Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 04-19-2002, 09:00 PM
Derleth Derleth is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Missoula, Montana, USA
Posts: 20,790
If two NATO nations went to war...

This thread was partially inspired by the Falklands War thread and partly by the current trend of expanding the definition of 'Western' nations (expanse of the UN, spread of capitalism, etc.).

If two NATO nations went to war, what would happen? Seeing that NATO is a mutual defense alliance, it would seem that it would split the union into factions around the combatants.

Or not.

Would NATO simply 'excise' the combatants and go on? Would NATO oust one and back the other? This is sounding like a weird variation on Hindenberg's alliance system that started WW I.

Any ideas?
__________________
"Ridicule is the only weapon that can be used against unintelligible propositions. Ideas must be distinct before reason can act upon them."
If you don't stop to analyze the snot spray, you are missing that which is best in life. - Miller
I'm not sure why this is, but I actually find this idea grosser than cannibalism. - Excalibre, after reading one of my surefire million-seller business plans.
  #2  
Old 04-19-2002, 10:05 PM
furt furt is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: College Park, MD
Posts: 9,285
Who started it?
  #3  
Old 04-19-2002, 10:11 PM
sailor sailor is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Washington dc
Posts: 16,441
The way I heard it was "If Russia attacked Turkey from behind would Greece help?"
  #4  
Old 04-19-2002, 10:42 PM
furt furt is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: College Park, MD
Posts: 9,285
Maybe, and I'd give a Qatar to find out.
  #5  
Old 04-19-2002, 10:45 PM
psychonaut psychonaut is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: Europe
Posts: 5,574
Re: If two NATO nations went to war...

Quote:
Originally posted by Derleth
If two NATO nations went to war, what would happen?
IANAL, but it seems obvious to me that it's simply not possible for two NATO nations to go to war. Surely the treaty stipulates that the signatories will not attack each other. The aggressor nation would no longer be a NATO member the moment it attacked, which would relieve the obligation of other NATO nations to come to its aid.
  #6  
Old 04-19-2002, 10:59 PM
dqa dqa is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 1999
Posts: 964
Re: Re: If two NATO nations went to war...

Quote:
Originally posted by psychonaut
Surely the treaty stipulates that the signatories will not attack each other.
The treaty says no such thing, and don't call me Shirley. The treaty makes vague commitments, such as
Quote:
to settle any international dispute in which they may be involved by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security and justice are not endangered.
NATO members are committed to assisting another member that comes under armed attack. But if the situation is sufficiently murky that each side may claim they have been attacked by the other, then each has a legitimate right of self-defense, and NATO is in a pickle. Finally, there is no provision that members who violate the treaty are automatically excommunicated.
  #7  
Old 04-19-2002, 11:17 PM
Duck Duck Goose Duck Duck Goose is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: Decatur, Illinois, USA
Posts: 14,041
Here are the members of NATO.
http://www.nato.int/structur/countries.htm

Quote:
Belgium
Canada
Czech Rep
Denmark
France
Germany
Greece
Hungary
Iceland
Italy
Luxembourg
Netherlands
Norway
Poland
Portugal
Spain
Turkey
United Kingdom
United States
If we had had NATO back in the 1930s, how would that have affected World War II? Poland, 1938--Articles 3 and 5 would have come in handy, I suppose.
Quote:
In order more effectively to achieve the objectives of this Treaty, the Parties, separately and jointly, by means of continuous and effective self-help and mutual aid, will maintain and develop their individual and collective capacity to resist armed attack.

< snip >

The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all and consequently they agree that, if such an armed attack occurs, each of them, in exercise of the right of individual or collective self-defence recognised by Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations, will assist the Party or Parties so attacked by taking forthwith, individually and in concert with the other Parties, such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area.
But I would wonder who would have come to their aid.
  #8  
Old 04-19-2002, 11:20 PM
Derleth Derleth is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Missoula, Montana, USA
Posts: 20,790
Quote:
Originally posted by sailor
The way I heard it was "If Russia attacked Turkey from behind would Greece help?"
'Diplomacy' is an anagram for 'Mad Policy'.

I thought y'all knew that...

As for specific countries, would it matter? Would a UK-France war be conceptually different from a US-UK war, for example, in the context of my question? I just meant two unidentified NATO countries going at it and the possible response of the rest of the Organization.

I imagine the NATO treaty would prevent warring within the group. But then, the Kellogg Pact outlawed war completely, and look how well that has been followed. I think the odds of a war between two NATO members will increase with time, due to the general perversity of the universe.

So, to restate, if two NATO nations got down and dirty, what would be the most likely outcome for the group as a whole?
  #9  
Old 04-19-2002, 11:48 PM
Duck Duck Goose Duck Duck Goose is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: Decatur, Illinois, USA
Posts: 14,041
The most likely outcome is that Uncle Sam would sigh and get out the Big Stick, to the great annoyance of the rest of the group, and then they would all get so involved in criticizing Unc's stick technique that they'd forget what they had been arguing about in the first place.
  #10  
Old 04-20-2002, 07:46 AM
psychonaut psychonaut is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: Europe
Posts: 5,574
Re: Re: Re: If two NATO nations went to war...

Quote:
Originally posted by dqa
The treaty says no such thing, and don't call me Shirley. The treaty makes vague commitments...
Well, how about Article 8?

Quote:
Each Party declares that none of the international engagements now in force between it and any other of the Parties or any third State is in conflict with the provisions of this Treaty, and undertakes not to enter into any international engagement in conflict with this Treaty.
It seems pretty clear that attacking other NATO members is "in conflict with the provisions of this Treaty". Yes, there is no clause explicitly providing for the expulsion of violators, but it's common sense that by failing to live up to the terms of an agreement, you sacrifice any benefits you may be entitled to under it. Mind you, the law does not always operate in the interests of common sense, but I'm simply pointing out that my claim is not groundless.
  #11  
Old 04-20-2002, 08:08 AM
kuroashi kuroashi is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 644
Ever hear of Crete? Thouh it's not as hot as it used to be, control is disputed by Greece anf Turkey, long-time rivals. They're on the periphery, but still NATO members. Taking this conflict as an example, I'd guess that as long as it doesn't particularly affect other members, they'd hold their breath and hope any warfare would end quickly. If it were two nations trying to conquer one another, that might be different, but if it came to that, I'd have to guess that anything NATO stood for would have already become obsolete. NATO protects an economic system as much as it ever protected the West from the perceived threat of communism's spread. Derleth, you're probably implying a conflict between key members. It is because the key nations are so economically interdependent that this situation is presently inconceivable.

Still, what if...
  #12  
Old 04-20-2002, 09:20 AM
nicky nicky is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Posts: 555
Two NATO countries going to war with each other?

Its just not going to happen.

You might as well ask: what if one US state attacked another?
  #13  
Old 04-20-2002, 09:57 AM
clairobscur clairobscur is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Paris
Posts: 17,087
Nicky :

Perhaps it's not going to happen now, but who knows what will be the stituation 20 or 30 years down from now?

Also, the Greece/Turkey war example given above isn't totally ridiculous.

Anyway, I don't think the original question makes much sense. The consequences would be highly dependant on the actual situation, the countries involved, the causes of the war, etc... I can't see how someone could make a guess about such an hypothetical and undetermined situation.
  #14  
Old 04-20-2002, 01:25 PM
Pjen Pjen is offline
BANNED
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: In Scotland (but English)
Posts: 5,688
Quote:
Originally posted by kuroashi
Ever hear of Crete?
Crete is part of Greece.

Methinks you mean Cyprus
  #15  
Old 04-20-2002, 01:46 PM
Derleth Derleth is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Missoula, Montana, USA
Posts: 20,790
I guess I've gotten as much of an answer as there is here: There isn't any set strategy or procedure, and we'd have to play it by ear if it does come up.

I wasn't necessarily postulating a war between core members, but I can see how that would be pretty damn unlikely. The Turkey-Greece angle is one I didn't think of (mainly because I doubted both nations were in NATO).

Thanks, everyone.
  #16  
Old 04-20-2002, 02:00 PM
drachillix drachillix is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: 192.168.0.1
Posts: 9,872
Quote:
Originally posted by nicky
You might as well ask: what if one US state attacked another?
Damn they are on to us.... cancel the attack on Nevada
  #17  
Old 04-20-2002, 02:13 PM
ElvisL1ves ElvisL1ves is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: The land of the mouse
Posts: 47,777
Certainly Turkey's involvement in the Turkish Cypriot revolt, which had the effect of partitioning Cyprus, counts as a war between NATO members. The belligerent rhetoric between Athens and Ankara has never really stopped. The behind-the-scenes diplomacy by the rest of Europe and the US was certainly intense.

NATO is (was) an anti-Soviet alliance. Other wars just haven't been relevant to it, despite its more recent use as a command structure in Bosnia and Kosovo.
  #18  
Old 04-20-2002, 02:18 PM
ElvisL1ves ElvisL1ves is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: The land of the mouse
Posts: 47,777
Oh, and Britain's disagreements with Iceland over cod fishing rights have involved some actual gunfire, IIRC.
  #19  
Old 04-20-2002, 02:43 PM
jimmmy jimmmy is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: MD (Suburban DC)
Posts: 2,552
At times in the 70/80’s the Cypriot conflict definitely was the closest NATO members came to a hot war since ’45.

I’d add another possible scenario with the disclaimer: while not a full out “war” between nations, it looked REMOTELY possible, but HIGHLY unlikely. And was very recent:

That Greece could involve herself militarily in Macedonia (which was at times since ‘97 has not had that low a likelihood of happening) ... Almost certainly Greece would be fighting elements of the KLA in Macedonia … which in turn was NATO’s militarily backed ally in Kosovo … Meaning Greece might be fighting soldiers who one province over, their forces were fighting side by side with … Meaning Greece was its own enemy and ally.. or more likely that it would pull out of NATO & fight the KLA, who was NATO’s Ally & NATO would … do nothing? Probably …
  #20  
Old 04-20-2002, 03:25 PM
kuroashi kuroashi is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 644
Uh...heheh...D'oh!

Yes, Cyprus. Glad you guys are paying attention.





how embarrassing...
  #21  
Old 04-20-2002, 03:48 PM
JS Princeton JS Princeton is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Posts: 817
Along the lines of the bizarre twists that may cause a country to fight its own ally... may I remind you of a former ally of the US to whom was provided weapons and munitions in a fight against the Iranian Evil? The ally: Iraq...

Politics and diplomacy is a game people.... we often don't know what's going to happen in the future. Often times people don't think (or pretend not to think) of the contingencies because of wishful thinking. If a war happened it would be a crisis, plain and simple.
  #22  
Old 04-20-2002, 04:20 PM
SCSimmons SCSimmons is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Arlington, TX
Posts: 3,264
Quote:
Originally posted by nicky
Two NATO countries going to war with each other?

Its just not going to happen.

You might as well ask: what if one US state attacked another?
Oh, absolutely. Completely inconceivable. I mean, in the two hundred and twenty-six plus years the U.S. has been in existence, there's never been an armed conflict between states, or groups of states. Well, um, except that once ...

It's much less likely anymore, as it's pretty well established in people's minds that the individual states are not soveriegn nations in a strong alliance (which was one of the contentions of the Confederacy). But there's no question that the NATO member nations are sovereign, so there's no question that such a situation is still possible ...

Actually, that kind of gives an idea of what would happen. Both countries would be trying to sell their side of the brewing conflict to their NATO allies well before hostilities commenced. (These things don't pop up out of nowhere, after all.) In most cases, there would be a consensus as to which nation was in the right, and the situation would end up being solved by diplomacy. (A country which might be willing to roll out the military resolution against its neighbor would probably be much less willing to do so with the threat of war against the whole NATO alliance.) If no consensus could be achieved, and diplomacy ended up failing, you'd end up with a war between not just the original two countries, but whole factions of NATO signatories. Some might remain neutral, and outside countries might be drawn in, but it would be pretty ugly ...
__________________
-Christian
"You won't like me when I'm angry. Because I always back up my rage with facts and documented sources." -- The Credible Hulk
  #23  
Old 04-20-2002, 07:45 PM
bonzer bonzer is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: NW5
Posts: 3,118
Why does this whole thread bring to mind Sir Humphrey Appleby's observation that the whole point of the British "independent nuclear deterant" was not the Russians, but the French ... ?
  #24  
Old 04-21-2002, 03:43 PM
Chronos's Avatar
Chronos Chronos is offline
Charter Member
Moderator
 
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: The Land of Cleves
Posts: 79,451
Quote:
I mean, in the two hundred and twenty-six plus years the U.S. has been in existence, there's never been an armed conflict between states, or groups of states. Well, um, except that once ...
Well, yes, but other than the Toledo War, it's definitely never happened
  #25  
Old 04-22-2002, 04:20 AM
dtilque dtilque is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: My own private Nogero
Posts: 6,241
Quote:
Originally posted by Derleth
Would a UK-France war be conceptually different from a US-UK war, for example, in the context of my question?
Going by history, England thrashed the Armada and Wellington sent Napoleon to the showers, but in the last dustup against the US, they seem to have come out on the losing side by a score of 1 pig to none.
__________________
"... the upper level of society became dominated by persons know to be demons, vampires, werewolves, and what have you. This seems to have made surprisingly little difference in how things are run. "
-- James Nicoll, book review
  #26  
Old 04-22-2002, 10:13 AM
sailor sailor is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Washington dc
Posts: 16,441
Quote:
Originally posted by sailor
The way I heard it was "If Russia attacked Turkey from behind would Greece help?"
I think nobody got the underlying joke yet.... please note that Russia is attacking Turkey from behind and maybe Greece (grease?) would help?
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 09:14 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@straightdope.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Copyright © 2018 STM Reader, LLC.

 
Copyright © 2017