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NATO's Lack Of Any Serious Purpose Means It Should Retire

Published: April 22, 2013
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Source: Forbes

NATO’s foreign ministers are meeting this week and have a “busy agenda,” proclaims the alliance. Yet NATO no longer has any serious purpose.

European countries want to be military powers, but increasingly are failing to maintain capable forces. America always has been the dominant power in NATO. The U.S. may soon be the only effective power in the alliance. NATO should retire.

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization was created more than six decades ago. Having fought to free Western Europe from Nazi domination, Washington was determined to keep Western Europe free from Soviet domination. Yet a Soviet invasion quickly became unlikely, if for no other reason than the potential of escalation to nuclear war.

After the collapse of the U.S.S.R. the transatlantic alliance became irrelevant. Its purpose, famously explained Lord Hastings Ismay, was “to keep the Russians out, the Americans in, and the Germans down.” All of these objectives had been met.

Today the Soviet Union is gone. Russia may be hostile, but it lacks both the will and ability to threaten Europe. At most Moscow can beat up on weak neighbors like Georgia.

Germany remains down militarily, skeptical of international involvement. Ironically, most of Europe wants Berlin to do more. Economically the federal republic is way up—underwriting the entire European Union.

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