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Battling the Ghost of Reagan

The New York Times' European outlet, the International Herald Tribune, makes note of the lack of cooperation between the European Union and NATO. Without taking issue with the heart of the article, one line did jump out while reading EU and NATO bound in a perilous rivalry.

The European Union and NATO have much in common, sharing members and pursuing similar goals. But instead of cooperating on defense, analysts say, the two organizations are engaged in a bitter competition that is damaging the credibility and effectiveness of both.

The lack of cooperation is evident in Brussels, where NATO and the EU have separate headquarters eight kilometers apart. On the military level, the two organizations have competing rapid reaction forces. They compete on foreign aid missions, sometimes racing each other to the destination. They maintain separate military planning headquarters. Taxpayers foot the double bill. [Emphasis added.]

Perhaps if they sometimes raced each other to battling real and present threats - such as the one faced in the war with terrorists - as feverishly as they are perceived rushing to 'foreign aid missions,' the bickering would carry more substance.

Within that extremely limited context, it reduces Russia's objection to NATO expansion to wonkish entertainment. To the extent that Europe is left to "foot the double bill," perhaps Russia would be wise to reconsider their objections in hopes of a potential Ronald Reagan payback (defense-driven bankruptcy).