The 1949 NATO Treaty never attempted to single out a specific enemy for the alliance to fight against, and while it was clear at the time the Soviet Union was the focus, the lack of specificity has meant numerous attempts in recent history to add enemies, or make up new things for the alliance to do.
During this week’s NATO meeting, they are going to officially add a new nation to the list of “challenges,” in the form of China, with NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg saying NATO has to “tackle the issue” of China’s growing capabilities.
China is a major military and economic power, though not hostile to any NATO member nations. That China is a Pacific nation makes them a strange enemy for an alliance supposedly focused on the north Atlantic to single out.
NATO, however, is at a crossroads trying to figure out its identity and purpose, and China’s sheer size makes it an attractive target to justify NATO’s continued existence.
Which isn’t focused just on China. NATO is continuing to set out plans for military confrontations with Russia, and likewise is cobbling together cases for NATO to focus on terror wars across the world.