NATO: Decline and Fall (Updated)

Posted: September 25, 2010 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , ,

Philip Stephens at has written on the loss of relevance of NATOHe’s not the first and he won’t be the last.

…When institutions struggle to explain themselves it seems a reasonable bet they have outlived their purpose…

…Russia is richer and more assertive. The speed with which China, India and others have joined the ranks of the big powers has changed the world’s geopolitical geometry….

OK, hard to argue with any of that.  But the problem is not the world external to NATO, it’s the actors within NATO.

…The real danger for the alliance comes from within – from European reluctance to pay for its own defence (even Britain is about to abandon the Nato pledge to hold military spending above 2 per cent of national income) and from growing US indifference towards what Washington sees as feckless allies…

In the absence of agreed-upon or accepted existential threats, NATO won’t fund for its own security.  That means the U.S. will soon find itself facing a whole continent of security free-riders.  Exceptions, yes, there are a couple who really can’t pay their way (think Romania) and others who will be able to contribute with important basing (think Poland and the Czech Republic), but compare them to France and Germany, and before long, the UK.

The adage is you get what you pay for.  While NATO won’t cease to exist, it has ceased to fulfill its intended function.

“Collective security” has become something of an oxymoron.

  1. […] That’s the sort of plainspokeness that only a former Secretary General would be likely to offer up.  Of course, an astute observer might offer the rest of NATO is largely a security free-rider as well… […]

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