In the Spring of 1949, only 67 years ago the North Atlantic Treaty was signed in Washington.
To day it has 28 member countries and is one of the longest surviving collective defence organizations of the world.
The Alliance has undergone a transformation, adapting to the new circumstances and should 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.
If you are like me I could not name the 28 countries that make up Nato membership.
However I would say that I am not far wrong in saying that it’s an US lead organisation that to day acts as a thorn in Putin’s side. Nor could I name it present Commander without Googling.
The supreme Allied Commander is an Army General named Curtis Michael ” Scap” Scaparrotti according to Google.
He ruffly has access to 3 million active duty troops, 24,000 military aircraft, 800 oceangoing warship, not forgetting a standing command structure of over 10,000 professionals in Europe. All useless against a cyber attack.
The point of the alliance was to deter Soviet aggression by guaranteeing that an attack on any NATO nation would be taken as an attack on all NATO nations.
These days it is seen as a good way to become connected to the US, Canada, and countries of the EU.
The world has seen many changes since the inception of NATO. It has served to symbolize the connection between North America and Western Europe.
The risks that the world must face today are connected primarily with proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and the possibility of a rogue state or even a non-state entity acquiring such weapons.
To the view of NATO “from the other side.”
NATO appears determined, for the first time in its history, to intervene beyond its borders, even militarily, in those cases where atrocities are being committed, as was the case in Yugoslavia, in order to promote peace and stability. The intervention in Kosovo demonstrated to the world that the Alliance was ready, without a specific mandate from the U.N. Security Council, to carry out a large-scale military confrontation.
In 1990, the then 14 European members of NATO spent around $314 billion on defense collectively.
In 2015, the alliance’s now 26 European members are expected to spend around $227 billion on defense. So while European membership in NATO has nearly doubled since 1990, defense spending by Europeans has gone down by 28 percent since then.
In a few months we face a conundrum with Trump’s recent statements on the U.S. contribution to NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.“we are getting ripped off by every country in NATO, where they pay virtually nothing”
The question is will Nato stay relevant to world peace.
NATO can remain a vital part of our international security apparatus only if we are careful about what we want it to be and do.
We should start by looking at our global security needs, asking what instruments best meet those needs, rather than looking at NATO and asking what role we might devise for it.
We also must engage our allies in meaningful conversation about where NATO fits into their national priorities.
Finally, we have to consider the outlook of NATO’s neighbors, friend and foe.
International terrorism represents a growing concern to the western world, while drug trafficking in Asia is rampant.
In addition, ethnic conflict in Europe, as is witnessed right now in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, is a destabilizing factor with possible spillover effects for other countries.
All these threats are new and NATO has had to take them into consideration when drafting its new strategic Concept in 1999.
Since then the United Nations has hitherto failed to carry out its primary function namely to maintain peace and security and to facilitate the peaceful settlement between nations.
The reasons for this failure is because the five principal powers who are permanent members of the Security Council have the right to veto their decisions.
The primary aim of the Atlantic Alliance on the other hand is based on the elementary principal underlying most societies, namely, the incontestable right of self-defence. .
This right in an International field can only be exercised by collective action guaranteed by a treaty of mutual assistance, and organised in advance.
NATO’s essential purpose is to safeguard the freedom and security of its members through political and military means.
So how does Nato act as a preventive to war.
It is the world’s largest power, establishing the hegemony of the allied west over the rest of the world.
Article 5 of the Treaty NATO’s founding treaty – states that an armed attack against one or more of them all be considered an attack against them all. Or under a UN mandate, alone or in cooperation with other countries and international organizations.
The end of the Cold War and, consequently, the absence of the Soviet threat, did not render NATO obsolete.
international reality has changed between 2001 and 2015
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.
Russia however 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.
Permanent peace cannot be achieved only by confrontational methods and for sustainable peace reconciliation is important in conflict ridden countries.
For NATO, failure in Afghanistan will raise doubts on its ability to successfully complete a mission.
It’s certainly false to say that most of the other NATO members pay “virtually nothing.” The Us annual direct contribution is under $500 million a year.“The volume of the US defense expenditure effectively represents 73 per cent of the defense spending of the Alliance as a whole,”Trump has raised the specter of America puling out of the military alliance if the Europeans don’t pick up a bigger share.
On paper, members say they will put at least 2 percent of their GDP into their militaries. In practice, only five do: the United States, the United Kingdom, Greece, Estonia and Poland.
By NATO’s count, total defense spending of all NATO members stood at about $900 billion in 2015 in current dollars. The United States’ share was about $650 billion. Do the math, and the percentage comes to about 72 percent.
there is no easy way to separate America’s military spending in Europe from its global military strategy.
that NATO’s military resources defy easy description. There are two ways to quantify them and both are incomplete.
The statistics show the military spending of the NATO countries from 2009 to 2016. The military expenditure of Germany in 2010 totaled up to 40.66 billion U.S. dollars.The statistic shows the U.S. military spending in the years 2000 to 2015. In 2000, the U.S. military spending was about 301.7 billion U.S. dollars.
The statistics show the global military spending during the years 2001 and 2014. In 2014, the world’s military spending amounted to 1.71 trillion U.S. dollars, compared to 1.14 trillion U.S. dollars in 2001.
It is about addressing Europe’s growing security vacuum and defining who will be in charge of European security. The reduction of the U.S. security footprint in Europe and Europeans’ dramatic loss of military capability since the 1990s have created a security vacuum in Europe
- The question of who will guarantee Europe’s security in light of global strategic shifts remains unanswered.
- Europe will be forced to step up its defense capabilities in the future if it wants to deal with the myriad threats in its neighborhood. This includes more and smarter defense spending, more defense cooperation, more shared threat assessments, and more leadership by hitherto reluctant nations.
NATO, as a political organization, was conceived to administer this security guarantee and make the Europeans themselves stakeholders in it.
This fundamental principle of the political order of Europe has never been abandoned and remains in place today.
Overall, it is highly unrealistic that all 28 NATO allies will ever reach the 2 percent spending goal. On the surface this might sound like a potential credibility problem for NATO. If not even a pledge made at the highest political level of the alliance is likely to be fulfilled, then NATO’s standing as Europe’s bedrock of security could be seriously damaged.