What it is for.
From Wikipedia: The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) French: Organisation du traité de l’Atlantique Nord (OTAN), also called the (North) Atlantic Alliance, is a military alliance established by the signing of the North Atlantic Treaty on 4 April 1949. The NATO headquarters are in Brussels, Belgium, and the organization constitutes a system of collective defense whereby its member states agree to mutual defense in response to an attack by any external party.
The question needs to be presented to Turkey. What exactly is it that you’ve done to defeat the Taliban and Al Qaeda? What have you done to assist Western powers, namely the U.S., in its operations in your region?
Turkey triggered a spat over the next leader of NATO by opposing the candidacy of Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen, saying he is unacceptable to the Muslim world.
Turkey, the only Muslim country in the 28-nation alliance with NATO’s second biggest army after the U.S., looks “negatively” on Rasmussen because of his defense of Danish newspaper cartoons lampooning Islam in 2005, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said today in London.
Erdogan’s broadside against the frontrunning candidate cast doubt on whether a new North Atlantic Treaty Organization chief will be appointed when heads of allied governments meet later today for a summit on the French-German border.
Turkish rage at Denmark lingers from the caricatures equating Islam with terrorism in 2005, which sparked riots, the burning of Rasmussen’s effigy in Muslim communities and a boycott of Danish products.
A personal element is also in play, after Erdogan boycotted a press conference with Rasmussen in 2005 to protest the presence of reporters from a Kurdish television station that Turkey says has terrorist ties.
In an attempt to expose Turkey as the sole holdout, Rasmussen broke the customary silence on his NATO candidacy today. Denmark would be “immensely proud” if he gets the job, Inger Stoejberg, parliamentary spokeswoman for Rasmussen’s Liberal Party, told TV2 News.
Aside from the Wikipedia definition, NATO was to supply a stable Europe where the worlds most exertive and dominant nations existed in close proximity with one another. Close enough to launch two devastating world wars in a matter of decades. Furthermore, its creation launched a counter weight for Democratic powers against the Soviets’ communist Warsaw Pact and its aggressive foreign policy in Europe. Those are last century issues and the organization has yet to show that they understand it. Now, NATO includes 28 members and is making room for more. Around one-third of those are former countries of the partnership from the Warsaw Pact. That is often the highlight that supporters of NATO point out to show how much the face of Europe has changed. I will concede that but to what avail? What have they done to ensure others can live in the same sense of freedom and security?
NATO, in a rather presumptuous fashion, has evolved in to a mechanism that offers a sort of saving grace for the world. Except other than big names, rich countries, strong militaries, empty words, and a fraternal order, one would hardly see its impact. The democratic powers were to blot out tyranny and needless human suffering. Now we are at 60 years into its existence and the world and organization that actually exists are far different than what was envisioned.
– Dozens of countries are threatened by Islamic terrorism. Most the people of those countries are left to defend themselves if they choose not to partake in the barbarism. Unless, of course, the U.S. leaps into action and its “world opinion” is diminished as a result.
– Countries are invaded and are unable to find brave allies until its too late. Unless, of course, the U.S. leaps into action and its “world opinion” is diminished as a result.
— The most focused country in the world and even inspite of 9/11 and NATO’s obligations in response, Afghanistan has remained unstable from lack of NATO assistance and sacrifice and has become a country that trains, equips, and exports militant organizations fueled by deadly drug cartels. The situation has been classified as hopeless by most members of NATO and should likely be abandoned. Unless, of course, the U.S. leaps into action and its “world opinion” is diminished as a result.
– From lack of planning and equal commitment from NATO members, countries who are vulnerable in strategic locations have been allowed to become satellites and puppet nations from their surrounding and powerful neighbors. As a result, these countries are able to exert a disproportional amount of negative influence that have started wars, and undermined peace and progress. Unless, of course, the U.S. leaps into action and its “world opinion” is diminished as a result.
Notice I never mentioned anything about Russia kicking the day lights out of Georgia while giving the universal sign language to NATO that they were number one at the same time. That would have been just too easy to include that.
This recent news coming out of Turkey only proves the ineptness and lack of continuity and purpose the “fraternal” organization operates under. If it can’t do the very basic things it was designed to do; plus, it has to suffer wasteful and uncooperative nations and take on more burdens because of it. When one stands back and views these things a clear question emerges, what is the use? It just can’t work. Unless, of course, the U.S. leaps into action and its “world opinion” is diminished as a result.
It took me a while to locate a complimentary essay but I found one. Andrew J. Bacevich produced an essay for the LA Times stating in better detail and quality what exactly is wrong with NATO and how it can all be fixed…by the U.S. leaving them to fight over such nonsense as the hurt feelings of Muslims in Turkey.
This program of enlarging both NATO’s territorial expanse and its ambitions has now reached an impasse. Through its military punishment of Georgia last year, Russia has signaled it will not tolerate further encroachments into what the Kremlin sees as its legitimate sphere of influence. Meanwhile, through its ineffective performance in Afghanistan — NATO’s most ambitious “out of area” contingency — the alliance has revealed the extent to which its capabilities and its cohesion have eroded.Present-day NATO is a shadow of what it once was. Calling it a successful alliance today is the equivalent of calling General Motors a successful car company — it privileges nostalgia over self-awareness.
As with GM, so too with NATO: Fixing past mistakes will require painful changes. Continuing along the existing trajectory is not an option. If the alliance pursues any further eastward expansion (incorporating Ukraine into its ranks, as some in Washington have advocated), it will implode. If it persists in attempting to pacify Afghanistan (vainly trying to prod the Germans and other reluctant allies into deploying more troops with fewer strings attached), it will only further expose its internal weakness. NATO won’t survive by compounding its own recent errors.
Salvation requires taking a different course. However counterintuitive, the best prospect for restoring NATO’s sense of purpose and direction lies in having the U.S. announce its intention to exit the alliance.
Salvaging NATO requires reorienting the alliance back to its founding purpose: the defense of Europe. This remains a worthy mission. Although Vladimir Putin’s Russia hardly compares with Josef Stalin’s Soviet Union, and although current Russian military capabilities pale in comparison with those of the old Red Army, the fact is that Europe today does face a security threat to its east. Having been subjected (in its own eyes at least) to two decades of Western humiliation, authoritarian Russia is by no means committed to the status quo. Given the opportunity, the Kremlin could well give in to the temptation to do mischief. NATO’s priority must be to ensure that no such opportunity presents itself, which means demonstrating an unquestioned capacity for self-defense.
The difference between 1949 and 2009 is that present-day Europe is more than capable of addressing today’s threat, without American assistance or supervision. Collectively, the Europeans don’t need U.S. troops or dollars, both of which are in short supply anyway and needed elsewhere. Yet as long as the United States sustains the pretense that Europe cannot manage its own affairs, the Europeans will endorse that proposition, letting Americans foot most of the bill. Only if Washington makes it clear that the era of free-riding has ended will Europe grow up.
NATO’s anniversary bash promises to be an historic event. As part of his promise to promote change, Obama should make it a farewell party.
Andrew J. Bacevich is a professor of history and international relations at Boston University. The paperback edition of his book, “The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism,” comes out in April.