De Gaulle is out! The North Atlantic Alliance — now 20 years old — is facing a crisis. NATO'S "Sword and Shield" guarding the West is underpowered militarily, confused politically. This on-the-spot report, from the 20th anniversary meeting of NATO, reveals why.
Washington, D.C. SINCE NATO's creation 20 years ago, not an inch of free European soil has fallen under Communist domination. Not only this is behind NATO's "sword and shield" policy but Western Europe has risen to unprecedented heights of economic prosperity. But now the harsh facts are that NATO's military problems are approaching a crisis stage.
NATO'S Critical Problems
A report published by the Center for Strategic and International Studies at Georgetown University has shocked many. It found that "serious deficiencies exist in the defense forces of the alliance, deficiencies in quality as well as in quantity." Why? Another source, a thorough handbook on NATO, admits: "Not only are the NATO countries raising inadequate numbers of men, but often they are inadequately trained. There are not enough reserve forces, they are not all in a high state of readiness, and they cannot be gotten together fast enough" (The NATO Story, by James R. Huntley, pp. 96, 97). On paper, the Alliance's military strength looks impressive. NATO's commander in the event of war could call on about 54 divisions in the European theater. These stretch from northern Norway to Turkey (including, hopefully, France). Added to the 54 divisions are about 15 independent brigades. But many of the divisions and brigades are well under normal peacetime strength. The West German divisions are all 15 to 20 percent below par. And U.S. divisions committed to NATO have been drawn down because of manpower needs for Vietnam.
Red Forces Formidable
Facing the undermanned and under-equipped NATO forces are 26 Soviet divisions stationed on East European soil. Allied with the Soviet troops are 62 divisions fielded by the other Warsaw Pact countries — Poland, East Germany, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria. The Communist advantage in immediately available manpower is not as great as would seem, since Red divisions average 10,000 men against 15,000 for the West (when at full strength). The Communist advantage lies in the availability of another 63 battle-ready Soviet divisions stationed on nearby home territory in European Russia. Most of NATO's additional fourteen war-time divisions would have to be flown from across the Atlantic. Gen. Lyman L. Lemnitzer, soon to retire as " Supreme Commander, Allied Powers, Europe, described the Soviet deployment in Central Europe as "the largest and most readily usable combat force fielded by the Kremlin since World War II." What has traditionally made up the difference for the West has been the "sword" — America's nuclear arsenal.
Once, the U.S. held an overwhelming nuclear superiority over the Soviets. President Nixon, however, told the NATO ministers at the Alliance's 20th anniversary meeting in Washington, D.C., April 10, that "the West does not have the massive nuclear predominance today it once had." The respected Institute for Strategic Studies in London exploded a bombshell on the opening day of the NATO conference. It revealed that by mid 1969 the Soviet Union would pass the United States in the deployment of intercontinental ballistic missiles. The annual ISS survey also claimed that 1968 marked "the end of the American... ability to be the universal and dominant power." These factors are extremely significant because they add fuel to the argument by some influential West Europeans that the United States would not unleash its full nuclear arsenal in event of a massive conventional Soviet ground invasion of Western Europe. Would the U.S. risk Soviet nuclear retaliation against, say, New York, or Chicago, or Washington — in order to protect Milan, Brussels, or Frankfurt? So question some.
The "Flexible Strategy"
In 1967, NATO officially adopted a strategy which it calls the "Flexible Strategy." This strategy "seeks to assure appropriate military response to various possible levels of aggression, and seeks to delay the resort to nuclear weapons" (The NATO Story, p. 96). The "Flexible Strategy" against Red aggression boils down to this: 1) Plan to fight as long as possible with conventional weapons. 2) Then resort to the use of tactical nuclear weapons to supplement conventional firepower. (There are 7,000 tactical nuclear weapons deployed on West European soil — but under American lock and key!) 3) Finally, invoke against the Russian heartland the strategic weapons of the United States. This is precisely the policy British Defense Chief Denis Healey says will not work. Healey asserts that NATO never will be strong enough in conventional forces to hold off overwhelming Red odds for long. In the end, NATO must always depend on the U.S. nuclear strike force. But again, will this "last resort" force be available quickly enough before all of Western Europe falls under a conventional Communist blitz?
Other Nagging Problems
Shortage of manpower and materiel; the over-reliance upon the U.S. nuclear arsenal — these are not the only things worrying NATO's European defense ministers. The rising cost of military technology and training may be a more serious problem than the shortage of soldiers. How can these rising costs be offset? Standardization of weapons and equipment, one system of logistical support, and better supranational planning and budgeting are all partial answers. But the most obvious — and ominous — answer is this: "The elimination of some, if not all, of the separate national defense ministries, military hierarchies, and planning staffs, merging them into a single integrated instrument" (The NATO Story, p. 99). But is such a merger possible? What would it mean — and where would it lead? Would the United States be included in such an integration?
What Europeans Admit They Need
Note carefully what this NATO handbook says about Europe's needs: "If the forces and defense ministries of a number of European countries were truly integrated, there would be great economies. There could also be important psychological dividends. A common defense ministry would help the Europeans to be more responsible for their own security, relying less heavily on the United States, and thereby feeling less dependent. It would help Europe, too, to catch up with the United States technologically. "Such a move could also give impetus to the idea of a politically united Europe, the dream of many Europeans since the Second World War. In fact — and here is the rub — it might not be possible to set up a European Defense Ministry without simultaneously creating a strong common political authority for most of Europe, or radically transforming the Common Market to serve in this way. It would also require that France and the United Kingdom be willing to share the nuclear deterrents with others. "While this conception may still be visionary for some, it nevertheless represents one sound answer to nagging problems which will not go away" (The NATO Story, pp. 99, 100). But now, with the exit of Charles de Gaulle, the greatest political obstacle to that "visionary concept" is gone. Western Europe is a stir with new hope for unity., The day after De Gaulle's defeat in the French referendum, Nyboe Andersen, Danish minister for Common Market affairs, said De Gaulle's defeat could mean a change in France's attitude toward the Common Market "much sooner than we expected." The Danish official said that there will very likely be a change in France's policy toward the rest of Europe "though it will hardly happen immediately, but rather in a year or two." So the impetus toward a United Europe has received a big boost.
What Will Happen
But the most dramatic developments of NATO's life — and the most unexpected — are just around the corner. What is going to happen to the Atlantic Alliance in the next few years will surprise both its friends and foes. It will drastically affect the course of world history — and the course of your personal life. Surprising as it may seem, Europe's future in the seventies has already been made known. The information is contained in the advance news reports of an infallible news source that has not missed a single prediction in the past 2,500 years! That advance news source is probably right in your own home. Have you ever thought of blowing the dust off the Bible to see what it really says? This too-long-neglected Book reveals that a United Europe — integrated economically, militarily, politically, and even religiously — will very soon become a reality. It even tells how many nations or groups of nations will be in this alliance. That number is ten, not six. (Rev. 17:12) Some nations which today are not NATO members may be included in this number. Other nations which today are among the 15 members of NATO will obviously NOT be included. But who? Among others, the United States, Canada, and possibly Britain will be excluded! LIFE magazine editorialized in its issue of April 25, 1969: "NATO is Western Europe's police force; it is not Western Europe. A coalition which includes the U.S., Canada, Iceland, Greece and Turkey is not the right geographic and spiritual building block for long-range European integration."
United Europe: Good or Bad?
At first glance, the exclusion of the English-speaking nations may not appear to be so catastrophic. Haven't the U.S. and Britain been urging continental Europe to take a more active part in its own defense? And wouldn't a united and independent Europe — possessing its own nuclear weapons — always be on our side in the fight against Communism? This is the way many reason! But have Britain and America so soon forgotten that their enemies in the last two World Wars were nations in Central Europe?
Many don't believe it can happen again. But it WILL happen again — incredible and preposterous as that may sound to world leaders and statesmen today. And all this will happen within the next very few years. So watch what happens in France now that strong man De Gaulle has left the scene. Watch the emergence of a strong man in West Germany instead. Franz Josef Strauss just could be Bonn's next chancellor — and might be Europe's next strong man. Strauss is a strong advocate of a united European military force possessing its own nuclear arsenal. Watch the Europeans gradually assume a posture more independent' of American direction. If you keep your eyes trained on these big events, you will not be surprised when a powerful, nuclear-armed ten-nation united Europe suddenly emerges. For it will occur so quickly that an unsuspecting world "shall wonder" (Rev. 17:8). If you want to learn more about what is immediately ahead of us now, read our free booklet, The United States and the British Commonwealth in Prophecy. And you may want to read the article "When World War Three Comes — There Is a Way of Escape." Both of these are free, of course, and offered in the public interest.