Are NATO’s Days Numbered?

Are NATO’s Best Days Behind It?
Jean-Pierre Stroobants writes in Le Monde that the end of NATO’s involvement in Afghanistan in 2014 and ongoing financial pressures leaves the future of NATO in a state of limbo.

“An outward sign of just how delicate the situation is for NATO’s General Secretary Anders Fogh Rasmussen and his associates was the recent cancellation of the governmental summit because US President Barack Obama’s presence could not be assured,” says Stroobants.

A More Engaged Europe Speeds NATO Decline
He adds that NATO has not been involved in solving the crisis in Mali and that the special force designed to respond in emergency situations has not been deployed since it was created in 2002.

Doug Bandow, a contributor to Forbes magazine, also spoke in frank terms about NATO’s future in the days leading up to its April meetings. Bandow bluntly stated that “NATO no longer has any serious purpose.”

The increasing willingness of Europe to engage internationally – rather than to call for NATO assistance – was not lost on Bandow either.

“Oddly, at this moment the old imperial temptation appears to be reasserting itself in some European capitals. …… Paris also acted in Mali. The Europeans seem increasingly determined to reshape conflicts and rebuild nations throughout the Middle East and Africa without possessing the military force to do so,” he asserts.

Without The Cold War, Does NATO Have A Future?
George Friedman, the founder and chairman of the global intelligence firm Stratfor, contends the impact of losing its primary purpose – protecting Europe from the Soviet Union during the Cold War – cannot be underestimated.

“For a while, after 1991, the two sides went on as if the alliance could exist even without an enemy. However, NATO started to fragment when it lost its enemy. The passion for a mission gave NATO meaning, and the passion was drained. The alliance continued to fragment when the United States decided to invade Iraq for the second time. The vast majority of  countries in NATO supported the invasion — a forgotten fact — but France and  Germany did not.

“NATO bound Europe together because it made the nations into comrades. They  were able to face Armageddon together. Europe without NATO’s solidarity has  difficulty figuring out a tax policy. In the end, Europe lost more when NATO  fell into disuse than it imagined,” Friedman concludes.

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