This essay discusses the role of NATO; further it will examine why NATO should not be dissolved, and will discuss Libya as case study. This essay also discusses why NATO should be dissolved, and will draw upon the war on terror in Afghanistan. This essay will conclude that NATO does not have much relevance in 21th century nor it had following the Cold and the Collapsed of the Soviet Union, therefore, it's not imperative for NATO to maintain alliance.
NATO was founded on the grounds that the organisation will protect its members, but mainly from the military threat of Soviet Unions, Lord Hastings Ismay, the first Secretary General clearly defined NATO; "to keep the Russians out, the Americans in, and the Germans down (William: 2008, 348)." Ismay argument demonstrates that the international institution was founded mainly because of the of military threat of Soviet Union during the Cold War. NATO's former Secretary General Willy Clases stated that:
"it could build on its past, moving to establish closer ties with Central and East European states; deepen its political , economic and social ties with the United states; build a better relationship with Russia and certain Mediterranean and North African states; and work with regional and international organisation to ensure the stability of Europe its neighbours ( MaCalla:199,445)
Clases statement shows very strong aims of NATO to survive and will expand as global cop; continue its task to safeguard its member states; nevertheless, scepticism remains about its future. NATO's former Secretary General, Manfred Worner stated that "The treaty of Washington of 1949, nowhere mentions the Soviet Union" (MaCalla: 1996, 446). Worner argument reveals that military Threat of Soviet Union was not the main reason; however, NATO has wider international prospects.
At the end of the Cold War, it was perceived that the absence of a compelling external threat, NATO members would no longer see any compelling reason to maintain the alliance, and it would soon appear to be ineffective and incompetent security organisation. Waltz (William: 2008, 349) argued that the:
"alliances will tend to be less robust in a multipolar world because major powers will possess more options as their numbers increase... prudence suggests that existing alliance commitments can no longer be taken for granted ( William:2008,350)".
However, Walt argument proved to have minimal effect on the organisation. NATO flourished at least in some ways since following Cold War, and was broadly engaged in extensive combat operations, such as Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan and recently in Libya.
Adler and Barnett (William et al: 2000) argued that persistence of NATO clearly demonstrates that the international community posses great challenges of security relations than neo realism has traditionally allowed. Their statement shows that NATO has survived many security challenges over time and continued to prosper as a security management institution in 21th century, on the other hand, the emergence of non-state actors brought massive challenges for the states security, states are now fighting non- state actors, such as Al-Qaida and Taliban, NATO responded efficiently by engaging on the War on Terror in Afghanistan, training and developing Afghan National Security Forces, and ensuring partnership agreement to continue military support to the country beyond 2014, after the withdrawal of NATO soldiers from the country. Thus, NATO's interest in promoting peace and stability has not only benefited its members but also wider international community.
NATO should be dissolved clearly it achieved its purpose and outlived its usefulness. Wallander and Keohane ( William et al:2000) argued that NATO is no longer an alliance, its purpose and operations has changed over time and it has transformed in to a regional collective security arrangement or security management institution. Their argument demonstrates that NATO still have great importance in the region, nonetheless, its aims have changed and there is still security threats for its members, but there is still many global security challenges facing NATO member states, this could be the fight on terror, environmental security challenges or the remnants of the Soviet Union, Russia, thus, these challenges keep NATO active and should therefore not be dissolved. NATO as security management institution take human rights and humanitarian intervention into account, NATO efficiently responded to crisis in Libya. The NATO humanitarian intervention in Libya was legitimate, because it was authorised by UN Security Council, the main purpose of this operation was to save human lives and it was successful.
The consequences of a dissolved NATO will not help the wider international order, this is because NATO is also an enforcement arm of the UN Security Council, helped to combat Terrorism, WMD and Cyber Warfare, on the other hand, NATO members states shares democratic values, William et al (2000:358) argued that NATO persists because it's member states shared democratic norms and identities. This shows that democracy is the common language in these countries, and therefore, they can communicate very well and identify their common enemies and share military burden in order to make each ally stronger than individual part. The North Atlantic treaty organisation was set up to defend against the threat of Soviet aggression, however, today it's viewed as increasingly dysfunctional, and still searching for a new role two decades after the collapsed of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War ( Kashmeri:2010).
William (2008) argued that NATO has had little effect on counter-terrorism efforts. Williams statement points to the inability of NATO on combating terrorism. It could be argued that NATO was failed to stop Terrorists attacks on their members states, NATO was incapable to stop major terrorist attacks of 911, 7/7 London bombing or Madrid attacks, on the other hand, NATO did not achieved much of its goals on combating terrorism in Afghanistan, NATO failed to eliminate Top Taliban leader, Mullah Omer and could not stop much of the insurgency in the South of the country, as a result, NATO's member states had to pay huge cost of a lengthy War in Afghanistan, NATO lost their real aims in Afghanistan, its initial purpose of War in Afghanistan was to battle Terrorism, however, the aim spread to many other challenges, and it is now fighting for human rights, war on drug, reconstruction and building a democratic society for Afghans, NATO clearly lost its mandate in Afghanistan and its members had to pay massive amount of finance to support the war at the time where their own national economies were struggling with huge debts and deficits.
NATO believed that the organisation will transform into a World cop, by adopting a strategy of 'Out of Area' (Kashmeri: 1996), this dream is diminishing at slow pace in the mountainous Afghanistan, where many of its European members are avoiding main battle, France and Netherland has already withdrawn troops from Afghanistan, while leaving other members in uncertainty and disarray, on the other hand, US close ally Canada has also withdrawn troops from Afghanistan, making it more difficult for other NATO members to achieve significant goals, the remaining members are struggling to find resources to send a few hundred trainers to Afghanistan.
NATO does not have much relevance in 21th century nor it had following the Cold War and the collapsed of the Soviet Union, it was not imperative for NATO to maintain alliance. Mearsheimer ( 1994) stated that international institutions maintain only 'false promise' as a foundation for security. Mearsheimer's statement demonstrates that NATO is ineffective and therefore should be disbanded, security issues are best achieved through states, thus, security institutions have no place in international system. If the international community is posed with global threats, NATO would be unsuccessful, it would be more advantageous for each region including Europe to build their own security force rather than creating a global NATO force. It could also be argued that security institutions are manipulated by powers for their own national interest; hence, NATO is a great tool for US to advance its agenda. The extension of NATO force has also threatened development of democracy in Russia, most democratic activists in Russia have oppose NATO enlargement, precisely, on the grounds that it hinders the progress of democracy in Russia.
NATO is a tool of US and the majority of Americans have different social moral values compare to their European counterparts. Steele (2004) argued that Americans do not share values, but institutions with Europe. This illustrates that Europe and the US have similar institutions, like Europe they have a separation of powers between executive and legislature and an independent judiciary, but both Europe and the US have different values and this distinction is crucial. It clearly shows that they do not have common values or perceptions, and these perceptions may include security issues, and what constitutes a threat for the US may not constitutes a threat for the Europe. Steele (2004) clearly distinguish these differences, in the US more people have guns than have passports, and there is not one European nation of which is the same as US on this. However, millions of US nationals do share European values, but this only amounts to 48% and that the US is deeply polarised is incorrect.
European states are officially embedded as America's allies, and it's clear that the allies should support America and respect their leadership, thus, this makes it hard for European states to not follow American perceptions about security, if they don't they will fear of being attacked as disloyal. It's very obvious that Europeans like Americans have their own interest, sometimes they will coincides, and these interest will also differ, but it's normal (Steele:2004), it's clear that the US has some bilateral security treaties with other countries. And that could be a good deal for European states. If Austria, Finland, Ireland and Sweden could take considerable risk of staying neutral during the Cold War, thus, no need to join NATO in 21th century, in which the world is much safe than it was in bipolar order. It's clearly true that NATO will not function with the unanimity it demonstrated during the Cold War, however, the lesson has been learned from Iraq War and that the organisation has become no more than a " coalition of the reluctant"( Steele:2004), because it's strong member such as France and Germany did not joined the Iraq War.
The US as a leader and most powerful member of NATO, has always pushed the European allies to spend much on their defence infrastructure, blaming them for spending too little or spending on the wrong policies. This has been a regular feature of NATO meetings for years. Valasek argued that
"Virtually every piece of legislation in the U.S Congress involving NATO, such as bills on enlargement or missile defence, pass with at least an attempt by lawmakers to attach amendments mandating greater European contributions (Velasak:2001,20"
Velasak statement reveals that the Europeans are being pushed for something which they are not interested and it's also not in their national interests to spend much more on their defence infrastructure and pay heavily for the costs of wars, thus, NATO has become a threat to Europe. NATO's existence undermines Europe's own efforts to build their own regional security institutions which will more efficiently respond to external security threats. Some member states, particularly, the UK often looks over their shoulders for not upsetting big brother, the US. If the UK is so much cautious of not upsetting the US, thus, Central and East European States are more cautious not to upset the US, because they need the US more for their external security. On the other hand, the Common Security and Defence policy of Europe ( CSDP) does not have much power, assets or organisation, their first Task of deployment took place in 2003 in the Republic of Macedonia "EUFOR Concordia"(Chivvis:2008). The organisation seemed to be so weak that they used NATO assets, however, it was considered to be success, but their missions are considered to be very low profiled and small, hence, it makes it so ambiguous that they can respond efficiently to a real global threat.
To sum up, this essay demonstrated that NATO was founded for common defence against the hostile Soviet Union during the Cold War. NATO flourished in some ways and its humanitarian interventions in Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan and Libya provided NATO further legitimacy. Therefore, NATO's achievements as a legitimate international security institution cannot be underestimated; however, the North Atlantic Treaty was signed to confront Soviet Union military power, and achieved its purpose and outlived its usefulness, and it's time for the organisation to die a peaceful death, it's elimination will lead the path for regional security structure, which would efficiently deal with external security threats, on the other hand, NATO is a tool being used by the US, as the US is the most powerful member and assumed leader of the organisation, therefore, this advance US agenda and sometimes the US interest coincide with European interests, this is because most of Americans and Europeans do not share similar values. Iraq War was a clear example of this interest, which led NATO's main members to opt out of the War; however, US had great interest in the War and continued without their support.
This report was written by an anonymous writer at the UK Academic Writing Services