Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Problem kids on NATO's flanks

I'm not talking about Syrians or Russians. Hungary and Turkey are both NATO member states. Unlike most other NATO members, which are liberal democracies of some form or another,  these two entities are now ruled by hardline nationalists. Perhaps in international realism, this would be OK for the alliance as there's not real requirement that your country's politics look like the UK, France, or the USA.

The problem is with IS and Syrian refugees and how Turkish and Hungarian domestic policy is making European security more difficult.

Hungary has taken a hard stance against masses of refugees escaping Syria (and a few other places). This as seen closed borders, which have directed masses of refugees to overwhelm other state borders and in the short-term, the civil infrastructure necessary to effectively process and resettle refugees. This isn't a military security problem so much as a civil one, as ineffectively controlled borders apparently means that it possible for one of the Paris terrorists to transit from Syria to Paris without notice. Note, this is not to say the European born terrorist was refugee, but he may have have been able to use an over-stressed system compounded by things like Hungarian policy to hide his movements.

Which brings us to Turkey, and its leaky border with Syria, campaign against various Kurdish groups, support for the ethnic Turks in Syria, and disruptive influence on the campaign against IS and other Islamist militant groups in Syria, and so on. This is not a country acting in line with the general policy of most NATO countries against IS. It is a country that may put NATO in direct conflict with Russia, given the recent downing of a Russian aircraft by Turkish F-16s and the likely Russian response.

Something to think about.


UU4077 said...

NATO has expanded since the fall of the Berlin wall in an irresponsible way - well beyond its original purpose. NATO members like Turkey and Hungary should never have been admitted. In fact, Turkey needs a good spanking. And, if it continues to be reticent, needs to be shown the door.

Boris said...

UU, minor correction: Turkey's been a member since 1952. Hungary was part of the post-communist expansion. I imagine that ejecting a NATO member is rather difficult and would represent a pretty big geopolitical shift. It would also demonstrate that the alliance isn't tightly bound and open to fracture.