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NATO ???

Yesterday in Brussels, NATO kicked off a yearlong process to draft a new strategic concept. The last strategic concept was adopted a decade ago at the Washington Summit marking the alliance’s 50th anniversary, when NATO was at war in what turned out to be a 78-day bombing campaign to stop Serbia and its autocratic leader Slobodan Milosevic’s ruthless campaign of slaughter in Kosovo labeled mildly as ethnic cleansing. But, in many ways, the challenges today are greater than at any time in NATO’s 60-year history.

For one thing, NATO’s success led to a complete dissolution of the enemy it was created to deter, contain and defeat when the Soviet Union imploded two decades ago. Yet, NATO still remains a military alliance directed against very diaphanous and different threats. Thus, NATO has been struggling for a raison d’etre that recognizes traditional defense does not fit the broader security challenges and dangers that are in evidence, all the while expanding from 19 to 28 member nations.

The centerpiece of the alliance rests in Article V of the Washington Treaty: an attack on one in Europe or North America constitutes an attack against all. In conducting its business, consensus, meaning unanimity in agreement, has been the modus operandi. However, the definition of threat is not universally shared as many NATO members are more comfortable with traditional and proximate notions of territorial defense than with the newer expeditionary missions that have taken the alliance to its first ground war ever in Afghanistan, and with new threats from cyberattack and protection of critical infrastructure to responding to huge disasters whether of man or nature. And make no mistake. The future credibility and cohesion of the alliance rests on how well or how badly Afghanistan turns out — in any event likely to prove a “close run thing.”

Beyond these profound changes in the security environment, NATO must come to grips with other tough issues. In virtually all member states, defense spending is declining in difficult economic times. NATO’s bureaucratic organization is sclerotic and needs major overhaul. And in dealing with this array of daunting issues, as outgoing Supreme Allied Commander Army Gen. John Craddock has outspokenly observed, “NATO’s political leadership is often AWOL.”

The Leninist question of “what is to be done?” now confronts the alliance in developing a new strategic concept. But not everything is negative. NATO has proven to be the most successful military alliance in history. It has the best armed forces in the world, many of whom have seen active combat in Afghanistan and some in Iraq. And France, under the leadership of President Nicolas Sarkozy, has rejoined the military command structure.

A new leadership is taking over in the key leadership positions. Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen will become the new secretary-general later this fall. U.S. Adm. James Stavridis is the new Supreme Allied Commander Europe, the first time a navy admiral has held that position. And in September, French Air Force Gen. Stephane Abrial will assume the duties of Supreme Allied Commander Transformation in Norfolk, Va., becoming the first non-American ever to hold that post.

Furthermore, NATO has just completed a major study on “Joint Futures” means to sketch out the range of threats facing the alliance from conventional to the more exotic, a very good first step in helping the alliance think through the nature of the dangers it is prepared to counter. Clearly, the shift from a defense-based to a broader security-based alliance is essential. However, given domestic politics in the 28 member states, while intellectually straightforward, if not done carefully, this transformation could be the political equivalent of leaping across the Grand Canyon in two single bounds.

In negotiating this transformation from defense to security as the basis for the alliance, history offers a tempting way forward. In the mid-1960s, the alliance was divided over conventional defense versus nuclear deterrence. With growing Soviet capabilities in both conventional and nuclear forces, the United States argued for stressing the former. The European allies, not wanting either a conventional war in their back yards or having to spend more on conventional forces, favored nuclear deterrence. The solution was “flexible response.”

Originally meant to defend across the entire conflict spectrum, the political brilliance of flexible response was that it allowed both sides of the Atlantic to emphasize their strategic preferences, relieving this political tension. What is needed is a new version of flexible response that enables member states to focus on the threats each view as most critical so the alliance is not forced into strategic platitudes or fundamental deadlock over the rationale underpinning the alliance. If this balance can be achieved, NATO could have at least another 60 years left. If not, we could end up reinventing an unsatisfactory replacement structure.

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June 9, 2010 Posted by | Politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Anioma State: Set Up Central Working Committee Now

We are worried that our people concerned with the agitation for the creation of Anioma State are not doing enough to send signals to the Federal Government of Nigeria on our readiness and preparedness for the creation of the State. Authorities concerned through our chiefs, technocrats, Obis, Ezes and indeed the His Royal Highnesses from Aniocha, Ndokwa/Ukwani, Ika and Oshimili communities need to do a lot to effectively realize the creation of this state.

This agitation which has been in force since 1951 remains the oldest agitation for state creation in the country, and should not be rubbished through lack of seriousness currently being exhibited by our people. Agitation for the creation of this state is older than the country itself, and there is no better time than now to let the Federal Government of Nigeria realize that their inability to listen to the popular voices and create the state in the past is erroneous on their part and re-visitation of this issue is a serious social, economic and political business of the entire people of Delta North to which we hold with serious commitment.

We have all it takes to form an independent state within the Federation of Nigeria economically and no person or group of individuals have disputed this incontrovertible fact, the government will therefore be toying with the destiny of group of people who since 1951 have recognized the need to live as one indivisible people with socio-cultural affinity and all it takes to become one of the units of the nation.

On our part that the government has failed to give us the state for meaningless reasons does not mean that we should give in so cheaply for this will continue to hunt us perpetually because we have been denied our rights, our present condition within the state of Delta obviously shows that we deserve a state of our own. It is just an opportunity to let some of our Anioma brothers realize that a butter fly can never be a bird, even though both creatures have wings and fly, if it is not Bia (come) or jebe (go) as intelligible to us all in one language we undestand, it cannot look Anioma. It is for this reason that we must not throw away this rare opportunity as the cry for a state of our own will ever fill the air again and again.

There is no other means of achieving this political feat than tasking ourselves collectively because with the calibers of personalities of Anioma extraction we can do it; our founding fathers were not mistaken when the Anioma notion was conceived. It is also pertinent to remark here that a central working committee is necessary to coordinate and prepare us towards the creation of the state. I presage that failure to act now may amount to regret much later in our future, which we must all live to remember no matter the group we belong now. The history of our people shows that whenever the issue of creation of Anioma State re-surfaces, ethnic-groups distant or near cleverly segregates us and and we fall apart only to realize what we have done to ourselves in the end. This must be avoided at all cost.

The Asagba of Asaba, Obi Prof Chike Edozien is easily identifiable in the struggle for the creation of Anioma State as his pronouncements in recent times have shown, other paramount rulers from the region should follow his footstep if this is to see the light of the day. The issue of where to situate the new state if created should not divide the people as we can sit down and determine this, ipume is still within our culture and we know how to utilize it when it matters, but if you ask me, I would advise that the proposed state be situated within the South-South, since the region is naturally and geographically already lying there. This is only my personal view, as we all have our own.

This cannot affect whatever ethnic-group people attribute to us since as the geographical setting of Nigeria displays a number of ethnic groups scattered around the geo-political regions of the country, our case will not be different. But if situating it within the South-East is all it takes to create the state, it removes nothing from the fact that the people of Anioma will have unlimited control of their destiny economically and politically since development of the area should form the topmost priority of our leaders, and every community that has experienced development today in the federation of Nigeria has done so through creation of states.

However, a committee which a person must head should be set-up to ensure the success of the agitation of Anioma State. Traditional rulers from all the existing Local Government Areas that constitute Anioma should play a role in this, with credible people of Anioma extraction constituting the committee. We are sure that all the Local Government Areas otherwise referred to as Delta North will readily transform to Anioma State with ease, since the region has been recognized as one by other ethnic-groups in the state and Nigeria as a whole. The Anioma people are already recognized as a state in a state, and our other brothers and sisters in our state will not withdraw their support to see that we leave. Homogenous and blessed with abundant human and material resources which can make it stand as an independent state, Anioma State is sure to stand and join the existing states of the federation called Nigeria; however our Anioma leaders need work towards achieving it.

June 1, 2010 Posted by | Politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bin Laden Says He’s ‘Professionally Envious’ of BP

In a new video that is light on his usual threats but heavy on admiration, Osama bin Laden admits that he is “professionally envious” of oil giant BP’s massive oil spill, saying that it puts his efforts to create destruction and chaos to shame.

“There are times in an evildoer’s life when one has to stand back and admire

“There are times in an evildoer’s life when one has to stand back and admire a job well done,” Mr. bin Laden says in the video.  “BP, you blow me away.”

The Al-Qaeda mastermind adds that his first thought upon seeing BP’s spill was, “Man, I’ve got to step up my game.”

Mr. bin Laden claims in the video that he rarely feels envious towards other evildoers, but says he likes “to use that energy to push myself to be the best terrorist I can be.”

As for the envy he felt after seeing BP’s handiwork, the madman says, “I haven’t felt this way since the whole Toyota thing.” 

So we don’t blame you for being skeptical of Borowitz as a financial adviser. But on the plus side, at least he’s on his meds.

Let’s take a look at Next Week’s money.

In the space of an hour, the Dow Jones Industrial average will plunge a thousand points and soar a thousand points, only to plunge again.  After a lengthy investigation, the SEC will blame “the big computer machine that makes the up-and-down line-thingy.”

Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein will deny rumors that Goldman was behind the stock market’s wild gyrations. He will also deny rumors that he is actually Superman’s arch-nemesis, Lex Luthor.

The euro will cease to exist as the primary currency of Europe.  On the positive side, it will still be accepted for use in the popular board game “Le Monopoly.”

More bad news for the housing market: Sales of existing homes will plummet as homeowners are unable to get their recently graduated children to move out.

And finally, some good news from the energy sector: Experts will finally find a solution to the oil leak in the Gulf.  They’ll plug the leak with BP executives.  And on that subject, a thought for next week: You know who’s been strangely silent about the leak?  Joe the plumber.

And that’ll do it for this money edition of Next Week’s News.

http://www.pbs.org/wnet/need-to-know/video/next-weeks-news-with-andy-borowitz-3/1122/

May 30, 2010 Posted by | Off Topig, Politics | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill

The administration is blaming BP for the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, which Janet Napolitano declared a “spill of national significance.” Oil will reach the Mississippi Delta on Friday.

HP Main - Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano declared the massive disaster in the Gulf of Mexico a “spill of national significance” on Thursday, meaning federal resources will now be directed at cleanup—with the bill going to BP, the operator of the sunken rig that caused the leak. Oil is expected to wash ashore in the Mississippi Delta on Friday. The Wall Street Journal reports that the spill could have been prevented by a simple remote “off” switch, which the rig lacked. The oil spill is now estimated to be five times as big as previously thought—likely bigger than the Exxon Valdez spill in 1989. BP’s Chief Operating Officer Doug Suttles admitted to the new figure on NBC’s Today show Thursday morning. “We’ll take help from anyone,” Suttles said of the clean-up efforts. Crews began setting the oil on fire Wednesday to control environmental damage. Eleven workers missing from the BP rig are thought dead.

May 29, 2010 Posted by | Off Topig, Politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment