A Case for NATO

Prior to the August 7, 2008 Russian invasion of Georgia, I believed that the NATO alliance was no longer a useful tool of US foreign policy. I came to this conclusion for several reasons:

o First, it was a relic of the Cold War and had very little utility for us after the fall of the Soviet Union;

o Second, the complete failure of our NATO allies (other than the Canadians, British and Dutch) to fight in Afghanistan;

o Third, the general decay of European military power since the 1970s, evidenced by the fact that no NATO member, other than the United States and the United Kingdom, has mounted a successful military campaign by itself since the fall of the French in Viet Nam (and remember, Her Majesty’s finest required the help of Uncle Sam in order to successfully defeat the Argentineans in the Falkland Islands War);

o Fourth, my general distrust of formal international alliances developed by the anti-American and anti-Semitic polices and actions of the United Nations.

I had opposed President Bush’s plan for an Eastern expansion of NATO to Ukraine and Georgia because I thought such expansion served no purpose and that it would only agitate the Russians. Prior to August, 2008, it was inconceivable that Russia would invade a neighboring country, particularly a country that was now a Western style democracy.

My analysis of NATO and the need for its expansion proved to be wrong. It is unlikely that Russia would have risked war with the entire alliance by invading Georgia, if Georgia had been a NATO ally. Under the basic principal of the North Atlantic Treaty that an attack on one member country will be deemed an attack on all member countries, the Russians most likely would have been dissuaded from their summer’s military adventure.

With the continued hostile rhetoric coming from the Kremlin, it is important that NATO expand quickly to include Ukraine and Georgia. This will act to prevent further Russian expansion to the west. Of course, President Medvedev and his band of former Communists will continue to make threats like they do regarding the deployment of our missile defense shield in Poland and the Czech Republic. However, there are very few, if any, actions that the Russians will be willing to take, in large part because of the NATO Alliance.

If NATO does expand to the former Soviet Republics of Georgia and Ukraine, it will be faced with several challenges. The most important being the willingness of our less than capable allies to abide by the terms of the North Atlantic Treaty in the case of another invasion by Russia. I hope and expect that they would. If they do not, it would, unfortunately, prove my original thesis. And then, the only bright spot in such a mess would be the fact that the United States does live up to its international obligations and, once again, we are the one standing alone in defense of democracy, this time in “New Europe”.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

But you really do have to wonder if, assuming it didn't deter Russia, would US leadership be able to convince the country to follow it into another expensive war on behalf of a nation that my guess is most Americans have no idea even exists.