WHAT ABOUT NATO? TIME TO CLOSE SHOP?

NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) was an alliance formed to confront the USSR when Europe was tired and devastated by World War II. It was believed that only the USA working with, and on behalf of, its European allies could keep Western Europe free of Soviet Russian ambitions and domination.

And it worked. Western Europe was able to rebuild and develop, sheltered by US power and NATO.

US Military Show of Force in Eastern Europe.

US Military Show of Force in Eastern Europe.

But history moves on and things are a bit different today. People are asking why NATO remains when its raison d’etre is gone. But history also shows that only rarely do institutions disappear once many have invested in them and now, 15 years since the fall of Communism and the end of the Soviet Union, NATO still is going, spending money, writing reports.

But why?

Today, Europe is 650 Million People with an economy equal to that of the USA. Russia, has 150 million people and shrinking, with an economy the size of Italy’s. Europe should be more than capable of defending itself, and paying for it, against Russia should that ever be in Russia’s interests to bother.

Soviet Troops on parade 1985

Soviet Troops on parade 1985

Yet, the USA is still there with bases and forces and supply stores, costing more than 1/3 of the US defense Budget, but when the US needs to use those bases for something important to the US, often such use is denied by the Europeans. Example: In 1973, the US wanted to supply Israel from stores in Europe, but the Europeans grounded the US aircraft.

Ramstein AFB in Germany.

Ramstein AFB in Germany.

So, one might ask, what is the USA paying for and why? In 2001, Donald Rumsfeld asked that question and proposed closing US bases, stopping rent payments, and keeping $ Billions at home. Europe responded by threats against US businesses and lobbying and nothing changed.

Location of Crimea.

Location of Crimea.

Then in more recent history came the crisis in the Ukraine. Some might say a “created crisis”. The EU spent lots of money trying to convince the Ukrainian majority, mostly Catholics who identified with Poland and Western Europe, that they would suddenly all be wealthy were they to be in the European Union. I remember the on-the -street interviews, all the people claiming that they would all be rich if only they could join the EU. The Germans and the EU saw it as an opportunity to get cheaper labour and farm goods. The Ukrainian President at the time, concerned about massive Government debt, had his doubts and put off signing the bill to change Ukraine’s economic relationships toward the EU and away from Russia.

Moldova brackets Ukraine.

Moldova brackets Ukraine.

We all know the result. The Ukraine, with the support of the EU saw its elected President forced out and replaced with a pro-EU Government, a legal referendum in Russian speaking Crimea (legal under 3 separate treaties, in spite of what the EU and Obama claimed) made Crimea part of Russia, and the Europeans managed to reignite Cold War mentality in the USA, insuring that US money would keep flowing to Europe to pay for countries that refuse to defend themselves. They went so far as to create crises. “Putin is going to invade Moldovia”, “Putin is preparing to invade “Latvia”, and so on – said again and again. It was on the level of the old joke of the guy stamping his feet and when asked why, “to keep the elephants away, But there are no elephants around. See, it works”

NATO has other problems. What should it do about Turkey, fast becoming a totalitarian state pursuing its own separate policies that counter those of the other NATO members while it continues its illegal occupation of 1/3 of Cyprus, another NATO member state.

New, Fancy NATO HQ facilities under construction.

New, Fancy NATO HQ facilities under construction.

So, why NATO? Because once a bureaucracy is set up to deal with a problem, there are interests involved to keep it going, even when its purpose no longer exists, even when some will try to create problems to keep it alive. NATO protected a free Europe while it had time to rebuild from a war’s devastation. But Now?

 
Reuven Efraim

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Reuven Efraim

Reuven Efraim

Reuven Efraim

Business Consultant,Libertarian, Historian, Economist, Special interest in Foreign Policy.
Reuven Efraim

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