On April 4 NATO will turn 70. In honor of the event, The Economist opines:
Reaching 70 is an extraordinary achievement for the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation. Most alliances die young. External threats change; national interests diverge; costs become too burdensome. Russia’s pact with Nazi Germany survived for only two years. None of the seven coalitions of the Napoleonic wars lasted more than five years. A study in 2010 by the Brookings Institution, a Washington think-tank, counted 63 major military alliances over the previous five centuries, of which just ten lived beyond 40; the average lifespan of collective-defence alliances was 15 years.
“NATO is the strongest, most successful alliance in history”, says Jens Stoltenberg, the organisation’s secretary-general, “because we have been able to change.” It has expanded from 12 members at its birth to 29—soon to be 30 when North Macedonia joins, its dispute with Greece over its name now settled. Of the eight countries that made up its erstwhile rival, the Warsaw Pact, seven have become part of nato, as have three former Soviet republics. The eighth one, the Soviet Union itself, has ceased to exist.
They seem to view NATO expansion as a sign of success. I think it’s the opposite. NATO began as a mutual defense pact in which its members together were stronger than they were alone. Now each additional member renders mutual defense more fantastical. Against whom will NATO be defending Macedonia? With the single exception of Kosovo it is completely surrounded by other NATO members and, if it should be threatened by war, it is more likely to be by one of those. Rather than preparing to defend each other for most of its members NATO has become a means of avoiding military spending for their own defense, relying instead on U. S. military spending.
For the United States it provides an avenue for venue-shopping. Rather than a mutual defense pact NATO is now a vehicle for aggression and the violation of international law.
The reason for NATO’s longevity is that, unlike the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact, there’s a buck in it for somebody. NATO has outlived its usefulness. Time for it to end.