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Debate: Is NATO a relic?

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Is NATO a relic?

Background and Context of Debate:

"Today, NATO is actively engaged on three continents - in Europe, in Asia, and in Africa.

In Kosovo, [NATO] troops continue to keep the peace and ensure a safe and stable environment in which the UN-sponsored talks on the future status of that province can take place.

In Afghanistan, the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force is assisting the Government of Afghanistan to provide the necessary security so that democracy can take root and redevelopment can take place.

In Iraq, NATO is training Iraqi security forces to allow them to take on more responsibility for their own security.

In Africa, African union peacekeeping troops are being airlifted into the Darfur region of Sudan by Allied aircraft; [NATO] is providing other assistance like headquarters training to that force." ["International and regional responses to organized crime, terrorism and peacebuilding - the role of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)", by Jonathan Parish, Deputy Head of Policy Planning and Speechwriting Section, Political Affairs and Security Policy Division, NATO HQ]

The basic pillar NATO stands on is the need of consensus on every issue, which - as it is often argued - makes it slow and reluctant to act on issues of crucial importance.

Contents

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Security: Is NATO vital for the world's security?

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Pro

  • NATO expansion helps deter Russian expansionism. Russia still has a large influence on its neighbors. The dissolution of the Warsaw Pact and the protracted collapse of the Soviet Union into the Commonwealth of Independent States did remove the overwhelming threat of the USSR against Western Europe. However, the threat persists in a different form. The newly independent republics remain vulnerable to the vast political and military influence of Russia. The new threat is the destruction of stability of the new republics, and thus Russian expansion that is hostile to both the republics and the Western European states in their proximity. The solution is pre-emptive expansion in the other direction. The broadening of NATO to include the Eastern republics shall offer a bulwark against Russian expansion. NATO shall continue to perform the role of a defensive alliance against a putative military threat.
  • NATO expansion helps break from Cold War boundaries. Strobe Talbott. "The Case for Expanding NATO". Time Magazine. 14 Jul. 1997 - "Enlargement is the right thing to do, especially when compared to the alternative of freezing NATO in its cold war membership. Whatever the expenses and difficulties associated with enlarging NATO, there would be far greater costs and dangers of not doing so. If we were permanently to endorse the line Joseph Stalin carved across Europe in 1945, we would subject the alliance to the risk of irrelevance and perhaps dissolution. Rejected in their aspiration to join NATO, the Central and East European countries would scramble to jury-rig their own independent and therefore competitive security arrangements."
  • "The organization provides a standing forum for consultation and decision, and has military structure that allows these decisions to be backed by military actions if required. (...) NATO can do the military part (...) by providing a secure environment. It can also cover other aspects, such as assisting an emerging democracy in security sector reform." ["International and regional responses to organized crime, terrorism and peacebuilding - the role of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)", by Jonathan Parish, Deputy Head of Policy Planning and Speechwriting Section, Political Affairs and Security Policy Division, NATO HQ]
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Con

  • NATO is an outdated alliance against a long gone Soviet threat Russia can no longer offer the conventional military threat of the Cold War. The acceptance of this reality by the US is evidenced by the fact that there are no longer 300,000 troops stationed in Germany. The indebted and demoralised Russian infantry is presently overstretched in the persistent conflicts in Chechnya and Tajikistan. The combination of the weakness of Russia‚Äôs conventional forces and the antagonism that would be created by the deployment of NATO troops on its borders in the new republics would be dangerously counter-productive. Russia would be obliged more than ever to depend on her nuclear arsenal. Therefore, expansion is not only unnecessary but it is also likely to increase the threat of nuclear conflict in Western Europe.





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Decision-making: Is the NATO decision-making system viable?

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Pro

  • "NATO is now seen by many as a major "enabler". The United Nations does not hesitate to request support from NATO's unique expertise and capabilities when the situation demands it." ["International and regional responses to organized crime, terrorism and peacebuilding - the role of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)", by Jonathan Parish, Deputy Head of Policy Planning and Speechwriting Section, Political Affairs and Security Policy Division, NATO HQ]





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Con

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Other options: Should some other organization supersede NATO?

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Con

  • No such organization that could supersede NATO exists. Given that NATO is not only a political, but also a military organization, hardly can we find viable alternatives. UN is slow, ineffective, and weak, NGOs lack necessary resources and political power.





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Pro/con sources

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See also

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