Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Caroline Glick: NATO Is The Author Of Its Own Demise

Caroline Glick: NATO Is the Author of Its Own Demise

[Below are a few selected quotes from this commentary - mostly taken from the beginning and then the conclusions, but the entire article is worth reading]

One of the interesting aspects of the hysteria is that NATO’s supporters never seem to think it is necessary to explain why it would be a bad idea to end the alliance. In a spate of interviews ahead of the summit, NATO Ambassador Kay Bailey Hutchinson enumeratedthe many ways that Russia threatens Europe and U.S. interests. But while the threats she mentioned – political subversion through social media, nerve agent attacks in Great Britain, support for Syrian dictator Bashar Assad, violations of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) treaty, and annexation of Crimea – are all major threats, they are not the main threats that the U.S. faces today. Moreover, NATO has been ineffective in confronting these malign actions by Russia.

NATO’s ineffectiveness ought to be the key issue of discussion when considering its future. But to date, that weakness has been largely overlooked in the rush to blame Trump for allegedly  destroying America’s alliances.

NATO was established in 1949. It was the second major organization, after the United Nations, which was formed in the aftermath of World War II. Like the U.N., NATO was envisioned as a means to secure the peace in the post-war era.
But the the initial discussions and wartime agreements had an inertia and a logic of their own. So by the time the U..N was established in late 1945, its central organizing principle was obsolete.
Even worse, due to the fact that the Soviet Union was granted permanent membership in the U.N. Security Council, replete with veto power, the U.N. was almost powerless to stand in Soviet dictator Josef Stalin’s way as he carved out an empire in Eastern Europe, subverted Western European governments, and undermined U.S. and British interests and power around the world.
It was no doubt NATO’s success that precluded discussion of its continued usefulness after the Soviet Union disintegrated. Rather than contract its operations, NATO rapidly expanded into the former Soviet sphere, extending membership to states that had lived under Soviet domination since the end of World War II.
There was little discussion then, or since, of the desirability of NATO’s eastward expansion. No one asked if the U.S. would really fight to keep the likes of Lithuania out of Russia’s sphere of influence, or whether it ought to fight to do so. NATO had just won the Cold War. Obviously, so the thinking went, it should be expanded ad infinitum.
Today, NATO members Britain, France, and Germany are working through the EU to undermine U.S. sanctions against Iran, in the interest of preserving the Iranian nuclear deal from 2015. As Trump noted when he announced U.S. abandonment of the Iran deal, far from preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, the agreement gives Iran an open road to a nuclear arsenal. So today, key NATO allies are operating against the U.S on behalf of the Iranian regime in furtherance of its nuclear ambitions.

Turkey, with its strategic location on Europe’s southeastern flank, was a vital member of the anti-Soviet alliance. But for the past decade or so, Turkey’s central achievement in NATO has been to block any chance of the alliance ever becoming reconfigured to combat and defeat the new common foe of all of its members except Turkey – radical Islam.

Under the circumstances that have developed since NATO helped win the Cold War, several things are clear.
First, NATO as it stands is incapable of developing a coherent strategic objective common to all of its members.
Second, NATO is a hindrance to U.S. strategic independence, shackling Washington to partners who do not share its interests or objectives, while requiring it to underwrite and secure their defense.
Finally, it is clear that NATO is incapable of shifting its mission to address current threats to U.S. security interests.
Today the U.S faces two main threats: China and radical Islam. Obviously, European nations have no capacity to play a significant role in containing or deterring China militarily. And as a military alliance, it is hard to see why NATO would be the tool of choice for developing common trade policies among allied nations to rein in China economically. Certainly NATO has been unable or unwilling to assist the U.S. in confronting the malign influence of North Korea, China’s most dangerous satellite.
As for radical Islam, due to Turkish membership in NATO, and due to European refusal to take any significant steps to rein in radical Islamic forces in Europe or anywhere else, it is abundantly clear that NATO is not the proper vehicle for U.S.-led collective defense against Iran or other jihadist powers.
To the extent that the U.S. seeks to work in the framework of a collective defense organization, it will need to look beyond NATO. It will require new alliance structures. Those can be informal, or transactional, or limited in scope, rather than formal and brittle, as NATO has been. But whether or not such alliances form, it is abundantly clear that scaling back NATO is a reasonable — indeed, a necessary — move.
As for President Trump, despite the bloviations of his critics, he bears no responsibility for NATO’s irrelevance. Trump did not cause NATO to have little role to play in fighting the key threats to American and global security. NATO has had nearly three decades to figure out how to do that. But it failed.
All that Trump has done is point out the reality of NATO’s decline — which his four predecessors refused to acknowledge.

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