In the heyday of NATO between 1949 and 1995, the NATO’s credo was clear: an armed attack against anyone in Europe or North America would be considered an attack against all. For NATO members this was not a superficial contract between politicians, but a contract between the populations of the member nations. NATO countries had a standing army with conscripts prepared for war. There was opposition to the organization but everyone knew the purpose and scope of the organization.
In 1999 the NATO was enlarged with Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Poland under the same mandate: an armed attack against any one in Europe or North America would be considered an attack against all. The 1999 enlargement annoyed Russia but did not change the spirit of the organization nor the population it relies on and has to protect.
During the 2002 Prague summit, NATO invited former Soviet republics as Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania without consulting the population of its member states. While the NATO management assured these countries that they apply under the same security credo as all countries, the political reality is completely different. The willingness in Europe to fight in an ethnic border conflict in one of the former Soviet republics is very low. NATO Management has steered the organization on a slippery road, creating an organization that is not able to fulfill its promises. With the Baltic states as new member countries the NATO organization could still pretend that the emperor is not naked, but with the expansion including Georgia and Ukraine, things can unravel very rapidly.
With this expansion, Europe and the US could be sucked into a Caucasus conflict most Europeans never heard of and in countries they probably are not able to find on the map. There are no politicians in Europe who would send out their army on behalf of NATO into the Panski Gorge in case of a Russian invasion into this part of Georgia as they are chasing Chechen Jihadist.
But even closer to Europe, in Ukraine there is no appetite in Europe to get involved in the conflict.
After Euro MP Mr van Baalen supported the Maidan protesters in Kyiv he rushed to Dutch National Television to assure his constituents, he never ever wants Ukraine as a European member state. Things are even worse as the website “geenstijl.nl”, in 2005 seen as the recruitment site for the army, manages to collect a stunning 30,000 signatures within 24 hours last week, to force the Dutch government to hold a referendum against the European association Treaty with Ukraine.
Not only the enlargement undermines the NATO organization, since 2002 NATO management has become responsible for numerous failures that undermined the security of its member states and its populations.
NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer could be seen as one of the first leaders that betrayed its very founding members. He connected the fate of NATO to the success of the ISAF mission in Afghanistan. A mission that endangered its soldiers but did not contribute to the security of its member states. Mr de Hoop Scheffer realized the mission lacked support among the population at large when his own well-educated daughter of 25 asked him what NATO is doing in Afghanistan, the very moment he left for Kabul.
While NATO’s public relation machine was shifted to the highest gear to convince the public about the purpose of the mission and blaming the ramp of the heroine production on the Taliban, the reports from Afghanistan told a differed story as NATO troops were shown patrolling in endless poppy fields.
As reports start to link Karzai’s brother to Afghanistan heroin trade and as it turns out that aid cash as 3 billion dollars is flown out of Afghanistan, politicians in the member countries are forced to pull the plug on the NATO’s ISAF mission. The NATO Afghanistan mission was the first epic failure of NATO management. The organization failed its people by bringing them in danger, the very same people it is supposed to protect.
NATO itself was not involved in the war in Iraq, but it was actively involved in the training of the Iraqi army. The Iraq war and the subsequent Syrian war could be seen as the trigger of the largest destabilization of European security at its southern border.
The NATO training of the Iraqi troops was another failure. The US and NATO trained Iraqi soldiers are not able to prevent the country to descend into chaos.
As NATO management is accountable to nobody, it does not stop to fail its people.
With the operation “Unified Protector” NATO became a direct threat to the stability and security of its member states. As NATO enforced the no fly zone in Libya, it also started to engage in military operations in Libya, a country that did not attack nor threaten NATO members. The destruction of the Libyan political and governmental structure was neither within the UN mandate nor in the interest of European security.
The collapse of the Libyan state as a result of NATO actions transformed Libya into a sanctuary of Jihadists on Europe’s doorstep. It triggered the first wave of refugees, people that wanted to escape the chaos NATO helped to create in Libya.
NATO management also loses its grip on the situation in Turkey.
As the US announced Turkey’s cooperation in the fight against ISIS, the Syrian conflict abruptly spilled into Turkey. Erdogan started a full blown war against the very same Kurds that are armed by NATO members, Germany and the US. The consequence is an actual proxy war between NATO member Turkey and NATO member Germany. Not only are the NATO allies divided, they are now opposing each other in an armed conflict. Germany arming the Kurds could be seen as a direct threat to Turkey’s security. The US’s and Germany’s retreat of their Patriot NATO units from Turkey is a clear message to Ankara. As Spain publicly announced that it has no NATO order to withdraw its patriot Unit, it becomes obvious that there is no crisis management at executive level within NATO. The organization run by failed politicians has become a liability to the security of its member states.
NATO opponents in Moscow should not worry too much, the current NATO leadership lacks all basic skills and knowledge to keep the organization healthy. The Baltic States are the first to realize that the emperor is naked. Further enlargement of the organization will inevitably result in more chaos within the organization and will end in a lack of support by the population of its member states. In the worse case, NATO’s Management will figure out in the future that an attack on one of its future members in the Caucasus will not be regarded by its strongest members as an attack against all.