The end of NATO ?

There is an interesting article in the LA Times which highlights the impotence and failings of NATO and points out that aside from Britain, the US and Canada, great swathes of NATO's members are lettin NATO fail in its mission in Afghanistan.

The article points out that ;

"U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates warns that NATO risks becoming a "two-tier" alliance, one tier consisting of members willing to carry their fair share of the load, the second tier consisting of free riders. His warning comes too late. The two-tier arrangement already exists, with the great majority of member states content to occupy the lower tier. "

It seems to me that NATO is more akin to a club for states wanting to either assume a place at the top table fo discussion, but who bring nothing to the party or countries who want to assert their independence from Russia.

"NATO is no longer a fighting organization. Keeping the Americans in, the Germans down and the Russians out no longer demands the sort of exertion that was required half a century ago. If the alliance retains any value, it is as an institution for consolidating European integration and prosperity. No amount of browbeating by the United States is going to change that.

The Bush administration is kidding itself if it expects Europeans to save the day in Afghanistan. To think of NATO as a great alliance makes about as much sense as thinking of Pittsburgh as the Steel City or of Detroit as the car capital of the world. It's sheer nostalgia.

It's time to jettison the capital letters: NATO has become nato."

In 1982 the USA had an important choice to make when the Falklands war started. They could have stood to one side and potnetially allowed a NATO ally to fail (Britain), but realising that NATO and the US itself would also be the loser, the US backed Britain. IN many ways now the NATO members are at a cross roads, with a choice about whether Afghanistan is allowed to fall in to the hands of foreign terrorists, after all, the Taliban are referred to as Arabs or Pakistani's by Afghans, they are not Afghans), and whether NATO is going to have any credibility in the future.

Sadly too many NATO members are there for the free lunches at conferences.g

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