November 25, 2016
During the presidential campaign, Donald Trump has expressed the view that the US should take a hard look at NATO with a view to dismantling it. His declarations have caused an uproar among the global power elites, but his stance on the issue is fully justified.
NATO as a military alliance is affected by obsolescence and overextension, both of which have brought the United States closer towards direct confrontation with Russia, hitherto peacefully integrated into the global market economy.
Reforming NATO and imposing higher financial contributions on the US’ European allies would simply be a band-aid policy, however. When a military alliance has reached its objective (the demise of its foe, in this case the Soviet Union which imploded in 1991) and has outlived its usefulness, it has to be scrapped and replaced by more appropriate defence and security structures.
NATO has been useful in stabilising former Eastern bloc satellite countries prior to their accession to EU membership. After 2007, however, the alliance’s usefulness has ceased. In 2008 the then leaders of France and Great Britain recognised this and initiated the nucleus of a would-be European defence force. In recent weeks this has again become a hot topic in Brussels.
The refusal to recognise NATO’s obsolescence by key American policymakers had led to the overextension of the alliance to the East, even in regions that should have remained neutral, like the Baltic states. Thus, from a stabilising and defensive alliance, NATO became a destabilising factor for peace in Europe by exponentially increasing the risk of war with Russia.
The relationship between obsolescence and the overextension of the alliance is becoming clearer to analysts. The alliance’s eastward expansion is designed to hide its obsolescence from the Western public. Unfortunately, this has created as of 2008 huge tensions with Russia, when NATO tried to enlist Georgia and Ukraine as new members. Overextension has also led to military adventurism, as the current stalemate in Ukraine and the Baltic republics illustrates.
Owing to a string of policy errors, NATO has thus ceased to play a useful role in the defence of its European allies, whom at any rate are not threatened militarily by Russia.
There are quite a few geopolitical nightmare scenarios involving NATO’s Eastern allies that could be avoided by replacing the organisation with the European common defence alliance. Failing this, direct military confrontation with Russia cannot be avoided indefinitely and has a real potential of bringing the world closer to nuclear war.Florian Pantazi