Friday, 24 December 2010

Wikileaks Reveals Secret US Government Contact With North Pole?

NATO Monitor has a policy of not using Wikileaks cables and this unsourced cable has not been verified. However, its importance for NATO security in the High North cannot be doubted, so, at this time of year we believe it is appropriate to publish it in full so that our readers can make up their own minds. NATO Monitor cannot verify the source or author of the cable, but believe that the author is a genius!












SUBJECT: Upcoming Arctic Negotiations - Background for USDEL

(SU/NF) Negotiations scheduled for December 16 in [location redacted] represent an important opportunity for the USG to improve relations with a globally influential Northern neighbor while increasing the delivery of child-oriented luxury/leisure goods to the United States. This cable provides background information on the North Pole’s enigmatic leader and his policies.


(SU/NF) Mr. Santa Claus is the undisputed leader of North Pole. He has been in power for many generations, and we see no prospect for polar regime change. While reported to be “jolly,” some overseas critics note that North Pole has never had an election, and that workers there toil under intense deadline pressure (one BIG deadline!). These workers - referred to disparagingly as “elves” -- work in what - but for the temperature! - would be referred to as “sweat shop conditions.” Claus is said often be quite cross with the elves -- one contact characterized his leadership and management style as “an iron fist in a red flannel glove.”

(SU/NF) Claus dominates the political and economic life of one of the world’s most isolated societies. Communication with the outside world is limited to one delivery of mail each year (mid-December, incoming only).

Claus is the only citizen permitted to travel, and he only leaves North Pole once each year. Perhaps in an indication of concerns about personal security we note that Claus ALWAYS travels at night, and never publishes his itinerary.


(SU/NF) Through his connections in Hollywood, Claus has over the years carefully cultivated the image of a kindly, avuncular senior citizen. But behind the scenes he has shown himself to be capable playing an almost Nixonian brand of political hardball. He seems to have a harsh, black and white, good and evil, with-us-or-with-the-terrorist worldview. We are told that each fall, Claus’s staff prepares for him a worldwide “enemies list.”

Enemies are listed as “naughty,” friends as “nice.” To prepare this list, Claus seems to make use of a sophisticated intelligence network. One staffer told us (in an arrogant tone): “Look, it’s like this: He’s gonna find out who’s naughty and nice.” And then, a threat: “You better not pout, you better not cry.” Claus himself reportedly checks the enemies list… twice.


(SU/NF) Claus has reportedly surrounded himself with a small group of sycophantic advisors. We hear from contacts that no dissent is tolerated.

Claus’s wife (Mrs. Claus) is widely seen as “the real power behind the toy bag.” Also influential is a my sterious figure referred to only by his first name: Rudolf. Claus frequently seeks “guidance” from this person.

Post has not had contact with him, but the name does raise the prospect of Russian influence. Other influential advisors reportedly include staffers named Donner and Prancer. Claus’s relationship with an aide nick-named “Vixen” has raised eyebrows in conservative, traditional North Pole society and has caused unsubstantiated rumors of personal indiscretion.


(SU/NF) There have also been rumors of substance abuse. One sarcastic doggerel that has recently been muttered by Claus-critics (with obvious use of drug slang) says: “The stump of a PIPE he held tight in his teeth, and the smoke it encircled his HEAD like a wreath...” Other observers note that Claus is almost constantly giggling: One contact notes: “He has a broad face and a little round belly that shakes when he laughs like a bowlful of jelly.” Another observer told us: “His eyes-how they twinkled!

His dimples were merry. His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry. His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow. And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow.” Our DEA office note that Claus and his inner circle seem to have developed a sophisticated global shipment network that allows for clandestine delivery of packages. They also note that Claus and his advisors are frequently overheard discussing “snow” and “ice” and “candy.” Clearly, the rumors of drug abuse have to be given some credence.


(SU/NF) The North Pole economy is highly seasonal, and is dominated by the export of leisure/luxury goods aimed primarily at the under 10 demographic. The Claus government recently came under criticism after the IMF carried out its first ever Article IV consultations. North Pole exports were found to exceed imports by 6,000,000 percent. In fact, the IMF found essentially no imports (they bring in only a small quantity of egg-nog). This trade surplus has caused one prominent Washington pundit to claim that the “North Pole makes China look like a free and open currency market.”

(SU/NF) Rumors of Claus’s alleged communist leanings were quite common during the Cold War years. Observers frequently noted that Claus ALWAYS dressed in red, and promoted “a gift-based economy.”

(SU/NF) There is a strong internationalist and humanitarian streak in North Pole economic policy. International Development is a high priority - Claus attempted to add an additional goal (The Right to Toys!) to the UN’s Millennium Development Goals. He is a big supporter of UNICEF.


(SU/NF) Claus’s views on environmental issues are nuanced: for obvious reasons he is deeply concerned about global warming, but he has not been a strong supporter of CITES and other efforts to protect endangered species.

He is clearly not fond of Polar Bears, quipping to the press that “Those damn bears are always trying to eat the elves” and that if it was up to him, “they’d be a whole lot more endangered.” Claus does, however, seem quite fond of Reindeer. And Post believes we can count on North Pole support for our efforts to save the whales. Claus has no strong feelings on Cetaceans, but we hear that he has a long-standing grudge against Iceland (a whaling country). This is apparently related to a 1979 episode in which a bouncer at a Reykjavik night club denied Mr. Claus and his elf entourage access, and made disparaging comments about both their attire and their physiques.

(SU/NF) Perhaps in another indication of his concern about global warming Claus has made “a lump of coal” an important symbol of societal disapproval.


(SU/NF) For many years Claus and his staff have annually flaunted international flight clearance procedures, and he regularly crosses borders without submitting to document checks or customs inspections. This has recently caused FOX News to question Claus’s commitment to the war on terror. DHS is very concerned that Claus’s very lax immigration policies and non-existent border controls are making the North Pole a potential avenue for the infiltration of terrorists into the United States. Claus himself has frequently come close to arrest (usually on charges of trespassing or breaking and entering).

(SU/NF) Claus obviously could be a key figure in the coming war for the Arctic. While we cannot take his support for granted, we are encouraged by the participation of North Pole assets in an annual U.S. Marine Corps exercise (“Toys For Tots”).


(SU/NF) USDEL should be aware that North Pole culture puts a premium on late night socializing. The preferred beverage is milk (WHOLE milk) and the preferred food is cookies (CHOCOLATE cookies). Carrots are also sometimes provided. Most entertaining takes place close to chimneys.


(SU/NF) Long considered the alpha dog of the high north, Claus has a complex personality that mixes a strong ego, a desire to be the center of attention, and a burning desire for adoration and celebrity. He is a very challenging diplomatic interlocutor. While he has his flaws, Post believes that Claus will be in power for many centuries to come. Like him or not, we believe that Santa Claus is a leader we can and should work with.

New START Ratification Resolution Establishes US Policy on Tactical Nuclear Disarmament Talks in Europe

The US Senate ratified the new START strategic arms treaty on December 22nd, despite intense partisan opposition from those determined to inflict a defeat on President Obama. Secretary General Rasmussen welcomed the ratification on behalf of NATO allies who endorsed the treaty strongly in the Lisbon Summit declaration. While the treaty is modest in its aims, failure to ratify would have been a tremendous blow for the US and NATO in relations with Russia.

Interestingly, the ratification resolution makes it US policy to open talks with Russia on tactical nuclear weapons within a year of entry-into-force of the Treaty, and in the meantime to work on increasing transparency between the US and Russia on tactical nuclear weapons, and to extend cooperative threat reduction to assuring the safety and security of Russian weapons. NATO allies are to be consulted.

While the ratification debate has been marked by a generally negative tone and anti-Russian sentiment, this provision is to be welcomed. having refused to discuss these issues for years, Republicans in the Senate sought to criticise new START for not dealing with tacnukes. As a result, this clause was added to the ratification resolution. NATO has already allowed for this in the outcome of the Lisbon Summit and it is to be hoped that ratification by the Duma will allow these talks to go forward.

The resolution can be found here and on tacnukes reads:
(12) Tactical nuclear weapons .-(A) Prior to the entry into force of the New START Treaty, the President shall certify to the Senate that- 
i) the United States will seek to initiate, following consultation with NATO allies but not later than one year after the entry into force of the New START Treaty, negotiations with the Russian Federation on an agreement to address the disparity between the non-strategic (tactical) nuclear weapons stockpiles of the Russian Federation and of the United States and to secure and reduce tactical nuclear weapons in a verifiable manner; and

(ii) it is the policy of the United States that such negotiations shall not include defensive missile systems.
(B) Not later than one year after the entry into force of the New START Treaty, and annually thereafter for the duration of the New START Treaty or until the conclusion of an agreement pursuant to subparagraph (A), the President shall submit to the Committees on Foreign Relations and Armed Services of the Senate a report-
(i) detailing the steps taken to conclude the agreement cited in subparagraph (A); and
(ii) analyzing the reasons why such an agreement has not yet been concluded.
(C) Recognizing the difficulty the United States has faced in ascertaining with confidence the number of tactical nuclear weapons maintained by the Russian Federation and the security of those weapons, the Senate urges the President to engage the Russian Federation with the objectives of-
(i) establishing cooperative measures to give each Party to the New START Treaty improved confidence regarding the accurate accounting and security of tactical nuclear weapons maintained by the other Party; and
(ii) providing United States or other international assistance to help the Russian Federation ensure the accurate accounting and security of its tactical nuclear weapons.

Saturday, 18 December 2010

Senior UK Leaders on NATO Nuclear Policy

Sir Malcolm Rifkind, Lord Owen and Lord Browne, all former ministers, have written an article on NATO nuclear policy for the website of the European Leadership Network for Multilateral Nuclear Disarmament and Non-Proliferation, in which they are prominent members.  They write that:
the new Concept must allow for NATO’s founding ideas of collective defence, the transatlantic link, and burden-sharing to be retained but applied to challenges far different from those faced at the time of the Alliance’s formation. This is far from an easy task but it is a vital one, and nowhere is it more needed than in the area of NATO nuclear policy.

This is surely correct, and nuclear policy has been an area where the Alliance has been , most resistant to change, with its members (except perhaps the Balts) all knowing that the current situation is untenable, but tip-toeing around a rather awkward problem. Indeed, they write:
In our view, if NATO is to remain of central relevance to the security challenges we face today, the Alliance must address this issue head-on and not seek to by-pass it.
In order to achieve a 'reduction and consolidation' of the 180 or so US nuclear weapons still forward based in Europe, the ELN urges NATO to work with cooperatively with Russia and:
To facilitate this engagement, we are also calling for an updated Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) treaty and for the NATO-Russia Council to support cooperative dialogue with Russia on ballistic missile defence.
They also call for a reduction in the salience of nuclear forces in NATO doctrine, for the Alliance to state that the only role for nuclear weapons is to deter nuclear attack. This would build on US and UK changes in doctrine which have, de facto, already shifted Alliance nuclear use doctrine in this direction. They warn to that if the Alliance doesn't act together then a series of uncoordinated unilateral national decisions will undoubtedly weaken the Alliance. This is surely true. NATO members including Germany and Belgium are very unlikely to spend the billions of Euros needed to renew their dual-use aircraft over the coming decade or so, without which their nuclear mission will simply wither away.

In addition, the basis of NATO nuclear sharing is a legal ruling in the US in the 1960s that, in times of 'general war' the NPT has failed in its purpose and is no longer in force. The NPT RevCon this spring agreed unanimously that the NPT remains in force under all circumstances. This opens NATO policy up to international challenge, since all NATO states agreed with this RevCon interpretation.

As the NATO deterrence review moves forward, the Atlantic Alliance can either take hold of this issue and decisively lead in international non-proliferation and disarmament efforts, or it can just let the drift continue, thus weakening the Alliance, as these former defence and foreign ministers of the right and the left have so correctly said.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Good Advice for NATO from the European Leadership Network

NATO Monitor didn't post on the release of this European Leadership Network statement on NATO nuclear policy at the time. But now NATO has agreed to hold a deterrence review, it is worth a good look.

The ELN is a trans-European network of senior statesmen and women who are working for multilateral nuclear disarmament, and for a secure Europe. They come from most European countries, north south east and west, from Ireland to Russia, from Norway to Greece. The network is comprised of former defence, foreign and prime ministers, as well as senior generals. They are conservatives, christian democrats, liberals, social democrats, socialists and greens. They have enormous experience in international security work, and their views merit attention.

In the case of NATO nuclear policy, their statement notably calls for a greater emphasis by NATO on arms control, non-proliferation and disarmament as tools for security-building and asks some very pertinent questions:

  • What can NATO do to help establish safe conditions for the adoption of deterring nuclear attack as the sole purpose for its nuclear weapons, consistent with the declaratory policy goal as stated in the US NPR and with our suggested ambition to reduce the number and roles of nuclear weapons in the NATO arsenal?

  • Are NATO’s current nuclear arrangements the only available and credible option for providing European allies with reassurance against nuclear threats? What alternative options are available that could provide this reassurance while also allowing NATO to do more to support international moves toward multilateral nuclear disarmament? What might the risks and benefits of each of these alternatives be?

  • What alternatives to current nuclear burden-sharing arrangements might be available, if any, that could both maintain the political cohesion of the alliance and maintain the principle that nuclear risks and burdens are shared across the alliance?

  • How can NATO best maximise the security of nuclear weapons on its own territory?

  • What would the implications of any changes to NATO nuclear policy be for NATO relations with Russia, approaches to reassurance on Article V commitments within the alliance, and consideration of issues such as missile defence and conventional forces in Europe?

  • This is exactly the kind of debate NATO needs, and Secretary General Rasmussen could do much worse than to convene a meeting with the ELN for an in-depth examination of NATO's future deterrence policy.

    Analysis on NATO Nukes in the Strategic Concept from Arms Control Association

    Just a quick note that Oliver Meier has a good piece in the latest Arms Control Today. You can read it here. I was taken with this quote:
    The U.S. official said the language on nuclear sharing “was very carefully drafted.” He maintained that it does not preclude future changes in NATO’s nuclear posture. “It applies very nicely to a situation where a country suggests that it is no longer possible for it to participate in nuclear sharing for domestic reasons,” he argued. “The questions allies need to ask [are]: What kind of participation in nuclear sharing is politically acceptable? Is participation by one country enough? Is it sufficient if two countries participate?” 
    These will be key questions for NATO as it moves forward. Already Greece and Turkey have given up the nuclear sharing role. The UK no longer bases US nukes. Will NATO be able to act to gain some credit for removal of the few remaining tactical nuclear weapons in Europe before national reductions mean all credibility is lost? That would be the sensible course of action, but France seems dead set against it.

    Defence Planning for the Baltic States

    In October 2009, NATO Monitor reported on discussions at an informal Ministerial meeting on contingency planning for the defence of the Baltic States (See here). At the time, NATO Monitor reported on the difficulties associated with starting that process, and the unhappiness felt by the Baltic States at what they felt was a second-class citizenship in NATO, and the vulnerability they felt in the wake of the 2008 Russo-Georgian war.

    Now we learn from a report in the Guardian, based on a cable released by Wikileaks, how this situation was resolved. The Guardian reveals that secret plans have been drawn up, and were approved at the Lisbon Summit. They say NATO contingency planning is detailed:

    Nine Nato divisions – US, British, German, and Polish – have been identified for combat operations in the event of armed aggression against Poland or the three Baltic states. North Polish and German ports have been listed for the receipt of naval assault forces and British and US warships. The first Nato exercises under the plan are to take place in the Baltic next year, according to informed sources.
     The Guardian says that:
    The decision to draft contingency plans for Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania was taken secretly earlier this year at the urging of the US and Germany at Nato headquarters in Belgium, ending years of division at the heart of the western alliance over how to view Vladimir Putin's Russia.
    In the run up to the drafting of the new Strategic Concept, this process would have been important. Newer NATO members had significant concerns that missions such as ISAF in Afghanistan were replacing traditional territorial defence, and that western European NATO states were not really prepared to enforce the Article V defence guarantee. However, it is equally important for the Alliance not to be seen to be fueling a new Cold War. Russia is a NATO partner, and has indeed been invited to participated in the new NATO missile defence system.

    Russian sources have told the Guardian that they are"bewildered" by this news:

    A source in Russia's foreign ministry said the information disclosed by WikiLeaks and detailed in the Guardian caused "a lot of questions and bewilderment with us".

    The Nato-Russia summit in Lisbon last month had adopted a statement that "clearly says the security of Nato countries and Russia is intertwined, and the NRC [Nato Russia Council] member states will refrain from any use or threat of the use of force against each other," the source told Interfax.
    "Russia has repeatedly raised the question about the need to ensure that there is no military planning aimed against one another," the source added.
    "Obvious facts" demonstrated that "Russia is not building up its military presence near the borders of the countries mentioned in the release, but on the contrary it is coherently reducing heavy weaponry in the Kaliningrad region," the source said.

    All of which goes to show how hard it is for the Alliance to tread the line between building a cooperative relationship with Russia and dealing with the fears and suspicions of Eastern Europeans. NATO members need Russian support in Afghanistan and in dealing with nuclear negotiations with Iran. If a new Cold War is to be avoided, then a cooperative security relationship within Europe will also be needed. The release of the Wikileaks cable is ill-timed as it brings out into the public issues which would be much better dealt with by diplomats behind the scenes at present. The release has the potential to damage emergent NATO-Russia cooperation, and to weaken the hand of President Medvedev against those on the Russian side who oppose working together with a former foe. One good way to ensure that no lasting damage is done would be for NATO to come back to the table with proposals for reviving the suspended Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty, and adapting it further to meet the realities of 2010.