Heinrich Brauss, “U.S. and German Bilateral Defense Cooperation"

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Lt. General Heinrich Brauss (far right) attends meeting with other Loisach Group members and State Department officials (from right, Dr. Benedickt Franke, COO, Munich Security Conference, Christian Schmidt, Member of Bundestag, former Federal Minister and President of the German Atlantic Association, John Rood, Undersecretary of Defense for Policy, DOD, Pentagon, Washington, D.C., 14 November, 2018.

Introduction

At the recent NATO Summit in Brussels in July, the political and public attention almost exclusively focused on Allies’ defence expenditures and the issue of spending 2% of national GDPs on defence. President Trump again confronted the European Allies and Canada with his demand to increase their defence expenditure up to 2 %. He did not acknowledge that after many years of decline, defence expenditure across Europe and Canada has continuously increased in real terms since 2014. In 2017, NATO Allies across Europe and Canada boosted their defence budgets by a combined 5.2 % (i.e. some 15 billion US dollars) over 2016, which represents the biggest increase in a quarter of a century. 2018 will be the fourth consecutive year of rising defence spending. Over the past two years, European Allies and Canada have spent a cumulated 41 billion US dollars.

The biggest European economy, Germany, however, spent 1.27 % of GDP on defence last year, and announced it would raise defence spending up to 1.5 % in 2024. This implies an increase of the German defence budget by some 80% up to more than 60 billion Euros and, thus, doubling the German defence budget within a decade. But as things stand now, Germany and a number of other Allies will likely not meet the 2% guideline by 2014, which was set by the Defence Investment Pledge (DIP) all political leaders had agreed at the 2014 Wales Summit. Fair burden sharing, however, is not just about “cash”. It is also about “capabilities” NATO needs to fulfil all its missions as well as “contributions” to operations and missions. And as regards “capabilities”, development of ground, air and maritime forces, NATO’s posture, command and control, planning, and military mobility, the political agenda of the Brussels Summit was much broader and much more substantial. 

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Heinrich Brauss, “U.S. and German Bilateral Defense Cooperation"

 

Nikolas Gvosdev, “At the Brussels Summit, NATO Faces a Crucial Test,” in the National Interest

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Nikolas Gvosdev, professor of National Security Affairs at the U.S. Naval War College, makes his point at the Loisach Group meeting held June 20 at the Robert Bosch Foundation in Berlin. The Loisach Group is a partnership between the Munich Security Conference and the George C. Marshall European Center of Security Studies. This was the fourth meeting of the group and was held to provide priorities and deliverables for the NATO Summit 2018. The Loisach Group is a U.S.-German round-table initiative. (DOD photo by Christine June)

Abstract

"The July 2018 North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) summit will test whether the trans-Atlantic alliance can produce a unified, sustainable position on Russia which, if embraced by United States President Donald Trump, would act as the defining prequel for his proposed bilateral sit-down with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Vienna."

"The July 2018 North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) summit will test whether the trans-Atlantic alliance can produce a unified, sustainable position on Russia which, if embraced by United States President Donald Trump, would act as the defining prequel for his proposed bilateral sit-down with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Vienna. The NATO meeting in Belgium, however, is likely to accentuate growing divergence among the allies as to their assessment of the threat Russia poses to the Euro-Atlantic community. The G-7 summit in Canada was a useful trial run—in which significant differences over Russia were patched over in the search for a vague consensus statement.

I am increasingly worried that the standard effort to bury significant policy differences by finding flexible language whose meaning is in the eye of the beholder is becoming counterproductive. It may serve in the short-term to keep the appearance of solidarity but, in the long-term, it contributes to policy incoherence. This is based on conversations and meetings I had the good fortune to take part in during recent days—the Loisach Group in Berlin (the dialogue cosponsored by The Munich Security Conference and the Marshall Center) and the Sustained Dialogue Institute's meetings in Washington. These meetings aimed to explore whether a long-term, bipartisan approach to Russia policy is possible."

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Nikolas Gvosdev, “At the Brussels Summit, NATO Faces a Crucial Test,” The American Interest, February 12, 2018.

 

Ariel Cohen, “What Trump Gets Right -- And Wrong -- In NATO Bashing,” in Forbes

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Ariel Cohen, senior fellow at the Eurasia Center, shares his thoughts at the Loisach Group meeting held June 20 at the Robert Bosch Foundation in Berlin.  (DOD photo by Christine June)

Abstract

"President Donald Trump brings tough love to his Europeans allies this week during the bi-annual NATO Summit in Brussels. Though obscured by his harsh delivery, the president's concerns over inadequate NATO defense spending and European dependence on Russian energy are legitimate."

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Ariel Cohen, “What Trump Gets Right -- And Wrong -- In NATO Bashing,” Forbes, July 12, 2018.

 

Julian Lindley-French, “Trump, Power, and the Value of NATO,” in Lindley-French’s Blog Blast

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Julian Lindley-French, senior fellow at the Institute for Statecraft in London, talks about the transatlantic relationship at the Loisach Group meeting held June 20 at the Robert Bosch Foundation in Berlin.  (DOD photo by Christine June)

Abstract

"President Trump is fascinated by power and regards all institutions, be it NATO, the EU or the UN merely as constraints on America the Exceptional and havens for the weak. It is why he seeks common ground on occasions with Spartans like Putin – they understand each other. The only way for Europeans to convince President Trump of the utility of NATO is for themselves to become Athenians or at least Melians with Attitude. This is because the only way a rules-based order can be maintained is if those rules carry sanction – covenants without the sword and all that.

Therefore, the specific challenge at next week’s NATO Brussels Summit for Europe’s leaders will be to convince President Trump and John Bolton-type Americans of the value of institutions in international relations, i.e. NATO. If they are to meet that challenge Europeans will need to reverse a culture that has become deep-rooted since World War Two and the founding of the European Union, namely that institutions exist to constrain power, rather than mechanisms for the aggregation of power."

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Julian Lindley-French, “Trump, Power, and the Value of NATO,” Lindley-French’s Blog Blast, July 3, 2018.

 

Andrew Michta, “The US Needs to Boost Bilateral Relationships in Europe,” in American Interest

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Dr. Andrew Michta, Dean of the College of International Security Studies at the Marshall Center, with General "Mike" Scaparrotti, the Supreme Allied Commander Europe of NATO Allied Command Operations at the 2018 Munich Security Conference.

Abstract

"Re-Anchoring NATO: The US Needs to Boost Bilateral Relationships in Europe - And it should start by focusing on the “strategic triad” of the United Kingdom, Germany, and Poland.

It is difficult to give up on the old ways of doing business, for established patterns and routines bring comfort and predictability to everyday interactions, allowing bureaucracies to coast along the lines of pre-existing guidance and leaders to tout minor adjustments as breakthroughs. This truism also applies to how nation states approach national security, how they structure their interactions, and what assumptions politicians and diplomats bring to the table when looking at the international chessboard."

 

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Andrew Michta, “The US Needs to Boost Bilateral Relationships in Europe,” In American Interest, February 12, 2018.

 

Julian Lindley-French, “Munich: Talking About Bigness,” in Lindley-French’s Blog Blast

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Julian Lindley-French

Abstract

"I have the very distinct honour to be part of the Loisach Group, which is co-hosted by the George C. Marshall Center and the Munich Security Conference, and which seeks to foster just such a relationship.  As a Briton I have no problem at all with a strong US-German relationship. Not only do I welcome it, but I just wish the strategic illiterates in London would realise they can help foster it by reinvesting in, not cutting, Britain’s own strategic brand. However, to ensure ends, ways and means even begin to align in the US-German (and wider) Berlin and Washington also need a special relationship, and as yet ‘special’ it ain’t. 

If Berlin and Washington are to enjoy a ‘special relationship’ Berlin needs first to deal with its own schizophrenia over foreign, security, but above all defence policy. Indeed, there is an urgent need for Germany to pose its own German Question. Let me explain…"

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Julian Lindley-French, “Munich: Talking About Bigness,” Lindley-French’s Blog Blast, February 19, 2018.

Ariel Cohen, “Germany and the US need a new beginning in their security relationship,” in The Hill

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Ariel Cohen

Abstract

“Тhe Loisach Group, which focuses on the U.S.-German strategic relationship, is a high-level gathering of practitioners and experts from Germany and the U.S., ably coordinated by Dr. Andrew Michta, Dean of the College of International and Security Studies at the George C. Marshall European Center in Garmisch, Germany.

At the Munich Security Conference, the Loisach Group brought together such heavyweights as Dan Hamilton of SAIS; Lieutenant General Ben Hodges (U.S. Army, ret.), former Commander of the U.S. Army Europe; former President of Estonia; Joseph Joffe, Publisher of Die Zeit; Alexander Vershbow, former Deputy Secretary General of NATO and U.S. Ambassador to the Russian Federation and South Korea as well as the former Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs; Celeste Wallander, Special Assistant to President Obama and Senior Director for Russia and Central Asia on the National Security Council after serving as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Russia, Ukraine, and Eurasia; Robert Zoellick, the former President of the World Bank, Deputy Secretary of State, and U.S. Trade Representative, along with other veteran policy makers and experts.

The collective wisdom and experience crackled in the room. Yet, the bottom line after discussions was a general agreement that much more needs to be done in Berlin and Washington, and this is no time to rest.”

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Ariel Cohen, “Germany and the US need a new beginning in their security relationship,” The Hill, February 25, 2018.

Nikolas Gvosdev, “Munich Security Conference: Mixed Messages on American Values, Engagement,” in Ethics & International Affairs

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Nikolas Gvosdev

Abstract

"As a member of the Loisach Group, I had the opportunity to sit in on some of the sessions of the 2018 Munich Security Conference. In particular, the Sunday U.S. Congressional panel was quite interesting for the message that the bipartisan group (representing both chambers of the legislature) wanted to convey to the distinguished audience. They reiterated American support for sustaining and defending the liberal world order, with Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) making the case that the fundamental divide in the world of the 21st century is not between cultures or regions but between those countries which uphold the principles of the rule of law and those which seek to undermine it. All of the Members of Congress stressed the extent of continuity in U.S. foreign policy even after the first year of the Trump administration, and maintained that the legislative branch will do its part to ensure that the United States continues to uphold its commitments…"

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Nikolas Gvosdev, “Munich Security Conference: Mixed Messages on American Values, Engagement,” Ethics & International Affairs, February 19, 2018.