In the past 60 plus years, many changes have taken place with society, technology and governments but world peace is for the most part pie in the sky.
It is true that their have been no major global conflicts in the latter half of the twentieth century and into the twenty-first.
So is Nato still relevant? Or is it just a pension club for the military old boys.
Since 1999 Nato has struggled in performing ever mission it has launched- Bosnia, Kosova, Afghanistan.
When Estonians pulled the Nato emergency chain on a cyber attack it was left with a lukewarm response raising the question what constitutes an attack on a country that Nato will react to.
What would happen if a war started, or the market crashed? I don’t think that NATO would fight a war together ( Including USA and Canada there are currently 28 member states) to be honest.
The conflicting priorities of Europe and the USA and the absence of a common foe all point to the need for Nato to be refilled into either a new European defense force or into the United Nations as a total peaceful organisation. Since the end of the cold war, NATO and the UN have become nearly interchangeable.
However some still say that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (Nato) is more relevant than it has been for years even if many of its members are moving further away from meeting their defense spending obligations.
The end of the Cold War and, consequently, the absence of the Soviet threat, did not render NATO ( The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation) obsolete. There is no Warsaw Pact anymore, so why is there NATO?
The Alliance is now expanding like crazy. Faster than EU itself.
This means they either feel their power is crumbling and need more power, more allies, or the simple fact NATO has no more meaning.
It is the last surviving relic of the Cold War and is now the centerpiece of US-European relations. It has served as an integrating mechanism for Europe for more than sixty-five years.
Here what it cost to-day.
Nato 2014 Actual 2014 2015 2015
- Member State Expenditure % of GDP Project Exp % of GDP
- Bulgaria $604 million 1.3 $565 million 1.16
- Canada $14.3 billion 1 $12.2 billion null
- Estonia $430 million 2 $461 million 2.05
- France $40.90 billion 1.5 $41.2 billion 1.5
- Germany $44.3 billion 1.14 $41.72 billion 1.09
- Hungary $1.03 billion 0.79 $0.79 billion 0.75
- Italy $17.3 billion 1.2 $16.3 billion null
- Latvia $252 million 0.9 $283 million 1
- Lithuania $359 million 0.78 $474 million 1.11
- Netherlands $8.7 billion 1 $9 billion null
- Norway $5.8 billion 1.58 $6.8 billion 1.6
- Poland $10.4 billion 1.9 $10.4 billion 1.95
- Romania $2 billion 1.4 Not yet announced 1.7
- UK $55 billion 2.07 $54 billion 1.88
- US $582.4 billion 3.6 $585 billion 3.1
- Turkey Not known
- Albania “
- Czech Rep “
- Denmark “
- Greece “
- Iceland “
- Luxembourg “
- Poland “
- Slovakia “
- Slovenia “
- Portugal “
- Spain “
- Belgium “
Unfortunately the US funding of Nato has it wrapped around its finger. It funds between one-fifth and one-quarter of Nato’s budget.
The civil budget for 2015 is € 200 million. The civil budget provides funds for personnel expenses, operating costs, and capital and programme expenditure of the International Staff at NATO Headquarters.
The military budget for 2015 is €1.2 billion. This budget covers the operating and maintenance costs of the NATO Command Structure. It is composed of over 50 separate budgets, which are financed with contributions from Allies’ national defence budgets (in most countries) according to agreed cost-shares.
While there is stagnation in military expenditure from the larger military powers in NATO — the UK, France, Germany, and Canada — that has led to several smaller NATO states to increase their funding. Not coincidentally, some of them would be front line states in a future military conflict between Russia and the NATO alliance.
NATO was founded to promote democratic values and encourage cooperation on defense and security issues. What started as a good idea that was backed by powerful nations, now is not the case.
With Russia involvement in Syria not to mention the Ukraine the real question is: Do we need what I see as a duplication Organisation that appears determined, for the first time in its history, to intervene beyond its borders.
Operational partnerships, such as the one Nato established with Australia in Afghanistan, are an additional source of personnel and resources for Nato-led operations.
Even militarily it does not make sense to have an European Union relining on an Organisation that has as its linchpin of the alliance Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty, which states that “an armed attack against one or more of them [NATO members] in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all” and that all members are obliged to assist the state(s) under attack.
Article 5 has been invoked only once in NATO’s history, after the terrorist attacks against the US homeland on September 11, 2001.
It says it committed to the peaceful resolution of disputes.
NATO provides security to the world because of their rules and regulations that prevent war. Considering those FACTS it is foolish to say that NATO is not relevant.
No wars have taken place in any country that is part of NATO after they joined.
It is supposed to act under resolutions that are carried out under Article 5 of the Washington Treaty – NATO’s founding treaty – or under a UN mandate, alone or in cooperation with other countries and international organizations.
So tell me what irresolution was passed about ring fencing Russia with rockets.
NATO’s incessant push to the east is an attempt to reinstate a Berlin Wall that spans the entire western border of Russia. This has no place in a peaceful world.
It’s no wonder that Russia is worries about that, as well as the new identity and tasks that NATO has awarded itself.
Russia opposes expansion mainly because she fears that the West is trying to isolate her in the corner of Europe, deprive her of her privileged relationship with her former satellites and undermine her national interests. This is why she is so fiercely opposing enlargement to include the Baltic States and Ukraine. NATO is viewed by Russia as nothing more than the club wielded by capitalist sharks.
Without a unified military force Europe (an area of the world that for many centuries was the most warlike on the globe) relies on the Nato. The dissolution of which without a replacement would leave the Continent without the existence of a military option to ensure stability within in its borders.
There is one thing for sure in light of NATO’s character as a political forum of democratic nations, expansion to incorporate those states that had authoritatively been excluded from it and pushed into the arms of the Soviet Union seems a logical consequence.
It can no longer be seen merely as a military Alliance with a defensive character, but as a political one as well, gathering the nations that share common democratic values and respect for human rights and the rule of law. However this is a new world where NATO seems confrontational and counter productive with limited capability to undertake even crisis management operations.
One of the major problems with the preceding league of nations, was the lack of ‘teeth’.
Instead of focusing on the rapidly declining interstate conflicts (as a result of interdependence), maybe Nato should be focusing more on threats such as cyber warfare, terrorism, and piracy, and vetting refugees.
It would be impossible to think a couple of decades ago that the Americans and the Russians might sit at the same table and plan common military operations.
You would think that Nato which is deeply involved in the Syrian war and the United Nations would be encouraging such a move to avoid Turkey being dragged into the War.
Instead Jens Stoltenberg, the Nato secretary-general, said that the organisation intended to “send a clear message” to show that the world’s most powerful military alliance was prepared to act in defence of its citizens. “Nato will defend you, Nato is on the ground, Nato is ready,” he said.
Nato says it is prepared to send troops to Turkey to defend its ally after violations of Turkish airspace by Russian jets,
Then all hell breaks loose as if this was the ultimate pretext for a NATO-Russia war.
But wait; NATO is actually too busy to go to war. The priority, until at least November, is the epic Trident Juncture 2015; 36,000 troops from 30 states, more than 60 warships, around 200 aircraft, all are seriously practicing how to defend from the proverbial “The Russians are Coming!”
Russia’s spectacular entry into the war theater threw all these elaborate plans into disarray.
Surely, there are differences between the US and Russia, but these can be overcome step by step with constructive dialogue and mutual understanding. They are no longer afraid of each other. They do have their differences, as it is natural that they should.
As events in the Ukraine, Syria and now Turkey are tragically demonstrating Nato could become a source of potential danger for the entire world.
The World has enough problems this is not a time for Nato saber-rattling.
Finally it is otter stupidity to think that if a nuclear device designed to emit an EMP (Electro Magnetic Pulse) were detonated about 300 miles over EUROPE ( most of Europe as we now know it would be gone) that Nato or the USA would do anything other than issue wet wipes.
Also one may wonder why Turkey — a country that is about 2,000 miles to the east of the Atlantic Ocean — finds itself in an entity called the “North Atlantic Treaty Organization. The answer is the roots of accepting non-North Atlantic nations into NATO, mainly Greece and Turkey lies at the heart of the Truman Doctrine — extending military and economic aid to states vulnerable to Soviet threat / expansion. NATO membership should guarantee, in essence, that Turkey would not become a Soviet ally.
Moving forward means dissolving what does not work and finding what will work.
The next two decades will make or break humanity.
Perhaps Nato should stand down as a military force and take up the mantel of fighting Climate Change.
Finally how can we have an ordered world where Russia and China are excluded from the police force?
If Nato is to be relevant it could start by building a world environmental police force.