NATO Is Obsolete

Authored by Christian Whiton via The National Interest,

"Europe is prosperous and treats America like a patsy. Let it stand on its own."

Before President Donald Trump attempts real diplomacy with Russian President Vladimir Putin at a summit in Helsinki on July 16, he'll first be subjected to another summit. That first summit is a gathering of leaders of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). These leaders continually assure the United States they are America's best allies, even as most contribute little to America's defense and rack up huge trade surpluses with the United States. Trump will insist on a better deal but should go farther and wind down U.S. membership in NATO.

After the alliance was established in 1949, its first secretary general, Lord Hastings Ismay, summed up its purpose concisely: “to keep the Russians out, the Americans in, and the Germans down.” The unofficial mission matched the time well: Western Europe’s postwar future was clouded by the prospect of a Soviet invasion, American insularity, or German militarism—all possible given the preceding decades of history.

Nearly seventy years later, none of these concerns still exist. Furthermore, NATO's opposing alliance during the Cold War, the Warsaw Pact, quit the Soviet Bloc in 1989, and the Soviet Union itself passed into history in 1991—twenty-seven years ago.

Despite endless searches for a new mission to justify its massive burden on U.S. taxpayers, NATO has failed to be of much use since then. As its boosters like to remind us, after 9/11, the alliance invoked its Article 5 mutual-defense provision on our behalf. But action from America’s allies did not follow the grandiose gesture—the NATO mission in Afghanistan relied mostly on U.S. forces and effectively failed.

Today, the alliance’s bureaucrats and some member states spotlight a threat from Russia as a reason for keeping the organization alive, along with a laundry list of “train and equip” missions.

Yet NATO members' defense budgets don't reflect a real sense of danger from Russia or anyone else. Among the twenty-nine members, only the United States is really serious about its Article 3 obligations to defend itself, spending approximately $700 billion or 3.5 percent of its GDP on defense. No other NATO member comes close to this proportion, and the vast majority fail even to meet the modest, self-imposed requirement to devote at least 2 percent of GDP to defense.

Britain and Poland are rare members that meet the 2 percent requirement. One of the worst free-riders is Canada, which spends just 1 percent of its GDP on security, amounting to $20 billion. Furthermore, Germany spends a similarly pathetic 1.2 percent.

Compare that to non-NATO members facing real threats, some of which spend 5-10 percent of their GDPs on defense. These include Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, who must contend with Iran and spend nearly a combined $100 billion. Israel, which faces the same enemy, adds $15 billion to the equation.

Despite protestations of poverty at a time when their economies have never been larger, NATO members are more than willing to rack up additional liabilities, knowing America has their back. Last year, the alliance welcomed Montenegro. It is now poised to admit the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, which would mean the United States is pledged to defend a nation that devotes just $120 million per year to its own defense, not quite as much as the Cincinnati Police Department.

But the reality is there is no truly capable Russian foe seriously threatening the West. Russia has one million uniformed personnel in its military, the world’s second-largest behind America, but the European Union could easily afford to match that with its combined $17 trillion economy—ten times larger than Russia’s. However, it needn’t bother as Moscow spends just $61 billion on its overwrought military, which doubles as an employment program.

Russia’s Vladimir Putin has gotten the most from Russia’s military, occupying parts of Georgia and Ukraine and gaining influence in Syria by backing the Assad regime. Still, his success in all three cases rested heavily on surprises that Moscow seems unlikely to be able to repeat against prepared and adequately funded European militaries.

Yer we should expect to hear none of this nuance at the NATO summit, as poohbahs of the dying old European political order gather to tut-tut President Trump in the alliance’s fancy new $1.4 billion headquarters, funded predominantly by American taxpayers.

To get out of this abusive relationship, Trump should begin the process of limiting America's role in NATO. A good model is that of Sweden, which cooperates with NATO on some matters and not on others. Such an approach could allow joint training, but end the practice of having over-burdened U.S. taxpayers foot the bill for wealthy Europeans' security. As part of this plan, Trump could mothball U.S. bases in Europe and shift most resources spent there and in the Atlantic to the Indo-Pacific region, where China and Iran pose real threats to America—and against which NATO is irrelevant.

Europe is prosperous and treats America like a patsy. Let it stand on its own.

Comments

ted41776 Mon, 07/09/2018 - 02:02 Permalink

how exactly did russia get the shit end of the stick after ww2 when russia lost more lives and resources than all the other allies combined fighting nazis, while germany essentially got what it wanted (controlling all of europe via EU)? history really is a mindfuck when you stop and think about it for a minute

keep the basta… Joe Trader Mon, 07/09/2018 - 03:58 Permalink

Compare that to non-NATO members facing real threats, some of which spend 5-10 percent of their GDPs on defense. These include Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, who must contend with Iran and spend nearly a combined $100 billion. Israel, which faces the same enemy, adds $15 billion to the equation

vermin.

author vermin too

In reply to by Joe Trader

msamour keep the basta… Mon, 07/09/2018 - 08:04 Permalink

I stopped reading after a few paragraphs. Articles in the last 24 hours have been quite putrid. What the hell is with this rah rah America, Fuck yeah! bullshit? I know many people who live all over the United States, none of them ever told me they loved being the world policeman. I am sure given a choice, those people would rather take all the money that is stolen for defense and spend it on infrastructure to benefit, I don't know, the people of the United States of America.

I am not anti-American, I am anti idiots that do not realize the only reason why they are stuck playing bad cop all over the world is because a very few amount of people benefit from this. It is too late for Americans, They would have had a chance 20 years ago, but now it's way too late.

In reply to by keep the basta…

Lore August Mon, 07/09/2018 - 03:14 Permalink

The analysis in this article is handicapped by narrow understanding of current events.

The purpose of NATO is to make trouble, not counter it.  The greatest threat to world peace comes from agencies in control of NATO.  If you wonder why NATO is dysfunctional, wonder no more.  It seems almost as corrupt as the United Nations. 

"Physician, heal thyself."  Conscientious nations need to get out and hitch their wagons to something better.

In reply to by August

HowdyDoody Lore Mon, 07/09/2018 - 04:09 Permalink

The original purpose of NATO was to ensure any subseqent fighting with the then USSR happened largely in Europe rather than in the US. Thus the US would again emerge unharmed from war. Now, if NATO attacks Russia even in Europe, Russia attacks the US bigly. The US should get out of NATO for its own good, leaving the remnants as a de facto European military.

 

 

In reply to by Lore

Manipuflation ted41776 Mon, 07/09/2018 - 02:58 Permalink

That is a really good question.  I have a Soviet woman in the bedroom and I've been around the world.  There really is not an easy answer to any of that.  Even the Russians are not exactly sure what happened there.  There was way more going than I am going to try to talk about because it wasn't nice.  I'm not even going to try.

What I can say is that the US never needed to be involved in the World Wars.

In reply to by ted41776

FrancisBlack Manipuflation Mon, 07/09/2018 - 11:27 Permalink

When in doubt don't marry her. I went down that road with mediocre results. Was married to a Russian from Moscow and I found her to be too cold, complicated, difficult and eventually could not sustain her one sided mentality about men should cover all expenses for eternity even if she has a better paying job. Yes she was extremely beautiful but in the end that was not enough to keep her on the line, just too much crap to deal with. Now I'm with a Colombian woman who is equally hot but super sweet, happy all the time, cooperative, willing to contribute and it is a night and day difference. Brush up on your Spanish and check out Colombia. Just my two cents maybe yours is the complete opposite but also maybe its nice to hear from someone who has been down that road before. Good luck!

In reply to by Manipuflation

I am Groot ted41776 Mon, 07/09/2018 - 03:38 Permalink

Dude, did you totally forget Russia fought with Germany when WWII started. They signed the  Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact and invaded Finland, Poland and the Baltic states. Their intention was to split Europe with Germany.They later switched sides because Hitler hated communism, Jews,Slavs and he needed Russia's resources. He also underestimated Russia tremendously.

In reply to by ted41776

keep the basta… I am Groot Mon, 07/09/2018 - 04:03 Permalink

Dude, did you totally forget Russia fought with Germany when WWII started.

Groot there was no russia then. it was the USSR under marxist talmudic rule obeying govt. Why did 64million mostly ethnic russians die in the Gulags run by jewish bolsheviks?

Russia emerged free after dying drunk blackmailed Yeltsin handed it to Putin, and only 15% of its wealth left after the asset stripping by you know  hu.

In reply to by I am Groot

FrancisBlack I am Groot Mon, 07/09/2018 - 11:33 Permalink

Not completely accurate. Have you read the agreement? It makes pretty clear its not about dividing the people/goverments. It was about what lines Hilter was permitted to cross and maintaining the sphere of influence to keep Eastern Europe culturally cohesive. For example Poland had no official government at that time because their infrastructure was already destroyed so Russia stated that Hitler should not cross the line in Poland because that would be an assault to Russian borders, it was not to divide the country and give it to Russia/USSR. If the agreement really existed it's mostly been used to paint Russia as another Evil partner to Hitler. I don't buy it knowing the Russian people. If they agreed to something like that it was Bolsheviks or some party not representing the poor Russian people. 

In reply to by I am Groot

NickelthroweR Mon, 07/09/2018 - 02:13 Permalink

The United States should drastically cut back on military spending especially on silly programs like the F35.  I'd rather have a smaller but more professional military.  After all, we are fast approaching a time where something has to give as we can not afford our entitlement programs, interest on the debt, a massive military and take care of our free shit army.  It is just too much.  

Billy the Poet NickelthroweR Mon, 07/09/2018 - 02:29 Permalink

The US money supply starts with government borrowing from the Fed in exchange for treasuries. Once this money is released into the system business and individual borrowing increases that monetary base. The debt based monetary system will collapse if government debt is ever paid down significantly. The current system demands constant inflows of debt based currency and can't survive debt reduction.

And yes, it all blows up in the end. The question is who will position themselves to better take advantage of the crisis, us or them?

In reply to by NickelthroweR

I am Groot Mon, 07/09/2018 - 02:24 Permalink

Time to get off US welfare Europe ! Grow some balls, stop being cucks and defend yourselves. But you probably won't. You'll be overrun with muzzies first and probably enjoy it as your countries self destruct.

MPJones Mon, 07/09/2018 - 02:49 Permalink

NATO is nothing but a feeding trough for parasitic bureacrats and weapon manufacturers. It, more than anything else except phychopathic warmongers in the US government, contributes to the escalation of the risk of war in Europe by its aggressive expansionist policies. It should have been dissolved right after the end of the cold war - and it should be dissolved now.

What should happen is a series of international disarmament conferences, e.g. a new series of Hague conferences, aiming to reduce weapons manufacture, deployment and development, among other things by disallowing robotisation and remote warfare.

Greater safety lies in the direction of radically lowering defence budgets and eliminating arms manufacturers and the arms trade.