NATO as an alliance has lost its raison-d’être. This is not due to a lack of common security threats NATO allies are facing but to a striking lack of common threat perception, the lack of a stable consensus on how to deal with threats if at all accepted as common and, finally, appalling buck passing when it comes to war fighting by many European softliners.
The striking and growing differences in military capabilities of NATO’s members undermine alliance coherence. What sense does it make for the strong, well-armed countries to committ to the security of others who obviously do not care enough for their own security and prefer instead to rely on the security umbrella provided by the strong alliance members?
This is even more awkward as the weak and impotent do share the same voice within the alliance as the strong and powerful. Voice without committment, a seat at the table without boots on the ground is a recipe for desaster but not for success.
It is time for reconsidering NATO. In fact this has already started years ago, with the US increasingly abandoning the alliance as the core instrument of US security and military policy beyond the european theatre. Institutionalised security and defense collaboration does make sense only as long as all members of the alliance are committed to both rights and obligations. This consensus has well whithered away long ago.
Why should the US and the UK engage with the French and the Germans who either balk at them, brazenly soft-balance them with the Russians or ask for the job at the low end of war fighting.
It is time for openly and vociferously accepting coalitions of the willing and the capable as the more effective, flexible, coherent and legitimate instruments of security provision. This should prod more of the lame and the mean to reconsider their status and either go it alone or restart working for the common alliance purpose.
If the Germans are fighting their wars more in the Bundestag on troop mandates than in the hot spots of Afghanistan let them do. If the French are engaging in yet another effort of balancing the US keep them out. If the Spanish are engaged in negotiating a separate truce with terror leave them alone. The incompetent, the impotent and the ignorant deserve to be dumped.