine system can be used both by the military and civilian paramedics. In the event of a disaster, telemedicine helps eliminate distance barriers and improves access to medical services that would often not be available on the ground, even in remote areas, explained Ambassador Sorin Ducaru, NATO Assistant Secretary General for Emerging Security Challenges.

Thanks to telemedicine, medical specialists, located in different parts of the world, are ableto assess patients, diagnose them and provide real-time recommendations. Portable medical kits allow first responders at the scene to connect to the system, receiving expert advice from medical specialists. This allows the right aid and care to reach those who need it most quickly, with the potential to save many lives in disasters.

Launched in 2013, the project was led by scientists and experts from NATO Allies Romania and the United States and partner countries Finland, Moldova and Ukraine. Allies and partners provided advanced equipment, such as kits for connectivity and solar panels, as well as training for experts. NATOs Communications and Information Agency (NCIA) provided expertise on communications technologies.

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Darmanovi: Montenegro in NATO by the end of May – European Western Balkans (press release)

Posted: at 6:06 pm

PODGORICA – Montenegro received guarantees that the US Senate will ratify the NATO Accession Protocol, said Minister of Foreign Affairs Sra Darmanovi in an interview for Reuters, Montenegrin CDM reports.

He said that he was expecting Montenegro to become a full fledged member by the end of May. He said that they received a 100% guarantee that the US Senate would ratify the Protocol.

He denied claims that the ratification could be victim to Trumps administration desire to improve relations with Russia.

We understand that Trump wants to improve relations in Russia, especially when it comes to war on terrorism, but we do not see signs that point to sacrificing basic US national interests, Darmanovi said.

He reminded that out 28 NATO members, four have not ratified yet, out of procedural reasons the US, Canada, Netherlands and Spain.

We expect audition at the next summit in the end of May. It is reasonable to expect that all the procedures would be finalized by then, Darmanovi said.

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Iowa Air Guard Refueling Wing Supports NATO Missions – Department of Defense

Posted: at 6:06 pm

By Air Force Staff Sgt. Daniel Ter Haar, Iowa Air National Guard

NATO AIR BASE GEILENKIRCHEN, Germany, Feb. 24, 2017 This month, members of the Iowa Air National Guard’s 185th Air Refueling Wing based in Sioux City, Iowa, are refueling NATO Airborne Warning and Control System aircraft while assigned here.

Approximately 40 members from the 185th are in Germany for two weeks supporting NATO missions.

The AWACS involves multifaceted radar equipped aircraft that provide surveillance and command and control for NATO areas of responsibility. Onboard aircraft crews provide communications and control for U.S. and partner nations, while also keeping a close eye on potential adversaries. These missions require long flight times and inflight refueling provided by Air Guard units like the 185th.

According to Royal Netherlands Air Force Capt. Andr Bongers, a public affairs officer stationed at Geilenkirchen, the long-standing partnership with the Air Guard is important to maintaining stability in the region.

A Very Successful Partnership

“This has always been a very successful partnership. During 40 weeks per year the Air Guard provides essential training to the NATO E-3A Component. This is vital because pilots at the E-3A Component normally stay around for only four years, Bongers said. This means theres a high demand for training to ensure new crew members are combat ready. The high level of professionalism and flexibility delivered by the Air Guard is of great importance to get the right amount of training.”

NATO AWACS play a critical role in many ongoing missions in the region, Bongers said, such as counter-Islamic State of Iraq and Syria operations, Eastern Europe surveillances and Mediterranean maritime operations. He said they also fly for high visibility events such as the recent NATO summit in Warsaw and big regional exercises like Red Flag and Arctic Challenge.

According to Air Force Lt. Col. Joseph Bosch, the Air National Guards liaison in Geilenkirchen, the Air Guard has been working with NATO forces since 2015. Bosch also said that the Air Guard brings a level of unmatched experience to refueling operations, especially units like the 185th.

“It is always a pleasure having the 185th. This wing has a special dedication to this mission and shows time and again how much they love our mission here. Sioux City always brings their “A” game to make this special spot better than when they arrived,” Bosch said.

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Can NATO survive Turkey? – American Enterprise Institute

Posted: at 6:06 pm

It has become a staple of diplomatic rhetoric that, whatever problems the United States has with the current government in Turkey, diplomats must ameliorate President Recep Tayyip Erdogan because Turkey is too important to NATO and also a staging ground in any operations against the Islamic State.

A Turkish flag (R) flies among others flags of NATO members during the North Atlantic Council (NAC) at the Alliance headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, July 28, 2015. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir.

Certainly, that is the position of the new administration. Vice President Mike Pence has said he foresees a new day in U.S.-Turkey relations. Trump himself stressed the close U.S.-Turkey relationship during his first phone call with the Turkish leader. Ted Malloch, a businessman and Trump ally who is a leading candidate to become US ambassador to the European Union, argued that the United States should bite the bullet and give into Erdogans political demands in order to reset U.S.-Turkish relations.

Alas, what the Trump team appears not to realize is that Erdogans problem with the United States and the West more generally is ideological and not based on grievance. In particular, Erdogan hates NATO. That may sound counterintuitive given that Turkey contributes the second-largest troop component to NATO and participates with NATO countries in Afghanistan. But Erdogans upbringing was against the backdrop of Cold War diplomacy blessing Turkish dictatorships. So why doesnt Erdogan just pull Turkey out of NATO? Here, the sad truth is that Erdogan can do far more damage from inside NATO because the defensive alliance is governed by consensus. By remaining inside NATO, Erdogan can paralyze the organization with a de facto veto.

But, Erdogans game is deeper. His party is now demonizing NATO as a terror organization. Here is what AKP Gaziantep parliamentarian amil Tayyar had to say:

Turkey has been subjected to coups since it joined NATO. NATO has always been in charge of the dirty and bloody deeds in the country. The 1960 military coup was staged by the British, the 1971 coup was staged by the CIA, and the 1980 coup was staged by NATO. In NATOs new plan, a Turkey with [President Recep Tayyip] Erdoan should not exist NATO has become a threat and is spreading terror organizations across the region. You can designate NATO along with DEASH [Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant ISIL], the PKK [Kurdistan Workers Party] and FET [Fethullahist Terror Organization].

In a country where saying or thinking the wrong thing can lead years in prisoneven for members of parliamentaryit simply isnt possible that Tayyar was speaking absent Erdogans approval.

Turkish state media, meanwhile, has sent reporters to Ramstein Air Base in Germany to broadcast programs accusing NATO of involvement in terrorism.

So what is Erdogans game here? He believes he is engaged in a win-win strategy. If the United States and European officials refuse his demands, his incitement will transform NATO into an enemy in the eyes of most Turks. Such actions would also feed Russian propaganda and anti-American forces worldwide. It will also allow him to play the nationalist card against the NATO bogey in the run-up to the April 2017 referendum on a new constitution which would formalize Erdogans dictatorial powers.

On the other hand, if Trump caves into Erdogans demands, he will justify his purge of officers and civil servants whose only crime was having been posted to NATO offices and legitimize his broader crackdown. This, too, would play into Erdogans hands ahead of the April referendum.

So what is NATO to do? Turkey poses a problem the defensive alliance hasnt experienced in its nearly seven decade existence: What to do when the enemy is internal rather than external. Appeasing Erdogan only kicks the can down the road, but it is not a sustainable strategy. It is time for NATO to get serious about the Trojan horse which Turkey has become.

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Le Pen blasts EU, NATO, praises Trump – Deutsche Welle

Posted: at 6:06 pm

France’s far-right presidential front runner Marine Le Pen sounded a full-throated rejection of global trade deals and multilateral governance, defending in soaring terms Thursday the importance ofcultural identity and national independence.

In a keynote foreign policy speech in Paris, Le Pen offered withering criticism of the European Union and NATO and decried what she essentially described as Western meddling in countries like Iraq, Syria, Libya, Russia and Turkey that she claimed have increased instability, broken bilateral promises and betrayed the wishes of the people.

“I don’t want to promote a French or a Western system. I don’t want to promote a universal system,” Le Pen told a packed audience of reporters, diplomats and supporters in an elegant conference hall near the Champs Elysees. “To the contrary, I want to promote a respect of cultures and peoples.”

Le Pen’s lofty discourse offered a stark counterpoint to the Front National’s more abrasive grassroots image as an anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim, populist party. She described France under her governance as a champion of “oppressed people, which speaks out for the voiceless and carries something powerful and great.”

Le Pen has indicated she would seek a new deal with the EU, or “Frexit”

She also took no questions and continued calmly on after a bare-chested Femen protester sought to interrupt herbefore being carried, still shouting, out of the room.

Scandal over EU funds

A pair of polls out Thursday confirmed Le Pen remains the favored candidate in a presidential race that has been full of surprises, despite being mired in an ongoing scandal over the alleged misuse of European Union fundsto pay for several Front National staff. Still, almost every survey to date shows her winning the first round of presidential elections in April, but failing to prevail in a May runoff.

For 48-year-old Le Pen, Thursday’s speech was the second chance in a week to burnish her foreign policy credentials. European leaders have snubbed her, but she had better luck earlier this week in Lebanon, where she met with the country’s president and prime minister. She also stirred controversy by cancelling a meeting with the Lebanese grand mufti after refusing to wear a headscarf.

“Going to Lebanon showed she could look presidential,” says Philippe Moreau Defarges, senior fellow at the French Institute of International Relations in Paris. Noting the country was both a former French colony and held an important Christian community – a key theme for the National Front – he added, “it allowed Mrs. Le Pen to look like both a patriot and a Christian.”

Old and new themes

Le Pen’s address touched on some familiar themes, as she railed against the European Union, NATO and free trade. But she also waded into new territory – or at least offered new nuances – as she described forging a new relationship with Africa based on “frankness, respect and mutual cooperation.”

Like UKIP’s Nigel Farage, Le Pen has warm words for US President Donald Trump

Yet much of her discourse was thin on specifics. Le Pen called for environmental security without defining it, and did not address key issues like whether France would stick to the Iran nuclear agreement under her leadership or a two-state solution in the Israel-Palestine conflict.

“If you don’t pay attention to the details and just listen to the rhetoric, it sounds very French, very classical legalism,” Manuel Lafont Rapnouil, Paris office head of the European Council of Foreign relations think-tank, describing Le Pens traditional discourse.

“If you pay a bit more attention, it’s a clear departure from the kind of mainstream foreign policy followed by France since the Cold War.”

Hike in defense spending

On defense, Le Pen reiterated her distaste for NATO, instead calling for a policy based on French national interests and vowing to hike French defense spending to two percent of its GDP – increased to 3 percent by the end of her five-year term.

On the Middle East, she criticised western efforts to strike deals with Syria’s moderate opposition – which ultimately “helped arm the Islamic State.” She said cutting off relations with Damascus had been “more than an error” that made France, which has sustained three major terrorist attacks in two years, more vulnerable at home.

“How many attacks on French soil could relations with Syrian services have avoided?” Le Pen asked.

‘Change of software’

She also renewed calls for forging better relations with Moscow, saying Russia had been “badly treated”by both the European Union and the United States. France’s 2014 cancelation of a sale of Mistral warships to Moscow over the conflict in Ukraine, she said, was a case in point.

Not surprisingly, Le Pen had warm words for US President Donald Trump; she was among the first foreign politicians to hail his November victory, even before it was formally announced. Criticizing his predecessor Barack Obama for a failed foreign policy in the Middle East and elsewhere, Le Pen predicted the current Trump administration would represent “almost a change of software that will not only be positive for the world, but positive for the United States.”

Germany’s Merkel targeted

But Le Pen spent a significant chunk of her discourse railing against the European Union with German Chancellor Angela Merkel as herbiggest target.

“The conception of a failed Europe is carried by Mrs Merkel that defies understanding,” she said of the German leader.

Le Pen said French policies on Syria had put France at greater risk of terrorism

If elected, Le Pen vows to renegotiate a new deal with the European Union – and failing that, hold a “Frexit” referendum on leaving the bloc. Coupled with the Brexit referendum in the UK, the 28 member blocis feeling the brunt of the nationalist surge. In nearby Netherlands, far-right politician Geert Wilders also leads the polls ahead of March elections, but given other parties’ opposition to the anti-Muslim politician he would not be able to form a government.

“The question for Germany is do you make this a kind of causus belli or deal with the cards you have?” asked analyst Lafont Rapnouil. “Just as Brexit was not what all EU members wanted, you have to get the best out of it for both sides, and not some kind of sterile tit-for-tat.”

“It will be a very difficult and cold relationship,” Moreau Defarges of IFRI says of diplomatic ties between mainstream European leaders and Le Pen. “Of course, Mrs. Merkel or Teresa May will receive Mrs Le Pen as head of state. But it will be a big European crisis – an earthquake – if she’s elected.”

New relationship with Africa

Le Pen also said she would overhaul relations with Africa, breaking from France’s “moralizing discourse” towards its former colonies and instead focus on “non-interference, which doesn’t mean indifference.”

She called for development assistance, particularly focusing on agriculture, and for maintaining a French military presence in countries like Mali, Chad and Cameroon which are all fighting militant Islam.

Yet that stance raises contradictions, Lafont-Rapnouil points out. France’s African operations were realized in cooperation with the United Nations and with EU support – the very multilateral institutions that Le Pen rejects.

“How would that work,” he asks, “if you have a National Front foreign policy which is not in favor of EU integration on defense – and which is not interested in the UN?”

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White House Official To NATO: ‘If You Want To Maintain Relevancy’ Join US War On Jihad [VIDEO] – Daily Caller

Posted: at 6:06 pm

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NATO alliance countries should increase their commitment to the fight against radical islamic terrorism to maintain relevancy, deputy assistant to President Donald Trump, Sebastian Gorka, told The Daily Caller News Foundation.

NATO committed a small contingent of forces to train Iraqi Security Forces in the fight against ISIS on Feb. 6, after prodding from the Trump administration.

This is a start, and then we will assess, work with allies and look at what more we can do, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg toldthe Wall Street Journal of the alliances decision to train Iraqi soldiers. Stoltenbergs comments come after repeated skepticism from NATO generals in late Januarythat the alliance should be involved in counter-terrorism in the first place.

If [NATO wants to] maintain your relevancyunderstand we have a mutual threat again, Gorka declared to NATO allies. He continued that the mutual threat facing NATO is not the red bear and the Warsaw pact itsglobal islamsim or the global jihadi threat.

WATCH:

Gorkas comments followed Trumps speech before the Conservative Political Action Committee Friday saying, I have also directed the defense community to develop a plan to totally obliterate ISIS. Trump continued, working with our allies, we will eradicate this evil from the face of the Earth.

Trumps speech echoes his comments to the Washington Post in March 2016, saying, I think the distribution of costs has to be changed. I think NATO as a concept is good, but it is not as good as it was when it first evolved.

Trump doubled down in a CNN interview the same day, saying, frankly they have to put up more money. Theyre going to have to put some up also. Were paying disproportionately. Its too much. And frankly its a different world than it was when we originally conceived of the idea.

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NATO to US: Yes sir, Mr. Trump – Meridian Star

Posted: February 23, 2017 at 12:56 pm

Candidate Donald Trump set off a furious controversy when he said NATO countries should pay their “fair share” of mutual defense costs and, later, that the treaty organization was “obsolete” because not enough of its efforts were directed against radical Islamic terrorism.

On Monday, Vice President Mike Pence took the Trump message to NATO headquarters in Brussels. And after all the controversy and complaining, NATO’s response could be boiled down to a single sentence: Yes sir, Mr. Trump.

News reports from Pence’s news conference with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg focused on Pence’s effort to “reassure” nervous NATO officials that the U.S. will stand behind its treaty commitments. “It is my privilege here at the NATO headquarters to express the strong support of President Trump and the United States of America for NATO and our transatlantic alliance,” Pence said. “I can say with confidence, America will do our part.”

But at least as newsworthy was what happened next. Pence dropped the hammer of Trump’s demands, and NATO quickly went along.

“Europe’s defense requires Europe’s commitment as much as ours,” Pence said. He reminded the group that in 2014 all 28 members of NATO promised to try to spend two percent of their GDP on defense by 2024. Only four countries, in addition to the U.S., are now meeting that standard. As a candidate, Trump repeatedly called for NATO to pay more, Pence noted.

And now Trump is president. “So let me say again what I said this last weekend in Munich,” Pence said “The president of the United States and the American people expect our allies to keep their word and to do more in our common defense, and the president expects real progress by the end of 2017. … It is time for actions, not words.”

Just in case anyone missed the message, Pence encouraged the NATO countries that don’t spend two percent on defense to accelerate their plans to get there. “And if you don’t have a plan,” Pence said, “get one.”

To which NATO quickly acceded. “I fully support what has been underlined by President Trump and by Vice President Pence today, the importance of burden sharing,” Stoltenberg said. “I expect all allies to make good on the promise that we made in 2014 to increase defense spending and to make sure to have a fairer burden of sharing.”

On the issue of terrorism, Stoltenberg said yes again. First, he noted that NATO is helping train security forces in Afghanistan and Iraq and is contributing surveillance planes to the fight against the Islamic State. Then he added what Pence wanted to hear: “But we agree that the alliance can, and should do more, in the fight against terrorism.”

It’s hard to overstate the near-hysteria that met Trump’s “fair share” and “obsolete” comments. But the fact is, burden sharing is an old idea, and a non-controversial one. Modernizing NATO’s approach in the age of the Islamic State is also eminently reasonable. And now NATO, facing the reality of a Trump presidency, has little choice but to go along.

The bottom line is that Donald Trump moved the NATO debate. After much fretting, and complaining, and denouncing, NATO did the simplest thing: It went along.

Byron York is chief political correspondent for The Washington Examiner.

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Exit by 80% of Polish Top Brass Guts Command on NATO Front Line – Bloomberg

Posted: at 12:56 pm

Polands conservative government has replaced almost all of its military leadership after hundreds of officers left, an exit that coincides with a call from Warsaws to its NATO allies for help boosting its defense.

With the government moving to rid institutions of officials appointed by the former ruling Civic Platform party, which it defeated in 2015 elections, 90 percent of the General Staff leadership and more than 80 percent of the armys top brass have gone, according to the Defense Ministry. They include Chief of Staff General Miroslaw Gocul, who stepped down last month and Army Commander General Miroslaw Rozanski.

The ruling Law & Justice Party has pledged to purge government of what its leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski has called the worst type of Poles — people with ties to Civic Platform or the communists who ruled the country last century. It is also thinning out experienced soldiers who have served in wars alongside their allies in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, which Poland joined with other former eastern bloc states in 1999.

Defense Minister Antoni Macierewicz has conducted a widespread change at top positions in operating units, each time replacing officers selected by the Civic Platform with experienced officers trained in Iraq and Afghanistan and trained by NATO, the ministry said in a statement on Thursday.

Among the departures are 26 generals and more than 250 colonels, about a quarter and a sixth of the armys total, TVN24 television reported. While media say the numbers are higher than compared with previous years, the ministry says the total size of the army increased to 106,000 in 2017 from 96,000 in 2015.

Probably part of the departures are natural, but theres also part thats forced, for example by transfer orders sending officers into reserves, retired Brigadier General Stanislaw Koziej, who was head of the National Security Bureau under the Civic Platform government from 2010 to 2015, said by phone. The worrying element is that some departures are at the highest level where the military command links with political leadership. This is a bad signal.

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The government in Warsaw is also pushing to bring more U.S. troops to Poland as it warns against what it says is an increasing security threat from an expansionist Russia and the war in Ukraine.

A soldier has no other means of protest besides taking off the uniform, Koziej said.

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Deporting Glen would undercut NATO – American Enterprise Institute

Posted: at 12:56 pm

Islamic preacher Fethullah Glen is pictured at his residence in Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania, in 2013. REUTERS.

Ted Malloch, President Trumps presumptive pick to be ambassador to the European Union, has reportedly said that he expects the Trump administration to extradite US-based Turkish cleric Fethullah Glen. Here, for example, is a report from Sabah, a paper which Erdogan confiscated, transferred to his son-in-law, and transformed into the Turkish equivalent of the old Soviet Pravda:

US President Donald Trumps potential pick for EU ambassadorship Ted Malloch said that he believes the new US administration will likely extradite Glenist Terror Group (FET) leader Fetullah Glen, saying the new administration will have better relations with Turkey. Speaking in a live, televised interview on Turkish broadcaster NTV on Monday, Malloch said that he believes, [Trump] will get along really well with President [Recep Tayyip] Erdoan. Malloch went on to say that Turkey is a member of NATO and our strategic partner, while emphasizing the importance of Glens extradition and acknowledging that he was behind the July 15 failed coup attempt. He continued by saying that President Trump and his Turkish counterpart have held very constructive meetings over the phone and may meet in person in the coming months.

It is possible that Malloch is just speculating, projecting his own opinion onto Trump, and/or seeking to ingratiate himself with the Turkish press. If he speaks the truth, however, Trump is on the verge of a huge mistake.

Erdogans obsession with and hatred of Glen has many reasons. The basic fact remains, however: While there is much to criticize with regard to the Glen movements past actions, the Turks have yet to offer any proof that Glen himself was involved in the coup. Some soldiers involved were his followers, but others were not, and some may even have been Erdogan supporters. Many of the deaths on the evening of the coup appear to have been caused by snipers or members of SADAT, an Islamist militia run by the man subsequently appointed Erdogans military counselor.

Sacrificing Glen, however, will not bring Turkey in from the cold. The purge in which Erdogan has engaged has been immense. While the pretext might have been rooting out Glens followers, the reality is that Erdogan has used the purge to target secularists, liberals, and those officers whose training and experience in NATO he believes make them prone to oppose his vision and goals for Turkey.

Heres the problem: To appease Erdogan by extraditing Glen might seem like an easy solution to bilateral strains but, in reality, Erdogan would use his return to affirm to the public the wisdom of his purge and justify the arrests after the fact. In effect, Trump would be handing a death sentence not only to Glen but also to hundreds of officers whose only crime was service in NATO.

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