Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Is NATO still relevant?

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), which was established in April 1949, was originally put together to counter the military power of the USSR against Western Europe.

First and foremost, the USSR is not a nation anymore and has not been one since 1991. Is NATO still relevant?

Also, if it was intended to protect "Western Europe" why did the United States get involved? Did anyone realize that the United States is not part of Europe?

Another strange thing about the "Western Europe" thing. 3 years after the North Atlantic Treaty, Greece and Turkey joined the organization, neither of which are in Western Europe. Also, neither of these countries are in the North Atlantic.

So okay, I am talking semantics here but really. If you are going to call something based on geographical location, try to pick a name that makes sense.

But that is beside the point. The question I want to know is whether or not NATO is still relevant.

Interestingly enough, in 1965, the Soviet Union asked to join NATO. Wait, what?!? Did THEY know why it was formed?

So, bringing NATO into the present, the Soviet Union issue aside, its goals are to "safeguard the freedom and security of its member countries by political and military means." What political means do they use? I have only heard about them when the military is involved.

It calls for the "common values of democracy, individual liberty, the rule of law and the peaceful resolution of disputes."

There are presently just under a dozen countries petitioning NATO for membership.

So let me talk finances. Military spending for NATO accounts for 70% of the world's spending on defense. The United States pays for about half of that total.

There is something else I was wondering. With all these countries attempting to form alliances, I wonder if any of the world's political leaders remember that one of the causes of World War 1 were all the alliances that were made in the world. What started out as a simple political assassination turned into a global conflict because of all of the countries that were honor bound to assist its allies in the declaration of war.

Anyway. I'm not so sure if NATO is as relevant in global affairs as it once was.

What do you think?

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